20 IMPORTANT SPIRITUAL INSTRUCTIONS

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20 IMPORTANT SPIRITUAL INSTRUCTIONS | 32 SADHANA TATTWA BY SRI SWAMI SIVANANDA

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These twenty instructions contain the very essence of all Yoga Sadhana .

KARMA , BHAKTI , JNANA , RAJA YOGA

will all come to one who follows them whole-heartedly . They are the unfailing keys to quick and effective development and culture of the physical , mental , moral and spiritual self .

|| BRAHMAMAHURTA ||

Get up at 4:00 AM daily . This is Brahmamuhurta which is extremely favourable for Sadhana . Do all your morning spiritual Sadhana during this period from 4:00 AM to 6:30 or 7:00 AM . Such Sadhana gives quick and maximum progress .

|| ASANA ||

Sit on Padmasana ( lotus pose ) , Siddhasana ( adept's pose ) or Sukhasana ( any pose you like ) for your Japa and meditation for half an hour , facing east or north . Increase the period gradually to three hours . Practice Sirshasana ( headstand ) and Sarvangasana ( shoulderstand ) for maintenance of health and Brahmacharya . Take light physical exercises as walking , etc , regularly . Do twenty rounds of easy , comfortable Pranayama ( breathing exercises ) . Do not strain yourself while doing Pranayama .

|| JAPA ||

You can repeat any Mantra ( sacred syllable ) , such as pure OM or OM Namo Narayanaya , Sri Ram , Sita Ram , Sri Ram Jaya Ram Jaya Jaya Ram , OM Namah Sivaya , OM Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya , OM Saravanabhavaya Namah , Hari OM , or Gayatri ( a sacred Vedic Mantra ) , according to your taste or inclination , from 108 times to 21,600 times daily . Devotees of Christ may repeat the name Jesus or Hail Mary , Parent of Jesus . Parsis , Sikhs and Muslims may select a name or Mantra from the Zend Avesta , Granth Sahib or Koran respectively .

|| DIETETIC DISCIPLINE ||

Take Sattvic food . Give up chillies , tamarind , garlic , onion , sour articles , oil , mustard , asafoetida . Observe moderation in diet ( Mitahara ) . Do not overload the stomach . Give up those things which the mind likes best for a fortnight once or twice in a year . Eat simple food . Milk and fruits help concentration . Take food as medicine to keep the life going . Eating for enjoyment is a sin . Give up salt and sugar for a week or a fortnight . You must be able to live on rice , dhal and bread without any pickle . Do not ask for extra salt for dhal , and sugar for tea , coffee and milk . People taking a non-vegetaraian diet should try their best to gradually give up flesh-eating as completely as possible . They will be immensely benefited .

|| MEDITATION ||

Have a separate meditation room under lock and key . If this is not possible then a corner of the room should be set apart with a small cloth screen or curtain drawn across . Keep the room spotlessly clean .

|| SVADHYAYA ||

Study systematically the Gita , Ramayana , Bhagavatam , Vishnu-Sahasranama , Lalita-Sahasranama , Adityahridaya , Upanishads , Yoga Vasishta , Bible , Imitation of Christ , Zend Avesta , Quran , the Tripitakas , the Granth Sahib and other religious books from half an hour to one hour daily , and have Suddha Vichara ( pure thoughts ) .

|| ELEVATE THE MIND ||

Learn by heart some prayer — Slokas ( prayer verses ) , Stotras ( hymns ) and repeat them as soon as you sit in the Asana before starting Japa or meditation . This will elevate the mind quickly .

|| BRAHMACHARYA ||

Preserve the vital force ( Veerya ( seminal energy ) ) very , very carefully . Veerya is GOD in motion or manifestation ( Vibhuti ) . Veerya is all power . Veerya is all money . Veerya is the essence of life , thought and intelligence . This instruction is not for bachelors only . Householders also must follow it as far as possible . They must be extremely moderate in their marital connections with their spouse . This is very important .

