Spiritual Life — Are you Really Serious about it? Do you Really Want God?


Question 1: What is the first thing that I should ask myself even before I think about God and spiritual life?

God

Answer 1a: “Enquire whether you really want liberation or whether you are simply talking of higher things out of curiosity…”, Swami Sivananda (pg. 269, Science of Yoga, vol. 6).

sivananda color smile

Answer 1b: “Do you want God?… Do not cheat yourself: be straightforward,” Swami Sivananda (pg. 413, Sadhana)

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Question 2: What is the next most important thing that I should do about my determination to continue in spiritual life?

 Answer 2: “Even if Lord Krishna remains with you, he cannot do anything for you unless you are fit to receive him and his teachings. Realise this point well and purify yourself thoroughly by means of… Japabrahmacharya and control of the senses,” Swami Sivananda (pg. 265, Science of Yoga, Vol. 6)

Question 3: I am serious but I don’t have the time.

 Answer 3 a: “Plod on in your sadhana. Give up idle talk, tall talk, gossip and backbiting. Save your time,” Swami Sivananda (pg 169, Science of Yoga, Vol. 6)

Yatiswarananda3

Answer 3 b: “We must minimize all unnecessary waste of time in futile thinking, gossiping, aimless activities, wandering, etc. Then, we will get plenty of time for our spiritual practice.” (pg. 341, meditation and spiritual practice by Swami Yatiswarananda)

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The Moment of Surrender


A very important reason why man should try to realise God is that it is the only way to get out of the miseries of the cycle of birth and death. There is no second solution. Mark it carefully. There is no second solution. There is no alternative to realising God if you want to escape the miseries you are subject to. The alternative to God-realisation is to suffer the miseries of mundane existence. If you choose to suffer that, well, you are free to do so. But if you want to escape that, there is only one way out, and that is the spiritual way, the way of Sadhana, of Tapasya, of Abhyasa and Vairagya.

Surrender

Not only that. There is no short-cut to God. You have to traverse the whole distance. The gap, the yawning chasm that separates you from God, has to be fully covered. It takes time. Often it is painful. Sometimes it is so painful that one begins to doubt if all that suffering is worth the while. This is particularly so when God tests the spiritual seeker for his worth. It is like Christ’s crucifixion. Every seeker has to bear the Cross; only it is a different kind of Cross with different seekers. It is no use saying, “Oh! I have all the virtues; I have all the divine qualities, except…except…one imperfection, one little weakness”. No. God is still far away from you.

Surrender2

You cannot realise God who is Perfection while possessing the slightest imperfection, the slightest taint. That is why Mother Saradamani Devi, the worshipful partner of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, prayed the way she did. One full moon night, as she looked up at the sky, a spontaneous prayer arose within her heart: “O God! Bless me that I may become spotless like the yonder full moon”. And, as suddenly, she hesitated. “Father-in-Heaven!” she cried, “Even the full moon has flaws. Make me flawless. Make me immaculate”. Immaculate! That is the word. Flawless. Pure. Perfect. Radiant. Spotless. Immaculate.

self surrender Sivananda-wall

So, even if you possess one single weakness, you cannot realise God. You cannot have Atma-sakshatkara. Remember well that it is no use saying, “I have just this weakness. I lack only in this virtue”. You will be tested by God only in that virtue, precisely in that virtue in which you are wanting. Are you impatient? You will be tested for patience again and again. Do you have a weakness for women? God will send girls, and more girls, to test your mettle. You will have to get over your weakness somehow. Till then you will be faced with the same problem, the same temptation, again and again.

Ethics

Let us see how exactly Maya operates. Suppose, for instance, you succumb at the slightest temptation. Then Maya will confront you with small temptations only, because she is able to achieve her purpose with little effort. But supposing you are morally very strong, though not perfect yet. Then Maya will send powerful temptations, like ravishing damsels, to uproot you from your moral stronghold, as she sent Menaka to Visvamitra. You have to become invulnerable to the most powerful temptation. Then only your spiritual safety becomes foolproof.

