Vairagya and Mumukshutva – dispassion and intense yearning for liberation

Mumukshutva is the intense yearning for liberation transcending the wheel of births and deaths of conditional impermanent and selfless worldly life existence of inevitable physical/mental/emotional restlessness and suffering powered by ignorance and egoism.

It’s the objective or goal of all forms of yoga practice and meditation. Many years of performing yoga practice and meditation without Vairagya and Mumukshutva, but enjoying and indulging in the momentary goodness of yoga and meditation practice and the pleasant fruit of ‘good karma’ deriving from ‘good actions’, is like gathering and keeping accumulated pure and clean food in a ‘bottomless’ and contaminated container.

Vairagya (dispassion) and Mumukshutva are the two sides of a coin. They co-exist together as one. It’s the ‘under current’ that pulls/leads the mind towards liberation.

Ignorance and egoism and worldly passionate desire/love/attachment/clinging is the ‘under current’ that generates/powers the whirlpool of Samsara, where the mind attaching onto/’loving and enjoying’ the wheel of births and deaths of countless worldly transitions of names and forms that is subject to impermanence and selflessness, where the mind gets lost in the boundless desires of craving and aversion, seeking love, pleasure, goodness, righteousness, kindness, comfort, satisfaction, meaningfulness, sense of purpose, conditional freedom and limited good condition in the modification of the mind perception of an impermanent and selfless worldly life existence of names and forms, of worldly physical/mental/emotional/sensual activities/interactions/enjoyments/relationships/community support while unwittingly ‘indulging in’ the momentary physical/mental/emotional/sensual satisfaction and pleasure deriving from the gratification of the passionate desires, ignorantly mistaking egoistic passionate love/attachment/sympathy/empathy/clinging/charity/sacrifice as compassion.

Worldly people, including many yoga practitioners and yoga teachers who think they love yoga very much that they find yoga is something very meaningful and see themselves practicing yoga and teaching yoga to other people as the meaning/purpose of their life existence, would mistake Vairagya and Mumukshutva as a form of ‘negative thinking/behavior’, or ‘depression’, or ‘madness’. That shows how great is the power of ignorance.

“Neither charity, nor sacrifice, nor fame, nor fasting, nor begetting a good son, nor control of breath, nor victory over the enemy, nor the society of friends, nor Siddhis like Anima can stand in comparison with realisation of the Self.

You may cross the sea by walking or float in the air or support on hands the great mountain Maha Meru or drink poison like milk or eat fire like fried grains or fly in the sky or stand on fire or break iron or get wealth by the power of magic ointment. Yet can all these give you liberation?

You can become a king or Indra or a Sannyasin. You can stun others by Mantra-sakti or aim accurately or know the past, present and the future.

You can reduce anger by destroying lust or eradicating greed. Yet can all these help you in the attainment of liberation?

You might have conquered pride, delusion and envy. You might have dwelt in Brahma-loka or Vaikuntha-loka or Kailasa. Yet can all these stand in comparison with liberation? He is fit for liberation who regards all these as nothing.

You took bath in the Ganga, you did all the sixteen kinds of charity. You did crores of Japa. What is the use of all these things if you do not attain Self-realisation?

Can you acquire eternal bliss and supreme peace from the attainment of vast erudition or from possession of immense wealth or from the enjoyment of beautiful young ladies? No. The supreme undying bliss can be obtained only by realisation of the Self.

Who is wife? Who is son? Who are you? Wherefrom did you come? How wonderful is this Samsara? How are you related to one another? Think deeply on these matters.

Who are you? Who am I? Wherefrom have we come? Who is mother? Who is father? Think deeply on all these. Leave off this world which is a dream and seek the eternal.

Vairagya is the rein by which the uncontrollable mind is restrained. Ripe Vairagya is intense attachment to Atman bliss and strong dispassion for anything other than Atman.

If one considers even the position and happiness of Brahma as the dung of a cow, then only he has developed a real lasting Vairagya. Temporary fleeting dispassion is not Vairagya. It will not help the aspirant in the attainment of Self-realisation.

It is common to have dispassion for some particular objects by some cause or other. But by having dispassion for all objects at all times, one will get knowledge of the Self. You may get Atma-Jnana soon by the grace of the Guru, by devotion to him, and by practice of what he instructs.”

– Swami Sivananda

Practitioner / Adhikari vs follower / disciple / worshiper / admirer / supporter

Those who truly want to practice yoga to free the mind from ignorance to know thyself, they need to know how to free the mind from the egoistic tendency of unwittingly becoming a passionate follower/disciple/worshiper/admirer/supporter.

Be a dispassionate ‘practitioner’ or ‘Adhikari‘ of the teachings of yoga, inquiring the truth of everything, including whatever the teachers/gurus/scriptures teach, attaining self-realization via self-effort and self-inquiry, and not to be a passionate ‘follower’, ‘disciple’, ‘worshiper’, ‘admirer’, or ‘supporter’ towards the teacher/guru/yogi/saint/sage, or the scriptures/teachings of yoga, or the stories of many great minds/teachers/gurus/yogis/saints/sages.

By following, or becoming a disciple of, or worshiping, or admiring, or supporting the teacher/guru/yogi/saint/sage, or the scriptures/teachings of yoga, or the stories of many great minds/teachers/gurus/yogis/saints/sages, and awaiting/requesting/expecting ‘answers’, or ‘blessings’, or ‘miracles’, or ‘transcendental experiences’ from the teacher/guru/yogi/saint/sage or from ‘God’, doesn’t free the mind from ignorance and the by-products of ignorance. There’s attachment that gives rise to the sense of separateness/duality between ‘I’ and ‘the teacher’, or ‘the guru’, or ‘the teachings’, or ‘the practice’, or ‘the experience’, or ‘the fruit of practice’.

Practically practicing the teachings of yoga in NOW, this very existence of the mind functioning perceiving a life existence of names and forms of cause and effect/impermanence/selflessness, of disciplining the mind, quieting the mind, purifying the mind, freeing the mind from egoistic worldly/spiritual attachment, identification, desires of craving and aversion, judgment, comparison and expectation, refraining the mind from going out through the sense organs chasing after the objects of the senses, renouncing worldly egoistic passions/desires/objects/activities/social interactions and connections, silencing the modification of the mind, and upon the annihilation of the veil of ignorance, egoism, impurities and restlessness completely, and knowing thyself – Selflessness/egolessness/’I’lessness, or YOGA of oneness, non-separateness, namelessness, formlessness, attributelessness, birthlessness, deathlessness, beginninglessness, endlessness, there’s no separateness of ‘practitioner/action of practice/fruit of the practice’ or between ‘I’ and what is not ‘I’ or ‘the perceiver and the perceived’ to be found in the selfless, nameless, formless, attributeless, birthless, deathless, beginningless, endless universal consciousness (Atman).

This is nothing to do with the worldly attachment/passionate love and ‘heroic’ ambition/aspiration of the egoistic thinking minds desire to be ‘saving the world’ by making/changing/influencing the world to be ‘a better place than what it is’, but just do one’s best focusing on freeing one’s mind from ignorance to attain self-realization, is the greatest and most efficient way to contribute to ‘a world free from ignorance and the by-products of ignorance’, selflessly, desirelessly and intentionlessly, being free from disturbs, disappointment, dissatisfaction, hurts, offensiveness, anger, hatred, aggressiveness or violence to fight against what the mind dislikes and disagrees with, that the mind thinks and believes as ‘bad’, ‘wrong’, ‘hurtful’, ‘negative’, ‘unjust’, ‘disappointing’ or ‘meaningless’.

Real teacher or guru doesn’t attract/recruit/accumulate ‘followers’, ‘disciples’, ‘worshipers’, ‘admirers’, or ‘supporters’. They are just being what they are, just like the sun, the air, the water, the earth and the space. They don’t even have any intention/aspiration/desire to be ‘teaching’/’sharing’/’helping’/’uplifting’ anyone, not to say to be ‘saving the world’ to make/change/influence the world to be ‘a place different from what it is’.

“He is extremely humble. He appears to be quite an ordinary man. He never advertises that he is a Sat-Guru or a knower of Brahman. He never says, “I am an illumined sage. I am an Avatara. I will give Mukti for many persons. I possess many Siddhis.” He is perfectly desireless. He has no craving for money or name and fame. He has no desire to establish cult or Ashram. He simply works for solidarity of the world and elevates people. He says, “I have neither followers nor disciples, neither possession nor Mutts of my own.” He has no attachment to any person or any object. He never tries to establish cult or Ashram. He is absolutely free from ‘I-ness’ or ‘mine-ness’. He never allows those around him to tell people that he got Siddhis, that he is a great Mahatma. He does not like to come in the lime-light of publicity. He always hides himself. If he becomes famous in a place, he leaves the place at once. If a man says, “I am a Mahatma, I am a realised soul, I am a Sat-Guru,” if his disciples advertise that their teacher is a Sat-Guru with many Siddhis, that he has exhibited many Siddhis, know that this man is an empty vessel that makes much noise. The Sruti emphatically declares “He who says ‘I know Brahman‘ does not know Brahman, he who says ‘I do not know Brahman‘ knows Brahman.” This world abounds with psuedo-Gurus. Beware of such persons. They exploit the innocent and credulous and throw them in the dark abyss. They will mislead people. It is like a blind man leading the blind. Siddhis keep a man far from God and God-realisation. Do not be carried away by the Siddhis of a man.” – Swami Sivananda

 

Jnana is the greatest purifier. There is no salvation without knowledge. Knowledge of Atman destroys ignorance, pain, sorrow and stops the wheel of births and deaths.