|| CHARITY ||

Do charity regularly , every month , or even daily according to your means . Never fail in this item . If necessary forego some personal wants but keep up this charity regularly .

|| HAVE SATSANG ||

Give up bad company , smoking , meat and alcoholic liquors entirely . Have constant Satsang ( association with holy people ) . Do not develop any evil habits . Deliberately exert to develop positive virtuous qualities .

|| FAST ||

Fast on Ekadasi ( 11th day of the Hindu lunar fortnight ) or live on milk and fruits only . Christians must fast on alternate Sundays , Muslims on alternate Fridays , and Parsis on a suitable day every fortnight .

|| JAPA MALA ||

Have a Japa Mala ( rosary ) around your neck or in your pocket or underneath your pillow at night . This will remind you of GOD . Twirl the beads during your leisure . You should repeat the Name at all times , whatever task you may be engaged in .

|| OBSERVE MOUNA ||

Observe Mouna ( vow of silence ) for a couple of hours daily . Do not make gestures and inarticulate noises during the period of silence .

|| DISCIPLINE OF SPEECH ||

Speak the truth at all cost . Speak a little . Speak sweetly . Always utter encouraging words . Never condemn , criticize or discourage . Do not raise your voice and shout at little children or subordinates .

|| BE CONTENT ||

Reduce your wants . If you have four shirts , reduce the number to three or two . Lead a happy , contented life . Avoid unnecessary worry . Be mentally detached . Have plain living and high thinking . Think of those who do not possess even one-tenth of what you have . Share with others .

|| PRACTICE LOVE ||

Never hurt anybody . Ahimsa Paramo Dharmah ( Non-injury is the highest virtue ) . Control anger by love , Kshama ( forgiveness ) and Daya ( compassion ) . Serve the sick and the poor with love and affection . This is service of GOD .

|| BE SELF RELIANT ||

Do not depend upon servants . Self-reliance is the highest of all virtues .

|| HAVE SELF-ANALYSIS ||

Think of the mistakes you have committed during the course of the day , just before retiring to bed ( self-analysis ) . Keep a daily spiritual diary and self-correction register as Benjamin Franklin did . Maintain a daily routine and resolve-form . Do not brood over past mistakes .

|| DO YOUR DUTY ||

Remember that death is awaiting you at every moment . Never fail to fulfill your duties . Have pure conduct ( Sadachara ) .

|| REMEMBER GOD ||

Think of GOD as soon as you wake up and just before you go to sleep , and at all other times whether engaged in any work or not . Repeat GOD's Name always . Surrender yourself completely to GOD ( Saranagati ) .

This is the essence of all spiritual Sadhana . It will lead you to liberation . All these spiritual canons must be rigidly observed . You must not give any leniency to the mind .


SADHANA TATTWA : THE SCIENCE OF SEVEN CULTURES For Quick Evolution of the Human Being by Swami Sivananda

|| INTRODUCTION ||

• An ounce of practice is better than tons of theory . Practice Yoga , Religion and Philosophy in daily life and attain Self-realization .

• These thirty-two instructions give the essence of the Eternal Religion ( Sanatana Dharma ) in its purest form . They are suitable for modern busy householders with fixed hours of work . Modify them to suit your convenience and increase the period gradually .

• In the beginning take only a few practicable resolves which form a small but definite advance over your present habits and character . In case of ill-health , pressure of work or unavoidable engagements replace your active Sadhana ( spiritual practice ) by frequent remembrance of GOD .

|| HEALTH CULTURE ||

• Eat moderately . Take light and simple food . Offer it to GOD before you eat . Have a balanced diet .

• Avoid spicy and hot foods , like chilies , garlic , onions , tamarind etc , as far as possible . Give up tea , coffee , smoking , betels , meat and wine entirely .

• Fast on Ekadasi days or once in a fortnight . Take milk , fruits or roots only .

• Practice Yoga Asana ( Hatha Yoga exercises ) or physical exercises for 15 to 30 minutes every day . Take a long walk or play some vigorous games daily .

|| ENERGY CULTURE ||

• Observe silence ( Mouna ) for 2 hours daily and 4 to 8 hours on Sundays .

