>"Second Spiritual Instruction" by Swami Chidananda

Posted: January 9, 2010 in 20 Impt Spiritual Instructions, Chanting, Discipline, Effort, Enjoyment, Health, Japa, Meditation, Mind, Ritual, Sadhana, Scripture, Yamas and Niyamas

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Asana
Relationship of Body with Spirit.

Asana: Sit on Padma, Siddha or Sukha Asana for Japa and meditation for half on hour, facing the east or the north. Increase the period gradually to three hours. Do Sirshasana and Sarvangasana for keeping up Brahmacharya and health. Take light physical exercises as walking, etc., regularly. Do twenty Pranayamas.
The body is the spiritual manifestation of the Supreme Being in its grossest form. The Spirit is the ultimate invisible form of gross prakriti (matter) as is manifest as the material universe.

This is not only the declared truth in Vedanta Siddhanta and in great hymns like Sivanand Lahari by Jagat Guru Adi Shankaracharya, that maya is the achintya anirvachaniya sakti (unthinkable, indescribable power) of Parabrahman. It is also the direct intutional experience of great God-realised sages who actually beheld and discovered the oneness of prakriti and the Supreme Parabrahman. Thus there is only one prakriti and Purusha. There are not two entities called matter and Spirit. Matter is involved Spirit; Spirit is evolved Matter. There is only one Reality—ekameva‘dvitiyam brahma. At the grossest terminal of that Reality it manifests as matter and at the subtlest, transcendental, other extreme, it is pure imponderable Spirit, about which the only description is to be silent.

This body is the receptacle of the Spirit which is its subtlest inner reality, and the Spirit is the jewel within this body—like a jewel within a jewel-box. It is not for the jewel-box that one prizes or values a piece of jewellery, it is because of the jewel that the box also is important. If the jewel is not there, the box is not given much attention. It is because of the presence of the jewel within that the box is treated with great care. It is carefully protected and locked away.

Therefore, Gurudev at one stroke touches upon both Spirit and matter. Matter, because it is the container of the Spirit. Spirit, because it is that which makes matter valuable, precious, of importance. If the Spirit is not there, they burn matter into ashes, they remove it as quickly as possible.

Asana

a) The first part of this instruction deals with japa and meditation. In the early morning, as soon as you get up, sit for japa and meditation. Therefore, get up at 4 a.m. brahmamuhurta, and sit in padma, siddha or sukha asana for japa and meditation for half an hour, facing East or North. You get up in order to think of God, to remember Him, to take His Name and focus your mind upon Him. This is the way to start the day. So the purpose of getting up early in the morning is not to listen to the B.B.C. radio or take your tea or coffee in bed, but to take the Name of God and meditate upon Him. Gradually increase the period. Do not be satisfied. We are never satisfied with eating tasty things. We are never satisfied with fulfilling our cravings, so, let that not apply only to the lesser part of our being, let it also apply to the greater and the higher part of our being. Let us have this aspiration to gradually increase the period of japa and meditation to three hours.

b) The second part of the instruction speaks about physical health. Do sirshasana (head-stand) and sarvangasana (shoulder-stand) for keeping up brahmacharya and health. Take light physical exercise such as walking, regularly. Do some pranayama (breathing exercises).
For all the four purusharthas (human efforts) including earning money, accumulating wealth, fulfilling of your legitimate sattvic (pure) desires, and even for attaining moksha, health of the body is of paramount importance. Never neglect it. It is folly to neglect it. It is wisdom to preserve it. When you draw near to old age, then you will realise the truth of this adage. Therefore, Hatha Yoga exercises should be practised, and also take some light physical exercise like walking, jogging etc. Take care of this physical vehicle.

c) Pranayama (breathing exercises): Deep breathing is of paramount importance. Oxygen is the essence of life. Breath is the bearer of oxygen into the system. The deeper you breathe and the more air the lungs take in, the greater the amount of oxygen supplied and made available to the body, the blood-stream and all the cells. A combination of breathing, light exercises to quicken the circulation, and Hatha Yoga asanas bring about vital inner health, together with japa and meditation the body becomes a fit instrument for seva, bhakti and dhyana. This is the ideal way of entering into a new day. There is a saying:

Start the day with God. Fill the day with God.
End the day with God. This is the way to God.
This is the way to bliss, this is the way to peace,
This is the way to perfection,
This is the way to Illumination!

[TWENTY IMPORTANT SPIRITUAL INSTRUCTIONS, A Series of talks on Swami Sivananda’s Twenty Important Spiritual Instructions.]

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