Attain this knowledge through Satsanga, service of the Guru, study of Vedantic books, hearing of Srutis, reflection and constant meditation.

Sorrow is for one who has the notion of self in the body, not for the sage who identifies himself with the all-blissful Atman.” – Swami Sivananda

 

“Neither charity, nor sacrifice, nor fame, nor fasting, nor begetting a good son, nor control of breath, nor victory over the enemy, nor the society of friends, nor Siddhis like Anima can stand in comparison with realisation of the Self.

You may cross the sea by walking or float in the air or support on hands the great mountain Maha Meru or drink poison like milk or eat fire like fried grains or fly in the sky or stand on fire or break iron or get wealth by the power of magic ointment. Yet can all these give you liberation?

You can become a king or Indra or a Sannyasin. You can stun others by Mantra-sakti or aim accurately or know the past, present and the future.

You can reduce anger by destroying lust or eradicating greed. Yet can all these help you in the attainment of liberation?

You might have conquered pride, delusion and envy. You might have dwelt in Brahma-loka or Vaikuntha-loka or Kailasa. Yet can all these stand in comparison with liberation? He is fit for liberation who regards all these as nothing.

You took bath in the Ganga, you did all the sixteen kinds of charity. You did crores of Japa. What is the use of all these things if you do not attain Self-realisation?

Can you acquire eternal bliss and supreme peace from the attainment of vast erudition or from possession of immense wealth or from the enjoyment of beautiful young ladies? No. The supreme undying bliss can be obtained only by realisation of the Self.

Who is wife? Who is son? Who are you? Wherefrom did you come? How wonderful is this Samsara? How are you related to one another? Think deeply on these matters.

Who are you? Who am I? Wherefrom have we come? Who is mother? Who is father? Think deeply on all these. Leave off this world which is a dream and seek the eternal.

Vairagya is the rein by which the uncontrollable mind is restrained. Ripe Vairagya is intense attachment to Atman bliss and strong dispassion for anything other than Atman.

If one considers even the position and happiness of Brahma as the dung of a cow, then only he has developed a real lasting Vairagya. Temporary fleeting dispassion is not Vairagya. It will not help the aspirant in the attainment of Self-realisation.

It is common to have dispassion for some particular objects by some cause or other. But by having dispassion for all objects at all times, one will get knowledge of the Self. You may get Atma-Jnana soon by the grace of the Guru, by devotion to him, and by practice of what he instructs.” – Swami Sivananda

 

“Life is short and fleeting like that drop of water on the lotus leaf. This mundane life is filled with egoism, delusion and diseases. When will you be free from all these? The deer falls a prey to the sense of sound; the elephant to that of touch; the moth to that of form; the fish to that of taste; and the bee to that of smell. But man falls a prey to all these five senses. Therefore how difficult it is for man to free itself from the clutches of these five senses and obtain liberation? When wells and ponds are full in rainy season, the water is muddy and not fit for drinking. In summer the water gets decreased and is sweet. So also when the mind is filled with Vasanas, it is clouded with Tamoguna. When it is free from sensual desires by the practice of dispassion it is filled with pure Sattva.” – Swami Sivananda

Admirable leader?

It’s common for most minds being unwittingly attracted to and generate admiration towards others with certain qualities of names and forms that one desires, likes and agrees with, that inspires oneself in certain ways, that appears to be admirable and inspirational for oneself. Most minds also want to equip oneself with certain qualities of names and forms to be able to inspire others, that would attract admiration from others.

For the minds that are free from ignorance and egoism, there’s neither admiration towards any qualities of names and forms that appear to be higher quality, superior, admirable or attractive, nor there’s longing to be attracting admiration from others by possessing certain qualities of names and forms that appear to be higher quality, superior, admirable or attractive. Though without any intention, or expectation, or longing to make oneself being admirable or inspirational to attract any admiration from others, or to inspire anyone, one allows others to perceive and react towards oneself the way that they perceive and react.

Many people would think and believe and promote that if someone wants to be doing something in this world to make the world ‘a better place’, one should do one’s best to be a highly admirable/inspirational person who can inspire and be admired by as many people as possible, in order to become ‘an admirable leader’ to be propagating one’s vision to ‘attract’/’recruit’/’leading’ many people to also ‘follow’/’adopt’/’practice’/’perform action according to’ one’s vision to make the world ‘a better place’. As most people would be ‘blindly’ listening to and following those whom they admired or attracted to very much, regardless of whether it’s something true, or not true.

In the path of yoga and Buddhism, it’s not like that at all. In any circumstances, none should be encouraged to ‘admire’ anyone, to ‘follow’/’adopt’/’practice’/’perform action according to’ any teachings or visions from anyone who portrays certain qualities of names and forms that the mind desires, likes, and agrees with, that the mind admires or falls in love with, but everyone must investigate and inquire the truth of everything, including all the teachings of yoga and Buddhism, to attain self-realization, to free the mind from ignorance and the by-products of ignorance.

If the minds are free from ignorance and the by-products of ignorance through self-inquiry and self-realization by disciplining/purifying/silencing one’s mind, then there’s no need of anybody to be setting an intention/aspiration to be ‘an admirable leader’ to be attracting/recruiting/leading many others to ‘follow’/’adopt’/’practice’/’perform action according to’ a particular vision of making the world to be in a particular way that one desires, that one thinks and believes is ‘the way to a better world’, but without the need to be following any leaders, everyone who is free from ignorance will naturally stop generating unnecessary ‘problems’ or ‘unrest’ into the world, to be performing action, to live life, act and react selflessly in this world out of wisdom and compassion, without any intention, or aspiration, or desire, or ambition to make the world to be in any particular way, but allowing the world to be what it is, while accommodating and respecting everyone being what they are, having their own different ways of life/thinking/belief/practice/action/reaction.

It’s never about training or being ‘a leader with admirable charisma/quality’ that would be ‘attracting’/’recruiting’/’leading’ many other people to be ‘following’/’adopting’/’practicing’/’performing action according to’ certain egoistic thinking and beliefs or visions about ‘how the world should be like’ and leading other people to be making the world to be ‘the way that the mind thinks and believes how it should be’, where there are many different egoistic thinking and beliefs or visions existing in the world that desire ‘a world’ that are very different from one another, where all kinds of corruptions, conflicts, clashes, discrimination, hatred, oppression, intrusion, violence and unrest exist due to different leaders desire/aspire to make the world to be the way that they think and believe how it should be, to be ‘a world’ that they desire.

“Even if all the leaders are taken out of the world now, the world will run on smoothly, probably more smoothly. Even if all the people retire into the forest, the world will go on.” – Swami Sivananda

“Do not hoard disciples. Do not build ashrams.” – Swami Sivananda

Siddhartha Gautama Buddha was never a ‘leader’ ‘leading’ a group of ‘followers’ who ‘followed’ his path, teachings, or disciplines. He taught, “Inquire the truth of everything. Discipline one’s mind. Purify one’s mind. Silent one’s mind. Liberate one’s mind from attachment. When there’s attachment towards ‘this worldly life existence’, one is not a ‘practitioner’. Do not blind-believing, blind-following, blind-preaching, blind-practicing, blind-agreeing/disagreeing.”

Without ‘leader’, what is ‘follower’ or ‘disciple’, and vice versa?

A better meaningful way of life?

For many people, spending most of the time being with other people (family, friends, community and other communities), focusing on bonding, socializing, interacting, connecting, sharing, knowing, eating, drinking, talking, listening, looking, laughing, playing, empowering, encouraging, aspiring, inspiring, remembering, projecting, anticipating, expecting, creating, planning, plotting, suggesting, contributing, commenting, complimenting, criticizing, gossiping, complaining, entertaining, enjoying, doing social/community activities together, upgrading their quality of life/standard of living, fulfilling passionate desires and achieving personal worldly ambitions and spiritual or religious goals, getting involve with achieving a world that complies to a particular vision, to attain the sense of in control, satisfaction, goodness and meaningfulness, is living life. For them, “This is a better meaningful way of life.”

For some people, being by oneself most of the time, as much as possible, focusing on one’s action, practice, duty and responsibility, talk less or talk nothing, without commenting on worldly affairs, or gossiping about other people’s affairs, or criticizing/interfering with other people’s different ways of life, thinking, belief, action and reaction, minding one’s life and one’s mind, being at peace unconditionally, respecting everyone being what they are, as they are, neither admiring/praising certain qualities that appear to be superior than others nor condemning/criticizing certain qualities that appear to be inferior than others, and stop contributing impurities, unhappiness, unrest, anger, hatred, jealousy, dissatisfaction, disappointment, grudges, conflicts, discrimination, violence, disharmony and disturbance into the surrounding environment or the world, is living life. As for them, having peace in one’s mind free from desire/hostility/animosity/fear/intimidation/offensiveness/defensiveness is the highest form of contribution to the society or the world peace. It’s nothing to do with “This is a better meaningful way of life.” or “Other ways of life is less good and meaningless.”

