In our day, Swami Jyotirmayananda stands as one of the most important personalities in expanding the consciousness and elevating the lives of thousands throughout the world. Through his inspiring message and great love for all, he is making a powerful impact on the world we live in.
Swami Jyotirmayananda was born on February 3, 1931, in a pious family in Dumari Buzurg, District Saran, Bihar, India, a northern province sanctified by the great Lord Buddha. From his early childhood he showed various marks of future saintliness. He was calm and reflective, compassionate to all, and a constant source of inspiration to all who came in contact with him. Side by side with his studies and practical duties, he reflected upon life's deeper purpose. An overwhelming feeling to serve humanity through a spiritual life led him to embrace the ancient order of Sanyasa on February 3, 1953, at the age of 22. Living in the Himalayan retreats by the sacred Ganges River, he practiced intense austerities. In tireless service of his Guru, Sri Swami Sivananda Maharaj, Swamiji taught at the Yoga Vedanta Forest Academy as a professor of religion. In addition to giving lectures on the Upanishads, Raja Yoga and all the important scriptures of India, he was the editor of the Yoga Vedanta Journal.
Ever able to assist foreign students in their understanding of Yoga and Vedanta, his intuitive perception of their problems endeared him to all. Swamiji's exemplary life, love towards all beings, great command of spiritual knowledge, and dynamic expositions on Yoga and Vedanta philosophy attracted enormous interest all over India.
He frequently lectured by invitation at the All India Vedanta Conferences in Delhi, Amritsar, Ludhiana, and in other parts of India.
In 1962, after many requests, Swami Jyotirmayananda came to the West to spread the knowledge of India. As founder of Sanatan Dharma Mandir in Puerto Rico (1962-1969), Swamiji rendered unique service to humanity through his regular classes, weekly radio lectures in English and in Spanish, and numerous TV appearances. In March 1969, Swamiji moved to Miami, Florida, and established the ashram that has become the center for the international activities of the Yoga Research Foundation. Branches of this organization now exist throughout the world and spread the teachings of yoga to aspirants everywhere. In 1985, Swamiji founded an ashram near New Delhi, India, which is now serving the community by offering yoga classes, by publishing the Hindi Journal, Yoganjali, by assisting the needy through a medical clinic and by furthering the education of children through the Bal Divya Jyoti Public School.
Today Swami Jyotirmayananda occupies a place of thehighest order among the international men of wisdom. He is well recognized as the foremost proponent of Integral Yoga, a way of life and thought that synthesizes the various aspects of the ancientyoga tradition into a comprehensive plan of personality integration.
Through insightful lectures that bring inspiration to thousands who attend the conferences, camps and philosophical gatherings, Swamiji shares the range and richness of his knowledge of the great scriptures of the world. Spiritual seekers throughout the world enjoy his monthly magazine-International Yoga Guide. His numerous books and cassette tapes are enriching the lives of countless aspirants who have longed for spiritual guidance that makes the most profound secrets of yoga available to them in a manner that is joyous and practical
The holy presence of Swami Jyotirmayananda fills the atmosphere with the silent, powerful message of Truth, and the soul is nurtured and nourished, allowing for a total education and evolution of one's inner Self.
IMPORTANT TEACHINGS OF SRI GURUDEV
* You are the Architect of your Destiny. You can change your circumstances.
* WITH GRACE OF RAMA EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE
* There are four gate-keepers to the palace of liberation-SERENITY ,CONTENTMENT, SATSANGA and VICHAR one has to befriend them.
* His glory is everywhere and in every being. He is enfolding the entire universe. You are always protected .Have no fears.
* All your actions are a stream of Divine adoration and enjoy the taste of nectar of divine love.
* See God shining through the eyes of all beings and acts of goodness as the best flowers to be offered to God.
* Identified with ego you are nothing. All your achievements and possessions are illusory. Without ego you are eternal Self-ALL THAT IS.
* God’s grace is like sunshine. All the forces of darkness dare not oppose it.
* You are enriched by Divine virtues-control anger by forgiveness, pride by humility and cruelty by mercy.
* You have within you infinite possibilities to reconstruct your life to change your circumstances and to outgrow your weaknesses and limitations.
* Just as shining dew drop slips from a lotus petal into the surging ocean let your soul slip into the ocean of –NIRVANA.
* Pray to God to bless everyone with right understanding. May every soul be decked with Divine virtues of Truth, Love and Compassion.
* Life is filled with nectar of Divine love and bliss.
* Keep the goal of self realization always in view.
QUESTION ANSWER WITH SRI SWAMIJI
Question: Isn’t happiness a by-product of living?
Answer: Happiness that is a by-product of living is material happiness, but it is not the goal. The goal in life is to acquire that happiness which is the innate nature of the soul.
Question: There are many people who are doing a great deal of service in the world and it seems they’re happy. Therefore, it would seem that their happiness is a by-product.
Answer: It seems like a by-product by doing good deeds. They are removing the obstacles to happiness. It is similar to removing the clouds and the sun shines forth. The shining of the sun is not the by-product of removing the clouds, yet you may say so in a figurative way. In the same way, when a person does good things his complexes are dissolved, and as these complexes are being dissolved, his innate happiness shines forth. So it is an unraveling of innate happiness. If happiness is not deep within oneself, then it would be a difficult predicament. There would be no liberation actually.
Question: But people are living in this world, and it is not a happy world. All they can do is strive not to be unhappy.