When the spiritual seeker is thus repeatedly tested, sorely tried, he feels miserable. Every spiritual seeker has to pass through this stage. It is the process of purification. You will be like the ore in the furnace. It is certainly not a pleasant experience. It is very painful indeed. The seeker begins to ruminate. He feels: “If worldly life was like being in the frying pan, here in this spiritual life, I feel as if I have been thrown into the fire”. And he is dazed. “Is this the choice open to me, after all?” he begins to wonder. If he is weak-willed, he begins to curse his Creator. “What kind of God is He” he cries, “to delight in the miseries of all! He is the greatest sadist. Who wants God?” The part tragic, part comic aspect of the whole situation is that even when the seeker curses his Creator, he is aware of his total helplessness, of his own impotence and God’s omnipotence. Ultimately he breaks down and prays to the very God whom he was abusing and cursing but a little while before. This is surrender, total surrender, unqualified surrender. In that moment of surrender, God’s grace rushes into him, consoles him and comforts him. And peace ensues in the troubled heart … and wisdom.

This article is from the book, What the River has Taught Me by Sri N. Ananthanarayanan. The author was a direct and devout disciple of Swami Sri Sivananda. Some significant details of His life with His Guru can be found at http://www.dlshq.org/announce/memoriamanantha.htm

Scientific Reasons for Becoming a Vegetarian: Harvard Medical School


People become vegetarians for many reasons, including health, religious convictions, concerns about animal welfare or the use of antibiotics and hormones in livestock, or a desire to eat in a way that avoids excessive use of environmental resources. Some people follow a largely vegetarian diet because they can’t afford to eat meat. Becoming a vegetarian has become more appealing and accessible, thanks to the year-round availability of fresh produce, more vegetarian dining options, and the growing culinary influence of cultures with largely plant-based diets.

Approximately six to eight million adults (about the total population of Singapore) in the United States eat no meat, fish, or poultry, according to a Harris Interactive poll commissioned by the Vegetarian Resource Group, a nonprofit organization that disseminates information about vegetarianism. Several million more have eliminated red meat but still eat chicken or fish. About two million have become vegans, forgoing not only animal flesh but also animal-based products such as milk, cheese, eggs, and gelatin.

Traditionally, research into vegetarianism focused mainly on potential nutritional deficiencies, but in recent years, the pendulum has swung the other way, and studies are confirming the health benefits of meat-free eating. Nowadays, plant-based eating is recognized as not only nutritionally sufficient but also as a way to reduce the risk for many chronic illnesses. According to the American Dietetic Association, “appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.”

Appropriately planned” is the operative term. Unless you follow recommended guidelines on nutrition, fat consumption, and weight control, becoming a vegetarian won’t necessarily be good for you. A diet of soda, cheese pizza, and candy, after all, is technically “vegetarian.” For health, it’s important to make sure that you eat a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. It’s also vital to replace saturated and trans fats with good fats, such as those found in nuts, olive oil, and canola oil. And always keep in mind that if you eat too many calories, even from nutritious, low-fat, plant-based foods, you’ll gain weight. So it’s also important to practice portion control, read food labels, and engage in regular physical activity.

Varieties of vegetarians

Strictly speaking, vegetarians are people who don’t eat meat, poultry, or seafood. But people with many different dietary patterns call themselves vegetarians, including the following:
Vegans (total vegetarians): Do not eat meat, poultry, fish, or any products derived from animals, including eggs, dairy products, and gelatin.
Lacto-ovo vegetarians: Do not eat meat, poultry, or fish, but do eat eggs and dairy products.
Lacto vegetarians: Eat no meat, poultry, fish, or eggs, but do consume dairy products.
Ovo vegetarians: Eat no meat, poultry, fish, or dairy products, but do eat eggs.

Partial vegetarians: Avoid meat but may eat fish (pesco-vegetarian, pescatarian) or poultry (pollo-vegetarian).

Can becoming a vegetarian protect you against major diseases?