There’s nothing selfish about that at all, though for many people, the part of ‘not mingling/mixing with the society without getting involve in any form of social activities’ might appear to be ‘selfish’ or ‘rude’ or ‘unhealthy’ or ‘non-progressive’ for those who believe in a better world is about ‘all human beings should be getting involve with the social activities’, ‘community contribution’ and ‘worldly activism’, where they need as many other people as possible to get involve in their social activities to be supporting, cooperating or working with them to create a ‘better’ world that they think how it should be.

Whether wittingly or unwittingly, there will be some people would want to interfere with others who are different from them, whom they dislike and disagree with, and they would try to influence/control/covert/discipline/condemn/punish other people who don’t support or follow their vision for creating a world that they desire, that complies to their liking, values, vision, thinking and belief.

Yoga and meditation practitioners is about having unconditional peace in oneself as contributing peace into the world by focusing on looking after, purifying and quieting one’s mind, and it’s never about trying to influence/control/convert/discipline/condemn/punish others to also be like oneself to make a ‘better’ world that complies to one’s liking, values, vision, thinking or belief, especially those who have realized Impermanence and Selflessness.

The world doesn’t belong to anyone. Many people would think and believe that the world belongs to everyone, and hence, it’s everyone’s duty and responsibility to ‘cooperate together’ to make the world ‘a better place’, but how true is that? The standard and meaning of ‘a better place’ is according to whom and what? Different people desire a world with their own particular way of life according to their own liking, values, vision, thinking and belief. If everyone insist on making the world to be the way that they desire, that they think how it should be, what will happen in the world? People are getting frustrated and fighting against one another, to over-powered one another, in order to create a world that they desire. Even so, it’s everyone’s freedom for their thinking, belief, desire, action and the consequences of their action.

Swami Sivananda taught, “Even if all the leaders are taken out of the world now, the world will run on smoothly, probably more smoothly. Even if all the people retire into the forest, the world will go on.”

The world is so quiet and peaceful when everyone have gone to sleep and there’s nobody performing any actions in the world with the great aspiration to make the world to be in any particular way that different people desire and think how it should be.

In yoga, it’s not about the sense of duty and responsibility towards the world, but out of compassion, love the world as it is, not necessarily the way that ‘I’ desire it to be. One doesn’t claim possession/ownership towards the world being ambitious to make the world to be the way that ‘I’ desire it to be and the way that ‘I’ think how it should be. One just do one’s best to look after one’s mind, to stop contributing impurities and unrest into the world, and respecting the law of nature – Impermanence and Selflessness.

Be free.

Selflessness?

Just like ‘Self-inquiry’ and ‘Impermanence’, ‘Selflessness’ is one of the common words we come across in the teachings of yoga and Buddhism.

The ‘I’, where there’s a continuous stream of thinking/thought in the mind acknowledges as ‘I’ am an individual being with a physical body and thinking mind experiencing life, doesn’t exist. Out of ignorance, there arise the idea of ‘I’ exist as part of the modification of the mind acknowledging as an individual being, attaching onto/possessing such and such qualities of names and forms to be identified/recognized as this is what/who ‘I’ am, claiming ownership towards the physical body and the thinking mind (this is my body and my mind) and all kinds of connection with everyone and everything that the mind comes in contact with (my family and my belongings and etc), and at the same time also identifying with the physical body and the thinking mind as ‘I’ (This physical body and this thinking mind is ‘I’).

‘Selflessness’ is not something to be attained by accumulating certain amount of ‘merits and virtues’ or ‘good karma’ after performing many ‘good/righteous actions’ or ‘karma yoga/selfless service’, but it’s the ‘realization’ upon the mind seeing the truth of what is this ‘I’ where there’s a thinking in the mind thinks and believes as ‘I’. As long as there’s an idea, acknowledgement and identification of “I am a selfless being performing good actions or karma yoga/selfless service” the mind is still functioning under the influence of egoism.

The mind needs to be free from egoism, impurities and restlessness to realize ‘Selflessness’, where there’s no ‘I’ existing to enjoy or suffer, to be born or die, to know or don’t know, to desire or don’t desire, to be the performer of action and the receiver/enjoyer of the fruit of action, to be ignorant or be free from ignorance. It’s just the modification of the thinking mind perceiving all the names and forms through the senses via the sense organs of the physical body. It’s just the mind functioning and perceives, sees, hears, smells, tastes, feels, senses and thinks. There’s no ‘I’ existing to claim possession/ownership/control of the selfless modification of the mind or the ceaseless impermanent changes of the modification of the mind perceiving all the names and forms that are also impermanent and selfless. It’s coming from the mind being aware of the modification of the mind, while purifying and quieting itself to be free from restlessness, impurities and egoism, to be free from ignorance. It’s not something else ‘separated’ from the mind called ‘I’ being there to be aware of ‘my mind’ or to purify and quiet ‘my mind’, to free ‘my mind’ from restlessness, impurities, egoism and ignorance.

“I am not the mind. The mind is not ‘I’.” is not about ‘I’ am an existing being/soul separated/distinct from the mind. The mind is just being what it is, functioning as it is selflessly, where there’s no ‘I’ in the function of the mind which is supported/influenced by energy to be existing and functioning. Just like there’s no ‘I’ in all the cells/bones/muscles/organs/systems that forming the entire structure of the physical body which depend on nature to provide support that allows the physical body to be existing and functioning. The body and mind constantly functioning or performing actions selflessly, and there are also the consequences of actions following the actions (cause and effect). But, somehow, out of ignorance, there’s an idea of ‘I’ existing in the form of thinking claiming a personal identity and possession/ownership towards this and that, to desire and don’t desire, to agree and disagree, to enjoy or suffer, to aspire and expect, and so on. There’s an idea/identification of “I am the performer of my actions and I am the enjoyer of the fruit of my actions.”

It’s difficult/challenging for the egoistic mind that attached strongly onto a worldly self-identity attaching onto certain qualities of names and forms as this is ‘I’ or what ‘I’ am, to realize ‘Selflessness’. The egoistic mind that ‘possesses’ a self-identity thinks and believes that ‘I’ exist as an individual being experiencing life, this is ‘I’, this is my life, my body, my mind, my thinking, my belief, my feelings, my emotion, my idea, my creativity, my energy, my health, my fitness, my strength, my flexibility, my ability, my disability, my achievement, my failure, my look, my talent, my knowledge, my education, my house, my belonging, my pet, my family, my friends, my relationship, my duty, my responsibility, my rights, my aspiration, my inspiration, my sacrifice, my happiness, my suffering, my vision, my desire, my actions, my fruit of actions, my religion, my ‘God’, my world, my country, and so on. Not only there’s a personal identity, but there’s also a group identity, such like our family, our life, our thinking, our belief, our culture, our religion, our ‘God’, our action, our fruit of action, our achievement, our failure, our world, our country, our vision, and so on.

“I eat, I drink, I play, I work, I rest, I aspire, I inspire, I think, I believe, I feel, I express, I laugh, I cry, I learn, I share, I give and receive, I love and beloved, I perceive, I experience, I act, I react, I achieve, I live, I die. I am existing. How can it be possible that ‘I’ don’t exist?” It’s unthinkable for the egoistic mind about ‘Selflessness’ – ‘Egolessness’ – ‘I-lessness’.

That’s why it’s very essential for the mind to let go the attachment and identification towards any qualities of names and forms, especially the worldly conditioned egoistic way of thinking and belief in the mind that influence how the mind analyzes, judges, feels and reacts towards all and everything, as well as letting go attachment and identification towards the physical appearance/condition/ability/disability/achievement/non-achievement before the mind can reflect upon the truth of ‘Selflessness’.

Once the mind is free from the attachment and identification towards the impermanent and selfless qualities of names and forms as ‘I’, including the function of the physical body and the thinking faculty, naturally the mind will realize the truth of ‘itself’ or ‘the modification of the mind’, that there’s no ‘I’, knowing thyself. There’s neither “I know” nor “I realize” nor “I am free from ignorance” nor “I am free.”

As long as the mind is still mingling among the worldly passionate egoistic minds, that keep empowering/feeding the idea of ‘I’ and ‘the world of egoism of all kinds of attachment and identification’, it’s very difficult and almost impossible for the mind to be free from ignorance and egoism. And hence, the important practice of renunciation, seclusion, solitude and silence.

According to the teachings of Swami Sivananda, the mind just needs to spend at least five to six years in seclusion and silence being away/cutting off from the worldly affairs/activities/society/family/friends/relatives/connections/interactions that feeds/empowers egoism/restlessness/impurities/ignorance, the mind will realize the truth of ‘the mind perception of a worldly life existence of impermanent and selfless names and forms’. Although it doesn’t guarantee that everyone who try to practice silence in seclusion and solitude for a prolonged period of time will be free from ignorance and attain self-realization, as the mind might still be influenced by gross and subtle egoistic worldly/spiritual attachment hindering the mind from seeing itself/knowing thyself. And not many people are suitable for such practice, as most passionate minds would ‘go crazy’ after being in seclusion and solitude for some time. Worldly passionate minds can’t live or be without seeing/touching/communicating/interacting with other beings for even a short period of time, not to say for a prolonged period of time. That’s why it requires certain degrees of dispassion and right discrimination for someone to practice silence in seclusion and solitude, to allow the mind to realize ‘Selflessness’/’Oneness’/’Non-separateness’/’Namelessness’/’Formlessness’, where ‘suffering’ and ‘the end of suffering’ doesn’t exist.

