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Meditation and its Utility in Daily Life With Practical Hints

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    Meditation and its Utility in Daily Life With Practical Hints By Sri Swami Premananda http://www.thedivinelifesociety.org/download/premamedit.htm A DIVINE LIFE
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 3, 2003
      Meditation and its Utility in
      Daily Life With Practical Hints


      Sri Swami Premananda



      First Edition: 1994
      Second Edition: 1996
      Third Edition: 1999
      (2,000 copies)

      World Wide Web (WWW) Edition : 2000

      WWW site: http://www.SivanandaDlshq.org/

      This WWW reprint is for free distribution

      © The Divine Life Trust Society

      Swami Premananda's `Meditation Classes' have become
      very popular and there is a great demand. This booklet
      will help aspirants and seekers.

      Published By
      P.O. Shivanandanagar—249 192
      Distt. Tehri-Garhwal, Uttar Pradesh,
      Himalayas, India.


      Meditation And Its Utility In Daily Life
      Meditation Practice
      I. "Silence Is The Great Revelation"—Lao-Tse
      II. Body Sensations
      III. Deepening Exercise—Body Sensations
      IV. Thought Control
      V. Breathing Sensations
      VI. God In My Breath
      VII. Breath—Communication With God
      VIII. Stillness
      IX. Body Prayer
      X. The Touch of God
      XI. Concentration
      XII. Finding God In All Things
      Individual's Uplift And World Welfare



      Meditation And Its Utility In Daily Life
      Meditation is not for a few but is necessary for all human beings.
      The inner self of a person touches the Higher Self (the Param-Tattwa)
      during deep sleep daily. This unknown touch recharges the battery of
      man. So, when he gets up from his sleep, he feels that he is
      refreshed, full of strength and relaxed. This is a natural process
      for all persons alike. If one could not sleep properly, he feels
      disturbed and is in a sort of weariness. It is the experience of
      every man, whether he is rich or a beggar, a literate or an
      illiterate, an executive or a labourer, a farmer or a business man, a
      housewife or a huckster. So, every man needs peace, strength, ability
      to discharge his duties and for tranquillity of mind. So, a wonderful
      discovery of man is to keep his inner self in touch with the SOURCE
      in a wakeful state for longer periods continuously through specific
      type of systematic practices. This is called the art of meditation.
      And such a person is said to be a YOGI without any
      discretion/distinction of caste, creed, colour and country.

      Dhyanam nirvishayam manah—That state of the mind, wherein there are
      no Vishayas or sensory thoughts, is meditation.

      Whether oriental or occidental, Hinduism or Mohammedanism, Buddhism
      or Jainism, Christianity or Judaism, Shinto-ism or any other `ism',
      the spiritual purpose and meaning is to lead an individual soul to
      the ecstatic communion with the Universal Divinity or ONE TRUTH, the
      SOURCE. A continuous flow of perception of thought is Dhyana—Tatra
      pratyayaikatanata dhyanam. It is the flow of continuous thought of
      one object or God or Atman or Supreme Source—Tailadharavat. According
      to Raja Yoga, meditation is the seventh rung or step in the ladder of
      Yoga. One cannot attain this state unless he knows the art
      of "Concentration". What is concentration?—Desa bandhas-chittasya
      dharana. Concentration is fixing the mind on an external object or an
      internal point continuously, without interruption or break for twelve
      seconds. So, an aspirant has to develop himself in concentration,
      which itself is changed into meditation, if his state of keeping the
      mind focused at one object/point/subject continuously and
      spontaneously for 12x12=144 seconds. It is termed as `Dhyana' in
      Sanskrit scriptures, which comes from the root `Dhi'. In English we
      generally call it `intellect' which is the basic root with different
      derivations in different practices. However, `Buddhi' (reasoning
      faculty) is said to be directly based on this root term; yet this
      term is used liberally by all systems of Yoga, which is central theme
      of all mystic techniques leading one to higher levels of spiritual
      consciousness with profound depths of spiritual expansion and takes
      one to God-realisation or Self-realisation.

      Meditation may be objective, or on qualities or purely subjective or
      one's own breath. In objective meditation the Sadhaka meditates upon
      an idol or picture of his Ishta devata—may be Lord Shiva, Vishnu,
      Rama, Krishna, Christ, Buddha or any other god or goddess. For him,
      the idol is something alive, vibrating with supreme reality,
      omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent. He may meditate upon the
      beautitude, the qualities, the activities of his Ishta-devata. Or he
      may meditate upon the all-pervading pulsating Supreme Energy which is
      within him and without, permeating everywhere. This is subjective
      meditation. Similarly on his breath while inhaling and exhaling with
      MINIMAL SILENCE. All meditations are good; what counts is the
      intensity and unbroken continuity of meditation.

      An aspirant has to rest his soul on the bosom of the Lord, to bathe
      in the bliss of Divine ecstasy, to drown his ego in the ocean of
      eternity, to draw sustenance and strength from the SOURCE to attain
      whatever he is capable of achieving. A Sadhaka should meditate
      regularly, chew and digest what he has learnt, to transform what he
      has learnt into wisdom, to apply that wisdom to solve the problems
      that cross his path daily. Says F.W. Robertson: "It is not the number
      of books you read, nor the variety of sermons you hear, nor the
      amount of religious conversation in which you mix, but it is the
      frequency and earnestness with which you meditate on these things
      till the truth in them becomes your own and part of your being, that
      ensures your growth."