Answer: That’s a good beginning, to avoid pain. But to the extent that you avoid pain, to that extent certain positive forms of happiness begin to appear. Not all people are equally miserable; it depends upon different levels of evolution. In the midst of all suffering humanity, there are people who have purified their minds and are therefore closer to God within themselves. They are much happier. So positive happiness does exist. But to begin with, as long as you do not have the positive happiness, it is better to avoid pain and not to be deluded by illusory happiness.
Question: What is your understanding of free choice and how does it operate?
Answer: Free choice is an awareness that you can change your conditions, that awareness develops when mind is purified. In Yoga terminology, it is when sattwa develops. When that happens, your personality is harmonized and there is more goodness, peace and contentment. You begin to discover that there is a mighty power within you and that you are really not helpless; you are capable of doing whatever you really want to do. So to the extent you allow sattwa to grow, to the extent you will experience freedom.But if your mind becomes distracted, as happens in bad company, or when it is full of desires, or full of anger and hate, then you begin to develop the idea that you are bound by destiny and have no strength. So rajas promotes that reliance on destiny. When tamas arises, your mind is grossly involved in anger, violence, hypocrisy and other degrading sentiments, and you suffer the greatest loss of mental freedom.
Question: Why is it that those whom you consider your most loved ones can be also hated by you?
Answer: That is the usual situation. People love and at the same time they are attached. However, from a spiritual point of view, what is needed is the development of Divine Love. As long as there is worldly love, hatred will always come along with it, for love and hate go together. You cannot love a person without hating him. You will also realize that the person you love the most has given you the most trouble. Your mind has both impressions of the person – all the good and all the bad. Therefore, speaking from an ordinary point of view, there is much conflict in relationships with people whom you love. On the other hand, sages love people, but this love is different. It is not formed on the basis of attachment, but is a spiritual expression of Divine expansion. This is the love that an aspirant needs to practice. In this love, ordinary attachment and hatred are gradually transcended. You can figuratively describe this love as attachment to God, but this attachment is a transformed attachment and has nothing to do with grace. This attachment can exist without grace.
Question: What do you think of self-analysis in order to know yourself better?
Answer: Self-searching, self-analysis, introspection – these are all perfectly in order. However, introspection and dealing with practical life must be balanced in order to succeed in self-analysis. To practice nothing but introspection from morning until evening is unbalancing and leads to a state of inertia. On the other hand, if your are performing your duties well and keeping yourself fruitfully active, then your introspection will be bright and productive, because you know more about yourself when you are active. But when you are left to yourself in a state of inertia, you know very little about yourself, even though you go on introspecting for a long time.
Question: If you try to help someone who doesn’t want your help or who doesn’t even want to help himself, is it worth continuing the effort?
Answer: A good deed is always worthwhile, whether it works or not. The fact is, it will work, sometimes slowly, sometimes fast, but it will work. However, there should be no exception. A person who wants to do good will do good whether it works or not. A rose will have its fragrance whether people appreciate it or not. Nevertheless, a practical point is that you should not go too much out of your way in order to do good to others, keep it within moderation.
Question: How can a person differentiate between what is positive and what is negative?
Answer: The mind must become sensitive to what is positive and what is negative. There must be more satsanga or good association. When you have good association you are able to see the difference between the positive and the negative. In the beginning, however, negative may seem positive. For example, to a fisherman, the smell of fish seems quite wonderful.
Question: Why does it seem that wherever you turn in life, there is always some sort of suffering implied?
Answer: Suffering is always implied in life, it is everywhere. Life is such that you cannot avoid suffering – there’s sickness, old age and death.
There are many types of sufferings, and if you suffer for a better cause, then suffering becomes a means to evolution. In other words, suffering is for a greater purpose. For example, you have to reach a destination, and you know that when you reach that destination you are going to be very happy. Even though along the way you have to pass through rugged roads and thorny bushes, you go through them anyway, knowing that this is the road that is going to lead you to your destination. On the other hand, most people aimlessly travel along the roads of life, not knowing why or where they are going, and every road has thorns and bushes. So, it is much better to travel over a road that has a goal.
Question: How does one overcome a grudge?
Answer: By allowing yourself to evolve. Ego in a certain level holds a grudge as real, but on the path of spirituality one should not stay with the same ego. So as you integrate your personality your vision changes, and you realize that the grudge of your past was the grudge of a foolish servant.
This foolish servant once lived in your house, but he has since left. That servant no longer belongs to you, so his grudges are not your grudges. That servant was your ego. At a certain stage the ego had a grudge. You evolved, now you have better servants; you do not have the same ego anymore
Therefore, you do not go after the grudge of a humiliating ego. That is the way to go beyond the grudges and beyond the many values of the lower self.
Question: How can a parent provide the best possibility for a child’s development?
Answer: The parents must live a happy, spiritual life. If they are happy and healthy, if their thinking is free from tension, if their life is vibrating with great joy, automatically everything will be good for the child. They will know instinctively that will help the child.
From a spiritual point of view, the child is constantly assimilating the mental atmosphere of the parents. Therefore, if the atmosphere is joyous and healthy the child is going to be very healthy and all the best qualities that are latent in the soul will unfold.