Many people might understood ‘Selflessness’ as ‘an existing name and form such as a being/soul/mind that is free from selfishness, who is unselfish’, such as “I am a selfless/unselfish being/soul/mind”, or “I am performing selfless action to benefit other beings and other beings will be benefited from my selfless actions.”

If it’s selfless, then what/who is that ‘I’ being there acknowledging and identifying as “I am selfless/unselfish”? It’s just impermanent selfless function of the body and mind generating actions and the consequences of actions ceaselessly until the annihilation of the modification of the mind takes place, there’s no ‘I’ being there to be acknowledging/identifying as “I am selfless/unselfish.” or “I am good/bad.” And hence, silent the mind, or as Swami Sivananda taught, “Kill the mind.”

Selflessness is nothing to do with unselfishness. Regardless of living beings or non-living objects, all are impermanent and selfless or I-less, where there’s no ‘I’ within all the impermanent changes. There’s no ‘I’ existing to be identified as ‘I am selfless’, ‘I am a selfless being’, ‘I am unselfish’, ‘I am performing selfless service and other beings are benefited from my selfless service’, ‘I am kind and compassionate’, ‘I aspire to inspire others to be selfless, kind and compassionate’, and so on. There’s no “I want to be selfless.” or “I am becoming selfless.”

‘Selflessness’ is the realization of there’s no self or ‘I’, it’s not about training the mind to become ‘selfless’ or ‘unselfish’. None/nothing can train to become ‘selfless’, as there is no self or ‘I’ from the beginning. Everyone and everything is just selfless as it is. It’s due to ignorance, there is the idea of ‘I’ arise in the thinking mind materializing itself via egoism influencing the thinking pattern of the mind, where the idea of ‘I’ feeds on attachment, identification, desire of craving and aversion, judgment, comparison and expectation, to desire and don’t desire, to aspire and expect, to enjoy and suffer, to love and be loved, to be continuing ‘existing’ in the form of thinking possessing a worldly self-identity with certain qualities of names and forms.

The idea of ‘I’ can be annihilated by eliminating egoism from the mind. As the ‘I’ appears to be ‘real and existing’ is nothing but the thinking pattern of the mind functioning under the influence of egoism, and upon annihilation of egoism or the veil of ignorance, the idea of ‘I’ will vanish naturally.

Upon the realization of impermanence and selflessness, naturally the mind also realizes ‘timelessness’. Time doesn’t exist, it’s just ‘what the mind perceives’, and ‘both the mind (the perceiver) and what the mind perceives (the perceived)’ constantly changing, and the ceaseless impermanent changes as well as due to the function of memory, there’s remembrance towards the impermanent changes generate the false impression of ‘time’ or ‘I’. The mind is going through countless births and deaths of ceaseless thoughts arising and passing away generating the different states of the mind. The body is going through countless births and deaths along with all the impermanent changes that are happening in the physical body generating the different condition/appearance of the body. The mind and the body is never remain the same mind or the same body even for a moment until the body and the thinking faculty ceased functioning and existing.

There’s no “I am performing yoga practice. I am a yoga practitioner. I will be receiving the benefits of the yoga practice. I am free or not free from ignorance.” It’s just the mind performing the practice, and whether the mind will be free from ignorance, or not.

Be free.

Go beyond the fight for legal recognition or approval for being who/what you are

Before the existence of ‘authority’ and ‘laws’ being introduced into the world, everyone is free being who/what they are, what they want to think and believe or not thinking and disbelieving, and be able to live/travel/wander/migrate anywhere and everywhere, unrestricted by so called ‘authority’ and ‘laws’.

None need to be labelled as ‘such and such nationality/gender/race/class’. None need to be fighting for attaining ‘legal’ recognition or approval for being who they are/what they want to be. None need to fight for ‘equality’ or ‘equal treatment’ or ‘respect’. ‘Human rights’ and all kinds of ‘rights’ shouldn’t be existing at all. There needn’t be an ‘authority’ and ‘laws’ existing to ‘authorize/sanction/judge/criminalize/punish who and what have/don’t have ‘such and such rights’, or have more/less ‘rights’ than one another. Human beings just need to respect one another and be kind/thoughtful/tolerant/accommodating towards one another.

Somehow, somewhere, some people, with the excuse/aspiration of ‘protecting the welfare of the world/society and keeping the world/society in order’, certain people self-proclaimed ownership and authority towards lands, areas, space and the society/community, set up boundaries, labels, laws and punishments to limit/control all and everyone have to comply to certain rules and regulations based on particular thinking/belief/disbelief/ideas/values/practice/behavior/way of life or culture/religion/spirituality, and in the name of humanity for developing/protecting ‘goodness and righteousness’ and fighting/eliminating ‘badness and wrongfulness’, to uphold peace and harmony/social stability and prosperity in the world/society, and to keep the society in a ‘particular order’ that complying to a particular thinking/belief/ideas/values/practice, either by force, or by conversion, or by temptation, to be recruiting or building a majority of the society/community that support, empower and comply to such ‘system’ that gives power to certain people being ‘the authority’ to ‘control’ all the others who are ignorantly and wittingly supporting that ‘system’ to be ‘controlled legally’ by an ‘authority’ and be limited by ‘legally’ binding laws, from some ‘simple rules and regulations for keeping order in the society and for the benefits of all humanity’ but eventually/gradually being evolved into many ‘selfish corrupted rules and regulations for propagating certain agendas and protecting the benefits of certain people’, that gives rise to all kinds of discrimination, prejudice, unjust, corruption, oppression, intimidation, offense, punishment, restriction, intrusion, unrest, hatred, fear and violence.

A world/society that needs to be ‘governed’/’supported’/’protected’ by ‘human rights’ and all kinds of ‘rights’, that needs to be ‘controlled’ under ‘an authority’ and ‘laws’ to be in a ‘particular order’ will never going to be ‘healthy’.

A healthy world/society comes from correct education/understanding that allows people to be opened to allow and respect all and everyone being different from one another without discrimination/prejudice/unjust/hatred/intrusion/interference/hostility or trying to over-powered one another, without the sense of superiority and inferiority, where people have the correct understanding/matured mentality to be thinking properly/calmly/clearly, being who/what they are and respect others being who/what they are, without the need of ‘authorization’, or ‘recognition’, or ‘legality’, or ‘approval’, or ‘acknowledgement’ from such and such ‘authority’ and ‘laws’, without anyone/authority claiming ownership/possessiveness/authorization over anything that approves/disapproves anyone being here or anywhere in this space of the universe that doesn’t belong to anyone or any ‘authority’. People are being free to inquire the truth of things, having the freedom of thinking/action/expression/belief/disbelief/opinion, but also having awareness and self-control over one’s actions and be responsible for one’s actions and the consequences of one’s actions, not to say to be selfless and compassionate, but being thoughtful, forgiving and accommodating, where all kinds of discrimination/corruption/intrusion/unjust/hatred/hostility/violence have no reason to be existing in the world/society.

Unfortunately, due to deep ignorance and human’s survival instinct, not everyone could have the correct understanding or proper/calm/clear thinking to be open to respect one another, to allow everyone being what they are, as they are, being different in many ways and have their own thinking/belief/disbelief/way of life/behavior/action and reaction.

Out of survival instinct, most people will be selfish to protect their lives, livelihood, home, family, tribe, community, lands/areas, privilege and supremacy. Even the self-proclaimed ‘good and righteous human beings’ would want to protect what they think and believe is ‘goodness’ and ‘righteousness’, and fight against what they think and believe is ‘badness’ and ‘wrongfulness’.

When people try to fight for ‘certain rights’, ‘equal treatment’, ‘legal approval for doing something or going somewhere or living somewhere’ and ‘legal recognition towards particular identity or belief/disbelief or way of life or sexual orientation’ from an ‘authority’, people are unaware of they are actually acknowledging, supporting, approving and empowering the ‘system’, unwittingly being part of the game of the ‘system’. Most people think and believe that, “We all live in the system and are part of the system. We have to comply to the system controlled by ‘the authority’ and ‘laws’ to keep everything in the ‘correct’ order. If we want to be ‘who we are/what we want to be’, we need approval and recognition from the system. We need to support the system to keep the society in order and to keep the economy alive for us to have a livelihood to survive.” That’s their freedom of thinking/belief.

While in yoga/Buddhism/science, all and everything live in the solar system and are part of the solar system being determined by the law of nature to be surviving and existing, or not, and all are subject to the law of impermanence and selflessness and the law of cause and effect, which is nothing to do with the system of ‘human authority’ and ‘human regulated rules and regulations’ that give power to certain people to keep everyone under their control to think/believe/behave/live life in certain ways.

“Retreat from the society, renounce the world, stay away from politics/debates/gossips/vain talks.” This is the common teaching/advice from many teachers in the past.