Maybe. Compared with meat eaters, vegetarians tend to consume less saturated fat and cholesterol and more vitamins C and E, dietary fiber, folic acid, potassium, magnesium, and phytochemicals (plant chemicals), such as carotenoids and flavonoids. As a result, they’re likely to have lower total and LDL (bad) cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and lower body mass index (BMI), all of which are associated with longevity and a reduced risk for many chronic diseases.

But there still aren’t enough data to say exactly how a vegetarian diet influences long-term health. It’s difficult to tease out the influence of vegetarianism from other practices that vegetarians are more likely to follow, such as not smoking, not drinking excessively, and getting adequate exercise. But here’s what some of the research has shown so far:

Heart disease. There’s some evidence that vegetarians have a lower risk for cardiac events (such as a heart attack) and death from cardiac causes. In one of the largest studies — a combined analysis of data from five prospective studies involving more than 76,000 participants published several years ago — vegetarians were, on average, 25% less likely to die of heart disease. This result confirmed earlier findings from studies comparing vegetarian and nonvegetarian Seventh-day Adventists (members of this religious group avoid caffeine and don’t drink or smoke; about 40% are vegetarians). In another study involving 65,000 people in the Oxford cohort of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC-Oxford), researchers found a 19% lower risk of death from heart disease among vegetarians. However, there were few deaths in either group, so the observed differences may have been due to chance.

For heart protection, it’s best to choose high-fiber whole grains and legumes, which are digested slowly and have a low glycemic index — that is, they help keep blood sugar levels steady. Soluble fiber also helps reduce cholesterol levels. Refined carbohydrates and starches like potatoes, white rice, and white-flour products cause a rapid rise in blood sugar, which increases the risk of heart attack and diabetes (a risk factor for heart disease).

Nuts are also heart-protective. They have a low glycemic index and contain many antioxidants, vegetable protein, fiber, minerals, and healthy fatty acids. The downside: nuts pack a lot of calories, so restrict your daily intake to a small handful (about an ounce). The upside: because of their fat content, even a small amount of nuts can satisfy the appetite.

Walnuts, in particular, are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have many health benefits. Even so, fish are the best source of omega-3s, and it’s not clear whether plant-derived omega-3s are an adequate substitute for fish in the diet. One study suggests that omega-3s from walnuts and fish both work to lower heart disease risk, but by different routes. Walnut omega-3s (alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA) help reduce total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol, while omega-3s from fish (eicosapentaenoic acid, or EPA, and docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA) lower triglycerides and raise HDL (good) cholesterol levels.

Cancer.Hundreds of studies suggest that eating lots of fruits and vegetables can reduce the risk of developing certain cancers, and there’s evidence that vegetarians have a lower incidence of cancer than non-vegetarians do. But the differences aren’t large. A vegetarian diet can make it easier to get the recommended minimum of five daily servings of fruits and vegetables.

If you stop eating red meat (whether or not you become a vegetarian), you WILL eliminate a risk factor for colon cancer. It’s not clear whether avoiding all animal products reduces the risk further. Vegetarians usually have lower levels of potentially carcinogenic substances in their colons, but studies comparing cancer rates in vegetarians and nonvegetarians have shown inconsistent results.

Type 2 diabetes. Research suggests that a predominantly plant-based diet can reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes. In studies of Seventh-day Adventists, vegetarians’ risk of developing diabetes was half that of nonvegetarians, even after taking BMI into account. The Harvard-based Women’s Health Study found a similar correlation between eating red meat (especially processed meats, such as bacon and hot dogs) and diabetes risk, after adjusting for BMI, total calorie intake, and exercise.

What about bone health?

Some women are reluctant to try a vegetarian diet — especially one that doesn’t include calcium-rich dairy products — because they’re concerned about osteoporosis. Lacto-ovo vegetarians (most Hindus are) consume at least as much calcium as meat-eaters, but vegans typically consume less. In the EPIC-Oxford study, 75% of vegans got less than the recommended daily amount of calcium, and vegans in general had a relatively high rate of fractures. But vegans who consumed at least 525 milligrams of calcium per day were not especially vulnerable to fractures.