      A sincere spiritual seeker meditates to realise the Ultimate Reality
      to unravel the mystery of life and death, to understand in the bottom
      of his heart, what is Truth. Once he knows Truth, he knows the
      Ultimate Reality, he becomes That, and there is nothing more to know.
      A person who has realised Brahman, becomes Brahman, and lives in
      Brahman. Knowing is being. That is the highest state.

      India has been fortunate to have produced many saints and seers who
      had realised the Truth and for more or less time lived in a state of
      Divine Ecstasy. Even during the past hundred years people have
      witnessed such saints like Paramahamsa Ramakrishna, Swami
      Vivekananda, Swami Ramatirtha, Sri Aurobindo, Ramana Maharshi, Swami
      Ramdas, Swami Sivananda and several others of world fame. Ramakrishna
      would while talking relapse into Samadhi and often prayed to his
      Divine Mother not to draw him frequently into Her Bosom so that he
      can converse with his disciple, particularly his darling Naren later
      known to the world as Swami Vivekananda so that he could prepare a
      band of workers to spread his message, the holy message of India.
      Swami Ramatirtha was often seen in a state of ecstasy during last
      seven years of life in India and United States. Swami Sivananda was
      another who would often sing and dance or be just be quiet in divine
      ecstasy. There have been more in India and quite a few messengers of
      God in other parts of the world.

      Meditation and concentration are often treated as synonymous.
      However, I have drawn earlier a distinct line between concentration
      and meditation. In further explanation when one brings to bear all
      his thought waves on a single point or spot like a laser beam where
      the scattered rays of light are concentrated, it is concentration.
      Every body needs concentration to understand, assimilate and apply
      any information, any knowledge. When the concentration is prolonged
      for 144 seconds, it is called meditation and when extended to 144
      multiplied by 144 i.e. 20736 seconds = 345.6 minutes, it is said to
      reach the state of Samadhi. According to Ashtanga Yoga comprising two
      main parts of Hatha Yoga—Yama, Niyama, Asana and Pranayama covers the
      first one, whereas Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi, is the
      second part. There is no equivalent word in English language for
      Samadhi. Concentration is the sixth, Meditation the seventh and
      Samadhi the eighth and last stage of Yoga when the Sadhaka is united
      with the Supreme Being. It shows that concentration leads to
      Meditation, similarly prolonged constant meditation leads to Samadhi.
      In other Yogas Manana, Nididhyasana, Upasana, Chintana, Dhyana—these
      terms are used in different Yogas with subtle differences in their
      techniques. Manana is a sort of reflection. It is just to chew the
      cud slowly and nicely. It is done through into intense practice of
      Manana. Chintana is also a sort of reflection and meditation to
      assimilate the thoughts in consciousness for proper and significant
      impression with profound understanding. Intense meditation on the
      Self or Brahman or ANY SPIRITUAL ILLUMINED PERSONALITY is termed
      as `Nididhyasana'. As Saint Francis of Assisi did. `Upasana' stands
      for devout meditation which is being used in both i.e., Jnana Yoga
      Sadhana and Bhakti Yoga. Upasana means `sitting near by'. In Jnana
      Yoga Sadhana the seeker has to sit near the Self or Brahman; whereas
      in Bhakti Yoga a devotee has to sit by the side of God.

      A keen and true regular practitioner (Sadhaka) will attain quick and
      sure results, when he proceeds properly stage by stage under the
      guidance of his GURU or master. The first four parts are meant to
      purify the mind and keep the body strong and fit to receive and
      retain the power of the DIVINE. Many moderns, however, equate Yoga
      with the practice of few asanas and pranayamas. This is not
      sufficient for spiritual uplift. Yet, it is better to practise asanas
      and pranayamas for health's sake than not to do anything at all. But
      Yoga is really first to withdraw one's mind from the objects of
      senses (pratyahara), practice concentration, prolong the period of
      concentration under proper guidance to reach the stage of meditation
      and finally become one, unite (Yoga to join to unite) with the
      Supreme Reality, the TRUTH.

      Thus meditation is not meant merely for the recluse, the ascetic, the
      renouncer. It is of utmost important in man's day-to-day life. It is
      of immense help to a student, a youth, an old man. A man who can
      meditate will become a better manager, a better businessman, a better
      executive and, above all, a better man. Conversely, if a person
      cannot meditate, he will lack composition, courage and confidence to
      achieve his goal. Nowadays, several medical doctors and psychologists
      advise to their patients suffering from nervousness, unusual
      irritation, disordered mind, fear and inferiority complex and lack of
      self-confidence to meditate in a specific manner along with the
      medical treatment. So, the meditation is very necessary these days
      when man leads a life of tension and complexity.

      Every morning and evening, preferably at dawn and dusk, sit down in a
      comfortable posture with your backbone straight, relax each and every
      limb of your body, and then your mind, and sit unmoved, in the same
      pose, as long as you can. It is always better to invoke your Guru
      (master) and Ishta Devata first, when you sit for meditation for
      their blessings and guidance and gratefully thank them again when you
      finish the meditation. Gradually, increase the time of your
      meditation. It is easier to relax your limbs of the body but not so
      easy to relax your mind. This process of relaxation, stillness and
      body awareness will automatically reduce the speed of your breathing,
      which, in turn, will help in meditation. So many thoughts will cross
      your mind now and then. They may even disturb you. Do not be afraid.
      Try to remain calm and watch them with equanimity. Let them come, let
      them go. Do not fight to free your mind from thought waves. Try to be
      indifferent to them. But do not observe these thoughts with
      equanimous mind. Gradually, automatically the flitting of thoughts
      across the canvas of your mind will diminish. After sometime—sooner
      than later—you will be absorbed in your Ishta-Devata if your
      meditation is objective, or in your Being, if your meditation is
      subjective. Once, you get the taste of it, believe me, you will like
      to taste it more and more and more.