Siddhartha Gautama Buddha taught, “Dharma will disappear from the world.” He didn’t teach, “Save Dharma from disappearance at all cost, don’t let it disappears from the world.”

Swami Sivananda taught, “Even if all the leaders are taken out of the world now, the world will run on smoothly, probably more smoothly. Even if all the people retire into the forest, the world will go on.”

If people truly wish for everyone being non-discriminated in this world, it’s not about fighting for everyone to be given ‘equal rights’ by ‘the authority’ that created ‘a system of discrimination’, but it’s by abandoning all the ‘rights’ and ‘privilege’ that generates all kinds of discrimination being given by ‘the authority’ that were not given to some other people due to ‘the system of discrimination’ or ‘the laws say so’. But in reality, not many people want ‘everyone’ to be treated equally or be given ‘equal rights’, because they want to enjoy the benefits from the ‘rights’ and ‘privilege’ that they have, but others don’t have, and most people won’t give up all the ‘rights’ and ‘privilege’ that were given to them to fully support those who were not given any rights or have less rights than others being discriminated by ‘the system of discrimination’. Because of ‘the system’, people are afraid of having ‘no rights’ or ‘legal documentation’, as one who has no rights or legal documentation cannot be here or anywhere on earth ‘legally’ and naturally is a ‘criminal against the law who would be punished by law’ under ‘the laws’ made by human beings for the sake of keeping the world in a particular order. How absurd is that.

Before the realization of selflessness, you are who you are/what you want to be, regardless of whether it’s recognized/approved/acknowledged/authorized by an ‘authority’ and ‘laws’, or not.

Upon the realization of selflessness, there’s no ‘I’ being there that needs to be identifying as ‘somebody with a particular identity of a quality of name and form’ longing to be recognized/approved/acknowledged/authorized by oneself, or anyone, or anything.

Be free.

Subtle greed towards developing connections

There is this teaching that some yoga practitioners/teachers might have neglected –

不要攀缘 也不要贪缘

It means – Do not greed for developing or building connections

Because ‘developing or building connections’ with as many beings as possible or 结缘 is being perceived in the world as something good and righteous, such as ‘performing good actions’ and ‘sharing something good with others’ will bring friendship, love, support, help, happiness, prosperity and meaningfulness in return, quite many yoga practitioners/teachers are not aware of the subtle greed towards developing or building connections with as many beings as possible for many ‘good reasons’.

In the world of business, career or entertainment, people have the need to develop or build as many ‘good connections’ or ‘friendships’ as possible in order to attain the highest success in life, career or business. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Just that it can become an obstacle on the path of yoga towards the annihilation of ignorance and egoism. Some yoga practitioners/teachers are not aware of the mind is being over-powered by the subtle spiritual greed to build ‘yoga schools’, or ‘yoga centres’, or ‘yoga ashrams’, or ‘yoga empire’. The mind would think that it’s for the sake of ‘sharing yoga’ with as many people as possible. It’s a great teaching why Swami Sivananda mentioned that – “Do not build ashrams. Do not hoard disciples. Do not associate. Live alone. Walk alone. Eat alone. Meditate alone.”

“I am kind to others so that they will also be kind to others.” This is not yoga, even though there’s nothing bad or wrong with that. There’s egoism of attachment, identification, desire and intention or expectation towards something that the mind perceives as ‘good’ and ‘right’. The mind is not free.

Contemplate on this teaching and be free from the subtle greed towards connections building. Be free from the longing for friendship, love, support, help, happiness, prosperity or meaningfulness deriving from ‘performing good actions’ and ‘sharing something good with others’. Be free from intention or aspiration. One might be ‘performing good actions’ and ‘sharing something good with others’, but all actions are intention-less. It’s free from the subtle/hidden greed or craving towards developing or building ‘good connections’ with as many beings as possible.

Just be kind to others. Whether other people want to be kind to others, or not, that’s their freedom.

Just do good in the world. Whether the world will be good, or not, allow it to be what it is, as it is.

Sadhana advice from Swami Sivananda (3)

Excerpt from Essence of Vedanta

Fitness for Wisdom

One who is fit for receiving Wisdom of the Self shall receive it ‘in due time.’ Self-effort and passage of time work simultaneously and one cannot be distinguished from the other, for Providence and Personal exertion cannot be separated as they both work simultaneously and are interdependent. Rather, these are only two names for one and the same force of action.

Sri Sankaracharya had already exhorted that one has to undergo the disciplinary stages of Viveka, Vairagya, Sama, Dama, Uparati, Titiksha, Sraddha, Samadhana, and Mumukshutva before getting initiate into the mystery of Existence. One should not be initiated into the Truth of the Absolute unless he is found well developed in all these qualities.

Nowadays generally we find that aspirants do not have a strong desire for liberation. They may have a ray of Viveka and Vairagya of a mild variety. But it is very difficult to find an aspirant who cares for nothing but final Emancipation, who treats the whole world and its contents as mere straw, who meditates incessantly upon how to attain Salvation from embodied existence.

It is not easy to understand the meaning of Liberation.

How can it be possible for raw men of the world to realise the nullity of earthly existence and of worldly activities? Even advanced aspirants sometimes have got strong desire for doing something wonderful in this world, something which none has done before. Such people cannot have a real desire for Liberation. And such people are unfit for receiving Brahma Vidya.

It is only the Uttama-Adhikari, the best qualifier, who cares for nothing, who is totally indifferent to the ways of the world, who is ever silent and serene due to the dawn of proper knowledge, who is ever the same among the diverse men of the world, who is undisturbed by the distracted activity of the world, who is calm and peaceful, who has withdrawn himself from the bustle of life, who cares not for either death or life, who is unmindful of what is happening in the world, who is careless towards either this or that, that is really fit to receive the Ultimate wisdom of the Absolute!

Even if there is the slightest desire lurking inside other than the Realisation of the Absolute, the man will not be able to comprehend the true import of the Vedantic instructions by the Spiritual Teacher (Preceptor). He will have thousands of doubts and distractions in the mind which will entirely pull him down from the Vedantic Meditation.

A person should be desire for nothing else, than the realisation of Brahman. There should be no other thought throughout the day than of the way of attaining Self-realisation.

Every thought, every speech, every action, nay, every breath of the person should illustrate the method of realising the Absolute. Such a person is fit to receive Vedantic Wisdom.

Withdrawal From Multiplicity

Self-restraint is the opposite of self-expression. The latter tends towards Pravritti or life in the variegated Samsara, and the former leads to the Highest Integration through Nivritti of stepping back to Truth.

The creative diversifying power is turned in and sublimated into the spiritual splendour.

The withdrawal from multiplicity and centring oneself in Unity is effected through self-restraint which is the austere transformation of the creative objective force into the conscious Power that causes the blossoming of the sense of individual finitude into the expanse of objectless consciousness.

Variety is the meaning of manifestation. Every individual force is a copy of the limitless creative force and the natural tendency of this energy is to move towards the creation of multiplicity. This is the reason why the control of the action of creativity is found to be difficult in the case of those who are tied to individual physicality. An individual finds it hard to properly direct the cosmic habit unless he takes recourse to process of Spiritual Realisation. A spiritual Sadhaka goes to the source of this objectified energy and compel the force to diffuse itself in the serene Ground-Noumenon.

A person who has let loose the flow of the creative force gets entangled in the process of multiple-creation and ever remains away from the knowledge of the Non-Dual Truth of his Eternal Self. This is the root-background of the universal ethics that self-control is imperative to a seeker after the Absolute Reality.

Those who have discriminatively grasped the spiritual character of human life refrain from the instinctive practice of self-multiplication and devote themselves to the glorious task of directing the potential energy to conscious contemplation on the Spiritual Ideal through the triple transformation of the active emotional and intellectual aspects of the general human nature.

Such integrated persons possess a mighty power of understanding, analysis and meditation.

The Chhandogya Upanishad says that when purity and Sattva are increased, there is a generation of immense memory which paves the way to the shattering open of the knot of self.

The most intricate technic of the art of Self-realisation is mastered by the genius of an austere who has learnt to expand his formative lower into the plenitude of limitless life. Such austere spiritual beings flow with the lustrous spiritual strength which handles with ease even the most formidable of the diversifying forces of nature.

Fear is unknown to them and their divinised energy is centred in the Self to be utilised in transcending the realm of the ego-sense. They establish themselves in the unbroken vow of leaping over phenomenon into the heart of Existence. Such is the glory of self-restraint!

The control of the objective instincts is the preparation for world-renunciation in the quest of the Ultimate Essence. An abandonment of earthly nature effected by a distaste for particularities is what marks the character of a true austere Sadhaka. He should not enter the household, for, his path leads to Unity and not the creative social activity.

Alone and unfriended should he carry on the duty of Self-integration through unceasing selflessness and remembrance of the Divine Ideal. Selfless service polishes the self and rubs the ego and thus renders the person fit for the higher life of Dhyana and Brahma-Chintana.

A cutting off from acquaintance with relatives is necessary, for, Nivritti-Marga does not allow of any transient connections.