Certain vegetables can supply calcium, including bok choy, broccoli, Chinese cabbage, collards, and kale. (Spinach and Swiss chard, which also contain calcium, are not such good choices, because along with the calcium they have oxalates, which make it harder for the body to absorb calcium.) Moreover, the high potassium and magnesium content of fruits and vegetables reduces blood acidity, lowering the urinary excretion of calcium.

People who follow a vegetarian diet and especially a vegan diet may be at risk of getting insufficient vitamin D and vitamin K, both needed for bone health. Although green leafy vegetables contain some vitamin K, vegans may also need to rely on fortified foods, including some types of soy milk, rice milk, organic orange juice, and breakfast cereals. They may also want to consider taking a vitamin D supplement.

What about the health risks of being vegetarian?

Concerns about vegetarian diets have focused mainly on the following nutrients.

Protein. Research shows that lacto-ovo vegetarians generally get the recommended daily amount of protein, which is easily obtained from dairy products and eggs. (Women need about 0.4 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day. Because the protein in vegetables is somewhat different from animal protein, vegans may need 0.45 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day.) There are many plant sources that can help vegans meet their protein needs, including peas, beans, lentils, chickpeas, seeds, nuts, soy products, and whole grains (for example, wheat, oats, barley, and brown rice). Vegetarians used to be told that they had to combine “complementary” plant proteins (rice with beans, for example) at every meal to get all the amino acids contained in meat protein. Now, health experts say that such rigid planning is unnecessary. According to the American Dietetic Association, eating a wide variety of protein sources every day is sufficient.

Vitamin B12.Vitamin B12 is found only in animal products, but those products include dairy foods and eggs, so most vegetarians get all they need. If you avoid animal products altogether, you should eat foods fortified with vitamin B12(certain soy and rice beverages and breakfast cereals) or take a vitamin B12 supplement to avoid a deficiency, which can cause neurological problems and pernicious anemia.

Iron. Studies show that in Western countries, vegetarians tend to get the same amount of iron as meat eaters. But the iron in meat (especially red meat) is more readily absorbed than the kind found in plant foods, known as non-heme iron. The absorption of non-heme iron is enhanced by vitamin C and other acids found in fruits and vegetables, but it may be inhibited by the phytic acid in whole grains, beans, lentils, seeds, and nuts.

Zinc. Phytic acid in whole grains, seeds, beans, and legumes also reduces zinc absorption, but vegetarians in Western countries do not appear to be zinc-deficient.


Omega-3 fatty acids. Diets that include no fish or eggs are low in EPA and DHA. Our bodies can convert ALA in plant foods to EPA and DHA, but not very efficiently. Vegans can get DHA from algae supplements, which increase blood levels of DHA as well as EPA (by a process called retroversion). DHA-fortified breakfast bars and soy milk are also available. Official dietary guidelines recommend 1.10 grams per day of ALA for women, but vegetarians who consume little or no EPA and DHA should probably get more than that. Good ALA sources include flaxseed, walnuts, canola oil, and soy.

Source: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/becoming-a-vegetarian
Harvard Health Publishing
Harvard Medical School
4 Blackfan Circle, 4th Floor
Boston, MA 02115 USA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is Madhusudan Naidu a Representative of Sri Satya Sai Baba


Sathya Sai Baba died in 2011. He did not appoint anybody as his successor. However, Madhusudhan Naidu from a Indian village called Muddenahalli, which is situated in Karnataka State in India, had, in the wake of Sai Baba’s death, claimed that the latter now lives in Sukhma body (=subtle form) in Muddenenhalli.

MadhuMadhusudhan Naidu says that he can see and hear the so-called subtle form, and Satya Sai Baba, who was and is considered an avatar, requires the aid of an intermediary to communicate with His devotees around the world. And that intermediary or medium is Madhusudhan Naidu. This postulate is supported by his closest associate B.N. Narasimhamurthy, the author of some volumes of Sathyam Sivam Sundram.

