In order to unfold the deep abiding divinity in your being, you must apply yourself to contemplation and selfcriticism, and practise meditation and devotion. As a ship-wrecked man searches for rescue with his whole being, so must you search for the divine Essence in your own heart, and then in the universe.
A pleasure-seeking, comfort-loving, cowardly man, has yet to pass many incarnations in worry, grief and darkness, before he can turn to that divine Essence.
Men will join an army, leaving their worldly occupations, friends, comforts and family, and live in trenches to accomplish an end, which is usually valueless. But when they are asked to become devotees, recluses, self-contained and self-controlled, they cry out : “It is very difficult ”.
A spiritual aspirant, who alone is the true hero, and who is bent on self-conquest, must give up, once for all, all hope of any material gain, such as good health, wealth, fame, comfort, prestige and so forth. It is not the Yogic, but the Hegelian doctrine, that the Self realizes Itself in and through matter. According to the holy philosophy, whatever is changing, limited and an object of conception or perception is called Avidya, or nescience, and is to be negated.
Time spent in meditation and devotion is never wasted. Even incomplete meditation and imperfect devotion, earnestly undertaken is helpful in the invisible region of the soul. Nevertheless every attempt must be made to ensure that the meditation is complete.
The first pre-requisite is that you must do the spiritual exercises with sustained interest ; the second that you have a right and earnest mind ; the third is to keep to the appointed time, the period fixed for the spiritual exercises ; and the fourth that the meditations must not be undertaken for personal gain, but to please God, and to add to the enlightenment of the world.
Observance of the vows of truthfulness, non-violence, compassion, and inner and outer control must be carried out in daily life. To-day you are, to-morrow you may not be, therefore acquire righteousness, and do not waste time. Educate the mind in the first yogic dictum : “ there is no abiding joy in anything external ; the nature of the Self is bliss.”
A serious study of the holy philosophy every day is essential. It should be undertaken, not to satisfy curiosity, but in order to understand what you want, what the world is, and what is the goal of life. The works of Shri Shankaracharya, and his great disciples like Sureshwara-charya, Anandagiri, Shri Vidyaranya and others should be studied.
Dissolve your doubts yourself, through study. Philosophy is not to be approached in doubt, but in wonder and in quest of Truth. Keep away from materialists, unless they are teachable. Remember that anything and anybody who offers obstacles to your spiritual quest, must be given up, temporally.
Do not expect any good or satisfaction, or praise, or agreement from anybody, but expect a perfect example in Yoga, of yourself.
You are not a politician, you are not a narrow patriot, you are not an exclusive member of a race. You are a lover of the Lord and His children, and of every living being ; you have the well-being of all at heart. You must not judge, nor be a condemning critic of others. The physiological cells in the body of an organism, grow through the process called fission or self-division into new cells ; so does man’s soul grow through detachment and expansion.
Here are a few practices based on personal experience, which will help the growth of spiritual consciousness :—
- Get up early in the morning and leave the bed, unless your body is ill. Take a spiritual classic and read a few verses with great attention and interest.
- Take one of the virtues mentioned in, say, the 12 th chapter of the Bhagavad-Gita, meditate on it and live it during the day.
- Realize the presence of God in you, and in all others, and acquire strength to meet the world in equanimity.
- Treat everyone with real and genuine kindness, remembering that everybody is your own Self.
- Avoid all show and pretence, and also those associationships which may affect your consciousness adversely.
- Do your holy exercises and study with great interest !
They are not our friends who drag down our minds to passions, waste of time, and the trivialities of life. They are time-killers, and have no genuine regard for us.
Prepare yourself daily through good, peaceful and godly living, and be devoted to the Lord. Some holy men advise us to think of every day as the last day of our lives. Love of Minerva is infinitely preferable to love of Venus. Read history when you can, and learn to be dispassionate.
Do not be afraid of sufferings, if they come as a consequence of your spiritual training. They are your decorations