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Swami Sivananda Wise Sayings And Thoughts

Swami Sivananda (September 8, 1887 – July 4, 1963), founder of the Divine Life Society, was a Hindu spiritual teacher and a proponent of Yoga and Vedanta. Swami Sivananda thoughts are mainly from the numerous books authored by the Swami. The thoughts have also been taken from the monthly magazines published by Divine Life Society. 

Lemon, ginger, chillies or tamarind causes your mouth to water instantly. These are stomachic appetizers. Even so scriptures, company of sages, Kirtans and bhajans, Satsangas, Japa Malas and Ashrams are all spiritual appetizers. They goad you to sit, contemplate and meditate.

Life is sustained by hope and aspiration, the struggle for betterment, and the zest for fulfillment. The moment these spurring elements of progress are taken away, one begins to vegetate and is miserably lost in the gloom of frustration and despondency, or becomes an ignoramus. The spiritual aspirant, no doubt, endeavors to attain the state of complacency and dissolution of the individual self, but that is a state of fulfillment and not a characteristic of his endeavor which is quite contradictory, the difference between worldly and spiritual aspirations being only in character and objective.

The true goal of life is to get back to the source from which we came. Just as the river flow restlessly till they join the ocean, the ultimate source from which they got their supply of water, just as fire leaps and burns furiously till it merges in its own origin, so too, we should be restless here till we obtain His grace and become one with him.

If you want to be a devotee of the Lord, you must also realize the evils of undivine life. This will surely save you. Repetition of the Lord's Names will purify the mind. But along with these you must also practice vichara. When the mind entertains unholy thoughts, remember the consequences, viz. pain, disease and death. Also think of the advantages of leading a pure life. Remember the lives of saints and draw inspiration from them.

There is no virtue greater than self-reliance. The possession of this important quality is an important prerequisite for all aspirants who search after Truth.

You are your own physician. You are your own savior and redeemer. Nobody can give you freedom. You will have to tread the spiritual path yourself. Rely on your own self exertion. Teachers and books can only help you to a certain extent.

Suffering infuses mercy in the heart and softens it. Suffering strengthens. Suffering produces dispassion…Therefore, suffering is a blessing in disguise.

Put your heart, mind, intellect and soul even to your smallest acts. This is the secret of success.

Mind is a mysterious something which is really nothing but does everything.

All evil qualities proceed from anger. If you control anger all evil qualities will vanish by themselves.

You can annihilate anger by looking at the brighter side of persons. Ignore the dark aspect.
In unity lies not only strength, but peace and bliss.

Worship should always be simple and performed with feeling and devotion, unhindered by unnecessary rules, rituals and formalities. It should be such that one could perform it after a mere wash of the hands and feet.

Do not have any Moha for this perishable body. Treat this body as your servant and instrument. You are entirely distinct from this physical body, which is made up of the five elements, and which is subject to decay and destruction.

You are in essence and reality the all-pervading, imperishable Atman. Just as the house in which you live is separate from you, so also the body in which you are temporarily encased, on account of ignorance, is entirely different from you.

Identification with this body is the root cause for bondage and human miseries and sufferings.

Do not become a slave to this body. It must obey your orders at all times and under all conditions and not you its orders.

You must be prepared to give up this body or dedicate it to a just and noble cause. Practise self denial, self abnegation and self sacrifice.

Of all virtues, compassion and humility are the most important virtues, which a saint always possesses.

Those who practice concentration evolve quickly. What others take six hours to do can be done within half an hour by one who has concentration.

Concentration purifies and calms the surging emotions, strengthens the current thought and clarifies the ideas.

Concentration helps a man in his material progress also. 

Kill all memory of past experiences. March forward. Look not back.

O Ram! The body is like a bubble. It will pass away at any moment, even without your notice. Inquire into the nature of Brahman or the Infinite. Meditate on the Self and attain Immortal Bliss.

Life is the greatest of all teachers and this earth is its school. Truly, the world is the best school. All its lessons are taught through the Book of Nature.

Nature everywhere abounds with lofty lessons which alone are quite sufficient to bestow the highest wisdom to man. Each day is a valuable page in this book and each thing and natural phenomenon embodies a lesson to one who observes and reflects.

Truth is indescribable as it is beyond the reach of the senses and the mind, it is capable of direct realization through direct and actual experience only. When the transcendental experience is attempted to be described in words; when the Infinite is attempted to be brought within the comprehension of the finite mind or intellect; when the immeasurable is sought to be measured by speech; it is only a very minute ray or rather a shadow of the Real that is really conveyed.

Nothing is easier than to fool oneself.