• Observe celibacy according to your age and circumstances . Restrict the indulgence to once a month . Decrease it gradually to once a year . Finally take a vow of abstinence for whole life .

|| ETHICAL CULTURE ||

• Speak the TRUTH . Speak little . Speak kindly . Speak sweetly .

• Do not injure anyone in thought , word or deed . Be kind to all .

• Be sincere , straightforward and open-hearted in your talks and dealings .

• Be honest . Earn by the sweat of your brow . Do not accept any money , things or favour unless earned lawfully . Develop nobility and integrity .

• Control fits of anger by serenity , patience , love , mercy and tolerance . Forget and forgive . Adapt yourself to people and events .

|| WILL CULTURE ||

• Live without sugar for a week or month . Give up salt on Sundays .

• Give up cards , novels , cinemas and clubs . Fly from evil company . Avoid discussions with materialists . Do not mix with persons who have no faith in GOD or who criticize your Sadhana ( spiritual practices ) .

• Curtail your wants . Reduce your possessions . Have plain living and high thinking .

|| HEART CULTURE ||

• Doing good to others is the highest religion . Do some selfless service for a few hours every week , without egoism or expectation of reward . Do your worldly duties in the same spirit . Work is worship . Dedicate it to GOD .

• Give 2 to 10 percent of your income in charity every month . Share what you have with others . Let the world be your family . Remove selfishness .

• Be humble and prostrate yourself to all beings mentally . Feel the Divine Presence everywhere . Give up vanity , pride and hypocrisy .

• Have unwavering faith in GOD , the Bhagavad-Gita and your Guru . Make a total self-surrender to GOD and pray : " Thy Will be done ; I want nothing " . Submit to the Divine Will in all events and happenings with equanimity .

• See GOD in all beings and love them as your own Self . Do not hate anyone .

• Remember GOD at all times or , at least , on rising from bed , during a pause in work and before going to bed . Keep a Mala ( rosary ) in your pocket .

|| PSYCHIC CULTURE ||

• Study one chapter or ten to twenty-five verses of the Gita or your scriptures with meaning , daily . Learn the original language of your scripture , at least sufficient to understand it in original .

• Memorize important and inspiring portions of your sacred scripture according to your capacity . Memorize also any inspiring quotations from other spiritual books . Keep a pocket version your scripture with you at all times .

• Read the Ramayana , the Bible , the Quran , the Bhagavata , the Upanishads , the Yogavasishtha or other religious books daily without fail . Study more during holidays .

• Attend religious meetings and seek Satsanga ( company ) with saints at every opportunity . If not , create opportunities . Listen to spiritual discourses from learned and holy people . If possible , organize such functions on Sundays or holidays .

• Visit a temple or place of worship daily . Preferably before you leave and upon your return from work , even if only for 5 or 10 minutes .

• Spend holidays and leave-periods , when possible , in the company of saints or practice Sadhana at holy places in seclusion .

|| SPIRITUAL CULTURE ||

• Go to bed early . Get up at four o'clock . Answer calls of nature , clean your mouth and take a bath .

• Recite some prayers and Kirtan Dhvanis ( devotional songs ) . Practice Pranayama ( breathing exercises ) , Japa ( repetition of the Divine Name of GOD ) and meditation in the early morning . Sit on Padma , Siddha , or Sukha Asana throughout , without movement , by gradual practice . While you meditate , forget the outside world totally . Gradually increase the period of meditation .

• Perform the daily prayers of your religion . Do not fail to fulfill your obligatory duties .

• Write your favourite Mantra or Name of GOD in a notebook for ten to thirty minutes , daily .

• Sing the Names of GOD ( Kirtan ) and pray for half to one hour at night with family and friends .

• Make annual resolves on the above lines . Regularity , tenacity and fixity are essential . Record your Sadhana in a spiritual diary daily . Review it every month and correct your failures .

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