YOGA IN PRACTICE
Yoga, which is life’s process towards the universality of existence – or soul’s movement towards God—has four aspects: Jnana Yoga (Yoga of Wisdom), Bhakti Yoga (Yoga of Devotion), Raja Yoga (Yoga of Meditation), and Karma Yoga (Yoga of Action). In practice, an aspirant adopts any one of the four as the basis of his Yogic movement, and combines the essential principles of the other three to render his spiritual movement integral and perfect. Because basically there is an interrelation between reason, feeling (emotion), will, and action, which go reason is integrated, feeling deepens, will becomes powerful, action is more in harmony with one’s evolution. No aspect of personality can truly develop without taking into consideration all the factors that go to compose the personality.Within the range of these four major Yogas,* there are many minor Yogas. Hatha Yoga is a system of psychophysical exercises for promoting ‘sound mind in a sound body.’ Kundalini Yoga deals with the mystic centers located in different points in the spinal column. Though the centers are meditate upon in the spinal column, yet they are located in the astral body. Japa Yoga is the Yoga of repeating Mantra or sacred mystic formulas. Kriya Yoga is the Yoga of physical and mental purification. Tantra Yoga is a combination of Mantra and Yantra. Mantra consists of sacred letters, and Yantra presents mystic diagrams and forms though which the mind is led to attain wisdom.
* See the illustrated Book “APPLIED YOGA” by Swami Jyotir Maya Nanda.
In this brief article, I will present the general features of Yoga which should be clearly understood, in order that Yoga may be brought into day to day life.
THE GOAL IS GOD-REALIZATION
Your physical personality is only on the fringe of your deeper being. Childhood is overpowered by youth, and the latter devoured by old age. Yet, there is a continuity of the Self. Yoga points out that Individual Soul- the deeper Self-does not die with the death of the body, but reincarnates in another body, and operates through another personality in order to attain the final goal of Self-realization. The order of Self-realization is the intrinsic nature of the individual soul. Thus, you are a composite of the surface, fleeting personality, a more abiding individual soul, and the Universal Self that is immortal and infinite.The movement to Self-realization or God-realization, which is the intrinsic urge of life, is accomplished through the integration of reason, will, emotion, and action in day to day life. Reason is rendered into intuition, will subjected to the Divine Will, emotion is integrated into Divine Love, and action is harmonized with the laws of deeper life—thus in the course of Yogic movement, every part of the personality is integrated and elevated.
GOD IS THE INNERMOST SELF
When the self is released from the limitations of the mind, it is no longer individual and limited. It is realized as the Cosmic Self. God is not a person, or any entry existing outside of man, but He is the innermost Reality of all that exists.
GOD AND THE WORLD
The world is a manifestation of the Supreme Self through the relativity of the mind. Every object, in its ultimate analysis, is God, or the Supreme Self. It sis Maya (Cosmic Illusion) which veils God, and instead, shows the multiplicity of names and forms. When the mind is transcended, the world lapses into Brahman (God).
LAW OF KARMA
Since everyone is a phenomenon in the chain of the continuity of the individual soul, every personality depends upon its past basis for its present structure. Every person owes his past for what he is at present, and has within him Light of the Self by which he can surmount the past, and create his own future.The law of Karma is the simple law of action and reaction. Actions are performed through Mind, speech and body, and these lead to the formation of impressions in the unconscious. These impressions serve as seeds giving rise to future developments.Man is the architect of his own destiny. Yoga philosophy rings with the note of self-effort. You are not fettered to any fate. You have within you the fountain source of infinite energy, and the source of infinite possibilities. Once your mind has been convinced of a particular undertaking or a particular course of movement, there is no destiny or fate, or any external force that could impede the movement. But in actual practice, the mind must be led to its essential freedom from its dependence on the past, in varying degrees.
* See the illustrated Book “Death & Reincarnation” by Swami Jyotir Maya Nanda.
Death cannot terminate the movement of life which is intrinsically universal. The impressions of actions stay in the mind which exists even without the body. These impressions lead to the rebirth of the individual soul, and the manifestation of another personality for its future evolution. The understanding that there is an immortal principle within, and that death is only a transit in life’s movement, enables one to live as a master of circumstances. It creates detachment, freedom from infatuation, and breaks the chain of false identifications. The understanding of the principle of reincarnation infuses hope, instills a sense of security in day to day life, and leads to a healthy development of the mind.
Most people consider Mind as a product of the brain, and thereby they accept death as a pathetic end of life Yoga does not uphold the material concept of the mind. Mind can exist even without the brain and the nervous system, because it belongs to a plane much subtler than all physical concepts of energy such as electricity, magnetism, heat and light. The brain and nervous system serve the purpose of manifesting the mental energy in a limited circumstance, just as bulbs manifest the electrical energy in the form of light. Most people consider Mind as a product of the brain, and thereby they accept death as a pathetic end of life Yoga does not uphold the material concept of the mind. Mind can exist even without the brain and the nervous system, because it belongs to a plane much subtler than all physical concepts of energy such as electricity, magnetism, heat and light. The brain and nervous system serve the purpose of manifesting the mental energy in a limited circumstance, just as bulbs manifest the electrical energy in the form of light.
The Mind has the following aspects:
(a) Manas or conscious mind is the basis of sense- perceptions. It receives perception of the objects of the world, and offers them to the purview of the intellect, in order to convert them into concepts and experiences.
(b) Buddhi (reasoning faculty or intellect) is a deeper function of the mind. It is like a lamp that illumines the conscious functions, and organizes them. It is the intellect that decides, reason, analyses, and evaluates
(c) Ahamkara or ego-principle is that function of the deeper mind by which one perceives one’s day to day continuity; and through which one develops various attachments and identifications with the objects of the world.
(d) Chitta or the mind-stuff is the Mind in its undifferentiated and simple form. It is the basis of sublets impressions of actions; therefore, it cause memory, retention of an experience, concentration of mind, creative imagination, and is the basis of all Yogic disciplines.
CONCENTRATION OF MIND
The mind assumes different states: Kshipta or distracted, Mudha or dull, Vikshipta or partially concentrated, Ekagrata or concentrated, and Niruddha or controlled.<
Yoga aims at controlling and overcoming the dull, distracted, and partially concentrated states of the Mind, in order to acquire complete control and mastery over the mental functions.