Purity of heart and intensity of devotion and aspiration are that which draw one nearer to God.

One cannot indulge in one’s lower appetites and yet remain spiritually pure.

Perfect self-restraint and purification of mind and heart are the price that the aspirant has to pay for spiritual enlightenment.

As long as the body is there, as long as the mind is there, there will be their drawbacks, in weaker or stronger shades. Constant vigilance is the price that the aspirant must pay.

The body is like a bubble. It will pass away at any moment, even without your notice. Enquire into the nature of Brahman or the Infinite. Meditate on the Self and attain Immortal Bliss.

Life is the greatest of all teachers and this earth is its school. Truly, the world is the best school. All its lessons are taught through the Book of Nature. Nature everywhere abounds with such lofty lessons which alone are quite sufficient to bestow the highest wisdom to man.

Each day is a valuable page in this book and each thing and natural phenomenon embodies a lesson to one who observes and reflects.

Truth is one though the methods to its approach are many.

The sense of separateness is a colossal fetter. Kill this sense of separateness through Brahma Bhavana, by developing Advaitic unity of consciousness and by means of selfless service. This sense of separateness is an illusion created by ignorance or Maya.

He who ignores his own pleasures and comforts and tries to help others always is really an advanced student in the path of spirituality. He carries the master-key to unlock the realms of spiritual bliss.

You must be able to think quickly and act promptly with unerring precision and profound concentration in times of emergencies. You must take care to see that you are not rash and impetuous. You must be cool and collected.

Balance of mind brings about real lasting happiness to a disciplined man. It is not a commodity which can be purchased on the market. It is indeed a rare gift which can only be attained by protracted selfless service with Atma Bhavana, equal vision, controlled Indriyas and self-restraint, by developing virtues such as adaptability, broad and generous tolerance and a high degree of endurance serenity, calmness, control of temper and by removing anxieties, worries, fear and depression by spiritual Sadhana and Meditation.

Free thyself from egoism and attachment.

Discipline thy minds and senses through detachment.

Identify not with the body, which is  illusory.

Have a balance of mind in pleasure and misery.

Service purifies the heart and the soul.

Service leads to Knowledge.

Love all, embrace all, be kind to all; Love unites, love elevates, love knows no fall, love leads, love purifies, love, begets love, love is a ladder to the Supreme; therefore do love.

Hate produces hate whereas love transforms hate into love. There is a vast difference of earth and sky between conquering by power and conquering by love. The two are opposed to each other. The former is like a poison whereas the latter is like a divine nectar and extends its benefits to both. While the one temporarily brings the enemy to one’s knees, the other permanently subdues him forever. Love is God and God is Love. Love and Love alone can transform.

Dreams are created by the Lord as fruition of the minor works of the Jiva. In order to reward the soul for very minor Karmas, the Lord creates the dreams. The Universal Soul is the creator of dreams and not the individual soul; for, had it been possible for the latter to shape his dreams, he would never have dreamt a bad dream, but would always have dreamt only propitious ones.

Swami Sivananda Thoughts On Practicing What You Have Learned

You have read enough books. You have heard many lectures. But, you have to practice now. Everybody knows that it is good to be righteous, to be truthful. But few practice.

I always say: “Be good and do good.” The sum and substance of all spiritual teaching is contained in these words. But you must practice.

Every morning determine to be good and to do good that day. At night sit down and reflect: “How many good acts have I done? In how many ways have I failed to be good?” This habit will correct your defects. Enter the details in your spiritual diary. Take stock of your day’s earnings (Sadhana) and losses (failures). You will evolve. You are maintaining all sorts of diaries—the milk-diary, the dhobi-diary, etc. But, are you maintaining the spiritual diary?

You know how much milk you have purchased and consumed; and what you owe to the milkman: but, do you know how much of precious life you have spent and how much you owe to the Creator?
Are you conscious that you have to express your gratitude to Him through Japa, through Kirtan, through selfless service, through meditation and Sadhana? Are you checking up the balance sheet in this respect? This is more important than all the accounts of the world. Arise, awake. Maintain the spiritual diary. Correct yourself. Add to your spiritual assets. Drain away your liabilities: the evil habits, the vicious traits and the animal instincts. You will soon become a Divinity on earth.

Obstacles in the Path of Success and Progress – Swami Sivananda Thoughts

  • Arrogance – This obstacle in the path of success is due to undue assumption of importance. It is unreasonable or excessive assumption or assertion of superiority. It is overbearing pride.
  • Inconsistency – This obstacle is fickle-mindedness. The mind is subject to frequent change.
  • Procrastination – This is putting off till a future time, through indolence or lack of resolution. It is postponing or delaying.
  • Covetousness – This is greed or avariciousness. Excessive desire of wealth is covetousness.
  • Cowardice – It is want of courage. It is timidity.

