Adhyatma Yoga cannot be taken as a hypothesis. The mind which is accustomed to working through the senses does not like to reflect, but if it is convinced of the importance and necessity of philosophical reflection, it adopts it easily. When the mind is thus fitted, learn to withdraw it from sense objects for a few minutes at a time; then prolong the period of withdrawal till you can keep it engaged in reflection according to your will. A practice which has proved useful in the withdrawing of the mind from sense objects is to concentrate on the holy symbol OM, then to close the eyes and let the mind dwell on it in imagination. Thus our will is strengthened, and reflection becomes easier.
To abide in the witness consciousness is a useful practice. These practices do not constitute the end: the end is realization of the universal consciousness. When reflection has become a habit and your love for the Lord universal, the One, the Abode of the Universe, is permanent, you can offer all your living forces to Him. To talk of Him with love is also a most useful practice.
This is called soul culture and requires careful attention and study. When the remembrance of the Lord grips your heart and thoughts of Him fill the greater part of your mind, your consciousness begins to change. Devotion to the Lord begins with the will, assumes the form of an overwhelming desire to know Him, and thoughts are utilized to aid the will in the attainment of the holy purpose.
We cannot be dabblers in truth; we can have little benefit or peace by doing so. Light love is not valued in the assembly of lovers. It is therefore essential to devote the total personality to the endeavour to realize Him. A son of a rich man became inordinately fond of eating yoghourt. All attempts to dissuade him proved abortive. Once a stranger, pretending to be equally fond of yoghourt, offered him friendship, which was willingly accepted. When the rich man’s son asked him his reasons for his love of yoghourt, he said: “An eater of yoghourt is always carried in a vehicle, he does not see the death of any of his relatives, and his house is never visited by thieves.” “How wonderful! How is it so?” said the rich man’s son.
“Because excessive use of yoghourt gives gout, and so he is carried; he is short-lived and therefore does not see the death of his loved ones, he develops consumption and coughs continually, so thieves do not enter his house.” The son was convinced and never took yoghourt again.
Apply this psychological method to your mind. Do not force new ideas on your mind, tutor it with affection, and tell it gently: “Sansara is a dream, sense joys are illusory. Peace and bliss are attributes of the Self.” Morning and evening educate the mind in these ideas, and it will one day respond to Yoga whole-heartedly. Make kindness your motto, nonviolence in thought, word and deed, your general practice. Every day give something – money, time, words, thoughts and kindness – to others, and love of Yoga to your mind. Rest assured that following this kind of life you will become a centre of peace and be popular as a devotee.
Every day is a skirmish with one or other form of nescience, every month a battle. That week is lived well in which you have lived yogically: there is no other criterion of good living. We desire comfortable living not for its own sake but because it facilitates yogic living. If we make comfort and physical joys the sole objects of pursuit, then we are bankrupt in spirituality and are heading towards disaster.
A beginner in Yoga must choose his companions very carefully. Those who are not interested in the higher pursuit cannot be our companions.
Again, let us ask at what price do we buy Yoga, the key to final release. Let us not use it as an opiate or sedative or a mental anaesthetic.
An old tobacco addict frequented the Sat Sang of Swami Satchitananda daily in Meerut. One day he was asked what attracted him to the Sat Sang. “Free smokes and a free delicious dinner,” he replied frankly. The Holy Swami remarked: “So far so good, my friend, but please let your soul also dine at our table” and from then the man began to take a real interest in the teachings.
O friend, fishermen have taken an interest in Yoga, the cowherds acquired perfection in it, wild men in Southern India have been leaders in Yoga. You can be one too, but please come equipped with a most impressionable mind. Enquiry is welcomed and discussion is helpful, but let there be no mental reservations. Life is short and extremely uncertain. All means other than Yoga have failed to give satisfaction and peace. The five thieves – anger, pleasure-sense, aversion, attachment and conceit – are busy robbing you. How long will you delay? Alas, you entertain them as your best friends. It does not become you to keep the company of thieves.
With a purified and tranquillized mind take refuge in the Holy Yoga in its fourfold aspects.
Mark the words of the prince of modern mystics and a most brilliant intellect, Rama Tirtha: “The stronghold of the spiritual realm is much more secure than the world of dimensions; withdraw your wealth from here and deposit it there Do not make a home in an earthly abode whether with friend or wealth.”
Live psychologically in the palace of love, set your foot on the ancient path of Yoga and dedicate body, mind, possessions and life to it.