2005 April

Your choices in Life
Message from the Master
Smoky Quartz
Yoga Retreat
Sri Swami Sivananda
Eastern Body, Western Mind: Review
Hanuman Jayanthi
Guidelines to Inspired Living

Selected Articles

Your Choices in Life
by Swami Shankarananda

Are you a truth-seeker? If you are, are you sincere? Do you have a Divine quest for knowledge? In general, are you a sincere truth-seeker, endeavouring to know the facts of life, and one who deserves to live freely as you are meant to live, with a quest for knowledge and its applications?

If you answer to the above is ‘yes’, congratulations! In the book of Proverbs 23 verse 7 we read, “As one thinks in his heart, so is he”. The Gospel of Luke (16:7) tells us that “It is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than for the smallest part of the law to fail”. The Bhagavad Gita (9:22) reads, “For those who meditate with devotion on Me alone, and persevere, I provide what they lack and preserve what they already have”.

Do you accept all that is believed by others - whether opinions, valid thoughts, ideas or something that you might have heard about when you were much younger? Are you one of those who knew all the time that whatever you were taught at Sunday School was not entirely true, that it was irreligious, but despite this you found it difficult to casually disregard such misinformation. You need to believe that you can be self- and God-realized during this present journey. This should be your only belief - nothing else. Do your utmost to be spiritually enlightened and believe this is possible.

Are you thinking thoughts that are well-ordered and rational? Become a rational thinker. Are your thoughts optimistic? This helps to reduce stress. Are you one who is a possibility thinker, allowing unduly influenced thoughts to trouble you? Do you meditate daily to calm your mind? This helps you attain positive thoughts.Always have creative, innovative thinking. This enables the mind to process more efficiently.

Are you always happy and emotion-ally stable, or do you only feel happy stuck in your past feelings? Past is the experience for the advancement of your spiritual journey. Learn to let go of all that is past. Change circumstances that are unpleasant and unsatisfying by innovative thinking and constructive actions.Do what you can in this journey to allow Divine and Blissful conditions to manifest. Pray you make the right choices in this life.

Message from the Master
This month I pray that you are all here today or tonight as investigators of Truth and explorers of Reality. You may enquire within yourself, “what is investigation?” and “what is exploration?” One is a direct process and the other an indirect process. Investigation is an indirect psycho-physical process in action with the complete idea of duality. It always requires the assistance of knowledge, experience and memory, but exploration, on the other hand, is a divinely holistic process; no assistance is required - not in any form. Therefore, if investigation is an indirect, fearful contest of Truth, exploration is the direct, fearless perception of Reality. This fearlessness is the Divine willingness to be soaked into that Reality without inhibitions of any sort whatsoever.

So I pray again for each of you to have the willingness to be soaked into this Reality.

Spirituality in the New Age
Today I see so many different names and forms, all of them expressing their own individuality in their own way. Yet certain faces are always inevitably happier than others. I cannot forget the fact that every time I looked at the face of a man or woman driving a luxury vehicle, I couldn’t see an inch of inner happiness. The rare exceptions, however, are always present. The presence of egoism is debilitating to inner peace and happiness. This fact one finds early on in the spiritual path.

Most men of great wealth and power have the same fears as ordinary men and will, ultimately, have to perish just like their ordinary counterparts. Yet, the question to ask is: why do these men, after obtaining such power and wealth, not realise that their actions are not giving them true happiness? The answer is that, in many cases, people are turning inward for answers. The New Age philosophy, which is predominant in Western countries, is growing at a rapid rate.

Messengers of truth like Deepak Chopra, Gary Zukav and Neal Walsch are challenging conventional beliefs in a strong way. The influencing factor turning many people inward is the scientific approach adopted by our New Age gurus. By drawing comparisons between science and religion, our New Age writers have offered something truly appealing to the modern spiritual enthusiast.

People are slowly beginning to realise that outer wealth has nothing to do with inner peace and happiness. In silence lies the treasure that humanity truly seeks. How wonderful it is to know that at any moment we could go deep within and find a peace that is illusive to anything external or tangible. The sages and saints have emphasised not to put our hopes in this place we call home. The very objects in which we seek joy and fulfilment are those that will lead us to misery, so say the Divine scriptures.

To the hard-core materialist this philosophy is devoid of logic since it cannot be objectively proven. Yet it takes only a little insight to realise that all objects will ultimately dissolve in God’s consciousness and, therefore, to seek joy in such objects would serve no purpose in attaining inner happiness. I was once in a car in the town in which I live, when I saw two little girls, one black and the other Indian. Both of them were Muslim and were dressed in traditional attire. They walked arm-in-arm with their heads leaning together, smiling in total happiness and without a care for anyone else.

At that moment I smiled to myself, thinking that God’s divinity is still deeply present in this world. All that remains for us to do is to nurture our own innate goodness to what it can truly be. My message to you this month, dear brothers and sisters, is to smile with inner peace and sincerity. Give your love to all who seek it and, above all, never let the ugliness of egoism spoil your inner beauty!

Sri Swami Sivananda
1887 – 1963

Born on the 8th September 1887, into the illustrious family of Sage Appayya Dikshitar and several other renowned saints and savants, Sri Swami Sivananda had a natural flair for a life devoted to the study and practice of Vedanta. Added to this was an inborn eagerness to serve all and an innate feeling of unity with all mankind. Though born into an orthodox family, Swamiji was broad-minded and catholic, pious and devout.

His passion for service drew him to a medical career and soon he gravitated to where he thought his service was most needed. Malaya claimed him. He had earlier been editing a health journal and wrote extensively on health problems. He discovered that people needed right knowledge most of all; dissemination of that knowledge he espoused as his own mission.

It was by Divine dispensation and the blessing of God upon mankind that the doctor of body and mind renounced his career and took a life of renunciation to qualify himself for ministering to the soul of man. He
settled down at Rishikesh in 1924, practised intense austerities and shone as a great Yogi, saint, sage and Jivanmukta.

In 1932 Swami Sivananda started the Sivanandashram, and in 1936 was born the Divine Life Society. In 1948 the Yoga-Vedanta Forest Academy was organised. Dissemination of spiritual knowledge and training of people in Yoga and Vedanta were their aim and objective. In 1950 he undertook a lightning tour of India and Ceylon and in 1953 convened a World Parliament of Religions. He is the author of over 300 volumes and has disciples all over the world, belonging to all nationalities, religions and creeds. To read any of his work is to drink at the Fountain of Wisdom and grow spiritually; to be immortal and eternally peaceful and blissful. On 14th July 1963 Sri Swami Sivananda entered Mahasamadhi.

Universal Prayer

by Swami Sivananda

O Adorable Lord of Mercy and Love ! Salutations and prostrations unto Thee.
Thou art Omnipresent, Omnipotent and Omniscient.
Thou art Existence-Consciousness-Bliss Absolute.
Thou art the Indweller of all beings.
Grant us an understanding heart, Equal vision, balanced mind,
Faith, devotion and wisdom. Grant us inner spiritual strength
To resist temptation and to control the mind.
Free us from egoism, lust, greed, hatred, anger and jealousy.
Fill our hearts with divine virtues.
Let us behold Thee in all these names and forms.
Let us serve Thee in all these names and forms.
Let us ever remember Thee. Let us ever sing Thy glories.
Let Thy Name be ever on our lips.
Let us abide in Thee for ever and ever.