Practice of concentration demands a thorough orientation in the entire personality of man. The mind must be well studied, and the nature of desires should be understood. One must realize a difference between suppression of a desire, and its sublimation. One must understand the power of thoughts, and how thoughts can be employed to reconstruct the subconscious.
The functions of Buddhi (intellect) and Ahamkara (ego-principle) are beyond the conscious realms of the mind. They belong to the subconscious. Though existing far beyond the consciousness of day to day life, yet the subtle processes of the intellect, ego, and the Chitta continue to influence and affect all conscious acts and though of man.
In practice, one must learn to develop a keen attention. You may gaze at a candle flame, or a flower, or any form, without winking. Gradually you develop the ability to focus your mind. When the mind is habituated to being focused on any object or thought, one enters into Dharana or concentration which is a continuity of the focused state. Concentration leads to Dhyana or meditation wherein a deeper expansion of the mind is revealed. The light of the conscious mind extends beyond its limits and illumines the subconscious and unconscious as well. As Dhyana or meditation grows, you are gradually led to the experience of Samadhi or supreconsciousness. Varying degrees of Samadhi enable one to realize one’s deeper existence untouched by the mind and its movements.
When the mind assumes its simple state of purity, it show the Self in its own glory of universality. It no longer limits the perception of the Cosmic Spirit. This is considered the goal of Yoga – Self-realization.
VIRTUE OF MIND
The Ethical Value Of Life
As the mind ascends the ladder of Yoga, one manifests various sublime virtues through one’s personality in day to day life. On this basis, contrariwise, if one endeavors to manifest virtues in one’s day to day life, one would be promoting a higher movement within oneself.
Ahimsa or non-violence, Satyam or truthfulness, Asteya or non-stealing, Brahmacharya or conservation and sublimation of sex-energy, and Aparigrapha or freedom from greed—these constitute the cardinal virtues in Raja Yoga. These virtues are practiced with a deeper understanding of their being rooted in the mind. Therefore, it is the mind and its attitude which can determine the degrees of virtue in any act, and not the external act in itself. Mere refraining from violence is not non-violence; it is rather the control of the emotion of anger and hatred. Similarly, in order that any virtue be developed, the subconscious mind must be gradually educated, and deeper roots of vices must be removed.
The subconscious sentiments sustain the emotions of anger, fear, and hatred, which are destructive; as well as emotions of love, joy, hope, and courage, which are constructive. But when the feeling aspect of personality is enriched and deepened, the sentiments integrate into the profound sentiment of divine love. Once the mind is overpowered by this sublimating sentiment of Love, it becomes a fountain source of creative thoughts, imaginations, and ideas. Various sentiments are the refractions of the profound urge of the soul to Love the universality of Existence – to Love God. When higher states of integration are reached this Love reveals itself in varying degrees.
* See “Yoga of Sex-sublimation, Truth & Non-violence” by Swami Jyotir Maya Nanda.
Prayer should not be a mere mechanical repetition of formulas or verses, but should be an awakener of this profound divine sentiment of Love. Thus, prayer with feeling enables one to attain success in meditation and Samadhi.
Self-surrender is not an act of emotional outburst, but the flowering of the process of Love, wherein the devotee lets go his hold on his ego and egoistic considerations, in order to enjoy the freedom of the universal life; and through such acts of plunging in the sea of universality, he refreshes his day to day life with the nectar of transcendence.
DEVELOPMENT OF WILL
When the practice of concentration enhances the power of one’s observation of oneself, and when th edevelopment of divine love washes the impurities of the unconscious, various erroneous movements of the mind are checked, vain desires are sublimated, and the restless dissipation of the mind is stopped. Therefore, the strength of mind, or the power of will, grows considerably. You desire without a presentiment of fear that opposes it. You undertake a work without a conflicting movement in your unconscious. Thus, you summon immense power of will towards the success of your endeavour; and you succeed.
As the strength of mind grows, the impediments of wisdom are removed. Therefore, the intuitive function of intellect, released from the pressure of complexes and limitations of selfishness and egoism, arises revealing the deeper and profounder facts of life. This increasing function of illumined intellect becomes the basis of transmuting one’s personality into a divine and saintly personality. It becomes the basis of rendering one’s personality as a channel of all that is true, good and beautiful.
Success in life demands the assimilation of the above-mentioned points in day to day activities.
Yoga should not be considered as a path specially meant for the recluses or the mystics. It is the science of life, and is applicable in every country, in every circumstance – unrestricted by any religion or faith.
QUALIFICATIONS OF AN ASPIRANT
An aspirant on the path* of Yoga should endeavor to develop the following qualities in order to succeed in Yoga – and the following qualities in order to succeed in Yoga – and thereby in any field of life.
(a) Increasing understanding of what is essential – Viveka or discriminative knowledge.
(b) Increasing strength of will to detach oneself from what is erroneous and not essential – Vairagya or dispassion.
* See “YOGA IN LIFE” by Swami Jyotir Maya Nanda
(c) Six for virtues:
(1) Serenity of the mind (Shama).
(2) Control of the senses (Dama).
(3) Discarding of selfishness (Uparati).
(4) Endurance and patience (Titiksha).(5) Faith and firm conviction (Shradha).(6) Tranquility and balance of mind (Samadhana)These constitute six-fold virtues (Shat Sampat).
(d) Intense aspiration for Self-realization (Mumukshuttwa).