Devotion or Bhakti the Easiest Way to Self Realization - Thoughts of Swami Sivananda

Bhakti can be practiced under all conditions and by all alike.

Learning, austere penance, study of the Vedas, and brilliant intellect are not needed for the attainment of Bhakti or devotion. What is wanted is constant and living remembrance of God, coupled with faith. That is the reason why the path of Bhakti is available for everyone.

Nishada was born in a low caste; Sabari was a rustic woman; Dhruva was an uneducated boy; Vidura and Sudama were very poor; Vibhishana was an ugly Rakshasa; Hanuman was a monkey; Jatayu was a bird; Gajendra was an elephant; the Gopis of Vrindavan were not initiated into Vedic rites; but all these attained God- realisation on account of their devotion and self-surrender.

Bhakti is intense devotion towards God. It is Prema of Prabhu. Shraddha and Vishwas are the incipient stages of devotion. They develop into Bhakti. Later on faith is the most important thing in the path of devotion.

The qualifications for the attainment of Bhakti are a pure loving heart, faith, innocence, simplicity, truthfulness, Arjava, Vairagya and Brahmacharya.

God looks upon all with an equal eye. We all know how Sri Ramachandra ate the fruits already tasted by the Bhilini Sabari. Sudama’s grains are more welcome to Lord Krishna than the most sumptuous feast that can be offered by a mighty potentate on this earth. What He wants is your loving heart. He neither wants a big temple nor rich presents from you.

Bhakti can be acquired and cultivated. Constant Satsanga with devotees and holy people, repetition of His Name, Sri Ram, Sita Ram, Hari Om, etc., constant remembrance of the Lord, prayer, study of religious books such as the Ramayana, the Bhagavata, Hari Kirtan, service of Bhaktas, etc., can infuse Bhakti in your heart.

Lust, anger, greed, Moha, pride, jealousy, hatred, egoism, desire for power, name and fame, hypocrisy are all obstacles in the way of Bhakti Yoga.

Swami Sivananda Thoughts On The Concept of Satchitananda in Hinduism

The very concept of Satchitananda is characteristic of the nature of the higher self, which is dormant in every human being. The concept of truth (Satya) is identical with existence (Sat). Truth is that which eternally exists, and the principle of existence cannot be exclusive but immanent. The spirit is immanent in all, and it is the recognition of this unity of spirit that can foster good will, harmony and amity among individuals and nations.

Truth is no truth when it is devoid of consciousness (Chit), otherwise called awareness or knowledge. When knowledge is not perverse, it is identical with Ananda or unmixed felicity.

Knowledge, in a different aspect is understanding. When there are true understanding, devotion to the path of truth, justice and righteousness, when the dictates of the lower self has been cured by self-discipline, then the resultant condition of life is marked by unselfish love towards all beings, which is also termed Ahimsa or non-injury.

Swami Sivananda Thoughts on Balance of Mind

He who is attempting to develop his will should always try to keep a cool head. He should keep a balanced mind under all conditions. He will have to train or discipline the mind, it is worth practicing.

Balance of mind is one of the vital characteristics of a developed Jnani or Yogi. That Yogi can keep a balanced mind at all times is really a strong and happy man. He will get sanguine success in all his undertakings. You may fail to maintain the balance of fifty attempts; but from the fifty first endeavor, you will get strength of will. You will slowly manifest balance of mind. You should not be discouraged in the beginning. Remember the story of ‘Bruce and the Spider.” Bruce learnt from the spider. He failed seven times but succeeded in the war in his eighth attempt.

Swami Sivananda Thoughts on Sadhana

A goldsmith converts impure gold into pure gold by adding acids and burning it several times in the crucible. Even so you will have to purify your impure mind and body by constant Sadhana.

A man entered his room when it was dark. He wanted to take his torch light which he knew was in the room. He began to search for it. He tumbled over many things; he knocked his head here and there. Lo! The torch light is in his grasp now. Instantly the darkness vanishes and he is able to move about in the room with freedom and ease.

A Sadhaka enters the dark caverns of his inner self, where he knows the Light of the Self lies. During his search he seems to stumble and fall, and knock his head here and there. At last the moment arrives—the great Moment of moments - and the light is within his grasp. Instantly ignorance vanishes. The Light of the Self is upon his soul. No more struggle; no more trouble. He moves about freely as a Jivanmukta.