But Sathya Sai Baba has declared, “I do not use others as My media; I have no need to” (Chapter 31, Sathya Sai Speaks (SSS) Vol. 2). And, in the 27.3.1965 issue of SSS 5.18, Satya Sai has unequivocally pronounced, “There are some who proclaim that I am ‘coming upon someone’, an speaking through them! They pretend to be My mouthpiece, and communicate to others Mr advice and My suggestions, as if I have ‘authorised’ them, or as if I am Myself telling so through them. Now, hear this: I never speak through another; I never possess another or use another as a vehicle of expression. I come direct, I come straight, I come as I am, to confer peace and joy.”

BabaSatya Sai’s strongest reproach and severest castigation can be found in 22.11.1970 issue of SSS 10.35, where He says, “There are other who claim that I am speaking through them, and answering questions put to them. These people must either be insane or hysteria-affected, or they are possessed by some ghost or by the greed to earn money thereby…. I do not need media, nor do I need substitutes or subsidiaries or representatives.”

Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust, which was established by Sathya Sai Baba in 1972. The trust is responsible for running the spiritual centres in Prasanthi Nilayam in Puttaparthi (India). The Trust religiously follows the guidelines set down by Sathya Sai Baba. The Trust has denounced Madhusudhan Naidu as a traitor and imposter, and has publicly declared Narasimhamurthy’s liaison with, and his joint activities with Madhusudhan, personating Satya Sai Baba, to be evil and wrong.

Baba2In the following video, from 20:00 mark, you will see what Sri Chakravarthi, Member-Secretary, Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust, has to say of the activities of Narasimhamurthy, Sri Madhusudan Rao Naidu, Sri C Sreenivas and the others at Muddenahalli.

 

 

How to Recognise a Sincere Spiritualist?


Question 1: How to recognise a sincere and truthful devotee of God?

Answer 1: Let not appearance deceive you. There goes the devotee, chanting the scared Name of Narayana. He sings in ecstacy and dances in rapture for an hour or two. He is vehement in asserting that all indeed is Narayana. Here is a great monist who would not stop repeating: ‘I am God, I am God’. Profound is his learning, and mighty his swordsmanship in argument. Tarry a while, friend. Watch them under three conditions: (1) when desperatively hungry, (2) when bitterly provoked and insulted, and (3) when another man is pathetically distressed. Now, if they fulfil former assertions, all hail to them, obeisance to them, veritable gods on earth they are, and let the dust of their feet adorn our foreheads.” (pg. 66, Self-Realisation by Swami Sivananda)

Question 2: Who is deemed an unspiritual and worldly-minded person?

Shaw

 

Answer 2: “A worldly-minded person is a prey to sexual thoughts, and thoughts of hatred, anger and revenge. He is enslaved by these two type of thoughts which take possessions of his mind. He does not know the laws of thoughts, and how to divert his mind, and fix it on good, noble thoughts. He cannot resist an evil desire, craving or temptation on account of his weak will. He is completely ignorant of the nature and workings of the mind. His position is extremely deplorable, despite his earthly possessions and knowledge obtained from universities. Dispassion and discrimination have not awakened in him. He has no faith in saints, in scriptures and in God….” (pg. 355, Science of Yoga, Vol. 2 by Swami Sivananda)

People in Spiritual Life Fall


Question 1: I know many people who, despite many years of associating with enlightened masters, and even after attending many spiritual discourses, have scant regard for the Guru, mahatmas and spiritual life. What blocks their understanding?
Mooji
Answer 1: “Even when the nature of God is explained, those who have not been purged of their faults and impurities would either disbelieve or misbelieve it, as was the case with Indra and Virochana. Therefore, knowledge as inculcated arises only in him who has purified himself by austerity, performed either in this or in a previous birth.” (pg. xiii, The Bhagavad Gita by Swami Sivananda)

Question 2: I know a few people, who claim that they read (or studied?) the scriptures and spiritual books. But they not changed a wee bit; worst of all, they have got bad to worse?