You should not complain against your circumstances. In the light of the above-mentioned points, you should adopt Yoga in day to day life. You will be able to watch your mind even while engaged in various involvements. You will not wait for the circumstances to be favorable; you will render them favorable by your Yogic skill. You do not wait for the waves to become still in order to enter into the ocean; even so, you do not wait for favorable conditions to appear in order to partake of the abundance of life’s possibilities.You are already on the path. A clearer understanding of Yoga will enhance your movement, and speed up your ascent to Yogic heights – towards the summits of happiness, peace, and success.
HOW TO PREVENT THE ABNORMALITIES OF THE MIND
In the present day conditions of the world, numerous men and women all over the world develop mental abnormalities. They are led by the whims of the mind to a process of increasing confusion, resulting in loss of identity and lack of integration of personality. The following points are important for understanding this problem.
CAUSES FOR MENTAL DISBALANCE
The mind passes through five general states:
(1) Mudha: Dull,2 Kshipta: Distracted,3 Vikshipta: Partially distraced, 4 Ekagrata: One-pointed, and Niruddha: Controlled.
The first two states are abnormal developments of the mind. The third state belongs to the majority of good people. The fourth and fifth states are cultivated by Yogic aspirants and are suitable for advanced Yoga practices.*
The causes that lead to the first two states of abnormality are summarily as follows:
(1) Vicious Karmas of the past bring about contraction in consciousness and confusion in understanding
(2) Constant movement away from reason and right sense leads to the development of dullness of mind.
* See YOGA GUIDE” by Swami Jyotir Maya Nanda.
(3) Intensification of self-centricity deprives one of the evolutionary movement of life.
(4) When the realities of life are ignored, the mind feeds upon the empty airs of imagination. Faulty function of imagination continues to keep the mind distracted.
(5) Lack of integrity: a person takes recourse to falsehood for smallest reasons.
(6) Perverted actions: He performs actions on the basis of egoistic interest. His actions are tinged with violence, hatred, greed and pride.
These are the symptoms of mental disbalance:
(1) Lack of patience and perseverance.(2) Lack of the quality of adaptability.(3) Negative vision of life.(4) Inability to remove impressions of anger and hatred.(5) Prolonged experiences of melancholy and bitterness.(6) Increasing vanity and pride.(7) Inability to communicate with others.(8) Increasing loss of the awareness of one's mental defects.(9) Justification of mental defects.(10) Need for subconscious majors for attention and sympathy.(11) Involvement in psycho-somatic diseases.(12) Pretending to be miserable.(13) Constant threat to commit suicide.(14) Lapses into loss of identity.(15) Increasing insanity.
The following points are effectives for the prevention of mental abnormalities:
(1) Good Association: Do not think that your problems can be worked out all by yourself. By taking recourse to good association, raise the level of thought and feeling, in order to understand the causes of the vexing conditions of the mind. Attending to spiritual discourses conducted by advanced personalities, being guided by a spiritual Guru, studying elevating literature, and all efforts that lead to mental elevation are different forms of Satsanga.
(2) Self-less Service: You must not live a life of inaction. No matter what may be the condition of your body and mind, you must always have a project of useful activity. If you serve an Ashram, or a spiritual center, for the dissemination of knowledge, you are performing self-less service. You will be led to higher degrees of purification. A life that is inactive, higher degrees of purification. A life that is inactive, or which is involved in vain activities, will not be able to promote mental health. Further, good actions will promote good conditions for the advancement of the body and mind.
See RAJA YOGA (Study of Mind)” by Swami Jyotir Maya Nanda.
(3) Be Cheerful: you should keep your mind sensitive to humor. You should be able to laugh wholeheartedly; but do not lead yourself to hysterical fits. Put on a cheerful countenance. Do not enclose yourself in a dark veil of self-centricity.
(4) Elevate your Sentiments: Do not suppress your sentiments and feelings. Learn to educate and elevate them. In a perspective of moderation, you will be able to develop a relaxed and integrated personality.
(5) PRAYER AND JAPA: Learn the art of devotion, and inner surrender to the Divine Presence within. Repeat Divine Name, or your Mantra, with faith and devotion. You will develop spiritual strength to overcome all mental abnormalities.
(6) Be moderate in all that is important and essential to life. Do not become one-sided. Do not develop a lop-sided personality. Keep before you be ideal of developing an integrated personality.
(7) Learn to confront you day to day realities. Do not escape them through mental acts of imagination and fear. When you come closer to your realities, the world will become lighter in its load.
(8) Be a yogi. Discover the infinite recourses of your soul. You are born to attain Self-realization. Do not lead yourself to the dungeons of the mind. Rather, swim and soar in the vastness of the Self. Discover the redolent gardens of the purified mind.
* See “Mantra, Kirtan, Yantra & Tantra” by Swami Jyotir Maya Nanda.
May you attain mental health to enjoy the infinite resources of your soul, and attain Self-realization.
SUCCESS IN LIFE
These are the four requisites for success in every walk of life: Fixity of purpose (Dhriti), circumspection (Smriti), understanding (Mati), and ability (Dakshyam).
Sage Valmiki describes Lord Hanuman as the possessor of these qualities in the Sundar Kanda of the Ramayana.
Gain an insight into the operations of the law of Karma. Do not be affected by the changing conditions of life. Pursue your spiritual path with patience and endurance.
Do not be shaky in the pursuit of the goal of your life. Develop fixity of purpose. This is called Dhirit. This is an expression of a healthy and strong mind.
Discover the immense power of will within yourself. Do not allow your mind to be weakened by thoughts of diffidence, doubt, and fear. Be steady like a pole star. Smile in the midst of adversities, even as a rose in the midst of thorns. Your are bound to attain the goal of life.