      May God Almighty and All-merciful and the Most Revered Gurudev, help
      you, THEY WILL.


      Meditation Practice
      I. "Silence Is The Great Revelation"—Lao-Tse
      1. Scripture as the revelation of God.

      2. Discover the revelation that silence brings.

      3. Silence offers, one must attain silence. It is NOT EASY.

      Comfortable Posture. Close eyes for 10 minutes. Observe total silence
      of Heart and Mind. Describe `Silence' in terms of your attempts.
      Experience may infinitely be varied. You have to still the constant
      wandering of your mind. To quiet and emotional turmoil. On
      approaching frontiers of silence there may be PANIC and WITHDRAWAL.
      You may have frightening experience. NO REASON TO BE DISCOURAGED.
      Wandering thoughts are a great revelation. Take time to EXPERIENCE
      this wandering mind and TYPE of wandering it indulges. SOMETHING
      ENCOURAGING—awareness of mental wandering, inner turmoil and
      inability to be still shows that you have small degree of silence
      within you. AGAIN close your eyes, become aware of wandering mind for
      two minutes. Now sense the silence that makes it possible to be aware
      of wanderings of your mind.

      MINIMAL SILENCE—as it grows, it reveals more and more rather it
      reveals yourself to you. You will have ATTAINMENTS—like WISDOM,
      SERENITY, BLISS, GOD, PRECAUTION: you shall have no talk and no
      discussion. Inhale and exhale deep and slow breathing throughout.
      Again close your eyes for five minutes. SEEK SILENCE. Now see your
      success—whether more or less. Don't seek ANYTHING SENSATIONAL. In
      fact, do not seek at all.

      Limit yourself to observing. Take in everything that comes to your
      awareness whether big, small, trite or ordinary. CONTENT of awareness
      is less important than the quality of awareness. As quality improves,
      so silence deepens, you will experience. You will discover, to your
      delight, that revelation is not knowledge. It is power: a mysterious
      power that brings transformation.

      II. Body Sensations
      One must become aware of certain body sensations of which one is
      explicitly not aware. To go around by yourself to become conscious of
      your toes, your feet, your legs, your knees, your thighs, your
      buttocks, your waist, your stomach, your chest, your shoulders, your
      fingers (starting from the tips), your forearms, your elbow, your
      arms, your full back, then again your shoulders, your neck, your
      chin, your lips, your nose, your cheeks, your ears, your eyes, your
      forehead, your head, upper side of your head and backside of your
      head. Do not dwell for more than two or three seconds on each part of
      your body. REPEAT it again and again for five minutes. This act of
      yours brings a sense of relaxedness. BIGGEST ENEMIES: Nervous
      tension, living too much in head i.e., to remain conscious of the
      thinking and imagination and to remain conscious far too little of
      the activities of the senses. It is a must to remain in the PRESENT
      and not in past and future. One must master this technique of sense
      awareness. One must learn to get out of the area of thinking and
      imagination and move into the area from Head to Heart i.e., feeling,
      sensing, loving and intuiting where contemplation takes birth, prayer
      becomes transforming power and a source of delight and peace. A few
      of you may feel an increase in Tension. Note what part of your body
      is tense and see exactly what the tension feels like. Become aware of
      the fact you are tensing and note exactly how you are doing this.
      Note means not to reflect but to feel and sense. You pick up no
      sensation. Why? Your sensibility has been dead from so much living in
      head. Our skin is covered with trillions (3 Powers of a million) of
      bio-chemical reactions—that we call sensations and you are finding it
      hard to pick up even a few of them? You have hardened yourself not to
      feel may be due to some emotional hurt or conflict that you have long
      since forgotten. And your perception, your awareness, power of
      concentration and attention are still gross and underdeveloped. It is
      as a means for attaining relaxation and stillness. GET IN TOUCH WITH
      SENSATIONS AGAIN AND AGAIN without naming limbs and organs as you
      sense. If you notice an urge to move or to shift your posture or
      position—do not give into it. Do continue this exercise for a few
      minutes. You will gradually feel a certain stillness in your body. Go
      on with your AWARENESS exercise and leave taking care of stillness.
      If you are distracted, get back to awareness of body sensations,
      moving from one to another, until your body becomes still once again,
      your mind quietens, you are able to sense again stillness that brings
      peace and a foretaste of contemplation and of God. HOWEVER, DO NOT
      explicitly rest in the stillness. Because resting in it can be
      relaxing and even delightful. BUT in it there is DANGER of mild
      trance or mental blankness which is not good for contemplation. It is
      like a sort of self-hypnosis that has nothing to do either with the
      sharpening of awareness or with contemplation. IMPORTANT: DO NOT
      DELIBERATELY seek stillness or silence within you and not EXPLICITLY
      REST in it when it occurs. BUT SEEK SHARPENING OF AWARENESS. In
      moments, stillness becomes so powerful that all exercise and all your
      efforts become impossible. Then it is no longer you who go in quest
      of stillness. But stillness takes possession of you. THEN you may
      safely, and profitably, let go of all effort and surrender to this
      overpowering stillness within you.

      III. Deepening Exercise—Body Sensations
      The body sensations exercise is so simple, in fact, as to prove
      disillusioning. To advance in it, you have to preserve in simplicity.
      Resist temptation to seek novelty, but try to seek DEPTH. You have to
      practise second exercise over a long period of time. You may ask for
      benefits. Don't ask. Do what you are asked to and you will discover
      yourself. TRUTH is found less in words and explanations than in
      action and experience. So get to work, with faith and perseverance.
      Close your eyes. Repeat previous exercise of body sensations for five
      to ten minutes.