Sadhana advice from Swami Sivananda (2)

Excerpt from Essence of Vedanta by Swami Sivananda

In one sense from the highest viewpoint, all the leaders of the world are wasting their time, life and energy. Had they directed their energy and mind towards Yoga and transcendental Atma Svarajya, they would have become great divinities on this earth and done more spiritual good to the world. These great men would have taken to Nivritti already, had they really understood the glory and necessity of Nivritti Marga, had they come in contact with great sages, had they a real grasp of the purpose of life, goal and the nature of the Svarupa of the Atman, mind and the world.

A little comfortable living, a little bread with butter and jam cannot relieve the sufferings of the people, cannot give salvation or Absolute Independence and Freedom to them, cannot remove ignorance, the root cause of all human miseries and of births and deaths. Wise men, with great talents, should attempt to give spiritual food to the people and make their lives lofty, worthy, sublime and grand and make them immortal.

Even if all the leaders are taken out of the world now, the world will run on smoothly, probably more smoothly. Even if all the people retire into the forest, the world will go on.

Poor worldlings! One would think that they have taken a contract with Brahma that they will procreate children in this world and take care of it!

The world is unreal. All are born to die only. All are illusory in this world.

Egoism deludes people. Though the world is nothing, it deceives the worldly man into thinking that it is everything. It is associated with ‘mineness’. This egoism is born of Avidya (ignorance). It springs from conceit. Vanity fosters it. It is the greatest enemy ever known. The secret of renunciation is the renunciation of egoism. Ahamkara or ego is the direst of diseases. He who is free from egoism is ever happy and peaceful. Desires multiply and expand on account of egoism. This inveterate enemy has spread about man the enchantments of wives, friends, children, relatives, whose spells are hard to break.

This world is a manifestation of this mind only. All pains are generated through the mind only. If this mind is annihilated through discrimination and Atmic enquiry, all pains, along with this world will vanish.

Desire is the cause of rebirths and all sorts of pains, miseries and sorrows of this earth.

The body has a tendency to rot. Egoism lives in this body as the master with avarice as the mistress. The body is in reality a pot of filth. The shining skin is subject to wrinkles in old age. Fie and shame on them who have mistaken this body for the immortal Pure Soul and rely on it for their happiness and peace!

This body appears only in the present. A thing, that has neither past nor future must be considered as non-existent in the present also. If you think over this matter more deeply with Suddha-Buddhi or pure intellect, you will find Atyanta-Abhava or complete non-existent of the world.

“Nothing on this earth belongs to me! This body even is not mine.” This is true wisdom. “He is my son. She is my daughter. She is my wife. That bungalow is mine. I am rich. I am a Kshatriya. I am a Brahmin. I am lean. I am fat.” This is foolishness of a superior order. This body is the rightful property of fishes, jackals and vultures. How can you call this as yours?

In this scientific era – the age of the so-called modern civilisation – greed, passion, selfishness are increasing day by day, nay, hour by hour. One nation wants to devour another nation. Man has lost his manliness. The son drags his father to the courts for the division of property. The wife divorces her husband and marries another, if he happens to be more rich, more beautiful and younger. The younger brother poisons his elder brother to take possession of the estate. You see cruelty, dishonesty, injustice and atrocity everywhere. No one keeps his promise. The father has no faith in the son. The wife has no faith in the husband and vice versa.

There is no end of craving (Trishna) in the life of a worldly man. That is the reason why a worldly man is ever restless despite his wealth and comforts. There is always dissatisfaction with his lot. He is ever discontented. Before one craving is satisfied another craving is ready to occupy his mind, and this craving agitates the mind and makes a constant demand for gratification. He forgets his real divine nature and plunges himself in the ocean of Samsara (worldliness).

If you place the worldly-minded persons in the company of saints, Yogins and Sannyasins, in solitary places with charming sceneries, they can never live in peace. They will feel as if they are fish taken out of water.

Sages compare a worldly-mined man to a street-dog, or a pig that eats filth, or a worm that revels in rubbish. The comparison is very very apt, indeed!

O worldly-minded persons! Wake up from the deep of dark ignorance! Open your eyes now. Stand up and acquire the knowledge of the Self. Approach the Brahmanishtha Guru. Attain Absolute Independence of Kaivalya. Merge yourself in the State of Satchidananda.

A worldly man kills himself by clinging to things unreal. That man who does not struggle to attain Self-realisation, although he possesses knowledge of the scriptures, human body, youth, energy and other conveniences, commits suicide. His lot is very miserable. What greater fool is there than this man who neglects the goal of life? That man who does not care to make enquiry of ‘who am I?’ ‘what is the goal?’ ‘how to attain the goal?’ is really a great fool, although he may be endowed with high secular knowledge.

Imagine for a moment that your skin and flesh are inverted and exposed. Then some one will have to stand always with a long hill-stick to drive off cows and jackals. Why do you have Moha (infatuated love) for this dirty body? Why do you apply perfumes? Are you not a big fool? Get Jnana. You are the Atman, ever pure and Effulgent.

Birth is suffering; disease is suffering; death is suffering; sorrow, grief, pain, lamentations are suffering; union with unpleasant objects is suffering; separation from the beloved objects is suffering; unsatisfied desires are suffering. O man! Is there any real pleasure or happiness in this world?

Why do you cling onto all these mundane objects? Why do you stroll about here and there like a street-dog in search for happiness in this earth-plane? Search within. Look within and introspect and rest in the Supreme Abode of Peace and Immortality now. Realise now and be free.

Lust invariably leads to extreme suffering on the impediment of senses in old age.

Nobody has been benefited in this world by this Maya. People invariably weep in the end.

The worldly man never comes to the senses although he gets severe knocks, kicks and blows from different corners. The strolling street-dog never stop visiting the houses even though pelted with stones every time.

The whole world is a ball of fire though there are the so-called charming sceneries of Mayaic illusion. The whole world is a huge furnace wherein all living creatures are being roasted.

Lord Buddha says: “On the whole, life is a sorrow.” Patanjali Maharshi in his Yoga Sutras says: “Sarvam Duhkham Vivekinah” – “All indeed is pain to a person of discrimination.” Just as a fish in its desire to eat flesh does not see the hook that lies beneath, so as man in his passionate desire to get sensual pleasure does not see the noose of death.

Pleasure is not in the objects; it is in the imagination or inclination of the mind. Mango is not sweet but imagination makes it sweet. Woman is not beautiful, but imagination renders her so. An ugly woman appears very beautiful to her husband because his imagination is beautiful. There is a grain of pleasure in objects, but the pain that is mixed with it is of the size of a big mountain.

Sensual pleasure is tantalising. There is enchantment so long as man does not possess the desired object. The moment he is in possession of the object, the charm vanishes. He finds that he is in an entanglement. The rich but childless man thinks he will be more happy by getting a son; he worries himself day and night to get a son, goes on pilgrimage to Ramesvaram and Kasi and performs various religious ceremonies. But when he gets a child, he feels miserable. The child suffers from epileptic fits, and his money is given away to doctors. Even then there is no cure. This is Mayaic jugglery. The whole world is fraught with temptation.

The cause of pain is love of pleasure. The cause of death is love of sensual life. Death is a horrible thing to him who is intensely attached to sensual life. Words like cremation, murder, death, corpse, burial, make the sensualist shudder at heart; for he is extremely attached to the body and the objects of the senses. “How to part with the sensual objects?” is his great cause of misery. Pity!

The body is the first Mayaic knot or tie. Wife is the second knot round the neck. Son is the third knot round the waist. Daughter is the fourth knot round the knee. Grandson is the fifth knot round the ankle. He who has cut asunder these knots or ties and who has no Moha is really a strong and powerful man (Dhira).

All hope of happiness in this world terminate in pain, despair and sorrow. Pleasure is mixed with pain. Beauty is mixed with ugliness. Kindness is mixed with anger and harsh words. There is no real prop in this world to lean upon. Sensual indulgence brings diseases, exhaustion, weakness, and loss of vigor. The sensual objects destroy the whole man, and he has no help from any quarter of this earth. Fair sex infatuates. Money and power fill the mind with hollowness and vanity! There is often war between nations. There is no peace anywhere. Trust not this illusory world.

Go wherever you may, to Gulmarg or Pahalgaon in Kashmir, to Darjeeling or Simla, to Vienna or the Alps. It is all the same. You will not find any real rest. The charming scenery may soothe the retina for a second. Raga, Dvesha, jealousy, passion and greed are everywhere. You will finds the same earth, the same sky, the same air and the same water. And you carry with you the same mind. Imagination and change of places have deceived not a few.

Friends! Is there not a higher mission in life than eating, sleeping, drinking and talking?

An ignorant worldly man says, “I have to do my duties. I have to educate my four sons and three daughters. I have to please my boss. I have got heavy duties in the office. I have to remit money to my widowed sister. I have a large family. I have six brothers and five sisters. Where is the time for me to do Sandhya Vandana and Japa and study religious books? There is no time for breathing even. I have no leisure. Even on holidays I have to work. Even on Sundays I have to worry myself with work. I bring office-papers to my house and work at night till the small hours of the morning. I do not want Yoga. This office-work and the maintenance of my family is itself a great duty or Yoga.”