Hold a clear mind to understand a situation deeply and profoundly. ‘Smriti’ literally means memory. It is an important functions of the mind. When the mind is highly integrated, it begins to promote and ability to circumspect a situation diligently. It does not allow a person to lose sight to his inner resources due outer conflicts and confusions.
Hold a clear memory of your experiences on the path of Yoga. Do not allow this memory to be lost during the turmoils of day to day life. Remember, you are born to attain Self-realization.
Continue to promote a deeper understanding of the nature of the self. Take recourse to Satsanga or good association. Study scriptures under the guidance of a Guru. Fill your mind with elevated thoughts. Understand the art of directing the mind towards the Self. Learn the method of practising enquiry into the nature of “Who am I?” clearer the understanding, grater is the effectiveness of your movement.
As you move on the path of Yoga, you will discover your hidden potentialities and abilities. You will realize that by the power of Spirit, you are capable of transforming yourself into a divine personality. You will be endowed with the ability and qualification for attaining Self-realization.
Develop these four qualities in your day to day life. You will acquire success, prosperity, health, long life, and spiritual illumination.
May the Lord bless you !
HOW TO DEVELOP WILL-POWER
There is inexhaustible will-power in every soul. Will-power is the energy of intellect (BuddhiI) which is able to lead every desire to its successful fulfillment. Without will-power, human mind continues to burden itself with dreams, without the possibility of realizing them. Without will-power, imagination remains uncontrolled and unchannelized, and mental energy is dissipated through various negative mentations.
Fear, insecurity, hatred, greed, selfishness, falsehood, pride, conceit, irritability, inertia, mental distraction – all these proceed from lack of will-power. All divine virtues such as humility, compassion, purity, balance of mind, dynamism, self-lessness, detachment, supreme dispassion, knowledge – all these proceed as expressions of increasing will-power.
The self is the source of energy in every level of one’s being At the level of Chitta or mind-stuff, the energy of the self is known as Jnana Shakti – the power of wisdom which has the ability to destroy the veil of ignorance. At the level of intellect, the spiritual energy assumes the role of will-power or Samkalpa Shakti. At the level of the vital body, it assumes the role of Pranas or vital forces. At the lever of physical body, it assumes the form of physical strength. Samakalpa Shakti (will-power) is also known as Iccha Shakti (the power behind desires).
Movement towards Self-realization is the secret of possessing abundant will-power. These following points should be kept in view for developing will-power, and directing one’s steps towards self-realization.
(1) Every morning and evening, let your mind practice positive affirmations:
I am the Universal Self, and not this body and perishable personality.I am beyond birth and death, I am the Immortal Self, undecaying and immutable.I am the architect of my destiny, I am in the possession of infinite energy. Through Divine Will, nothing is impossible for me.
(2) Allow your mind to follow these positive suggestions:
My will is growing day by day. My weaknesses are leaving me. I am growing in divine virtue. I am developing wisdom and spiritual strength.
(3) Develop positive desires (will for spiritual perfection):
May my mind be filled with dynamic and auspicious will. (Tanme Manah Shiva Samkalpamastu) – Vedic utterance.
May I establish complete control over my mind, just as a driver control his horses.May my mind gather auspicious impressions from the world. May it perceive all that is true, good and beautiful. May it construct a golden future for my existence. May it promote the spiritual path for God-realization. May it awaken the nectarine treasure of life in the form of Devotion, Wisdom, and Supreme Dispassion.
(4) Review the characteristics of a Self-realized personality. Reflect upon the spiritual ideals which go to adorn a Sage, and direct your mental will towards the development of those ideals in your own life:
Balance of mind during pleasure and pain, gain and loss.* Freedom from the desires of the world.* A treasure of all divine virtues.* Ever established in the wisdom of the Self.$* Ever established in Cosmic Vision.* Perception of Self in all.* Removal of the source of misery.
And experience of infinite peace, power, bliss, and fulfillment.May these characteristics of a Jivan Mukta (liberated in life) arise in me.
(5) Diligently change the very subconscious structure of your mind through Yoga-Sadhana – practice of the eight limbs of Yoga.
(6) Acquire the art of meditation on the Self. Intensify the practice of concentration, meditation and Samadhi.
(7) Be moderate in everything. Do not disbalance your life.
(8) Intensify Abhyasa (spiritual effort), and dispassion (Vairagya) gradually.
(9) Learn the art of Karma Yoga – the Yoga of dynamic and selfless activity. Purify your mind through service of mankind. Do not hold an ideal of action-less state of perfection. Do not think that Self-realization is termination of activity. It is the source of all dynamic activities.
(10) Do not allow the negative thoughts to linger in your mind, and to corrode your subconscious. Learn the art of Prati Paksha Bhavana (adapting the mind to a positive attitude – love in the place of anger, forgiveness in the place of resentment, humility in the place of pride…) Develop Sakshi Bhava (being a detached witness to your mind).
(11) Practice Brahmabhyasa (constant affirmation – “I am Brahman.”)
(12) Discover the placid stream of Cosmic Love by integrating your sentiments through devotion to God, and surrender to the Divine Will. Love the Divine Being in all.
(13) Discover the placid stream of Cosmic Love by integrating your sentiments through devotion to God, and surrender to the Divine Will. Love the Divine Being in all.
(14) Silence the mind. Dissolve its desires. Withdraw the thoughts. Transcend the ego-center. Realize I am Brahman.” Exist to disseminate the knowledge of Brahman, and dispel the darkness of ignorance from every heart.
