Om Namo Bhagavate Sivanandaya!
Om Namo Bhagavate Chidanandaya!
Om Namo Bhagavate Krishnanandaya!
We have uploaded a book by Guru Maharaj Sri Swami Chidanandaji Maharaj
titled "Ponder These Truths". This book consists of the early morning
meditation talks delivered at Sivananda Ashram. In this book the seeker
will find valuable guidance on the spiritual path as well as inspiration
and motivation to tenaciously stick to ones spiritual disciplines. This
book is at our free books page at:
For this month's discourse we uploaded a letter written by Guru Maharaj
in New York State in August, 1975. The title is "What is Yoga?" In this
letter Guru Maharaj explains the place of Yoga in religion. This letter
Please note that Sri Swami Ramaswarupanandaji has a new e-mail address.
Please send correspondence to Swamiji at the following e-mail address:
Yours in the service of Gurudev,
A WESTERNER ENLIGHTENED: "What is Moksha, Swamiji?" asked a foreign
"Moksha is freedom from bondage. It is happiness, absolute bliss and
immortal life; it is the attainment of Cosmic Consciousness or
Christ-Consciousness," replied the Master.
"Please explain to me what is meant by Cosmic Consciousness."
"It is a state of consciousness in which you are aware that God is all
that there is and more, that He is the link that connects all
individuals. God is the Consciousness that illumines the entire
creation. Realisation of this Consciousness or God liberates one from
bondage to passing phenomena, from the illusion of names and forms. This
is the state of God-realisation or Self-realisation."
"Is there an individuality after the experience of God-realisation?"
"No. The individual soul is completely merged in Cosmic Consciousness.
It is like the river entering into the ocean. It loses its identity and
you can no more distinguish the waters of one river from that of another
after they have entered the ocean. The appearance of the world vanishes
in the Reality of God, just as when a lamp is brought, the snake which
appeared to be, vanishes in the rope that exists."
"Swamiji, please tell us the means of attaining this wonderful state."
"You have the Sadhana stated beautifully in the Sermon on the Mount of
Lord Jesus. Mind is the dividing wall; it is the main obstacle on the
path of Self-realisation. All Sadhanas aim at removing this obstacle.
"There are two aspects of the mind--the lower mind and the higher mind.
The lower mind is full of lust, greed, hatred, anger and jealousy. The
higher mind is free from jealousy, selfishness and other negative
traits, and is full of divine qualities like tolerance, love,
selflessness and renunciation. You should control the lower mind with
the help of the higher mind and then go beyond the mind also. The mind
is nothing but a bundle of past impressions and desires. It can be
controlled by disciplining the senses. This is achieved by the active
cultivation of virtues."
"It is very difficult to cultivate these virtues," put in the foreigner.
"True, but a positive attitude overcomes a negative one. The virtues
will overcome the vices, which are merely negative qualities preventing
the cultivation of virtues. Meditate on the divine virtues and their
glory. Meditate on God, then you will grow in virtue."
"Is meditation so essential, Swamiji?"
"Yes, it is the very basis of Sadhana."
"What is meditation and how to meditate?"
"Meditation is the withdrawal of the rays of the mind scattered over the
various objects, and directing the concentrated beam of its light on the
Self within in order to commune with God. There are two types of
meditation: the first type is with form and the second is meditation on
the formless Absolute. In the beginning an aspirant will always find
that fixing the mind on a form is essential.
"Meditate on the form of Lord Jesus, for instance, and let the mind
dwell upon his divine nature, his great virtues and his splendour. You
will thereby grow in virtue.
"Another method of cultivating virtues is by means of selfless service.
It helps you to achieve marvellous control over the mind and the senses.
It also enables you to snap the bonds of Karma."
"How to free ourselves from Karma, Swamiji?"
"As you perform your daily duties feel that you are only a witness of
all that goes on around you, that you are a witness even of your own
actions. This is called Sakshi Bhav. You should inwardly realise that
you are different from the active principle in you. This is the Vedantic
"There is the other and easier method which is equally potent--the
method of Nimitta Bhav. Feel that the Lord alone is the real doer of all
actions and that you are an instrument in His hands. Your actions will
then be transformed into worship of the Lord and you will not be bound
to them. Work without the expectation of any reward and without egoism.
Root out the idea of agency and feel that you are not the doer. You will
be freed from the shackles of Karma; you will not accumulate new Karma.
Allow the past Karma to work out, then you will attain liberation."
"Swamiji, is it true that man suffers only on account of his own past
Karma? If so, how do you explain the suffering he undergoes on account
of natural calamities like earthquakes, riots, etc.?"