      At the beginning you may not feel. Continue previous exercise, then
      enter in this area. Be aware of the type of sensations that emerge;
      itching, pricking, burning, pulling, vibrating, throbbing,
      numbness....... If your mind wanders, bring it patiently back to

      IV. Thought Control
      By doing previous awareness exercises, your mind may be distracted.
      To deal with such situation, you shall keep your eyes half closed—
      resting on an object or one spot three feet ahead of you. You are not
      to focus on the object/spot. By doing this, you may have trouble with
      your wandering mind. No cause for alarm. You practise control over
      your wandering mind with patience and perseverance. Gradually you
      will succeed.

      To deal with distraction of mind you may follow any of the two ways:

      a) You have to follow your thoughts as a puppy in the streets follows
      any pair of legs it finds in motion. It does not care for the
      direction where they are moving. After some seconds, you shall make
      yourself aware that you are thinking. You may say to yourself
      interiorly that I am thinking ......... thinking ...... thinking. By
      this you will be aware that thinking process is going on.

      b) The other way to overcome distraction is to observe your thoughts
      as a man stationed at his window watching passers by on the street.
      After doing this for a while, you shall keep yourself aware that you
      are thinking .... thinking .... thinking .... You may do any of the
      above two exercises for not more than five minutes. Thinking tends to
      stop by making yourself aware of it. A distraction charged with
      strong emotion: love, fear, resentment, sorrow—will not easily yield
      to this exercise. Other exercises discussed hereinafter shall help
      you in that.

      V. Breathing Sensations
      (Become aware of sensations in various parts of your body)

      Become aware of the air as it comes in and goes out through your
      nostrils. Do not concentrate on the air as it enters in lungs, but
      limit awareness to nostrils breath. Do not control your breathing.
      Don't attempt to deepen it. It is not breathing exercise, but
      breathing awareness. Whenever you are distracted, return with vigour
      to your task to enable you to make you aware of each breath. Continue
      this exercise for ten to fifteen minutes. This exercise may be
      difficult for some of you in comparison to previous exercises; but it
      is most rewarding in sharpening awareness, bringing calmness and
      relaxation. HOWEVER, in attempting breathing awareness DO NOT tense
      your muscles. Determination must not be confounded with nervous
      tension. You may be distracted at the beginning but you must keep
      returning again and again to the awareness of your breathing the mere
      effort involved in doing this—will bring beneficial effects that you
      will gradually notice.

      After developing some proficiency in this exercise move on to
      somewhat difficult and more effective variant:

      a) Become aware of the sensation of the air passing through your
      nostrils. Feel its touch—in which part of the nostrils you feel the
      touch of the air while inhaling .... and in what part of the nostrils
      you feel the touch of the air while exhaling .......

      b) Become aware of the warmth or coldness of the air .... its
      coldness when it comes in, and its warmth when it goes out.

      c) Also be aware of quantity of air that passes through one nostril
      is greater than the amount that passes through other .....

      d) Be sensitive and alert to the slightest, lightest touch while
      inhaling and exhaling .... STAY with this awareness for ten to
      fifteen minutes. In case you put in more time, you will get better
      results. But DO NOT stay on breathing awareness alone for many hours
      over a period of more than two or three days. Although this exercise
      brings you great peace and a sense of depth and fullness that
      delights you but prolonged concentration on breathing is likely to
      produce hallucinations or to draw out material from the unconscious
      that you may not be able to control.


      Prayer means a communication with God that is carried on mainly
      through the use of words and images and thoughts. Contemplation means
      a communication with God that makes a minimal use of words, images
      and concepts altogether. The exercise of awareness of body sensations
      or breathing can be termed as communication with God. Many mystics
      tell us that, in addition to the mind and heart with which we
      ordinarily communicate with God, we are endowed with a mystical mind
      and mystical heart, a faculty which makes it possible for us to know
      God directly, to grasp and INTUIT Him in His very being—apart from
      all thoughts, concepts and images.

      Ordinarily all our contact with God is indirect—through images and
      concepts. To be able to grasp Him beyond these thoughts and images is
      the privilege of this faculty—a mystical heart. In most of us this
      Heart lies dormant and undeveloped. If it is awakened, it would be
      straining towards God and, given a chance, would impel the whole of
      our being towards Him. Hence, it needs to be developed, it needs to
      have the dross that surrounds it removed so that it can be attracted
      towards the ETERNAL MAGNET. To be near or discover Eternal Magnet,
      one is to find means of silencing the mind. And to silence the mind
      is an extremely difficult task. How hard it is to keep the mind away
      from thinking, which is producing thoughts in a never-ending stream.
      But it is also said that one thorn is removed by another. So you can
      be wise to use one thought to rid yourself of all the other thoughts
      that crowd into your mind. One thought, one image, one phrase or
      sentence or word that your mind can be made to fasten on. For to
      consciously attempt to keep the mind in a thoughtless state, in a
      void, is to attempt the impossible. The mind must have something to
      occupy it. The seemingly disconcerting conclusion is that
      concentration on your breathing or body sensations is very good
      contemplation. The awareness exercises lead to a deepening of the
      prayer experiences. Now is the time to expose yourself to the Divine
      Sun in SILENCE.

      VI. God In My Breath
      With closed eyes practise the awareness of body sensations for a
      while. Then come to the awareness of your breathing as done before
      and stay with this awareness for a few minutes .... Reflect now that
      this air that you are breathing is charged with the Power and the
      PRESENCE of God. Think of the air as of an Immense OCEAN that
      surrounds you .... an ocean heavily coloured with God's presence and
      God's being .... While you draw the air into your lungs you are
      drawing God in .... Be aware that you are drawing in the Power and
      Presence of God each time you breathe in... Stay in this awareness as
      long as you can... Notice what you feel when you become conscious
      that you are drawing God in with each breath you take ......