Be moderate in everything that you do. Bring rhythm in your day to day life. Do not go to extremes.
Adapt and adjust to people and circumstances.
Do not live in constant conflict. Harmonize with your day to day life.
Do not regret the actions of the past. Do not expect a future ideal. Live in the present.
Do not complain. Do not find fault with the external world.
Live deeply and profoundly.
Seek mental integration and not any outward gain through your actions.
Value spiritual unfoldment more than material prosperity.
Develop skill in action. Convert your day to day activity into a process of spiritual unfoldement and personality integration.
Channelize your energy, and unfold the latent* powers of your personality.
Do not be impatient. Wait and watch.
With a patient effort, endeavor to change your inner nature – the very structure of the subconscious and unconscious mind.
Reach out to her higher in you, and allow the higher to control the lower aspects of your personality.
Let the mind control the senses. Let pure reason control the mind. Let intellect be controlled by the serene vision of the universal Self.
Adapt the vision of sacrifice in life, wherein there is a constant process of pouring the grosser energy into the fire of spiritual wisdom, for converting it into the aroma of spiritual virtues.
Learn to see the self or God in all. Feel that you are working for the Divine Self in all.
* See “Yoga Exercises for Health & Happiness” by Swami Jyotir Maya Nanda.
HOW TO FACE ADVERSITY
(1) Every adverse condition – whether in the body the mind, or due to objective circumstances – is due to the fructification of a previous erroneous Karma, Pain is the result of error.
(2) While encountering a painful development, one must clearly understand the futility of grief, worry, dejection, and mental agitation. What is needed is to intensify one’s effort towards the eradication of evil or error in life by the practice of meditation, enquiry, and various disciplines of Yoga.
(3) If the mind were to develop the same negative process of thinking before ding an evil act as it done when the action is already done and its fructification is in the process, there would be no possibility for the performance of the evil deed.
(4) When one is inclined to an erroneous act, the mind is clouded by Rajas, and therefore, the function of intellect is defective. When the action is done, and its reactions has commenced, the intellect assumes a healthier condition, and begins to perceive the error in the action. But due to increasing Tamas or intertie, the mental energy is not directed towards the eradication of the source of error, but towards grieving, repenting, fearing and various sentimental reactions.
(5) One should diligently increase Sattwa in the mind. When the intellect is healthy, the moment an inclination to evil arises, it will detach this process, and will comprehend the implication of such an action. Thus, evil is nipped in its very bud.
(6) Further, one must develop a deeper understanding of life. Every development has a purpose for the spiritual movement in life. It is an error to interpret a condition as painful or miserable. Though apparently bitter, if properly encountered in may bear sweet fruits of insight, experience, and happiness.
(7) Instead of worrying, one should direct one’s mental energy towards the eradication of the root of evil. Ignorance is the source of all evil thoughts and actions. Egoism arises due to Ignorance. One should seek that ego-less expansion of consciousness wherein the Chitta is rendered still, like a lake without waves, and the vision of universal Self shines in its own glory.
(8) Instead of dwelling over the immensity of the evil in life, and the impossible task of attempting to overcome it, one must continue to unravel the vision of the Self; and what today seems like impossible, will become insignificant later on. The mountains of errors which have grown in one’s personality, will be easily rooted out by the power of spiritual faith and intuitive insight.
(9) Realize and understand the infinite energy of the spirit. The Self is the basis of all that exists. Therefore, there is nothing that the human should cannot accomplish, being the reflection of that Supreme Self.
LIVE TO ATTAIN SELF-REALIZATION
* Practice meditation in the early hours of the morning, every day.
Accustom your mind to the music of inner silence. and let this melody become the underlying theme of all that you do during the day.
Convince your mind with persistent effort that the objects of the world do not hold happiness in them. True happiness, the spiritual bliss, proceeds from the Self.
Let the objects of the world become the reminder, and the awakener of the perception of the Glory of Self that reveals itself during deep meditation.
Keep your mind detached from the objects of the world.
See all events and occurrances as ripples in the lake of life. Feel a Divine Harmony behind all happenings whether pleasant or painful.
Control your thoughts and feelings. The thought forms of the mind become the circumstances in life in due course. Maintain elevating thoughts.
Even when provoked to jealousy and anger, do not allow the process of contraction to invade your mind. Seek the perception of the supramental joy deep within yourself. Be generous, forgiving, patient and enduring towards the different personalities that you may encounter in your day to day life.
* See Concentration & Meditation by Swami Jyotir Maya Nanda.
Radiate joy and cheerfulness. Control sorrow and sadness. There is no room for grief. Perceive a divine meaning underlying the happenings of the world.
Develop unflinching devotion to the Divine Self. Let the innermost Divinity become the source of all your joys and loving sentiments. It is that Divine Self who shines through the objects and the persons of the world.
Awaken yourself from dullness. Continue to channelize your mental energy towards actions that are auspicious. Serve the Divine Self through self-less actions.
Cultivate divine virtues. Continue to perfect yourself day by day.
* Live to attain Self-realization. The ideals and the standard of a spiritually illumined sage must be emulated in your day to day life.
May the Lord bless you.
* See YOGA OF PERFECTION by Swami Jyotir Maya Nanda.
ALL PLEASURES ARE MODIFICATIONS OF PAIN
Every being craves for happiness; but when the search for happiness becomes limited to the plane of body, senses, and mind, it is termed pleasure, which is a modification of pain for the following reasons:
Every pleasure has a beginning and an end. And whatever has a beginning and an end is unreal even while it has apparent existence.