Do you call this duty? It is mere slavery. It is a work of a coolie. It is mere bondage. The man is in fear every moment. Even in dreams he meets his office-mates and his boss and posts figures in the ledger. This is not a right sense of duty. He takes tea, eats food, and sits at the table for writing, sleeps and procreates. His whole life passes away like this. This is not duty. This is gross delusion. This is foolishness. This is selfishness. This is work for gain and satisfaction of lower appetites. Anything done under compulsion and expectation of rewards is not duty. You must not take as duty works done from attachment, greed or passion.

You have travelled in many countries, fed your dear relatives, and amassed immense wealth. Yet, of what avail are these, O friend? You have not realised the Blissful Brahman.

Desire for name and fame, infatuated love for the body, desire for vast erudition, are stumbling blocks in the attainment of the Self-knowledge. He who wants to free himself from Samsara should annihilate the desire for these mundane things.

Who are you? Who am I? Where from have we come? Who is mother? Who is father? Think deeply in these. Leave off this world, which is a dream, and seek the One, Eternal, Undivided Essence of Brahman.

Friends! Is there any limit to the number of fathers, mothers, wives, sons, daughters, uncles and aunts you have had in the countless incarnations in the past? And yet the clinging to these false relationships has not gone. Discrimination has not yet dawned. What a great pity it is!

The attraction for external objects ceases; but there yet remains the internal craving or sense of hankering or thirsting, which is called Trishna.

You have spent eight hours in sleep, and the rest of the day in idle gossiping, telling lies, deceiving others, in selfish activities, in amassing wealth. How can you expect spiritual good, how can you expect immortality and peace, if you do not spend even half an hour in the service of the Lord, in singing his names and in divine contemplation?

Will your son or daughter or friend or relative help you, when you are about to die? Will they accompany you to share your miseries? Have you got one sincere, unselfish friend in all this world? All are selfish! There is no pure love. But that Lord, your real Friend of friends, Father of fathers, who dwells in your heart, will never forsake you, though you may forget Him. Adore Him in silence, that God of gods, that Divinity of divinities, the Highest of the high. May He bless you with His love, Wisdom, Power and Peace!

The Rishis and the Seers tapped the source through living the Truth. They had deep penetration into the Truth through the eye of wisdom or intuition in Nirvikalpa Samadhi. They did rigorous Tapas and intense meditation. They disciplined the outgoing senses and led a virtuous life. They were absolutely moral and righteous. They developed all the qualities of the heart. They practised dispassion and renunciation. They had no attachment for mundane things. They kicked off ruthlessly all wealth, relatives, wife, family, children, position and status. They embraced poverty, purity and austerity. They lived in forests. They ate fruits and roots. They breathed pure air. They lived on the banks of the Ganga amidst Himalayan scenery, which had, and has, high spiritual vibrations. They did not live in Mount Road or the Mall.

All the things of this world pertaining to men are attended with fear; renunciation alone stands for fearlessness. Shun honour, respect, degrees, name, fame, power, position and titles. They are absolutely worthless. They will not give you eternal satisfaction. They will only intensify your vanity. They are all intoxicants of the mind. They bring misery and mental disturbance.

In the Vishnupurana it is said: “If the deluded fool loves the body, a mere collection of flesh, blood, pus, faeces, urine, muscles, fats and bones, he will verily love hell itself! To him who is not disgusted with the nasty smell from his body, what other argument need to be abduced for detachment?” It is needless and useless to say more.

Knowledge of the Self or Brahma Jnana is more precious and important than the kingdom of all the worlds.

If you do not possess Viveka, if you do not try your extreme level best for the attainment of Salvation, if you spend your whole lifetime in eating, drinking, sleeping, marrying, divorcing and propagating the race, how are you better than an animal? As a matter of fact, they are better than you! You will have to sit at the feet of the animals and learn a few several lessons from them. Even animals possess self-restraint to an astounding degree. O man! where has your self-restraint gone?

O man! Never say; “My body, my son, my wife, my house, my property, my garden, etc.” Attachment is the root cause of the innumerable miseries and troubles of this world. Discipline your mind well, realise the illusory nature of all that appears here in this world.

Renunciation comes only to those who were once kings in their previous births, who developed discrimination between the real and the unreal in their previous births, who have done meritorious actions in their previous births, who led the life of a Sannyasin in several births. Only those who have tremendous will-power, spiritual strength, dispassion, discrimination, and who thirst for salvation can renounce the world. Renunciation demands superhuman strength. Renunciation or Sannyasa is stern stuff.

After all, what is this world? It is like a footprint of a calf when compared to the Infinite Brahman or the Absolute. It is a small bubble in the ocean of Existence. It is less than an atom. The worthless nature of the joys of this world is already known to a Viveki or a man of discrimination or an aspirant or an ordinary worldly man even in whom there is not even an iota of spiritual awakening or a little opening of the eye of wisdom.

The Upanishads emphatically declare: “Yo Vai Bhuma Tat Sukham – Naalpe Sukhamasti!” You cannot have real happiness in this world. The real ‘Santi’, is Peace which the mind is hankering after is only to be found in the ‘Bhuma’. Bhuma is unconditioned, beyond time, beyond space and causation. Bhuma, the Great, is freedom, – freedom from the trammels of flesh, freedom from the tricks of the mind, freedom from the plays of delusion. Bhuma is perfection, beyond all limitations. Bhuma is Brahman, the eternal Absolute! You will have to remember all this constantly. You will have to write this and read this, talk of this and preach this, meditate on this and live in this, ‘Yo Vai Bhuma Tat Sukham.’

Sadhana advice from Swami Sivananda

If you give up idle talk and gossiping and idle curiosity to hear rumours and news of others and if you do not meddle with the affairs of others you will have ample time to do meditation.

Environments are not bad but your mind is bad. Your mind is not disciplined properly. Do not complain against bad environments but complain first against your own mind.

Train your mind first. If you practice concentration amidst unfavorable environments, you will grow strong, you will develop your will force quickly, you will become a dynamic personality.

Know things in their proper light. Do not be deluded. Emotion is mistaken for devotion. Violent jumping in the air during Sankirtan for divine ecstasy. Falling down in a swoon on account of exhaustion from too much jumping for Bhava Samadhi. Rajasic restlessness and motion for divine activities and Karma Yoga. A Tamasic man for a Sattvic man. Movement of air in rheumatism in the back for ascent of Kundalini. Tandri and deep sleep for Samadhi. Manorajya or building castles in the air for meditation. Physical nudity for Jivanmukta state. Learn to discriminate and become wise.

Do not utter such words as are calculated to bring your own self-glorification. You must forget at once what is bad. But you must not forget any good done to you by others. There is no expiation for that man who is ungrateful. Forget your good qualities. Forget the bad qualities of others. Forget the enmity of those who are inimical to you. Forget the good actions that you have done to others.

Do not be afraid of any other devil. Fear itself is the greatest devil. Kill this devil first. All other devils will take to their heels. All troubles are only imaginary. Fear comes of ignorance. There is fear where there is duality.

When you remain in the world, association with worldly persons is unavoidable. Cut short the conversation and the period of mixing with them.

The worldly duties are not ties. The world is the best teacher. You are not require to renounce the world and take shelter in the Himalayan cave to claim back your lost divinity. The world cannot stand in the way of your God-realisation. Live in the world but allow not the world to live in you. He, who living in the midst of temptations of the world attains perfection, is true hero.

If a yogi or a Sannyasin who is able to keep up serenity of mind while living in a cave in the forest, complains of disturbance of mind when he lives in the bustle of a city, he has no control of mind. He has no inner spiritual strength. He is not a practical Vedantin. He has no Self-realisation. He has not attained the goal of life. He is still within the domain of Maya.

A real yogi or a practical Vedantin is one who can keep perfect calmness of mind while performing intense activities amidst the bustle of a city. This is the central teaching of the Gita.

By destroying Vasanas and Sankalpas, you melt or annihilate the mind. By annihilating the mind, you kill egoism. By killing egoism, you know the Self. By knowing the Self you attain Self-realisation. By attaining Self-realisation you become free from all sorts of pains, tribulations and miseries. You enjoy supreme unalloyed bliss of the eternal and become That.

Destroy the Vasanas (of body, world and booklore). Withdraw the mind. Identified yourself with the Sakshi (silent witness of the mind).

You cannot wash the mind with soap and water to get rid of its impurities but if you eradicate desires and attachment, the mind will be purified of itself.

This Atman is Silence. The best conception of God is ‘Silence’. Therefore learn to be silent. Make the mind silent, waveless, thoughtless and desireless. This is real silence.

The world is a big wheel. It is revolving unceasingly. The mind is the nave of this wheel. Those who are egoistic, proud, passionate and greedy are caught up in this wheel. If you can stop the mind from moving, the world-wheel will come to a standstill and you will be freed from the round of births and deaths. If you wish to stop the mind from moving, you will have to annihilate egoism, pride, desire and greed.

Truth dawns by itself upon the mind of the tranquil who are equally good and friendly to all beings. Tranquillity of the mind is attained by eradication of desires and thoughts. Mind is agitated by desires and thoughts. When desires and thoughts are controlled, the mind becomes as calm as the lake which is not agitated by the winds. Tranquillity cannot be attained within a week or a month. Practice for a long time is essential.

Do not enter into heated discussion with people. Restrain the senses. Annihilate Raga-Dvesha (likes and dislikes). Extend compassion to all creatures. You will soon attain immortality.