      1. While you breathe in, be conscious of God's Spirit coming into you
      Fill your lungs with the divine energy he brings with Him ....

      2. While you breathe out, imagine you are breathing out all your
      impurities .... your fears .... your negative feelings .... Your
      shortcomings and weaknesses.

      3. Imagine you see your whole body becoming radiant and alive through
      this process of breathing in God's life-giving Spirit and breathing
      out all your impurities ......

      Stay with this awareness as long as you can without distractions.

      VII. Breath—Communication With God
      Devotional Prayer may here be called as `PRAYER';
      whereas `Intuitional Prayer' may coincide roughly with CONTEMPLATION.
      Both type of prayers lead to union with God. Such of them is more
      suited to some Sadhakas than to others. According to time and need
      suitability of these Prayers may change.

      Any Prayer that limits itself to the thinking mind alone is not
      prayer really but! at best, a preparation for prayer. Even among
      Sadhakas there is no genuine personal communication that isn't at
      least in some small degree heart communication, that does not contain
      some small degree of emotion in it. If a communication, a sharing of
      thoughts, is entirely and totally devoid of all emotion you can be
      sure the intimate, personal dimension is lacking.

      Here are some variations of the previous exercise more devotional
      than intuitional. As the thought content in prayer is minimal—it will
      easily move from the devotional to the intuitional, from the heart to
      the heart.

      Become aware of your breathing for a while. Now REFLECT presence of
      God in the atmosphere all around you.... Reflect His presence in the
      air you are breathing—BE CONSCIOUS OF HIS PRESENCE.... Notice what
      you feel, when you become conscious of His presence in the air you
      are breathing in and out....

      Now express yourself to God non-verbally. Frequently, express a
      sentiment through a look on a gesture .... Then again by breathing.
      Express first of all, a great yearning for Him without using words,
      even mentally, say to Him, "MY LORD, I long for You ...." Just by the
      way breathe. You may express this by breathing in deeply, by
      deepening your inhalation.

      Now express another attitude or sentiment: ONE OF TRUST AND SURRENDER—
      NO words—just through breath, "My LORD, I surrender myself entirely
      to you ...." You may do this by emphasising your exhalation, by
      breathing out each time as if you were sighing deeply. Each time you
      breathe out feel yourself letting the whole of yourself go in God's

      Then, after sometime, take up other attitudes before your LORD and
      express these through your breathing such as: LOVE.... CLOSENESS....
      and INTIMACY ADORATION.......... GRATITUDE.......... PRAISE.... if
      you are tired of doing this, return to the beginning of this exercise
      and just rest peacefully in the awareness of God all around you and
      in the air you are breathing in and out.... Then, if you tend to get
      distracted, fall back on second part of the exercise and express
      yourself to God non-verbally once more.

      VIII. Stillness
      Modern man is unfortunately plagued by a nervous tension that makes
      it almost impossible for him to be quiet. If he actually wants to
      learn to pray he must first learn to be still, to quieten himself. In
      fact, this very quietness and stillness frequently becomes prayer
      when God manifests Himself in the form of STILLNESS.

      Repeat the exercise of becoming aware of sensations in your body—
      whole body. This time start with the top of your head and end it with
      the tips of your toes, omitting no part of the body. Beware of every
      sensation in each part.... You may find some parts of your body
      completely devoid of sensation.... Dwell on these for a few seconds—
      if no sensation emerges, move on......

      As you become more proficient in this exercise you will, hopefully,
      sharpen your awareness to the extent that there will be no part of
      your body in which you do not feel several sensations.... For the
      time being you must be content to dwell briefly on the blanks and
      move on to the parts where you feel more sensations—Move slowly from
      head to foot.... then once again, from head to foot..... and so on
      for some fifteen minutes. As your awareness sharpens you will pick up
      sensations that you hadn't noticed before.... you may also pick up
      sensations that are extremely subtle, too subtle to be perceived by
      any but a man of deep as a whole. Feel the whole of your body as one
      mass of concentration and deep peace. Now become aware of yours body
      as a whole. Feel the whole of your body as one mass of various types
      of sensations.... Stay with this for a while, then return to the
      awareness by parts, moving from head to foot.... then, once again,
      rest in the awareness of your body as a whole......

      Notice now the deep stillness that has come over you. Notice the
      complete stillness of your body.... Do Not, however, rest in the
      stillness to the extent of losing awareness of your body.... If you
      are getting distracted, give yourself the occupation of moving once
      again from head to foot, becoming aware of sensations in each part of
      your body. Then, once again, notice the stillness in your body. If
      you are practising this in a group, then at occasions, notice the
      stillness in the whole room.

      It is very important that you do NOT move any part of your body while
      doing this Sadhana. This will be difficult at first, but each time
      feel the urge to move, or scratch, or fidget, become aware of this as
      sharply as you can.... Don't give in to it.... It will gradually go
      away and you will become still once more........

      It is extremely painful for most people to stay still. Even
      physically painful and you become physically tense, spend all the
      time you need becoming aware of the tension.... where you feel it,
      what it feels like.... and stay with it till the tension disappears.

      You may feel physical pain, rather severe pain. No matter how
      comfortable the position or posture you have adopted, your body is
      likely to protest against the stillness by developing aches and pains
      in various parts. When this happens, a serious Sadhaka MUST RESIST
      the temptation to move limbs or read just posture so as to ease the
      pain. Just become keenly aware of the pain.