Answer 2: “Just as coloured dye stands out more clearly only when the original material is pure white, so also the instructions of a sage penetrate and settle down only in the hearts of aspirants whose minds are calm, who have no desire for enjoyments and whose impurities have been destroyed.” (pg. xiii, The Bhagavad Gita by Swami Sivananda)

BhagavatmQuestion 3: What are the qualifications that one should possess before one could read, understand and absorb the significance of scriptures like the Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam, for instance?

Answer 3: “An aspirant is expected to possess the qualifications of keen discrimination, dispassioncontrol of the mind and senses, and AVERSION to worldly attractions, before he can practise the threefold Sadhana of hearing the scriptures, reflecting upon them, and meditating upon their significance. (pg. xiii, The Bhagavad Gita by Swami Sivananda)

Question 4: It has become fashionable these days to hear people saying that they are hoping to get self-realisation or God-realisation. What are the prerequisites for that?

Answer 4: “Discipline and purification of the mind and the senses are the prerequisites for aspirants on the path of God-realisation.” (pg. xiii, The Bhagavad Gita by Swami Sivananda)

Spiritual and Religious Hypocrites


Question: Can a so-called “spiritual” or “religious” person, who prays, chants and does spiritual practices, be egoistic? It seems remarkably strange that someone who reads and talks about God and spiritual living could act and behave with so much self-importance. Aren’t spirituality and egotistical conduct polar opposites? If someone IS “spiritual” yet egotistical, then, he is a hypocrite. Right? Hypocrite

Answer: “…egoism assumes a SUBTLE form. The GROSS ego is NOT as dangerous as the subtle egoism… The working of egoism is VERY mysterious. It is VERY difficult to detect it’s VARIOUS ways of working. It needs SUBTLE and SHARP INTELLECT to find out its operation… (The) ego wants to exercise POWER and influence over OTHERS. He wants titles, prestige, STATUS, RESPECT, prosperity, house, wife, children. He wants self-aggrandisement. He wishes to domineer and rule over others. If anybody points out his DEFECTS, his vanity feels offended. If anyone PRAISES him, he is elated. This ego says, ‘I know everything. He doesn’t know anything. What I say is quite correct. What he says is quite incorrect. He is inferior to me. I am superior to him.’ He FORCES others to follow his ways and views.” (pg. 84, Conquest of Mind by Swami Sivananda)

Amma
“…(The) ego wants to exercise power and influence over others. He wants titles, prestige, status, RESPECT, prosperity, house, wife, children. He wants self-aggrandisement. He wishes to domineer and rule over others…”

Mata Amritanandamayi: “…it may happen that a spiritual person learns to hide his ego and PRETENDS to be very humble…. acts and behaves like a spiritually mature person… A person who wears the FALSE mask of a spiritually advanced person does not know what terrible HARM he is doing. He is MISLEADING others, and also paving the way for his OWN destruction. (pgs. 185, 186, 187, 188, Awaken, Children Vol. 7)

HYPOCRISY in the garb of religion is CRIME.” (pg. 273, Voice of the Himalayas by Swami Sivananda)

“Hypocrisy, arrogance, self-conceit, anger and also harshness and ignorance, belong to one who is born in a demoniacal state, O Arjuna!” [Gita 16:04]

“Religious hypocrisy is the WORST form. Hypocrisy is a mixture of deceit and falsehood. Asuras are those who have waged war and who are still waging war with the gods in heaven. Those who are endowed with Asuric tendencies or evil qualities are Asuras or demons. They exist in abundance in this Iron Age.” (pg. 426, Commentary on Bhagavad Gita 16:04 by Swami Sivananda [South African Edition])

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2014 in review


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

Madison Square Garden can seat 20,000 people for a concert. This blog was viewed about 66,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Madison Square Garden, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

"In The Shelter of Her Arms" by Gretchen Kusuma McGregor


This is an excellent book for anyone who is treading the spiritual path. It is brutally honest, surprisingly cogent, thoroughly inspirational, remarkably candid and very convincing.