A real aspirant who thirst for Self-realisation should be absolute honest in every dealing. Honesty is not only the best policy in him, but also a strict rule of daily conduct.

Life is not a misery. One should live for hundred years by performing action without attachment. Life is not a bondage when it is looked with the proper light. Such a man of proper knowledge looks on all beings as his own Self and his self as all beings. To him everything is his own Self, and he is not affected by grief, delusion or sorrow of any kind.

The Atman is not born, nor does it dies. It has not come from anywhere and it has not become anything. Unborn, constant, eternal, primeval, this one is not slain when the body is slain. This Atman is hidden in the deep core of the heart of beings. It cannot be attained by any amount of reasoning, study or instruction. It comes only through the Supreme grace. A man of bad conduct, who has not ceased from crookedness, cannot hope to attain the Atman.

The road to Supreme is clothed with pricking thorns. It is sharp like the edge of a razor, hard to tread, a very difficult path! It can be trodden only with the help of knowledge obtained from men of wisdom. Knowing That, one is liberated from the terrible mouth of death.

The mind and the senses always run outwards. Only the man of self-discipline and perseverance can gaze inward and experience the state of Atman as it really is. The childish who have no knowledge of the Truth, run after external pleasures and they fall into the widespread of death. Only the wise, knowing the state of Immortality, seek not the stable Brahman among things which are impermanent here.

The Atman or the Brahman has no connection with the world of change. The goodness, the light, the pleasure and the beauty of the world is not to be found there even in name. That State is experienced when the senses cease to work together with the mind and when the intellect does not move, and when there is mere consciousness. When all desires which are lodged in the heart are liberated, then the mortal becomes immortal. Herein he attains Brahman.

Brahman is Truth, Knowledge, Infinity, Bliss. Brahman is Bhuma where one sees nothing else, hears nothing else and understands nothing else. It rests on nothing else. On it everything else rests. One who knows this rejoices in his own Self and rests contented in his own Self.

Sacrifice cannot bring salvation. They are mere temptations which bind one to birth and death. The deluded people think that mere sacrifice and charity constitute eternal blessedness. They are mistaken. What is not the effect of action is not attained by any amount of action. Brahman which is not done cannot be attained by what is done. Having scrutinised the nature of the world, a wise man should arrive at indifference and dispassion. He must approach a preceptor and learn Brahma-Vidya from him. Such a fortunate soul rends asunder the knot of ignorance.

There is no other duty for man except meditation on the Self. Dismissing all else, one should establish himself in the Self. There remains nothing to be done or attained, when the Self is experienced. There is nothing but Brahman. All this is Brahman.

Existence alone was in the beginning. This was one alone without a second. From that everything else was produced. The modifications of it are only apparent. There is no world except mere names and forms, mysteriously connected with one another. There is no sun or moon except mere colours or fictitious forms. When the colours are distinguished, the sun loses it sunhood, the moon loses its moonhood, things loses their thingness. Brahman alone exists.

The Self alone is dear. One who loves something other than the Self loses what he loves. The Self is the Absolute. One who knows this becomes indestructible. He is only a beast who considers he and his God are different. Not for the sake of this all this is dear, but for the sake of the Self this all is dear. By knowing that Self, everything else becomes automatically known, for the Self indeed is this all.

The Self is an ocean without a shore and a surface. It is mere Existence, Consciousness and Bliss. Where there is duality as it were, one can speak to the other, see the other and understand the other, but where everything is just one’s own Self, then who can speak to whom, who can see whom, who can understand whom? This is the Supreme end. That is the Supreme blessing. That is the Supreme Bliss. On a part of this Bliss other creatures are living.

He who is without desire, who is freed from desire, whose desire is satisfied, whose desire is the Self – his Pranas do not depart. He being Brahman Itself, becomes Brahman immediately.

One who sees His own Atman in all beings, and all beings in his own Atman – he becomes fearless. He is not deluded by the objects of the senses. He is not particularly attached to any object or being. Time and space bow before him and withdraw. He lives in the one Great Present. There is neither a past nor a future for him. There is neither a ‘here’ not a ‘there’.

The apparent change does not belong to the Atman. Nay, even death is not the end. It is but another apparent change. Life continues beyond. Man sleeps with one encasement and wakes up after a short while with another encasement! Death has lost its dread for him! He has achieved the impossible – he has eluded the grasp of Death itself!

The senses have been created with a natural tendency to flow out towards the objective universe. This externalisation dissipates the rays of the mind, weaken the intellect and blind the eyes of intuitive perception. Unity is falsely represented as diversity, the untrue appears to be True, pain appears to be pleasure, and shadows holds out greater charms that the Substance Itself. This is the path of ‘Preya’ (the Pleasant) which the dullwitted ignorant man pursues.

The Atman is Akarta, non-doer. It is Abhokta, non-enjoyer! Realisation of this Truth enables man to transcend Samsara or the cycle of births and deaths.

Renunciation is necessary, but inner renunciation born out of true knowledge that the Atman is Akarta and Abhokta, and that it is not affected by the actions of the sense-organs, is considered preferable to external renunciation of physical actions. Man should perform his duties, in the proper spirit. Such actions do not bind him, but on the other hand they help him to liberate himself.

The deluded attachment to men and women, friends and relatives, money and gold, has to be ruthlessly burnt to ashes! All the so-called duties of the world have to be kicked away for the sake of that glorious state of Self-realisation.

Kick off the world ruthlessly. Enough of tea and coffee, enough of soda, lemonade and crushes, enough of novels and cinemas, enough of races and aeroplanes, enough of father, mother, brothers, children, friends and relatives! You came alone and you will go alone.

A worldly-minded fashionable wife (or husband) is a sharp knife to cut off the life of the husband (or wife). Be wedded to Santi and have Vairagya as as the sons, and Viveka the magnanimous daughter and eat the delicious divine fruit of Atma Jnana which can make you immortal!

Application of soap to the body, oil to the hair, powder to the face, looking into the mirror a thousand and one times a day, wearing rings on the fingers – these and many like these will intensify your attachment to the body. Therefore give up all these things ruthlessly.

The cause of pain is love of pleasure. The cause of death is love of sensual life. Death is a horrible thing to him who is intensely attached to sensual life. Words like cremation, murder, death, corpse, burial, make the sensualist shudder at heart, for he is extremely attached to the body and the objects of the senses. “How to part with the sensual objects?” is his great cause of misery. Pity!

According to vedanta, annihilation of Adviya or ignorance leads to Samadhi. According to Patanjali Rishi, the aspirant attains Samadhi by removing the hold of Prakriti by practice and discipline.

The Vedantin enjoys the eternal bliss and natural easiness of Sahaja Samadhi. He remains as Sakshi or silent witness. He does not make any serious attempt to control the psychic stream or thought-current. He raises the Brahmakara Vritti by meditating on the significance of “Tat Tvam Asi” Mahavakya.

The Samadhi in the Jnani is effortless and spontaneous. Wherever the mind goes, there it experiences Samadhi. He rests in Samadhi always. There is no “In Samadhi” and “Out of Samadhi” for a sage. He enjoys freedom, bliss and peace, in all moments of his life.

Yogic Samadhi is analytical and discriminative. In this Samadhi greater stress is laid upon the discrimination between the Prakriti and the Purusha. In Jnana Samadhi, no discrimination is needed. Brahmakara Vritti, raised by an attempt to become identical with the Supreme Self or Brahma Chintana, destroys Avidya and dies by itself.

No more words. Enough of discussions and heated debates. Retire into a solitary room. Close your eyes. Have deep silent meditation. destroy the Sankalpas, thoughts, whims, fancies and desires when they arise from the surface of the mind.

You are left alone now. You have nothing to see and nothing to hear. There is none to cheer you. You will have to depend on yourself. Do not look backward. Forget the past. Forget the body and the world.

“Gathering his mind, the Yogi should retire to a mountain-cave, a temple or a secluded room. He should not associate with anything through mind, speech and action, for accumulation of and association with things cause misery to Yogis. He should cultivate indifference towards everything. He should be regular about his diet. Worldly gain should cause him no pleasure, nor worldly loss any sorrow. He should look upon one with an equal eye, both who censures him and one who bows before him. Whether good is happening to anybody or evil, he should not reflect. When there is gain he should not be besides himself with joy, nor should he worry when there is loss. He should look upon all beings with an equal eye and should remain unattached like the air. He who thus keeps his mind in health, works for others, cultivates an equal eye towards everything and everybody and lives for six months a regular disciplined life, can realise Brahman and attain Brahmanhood (Nirvikalpa Samadhi) himself.” (Mahabharata – Santi-Parva)

“Humility, unpretentiousness, harmlessness, forgiveness, rectitude, service of the teacher, purity, steadfastness, self-control, dispassion towards the objects of the senses, insight into the pain and evil of birth, death, old age and sickness, unattachment, absence of self-identification with son, wife, or home, and constant balance of mind in wished-for and unwished-for events, unflinching devotion to Me by Yoga, without other objects, resort to sequestered places, absence of enjoyment in the company of men, constancy in the wisdom of the Self, understanding the object of essential wisdom, that is declared to be real wisdom, all else is ignorance.” (Bhagavadgita)