      Your awareness may wholly be absorbed by the acute pain. You may
      start sweating, may be profusely. Your mind may think that you are
      going to faint with pain; at such moment firmly decide Not to fight
      it, Not to run away from it, Not to desire to alleviate it, but to
      become aware of it, to identify with it. Then you may see that the
      pain sensation is broken into its component parts and you may be
      surprised to discover that it is composed of many sensations viz.,
      intense burning sensation a pulling and tugging, a sharp, shooting
      sensation which may merge every now and then.... and a point which
      may keep moving from one place to another.... This point you may
      identify as pain.... As you will keep up this exercise, you shall
      find that you are bearing the pain quite well—i.e., pain without

      Every Sadhaka has to experience some types of pains, as indicated
      above, until his body becomes accustomed to remaining perfectly
      still. Deal with the pain through awareness. When your body finally
      does become still, you will have a rich reward in the QUIET BLISS
      that this stillness will bring you. The temptation to scratch is
      another frequent temptation with beginners. This is because, as their
      awareness of their body sensations sharpens, they become aware of
      itching and pricking sensations that were there all along but were
      hidden to awareness because of the psycho-physical hardening that
      most of us submit our bodies to and because of the grossness of their
      awareness. A Sadhaka must resist such temptations during awareness

      IX. Body Prayer
      (A devotional variant of the body sensation)

      First quieten yourself through the awareness of sensations in various
      parts of your body.... Sharpen your awareness by picking up even the
      subtlest sensations, Not just the gross and evident ones.... Keep
      your hands on knees. Now very gently move your hands and fingers so
      that your hands come to rest on your lap, palms facing upwards,
      fingers joined together.... The movement must be very, very slow....
      like the opening of the petals of a flower.... And while the movement
      is going on BE AWARE OF each part of it.

      Once your hands are resting on your lap, palms facing upwards, become
      aware of the sensations in palms.... Then become aware of the gesture
      itself, this is a gesture of prayer to God.... What meaning does this
      gesture have for you? What are you saying to God through it? Say
      without words, merely identifying with the gesture... It may give you
      some taste of the kind of prayer you can make with your body....

      When you pray with your body you give power and body to your prayer.
      People fail to attend to their body in prayer; they fail to take
      their bodies along with them into the holy temple of God. When they
      themselves visit temples or places of worship, they stand or sit in
      the presence of God, but they are carelessly slouched in their seat
      or standing in a very slovenly fashion.... They are still not gripped
      by the living presence of the Lord. Therefore, a devotee of the Lord
      should try to understand the meaning and purpose of `Body Prayer'.
      The `gestures' suggested are merely samples. A `devotee' may invent
      his own gestures to express
      his `Love', `Praise', `Adoration', `Surrender', `Gratitude'....

      Close your eyes. Quieten yourself through one of your awareness
      exercises. FEEL you are in the presence of God in a very devout way,
      hands devoutly joined in front of you, slowly raise your face upwards
      towards God.... Let your eyes continue to be closed.... What are you
      saying to God through your upturned face? Stay with that sentiment or
      communication for a few moments.... Then become as fully aware as
      possible of the position of your face.... of the sensations on your
      face.... After a few moments ask yourself once again what you are
      expressing to God through your upturned face and stay with that for a

      X. The Touch of God
      This is a devotional variant to the exercises on body sensations that
      you will find helpful if you have reservations about calling the body
      sensation exercises true prayer or contemplation. Repeat one of the
      body sensation exercises. Take some time to experience as many and as
      subtle sensations as you can in various parts of your body......

      Now make the REFLECTION: Every sensation I feel, no matter how light
      and subtle is the result of a bio-chemical reaction that could not
      exist except for God's Almighty Power.... FEEL God's power at work in
      the production of every single sensation.... Feel HIM touching you in
      each of those sensations that HE is producing.... Feel the touch of
      God in different parts of your body: rough, smooth, pleasurable,

      The experience of God need not be something sensational or out of the
      ordinary, unless your devotion and Divine Love is developed. There
      is, no doubt, an experience of God that is different from the
      ordinary run of experiences that we are accustomed to: there is the
      deep silence that I spoke of earlier, the glowing darkness, the
      emptiness that brings fulfilment.

      There are sudden, unaccountable flashes of Eternity or of the
      infinite that comes to us when we least expect them, in the midst of
      our work. One needs to do so little, really, to experience God. All
      one needs to do is quieten oneself, become still—and become aware of
      the feel of your hand. Beware of the sensations in your hand....
      There you have God, living and working in you, touching you,
      intensely near you.... Feel HIM.... Experience HIM. Most of the
      devotees look upon an experience like this as far too pedestrian.
      Surely there is more to the experience of God than just the simple
      feel of the sensations of one's right hand. This needs a long
      explanation to know the reality—Yet, you are assured that these
      simple and humble exercises shall help you a lot to march towards
      that reality.

      We forget all too easily that one of the big lessons of incarnations
      is that God is found in the ordinary also. Do you wish to see God?
      Look at the fact next to you. You want to hear him? Listen to the cry
      of a baby, the loud laughter of a simple party, the wind rustling in
      the trees. Or just quieten yourself, become aware of the sensations
      in your body, sense HIS ALMIGHTY POWER at work in you and feel how
      near He is to you.

      XI. Concentration
      (This is an exercise in pure awareness)

      Choose one sense object for a basic object of attention. It is
      suggested that you choose either the sensations in one part of your
      body of your breathing or the sounds around you.