The author is not an ordinary writer although her prose makes it all seems that she has written it so effortlessly. It makes a good reading, no doubt: her writing has a clear style; the book reads smoothly. Her prose is simple, direct, elegant, evocative, concise and factual. What will, definitely, strike one is her unexampled honesty and self-effacing attitude.

It was through this writer’s doggedness, manful efforts, assiduousness and determinations that the world, for the first time, came to know Mata Amritanandamayi in 1987. It wouldn’t be hyperbolic or a stretch to say that no one outside India would have known the great master but for the writer’s efforts. The Guru had identified the right person for the job!

The book is about a sincere soul’s tumultuous journey through hope, passion, loss, friendship, love, and self-discovery. “Honesty” is the focal point of this story of courage and spirituality. Any spiritual aspirant who is dashed against the rocks of truisms, threatened to be drowned in the ocean of Maya, smothered by the urges of Vasanas, tormented by ego’s authoritative calls for attention, would be able to relate to what the author has gone and is going through.

In this respect, the book is a scripture in its own right!

The True Signficance of Christmas


Christmas is named after Christ. This is the birthday of Lord Jesus, the Saviour Christ, the Yogi of the East. He was born in a stable at Bethlehem, of Mary and Joseph, the obscure village carpenter. Mary and Joseph made the stable a home for Christ, the King, the Prince of Peace. The birth of Jesus is celebrated all over the world as the sacred Christmas.

Lord Jesus was an embodiment of mercy, love and humility. He was an apostle of non-violence and peace. His body was crucified, but his voice has been speaking through the centuries.

The message of Christmas is the message of universal love. It is the message of ineffable divine glory and splendour. The message of Christmas is the message of peace and goodwill among all nations.

Christmas is more than a day of rejoicing and festivity. It is a day for realizing the Christ-consciousness or cosmic consciousness. It is a day for remembering the noble deeds of Lord Jesus and his sacred life of pristine purity. Christmas comes and Christmas goes, but let the spirit of Christmas be ever with you all.

Merry-making is not Christmas at all. Christmas does not consist in ringing bells and singing songs, exchanging mutual gifts and sending Christmas cards, and in enjoying rich repasts and heavy dinners and eating cakes.

Christmas is a state of spiritual awakening. To realize the Kingdom of Heaven within yourself, to hold communion with the Lord in the chambers of your heart, to regain your lost divinity, to attain Christ-consciousness or cosmic consciousness, to love all, to include all in the warm embrace of your love is real Christmas.

Realize the spirit of Christ. Walk in the footprints of Christ. Dive deep into the heart of Jesus. Ever seek to express, in your daily life, love, joy and peace. Imbibe Christ’s message of love and sacrifice. Manifest the latent Christ within you. Follow the Sermon on the Mount. Attain God-consciousness. Live in the spirit of Christ’s teachings. Annihilate this little self-arrogating personality and melt yourself in Christ or the Universal Soul. This is real Christmas.

All wish to enter the Kingdom of God. But how many of you possess the real spirit of Christ ? How many of you are real Christians ? How many of you follow the teachings, precepts and doctrines of Christ ? How many of you love your neighbours as your own self ? Those who are endowed with purity of heart, humility, universal love, generosity and nobility – they only can attain the Kingdom of God or supreme peace and immortality.

The spirit or heart of Christ is seriously lacking in the vast majority of persons. The love of Christ is badly wanted. What is Christmas without love, mercy and purity ? Everybody wants to exploit his neighbour. One nation wants to destroy another nation. Is this Christmas ? Is this the teaching of Christ ?

Real Christmas never comes and goes. It is eternal. Feel the spirit of Christmas not only on one day, but throughout the year. Every day is a Christmas day for a real follower of Christ, for a thirsting aspirant. May you all walk the path that Jesus laid out! May you all be living embodiments of the Sermon on the Mount! May you realize the Kingdom of God within you here and now!

Sources: This article is an excerpt from the following books by Swami Sri Sivananda:

1. Lives of Saints.
2. Life and Teachings of Lord Jesus.