Like the blueness of the sky, or the perception of a circle in a firebrand, or like continuity in a Cinema show, or like a mirage in the desert – all human pleasures are sustained by illusions.
According to Raja Yoga, “All pleasures are painful because of Parinama (result or consequence), Tapa (feverish effort), Samskara (impressions), Duhkha (misery), and Gunavriti Virodha (the conflicting modes of Prakriti or nature).
The perception of pleasure in an objects is sustained by Raga Klesha – the affliction of attachment operating in the unconscious. The perception of pleasure is a result of an affliction which is the basis of pain and misery.
As long as Raga (attachment) continues to operate, a particular objects seems to hold great delight for a person. Because, the impressions of attachment emerging from the unconscious manifest as subtle desires assumes the form of thought-waves (Vrittis) which develop into a desire. When a desire is sustained and fed with ignorance, it turns into craving. Causi9ng mounting tension in the mind and the nervous system.
When the nervous system and the functions of vitality are involved, one hankers for an external pleasure. When such pleasure is experienced, one develops a deluded understanding that it is the object which has created such a joy. While in reality it is the gradual release of tensions which enabled the mind to perceive happiness from the innermost Self.
Happiness is not in the objects, but due to Raga Klesha it is superimposed upon the objects.
A person suffering from a headache finds pleasure in applying a soothing balm on his head; but he must not continue with balms. He should seek the termination of his headache. Much in the same way, people suffer from an unconscious and subconscious limitation; but instead of curing the inner limitation, they continue to run after external objects which provide a soothing influence in the lesser levels of one’s being. If one were to lean upon the external pleasures alone, even the greatest of the pleasures of the world will be unable to make one happy. Life will become shallow and full of vanity. Constant dependence on pleasure weakens the mind, and increases Trishna or craving.
Pleasures become fuels for the fire of craving.
Further, the perception of pleasure in an objects soon causes the perception of a growing environment of painful conditions which one must confront, and overcome. Just as a flame burning in a dark night causes the development of a circle with increasing circumference, as the light grows brighter and brighter, in the same way, the increasing light of pleasure arouses an increasing circle of fear, and painful conditions.
The mental effort the combat against these apparent obstacles results in the development of fear, hearted, anger, violence, grief, and misery.
The perception of a feverish effort is caused by the presence of Dwesha Klesha operating from the unconscious. Dwesha Klesha consists of impressions based upon the perception of pain in the objects of the world. The objects are not responsible for pleasure and pain. Pleasure arises from the Self alone, and pain is an absence of pleasure caused by obstructions and limitations.
People consider happiness as a mathematical unit which can be multiplied by possessions, wealth, fame, and public recognition. But, it is not so. The object which has given you happiness on a certain day, may become incapable of making you happy, if you possess an abundance of it. Then, you must continue to involve your mind in maintaining, protecting, securing the objects of your desire, without any reward of a pleasant perception.
The impressions of Raga and Dwesha (attachment and hatred) cause the formation of Karamashaya (receptacle of action) in the Chitta (mind-stuff). It is the Karmashaya which becomes the basis for the operation of Karmas in this birth, and for the repeated reincarnations.
The continuity of an individualized existence is painful. The impressions of Raga and Dwesha are essentially painful. All human joys based upon these internal maladies are modifications of pain alone.
But, when the joys arising from spiritual discipline, study of scriptures, and meditation, begin to counteract the impressions of these maladies, one is on the path leading to infinite bliss of the Self.
The continuous experience of misery seems to be punctuated by momentary pleasures.
Even the Gunas (modes) of Prakriti cause conflicting perceptions. An objects perceived during the Satwic mood of the mind seems to be a source of joy, but when Rajas predominates the mind, the same objects becomes a source of pain; and during the predominance of Tamas. It becomes a source of infatuation and gross identification.
Thus different impressions are formed towards the same object. Impressions of love and hatred are created towards the same person.
Thus, with the increasing purity of the Chitta, a wise man understands the underlying vanity in the pleasures of the objects. The pleasures of the world do not elate him mind, rather reveal their unmasked aspects of pain and misery.
To the vast majority of people, the objects continue to be a source of great joy. Because they are insensitive to the deeper reality.
The dust particles that fall on different parts of the body are hardly perceived; but when they fall in the tender eyes, one perceives them immediately. In the same way, with the wisdom eye, one perceives misery in the pleasures of the world, and aspires to attain liberation from pain in the state of Self-realization.
The perception of misery in the objects of the world should not be based upon mental frustration and a disbalanced personality. Then such a perception is a modification of Dwesha Klesha alone, it is a modification of ‘hatred,’ and not a healthy manifestation of wisdom.
On the other hand, with the perception of pain in all conditioned and objective pleasures of the world, one develops increasing cheerfulness and mental balance in all conditions of life.
One does not expect to be happy at a futures date, but begins to experience increasing happiness arising out of a gradual disinvolvement from the objects of the world.
And such happiness is like the rising sun before the fading glow-worms of earthly pleasures.
In the state of self-realization, one attains the termination of all miseries, and experiences the infinite bliss.
IN THE VAST BLUE SKY
The mountain summit stood so high In the vast the blue sky!! The clouds came to adore the mountain With an attire that shone with a silvery glow. The scintillating rays of the sun Brought a garland of multi-colored rainbow. But the mountain summit stood so high Undisturbed in the vast blue sky!! Hurricane winds buffeted the trees That abounded in the mountain valleys. The spirit of night spread her shadows Across the world from her windows. Yet the mountain summit stood so high Un-tainted in the vast blue sky!! Bathed in eternal light. Behold the glorious sight. The Self stands ever so high In the vast blue sky!!