      Focus your attention on this object, but do so in such a way that if
      your attention shifts to something else you are immediately aware of
      the shift.

      Let us suppose you have chosen for your basic object of attention
      your breathing. Well, then, concentrate on your breathing.... It is
      quite likely that after a while your attention will move to something
      else—a thought, a sound, a feeling.... Now provided you are aware of
      this shift of attention to something else, this shift is not to be
      counted as a distraction. It is important, however, that you be aware
      of the shift while the shift is taking place or immediately after it
      has taken place. Count it a distraction only if you become aware of
      the shift long after it has taken place.

      Suppose you choose breathing as your basic object of attention. Then
      your exercise will possibly go something like this:—

      "I am breathing.... I am breathing.... Now I am thinking....
      thinking.... thinking.... Now I am listening to a sound....
      listening.... listening.... Now I am irritated.... irritated. Now I
      feel bored.... bored.... bored...."

      In this exercise, the wandering of the mind is not considered a
      distraction provided you are aware that your attention is shifting to
      some other object.... Once you have become aware of this shift, stay
      with the new object (thinking, listening, feeling....) for a while,
      then return to the basic object of your attention (breathing)....
      your skill in self-awareness may become so great that you will not
      only become aware of the shift of your attention on to some object,
      but even of the desire to shift, the impulse in you to shift on to
      something else. As when you want to move your hand you will first
      become conscious of the desire arising within you to move the hand,
      your consent to this desire, your carrying out of this desire, the
      very first stirring of your hand.... All of which activities are
      performed in an infinitesimal fraction of a second and so we find it
      impossible to distinguish one from the other until the silence and
      stillness within us has become almost total and our awareness has
      acquired razor edge sharpness. Self-awareness is a powerful means for
      increasing in love of God and of neighbour. The self-awareness
      heightens the love. The love, when it is genuine, fosters deeper self-

      Do not go in search of abstruse means for developing your self-
      awareness. Begin with humble things like the awareness of the feel of
      your body or awareness of the things around you and then more on to
      exercises like the ones which are suggested here and it won't be long
      before you notice the fruits of peacefulness and love that heightened
      self-awareness brings with it.

      XII. Finding God In All Things
      (This is a recapitulation of most of the previous exercises)

      Do any of the awareness exercises that have preceded. Take your body
      sensation, for instance, as the focus of your attention.... Observe
      not only the sensations that yield themselves readily to your
      awareness, the grosser sensations but also the subtler ones.... If
      possible, do not give the sensations any names (burning, numbness,
      pricking, itching, cold.... ). Just feel the sensations without
      putting a label on to them....

      Do the same with sounds.... Capture as many of them as possible....
      Do not try to identify the source of the sounds. Listen to the sounds
      without putting a label on to them.

      As you proceed with this exercise you will notice a great
      peacefulness coming upon you, a deep silence.... Now become aware,
      briefly, of this peacefulness and silence......

      Feel how good it is to be here now. To have nothing to do. To just
      be. Be.

      For those who are more devotionally inclined. Do the previous
      exercise until you sense the peacefulness that comes with it....

      Become aware, for a brief while, of that peacefulness and silence....

      Now express yourself to God non-verbally. Imagine that you are dumb
      and you can only communicate with your eyes and your breathing. Say
      to the Lord, non-verbally, "Lord, it is good to be here with you."
      Or, do not communicate with the Lord at all. Just rest in His

      Also, for the devotionally inclined, a rudimentary exercise in
      finding God in all things.

      Return to the world of the senses.... Become as keenly aware as
      possible of the air you breathe.... of the sounds around you.... of
      the sensations you feel in your body.... Sense God in the air, the
      sounds, the sensations. Rest in this whole world of the senses. Rest
      in God.... Surrender to this whole world of the senses (sounds,
      tactile sensations, colours....) ......

      ...... Surrender to God ......


      Individual's Uplift And World Welfare
      The Divine Life ideal offers a panacea for all the social and
      political ills of the modern world. The three fundamentals of Divine
      Life—Serve, Love, Give—are the pillars upon which an individual can
      stand and uplift himself and the brotherhood of man can be built.
      Thus the life in this world can become more fearless and happy as
      well as purposeful.

      If one tries to observe people, one may see there three types of
      persons—extroverts, introverts and ambiverts. Extroverts are persons
      whose mind always goes outwards. They become slaves of their senses.
      They are after money, pleasure and passion, position and power,
      honour and acclaim. They are bound with the conditions and
      circumstances and the circumference of life. Naturally, their pursuit
      is of the outer and they forget the purpose and destination of human

      Introverts are those persons who are reflective and contemplative and
      long to study their inner realm, the inner universe hidden within.
      Goethe called it as "Man's inner universe". They renounce pleasure
      and position, keeping themselves aloof—away from acclaim and honour.
      The charm of the world is such that one may find only a few who are
      introverts. Ambivert is a person who does not cut himself from the
      outer, but lives in the `inner' and makes the outer a vehicle of the
      inner. He dedicates his life in selfless service of humanity and
      places his life as an offering at the altar of the Great Creator of
      the universe the Lord. Such a person realises the sanctity of
      service, seeking nothing for himself, keeping ablaze the Divinity
      within. They are the embodiments of humility and compassion and love
      pure and simple at heart. But without becoming introvert it is not
      possible for anyone to become ambivert. And such a person is called
      sadhaka in its real perspective. In fact, man is an inborn sadhaka,
      but fails to recognise the same due to misconceptions,
      misunderstandings, arrogance and vanity.