"It is perfectly true that man suffers on account of his own Karma. And
it is the collective past Karma of a number of persons that gathers them
together at a certain place where an earthquake works out this
collective past Karma, and large numbers of people enter the mouth of
Kala at the same time."
"Swamiji, I have often come across this word 'Kala' in the Indian
scriptures. What exactly is meant by it?"
"It is the 'Great Time' personified. It is the destroyer of name and
form. In the Hindu Pantheon there are various gods and goddesses who are
members of the Divine Hierarchy. Just as we have our government here,
composed of various ministers and officers, the celestials who rule this
world too, have their own Deities who control various aspects of the
creation, preservation and destruction of the world.
"Some are in charge of the various elements like air, fire and water;
others are in charge of birth, death, preservation of life and disease.
Kala or Yama or Dharmaraja is the Lord of Death. The entire universe is
under his control in a way, for when the time comes he brings about the
end of the earthly sojourn of all beings. It is only a man of
Self-realisation who transcends this Kala and realises his own Self. All
Sadhana is meant to help us transcend Kala, to conquer death and thus go
"In this quest after Truth, Swamiji, I can understand that great
saviours like Lord Jesus can help us. But it is not always that such
souls are present amidst us. What are we to do, Swamiji?"
"Saints are always present in the world. Rogues are also always present.
Saviours and dacoits are ever present in this world, for it is a world
of dualities. Good and evil are ever present here. Absolute good can be
found only in God. You should get the guidance of saints; only they can
teach you the divine science. Books will certainly help you; they will
put you in tune with the great ones who attained God. When you read the
Bible you are in tune with Lord Jesus. When you read the Gita, you are
in tune with Lord Krishna. This will also help you.
"But just as you cannot learn the art of cooking merely by reading
books, similarly, you cannot learn Yoga from books alone. However, you
should not wait indefinitely for a teacher to turn up. As soon as the
aspiration arises in your heart, you should at once start the practice
with the help of some scriptural text that you like, like the Bible."
"But, Swamiji, I have heard that it is dangerous to engage in Yoga
practices without the aid of an expert Guru."
"There is danger at every moment of your daily life. While going up the
stairs, if you take a wrong step, you are likely to fall and break your
bones; if you are a little absent-minded while crossing a road, you may
be run over by a car. The danger of practising Yoga with the help of
good texts is in no way greater. If you are sincere, if you use your
common sense at every step, you will achieve success. In due course you
will find a competent teacher also."
"Apart from the Guru, Swamiji, do you think that a mediator is necessary
in order to enable us to attain Self-realisation?"
"Yes, yes. That is the tutelary Deity, the Ishta Devata. The mind cannot
rise beyond itself all at once. The ego will seldom cut its own throat.
Your limited consciousness will find it a hard task to realise Cosmic
Consciousness. Therefore the name and form of a Deity is chosen to
meditate upon. In due time this Deity will manifest Itself before you
and do the work of annihilating the ego and the mind, thus enabling you
to realise the state of Cosmic Consciousness."
"What Name shall we choose, Swamiji?"
"Om, This is the Name of the nameless Supreme Being. This is the nearest
approximation of the Truth. It is the Mother of all sounds, names and
forms. It is Sabda Brahman."
"Is it proper during this practice to feel that we are in truth parts of
"Not exactly parts, but God Himself in reality. Remember how Lord Jesus
also declared, 'I and my Father are one'. This is the ultimate
experience, this is the ultimate truth which all the prophets, seers and
sages have proclaimed.
"Lord Jesus, Lord Buddha, Guru Nanak, Kabir and Prophet Mohammed all
delivered the same message in a way suited to the people of the age in
which they lived. They all taught that God is one, Truth is one, and
that man can realise the Truth by controlling the mind and the senses."
"How to control the mind, Swamiji?"
The Master suddenly switched on to a little humour!
"Take sour curd and lie down on your bed, covering yourself with a warm
quilt, and then go to sleep!"
Everyone burst into laughter!
"The method of controlling the mind also has been beautifully given by
all the sages and saints. They said, 'Serve, love, give, purify,
meditate, realise; be good, do good, be kind and compassionate; enquire
about the nature of your true Self.' This is the essence of the
teachings of all sages, prophets and saviours of the world. Follow them
and attain Self-realisation this very moment.
"May God bless you! Come again and stay here for some time."
"If the aspirant takes one step nearer to It, It will come in a hundred
leaps and bounds nearer to him. Such is the nature of the Eternal Being.
For every bit of action that is done for Its sake, you receive a
millionfold in return! This fact is beautifully illustrated in the
workings of Bhagavan Sri Krishna for the good of His devotees." - Swami
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