      Holistic View

      "There is a common tendency to isolate spiritual principles from
      politics, especially in these days of great intellectual power.
      Dreamers and visionaries are often brushed aside as people with their
      heads in the clouds", out of touch with stark realities. In so many
      ways man has become wedded to the doctrine of self-salvation, self-
      achievement and self-dependence that in the resultant excitement of
      great material achievements he is in danger of forgetting the eternal
      truths upon which this entire universe exists and its future heritage

      The bad habit of complaining against others, the conditions and
      slackness in sincere attempts, and a lack of love for himself and
      humanity—and man becomes a prey of vanity which subsists on false
      values. Man generally thinks falsely that he is unblemished and
      superior to others and that others are blemished and inferior. The
      inevitable consequence is that he gets a perverted vision and loses
      the capacity for seeing and accepting Truth. If a man develops an
      attitude of selfishness, he is liable to poison every good sight and
      tie. But, if his attitude becomes one of helpfulness and
      understanding, he shall beautify every tie—foes will turn into
      friends, problems will have their solutions and man will have his
      salvation. Unfortunately, man thinks his gain in the loss of others,
      his progress in another's downfall and his happiness in another's
      unhappiness. It is a tremendous mistake and a dangerous trend born
      out of indiscrimination and selfishness.

      The inspired visions of saints, mystics and leaders in the religious
      education, social, economic and artistic scene of every country have
      truly reflected the true aspirations of the people. From these
      visions was born the practical reality of everything which is
      recognised to be good in their way of life. And of course, everything
      that is discordant or bad is the outward result of individual and
      collective negative or evil thinking or beliefs.

      One of the greatest saints of the present day Sri Swami Sivanandaji
      Maharaj has placed before the world the `Divine Life' gospel for the
      uplift of the individual and attainment of divinity in the end which
      can be summed up in six succinct words, "Serve, Love. Give, Purify,
      Meditate, Realise."

      The physical frame of a man owes much to the world because it is made
      of the same five elements of which this world is composed. One has,
      therefore, to serve one and all without any distinction whatsoever
      and without any expectation of return or reward so that he may clear
      out his debt towards the world. One must properly understand that the
      acquired wealth and power are not his own but are the `trust' of the
      poor and weak. In the right use of things lies the key which consists
      in the service of others. Service and sacrifice, hence, are the acme
      of duty and dutifulness. When a duty is performed as a duty for
      duty's sake, it becomes the source of salvation and not the bondage
      of attachment. But he should not have the idea of doership. Hence the
      service and performance of duty with a feeling of responsibility and
      pure heart without expectations, which is prompted by an inner sense
      of fellowship and unity, reduces attachment and destroys the sense of
      doership and thus liberates the man.

      Love is light, life, eternity. There is nothing else to achieve in
      this world but love. In love consists the perfection of human life.
      All impurities are rooted in the craving for the pleasure of the
      senses, but love is not there. Love is the nature of the beloved and
      the life of the lover. One must know that faith and Love go together,
      because in the sense of unity resides Love and in the ending of
      desire is the dawn of Love. Man has sincerely to understand that the
      outer form of action warranted by a given situation generally makes
      little difference to the Love and sympathy in one's inner attitude.
      The man has to learn a great lesson that he has to love even a
      sinner, while hating the sin. A man, who is an inborn sadhaka, must
      learn the lesson of forgiveness even without asking for the same from
      the person who has done something wrong. Thus only the impurities of
      man's mind can be washed off. Of course, it requires great moral
      strength to seek forgiveness for one's own past wrong actions. Only
      one who is truly repentant and who has realised that any satisfaction
      of the senses derived from evil propensities is bound to reap a
      harvest of evil and sorrow.

      Man should not be confounded with a seeming contradiction between
      forgiveness and justice. Man's sense of justice is distorted, on
      account of the limitations of his ego, his reactions are perverted.
      Strictly speaking, in one sense, man can do justice only to himself
      because he can understand his own mind and not of others. As a man
      and as a sadhaka one should, therefore, refrain from judging others;
      and also one should be forgiving others in so far one feels wronged
      by others. When the mind is devoid of hate, a long step is taken by
      man towards recovery. Love is the tremendous curative force for an
      individual and for the society. So the great Master emphasised
      greatly this love factor and preached in practice—Love all, hate
      none. God is in all, do not hurt Him.

      The urge to give happiness to others helps man to destroy his own
      craving for pleasure. The desire for pleasure is the cause of
      frustration; giving and sharing what you have and serving others with
      compassion consumes the craving for pleasure. He warned an aspirant
      that generosity motivated by attachment, and renunciation caused by
      anger are fruitless. The truth is that the supreme giver is ours, but
      all the things He gives are His. Therefore, man should learn the
      lesson of giving and giving with happiness all the good that he
      possesses and not think that by giving he will lose. In fact he will
      gain something which is Divine and Eternal.

      If the three mottos above—Serve, Love and Give—are properly
      understood and practised by man in his day-to-day life, he will find
      that his heart has become purified and he is living in a higher stage
      and better society. In fact, in the renunciation of one's rights and
      protection of rights of the others lies the secret of attainment. His
      mind becomes purified and then alone he is in a position to meditate
      and realise.

      This is the gospel of Divine life which is the need of the hour, and
      if we follow this, we shall be serving this world in a better way on
      its upward march. Then alone can there be `Ramarajya'.

      Let us march on this path with confidence and faith, with sincerity
      and strength, with devotion and dedication. May God and Gurudev bless


      Radiate to all thoughts of love and goodness. Never look into the
      faults and defects of others. Always appreciate the good in others.
      Overlook their weakness. Pray for the one who wishes to harm you.
      Bear insult and injury. Be good and do good.

      —Swami Sivananda
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