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?


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)


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)


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)


Sadhana and Spiritualising Everything

Question: I am so bogged down with a lot of things—I hardly have much time after work (at office and home). How could I find time for sadhana (=spiritual practice)? 

Answer: “The life of a spiritual seeker is Sadhana-oriented. To him, there is NO such thing as time for Sadhana AND time for other activities. All activities ARE sought to be transformed by him into Yoga. His living itself becomes Sadhana, becomes Tapasya (=austerity).. The Sadhak (=seeker) gathers guidance by observing men and matters closely… The intelligent seeker then begins to see a divine purpose in EVERY incident in his life. He begins to feel, to sense, the guiding hand of God, the protecting power of the Guru. He, then, feels grateful, feels encouraged and steps up his Sadhana… If you can perceive the working of the Lord’s hand EVEN  in your day-to-day life, in matters big and small, you may know that you HAVE progressed considerably in the spiritual path, that you are considerably purified.” (pgs. 113, 115, “My Journey to God’s Kingdom” by N. Ananthanarayanan) [The writer was a direct disciple of Swami Sri Sivananda Maharaj of Rishikesh] 

Answer: “Throughout the day’s activities, be WATCHFUL that you do NOT become lost in the mental restlessness of worldliness. Inwardly, take the Name of God. Stirve to keep your mind busy thinking of God. This practice Paramahansaji called “spiritualizing” thought… By spiritualizing thought, one gradually spiritualize one’s actions, so that everything one does becomes a form of meditation. One’s whole life should be a continuous spiritual experience.” (pgs. 71-72, Only Love by Daya Mata) [The author was a direct disciple of Paramahansa Yogananda].

Busy, Busy, Busy

The ordinary man with his everyday responsibilities can be just as busy as the president of the United States. Busy, busy, busy! that is life’s demand. You have to reserve time each day to get away from the world and be with God. Control your life, and set aside time to practice meditation for communion with Him. Then everything in this world will be a wonder to you.

As scientists made their discoveries by following certain disciplines and physical laws, so will you find God without fail when you scientifically follow spiritual laws. You are helping yourself in the highest way when you study and apply these laws as set forth in the Self-Realization teachings. 

Forget not the things I have told you. “A word to the wise—those who are spiritually awakened—is sufficient.” Yet Jesus said: “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few.” If you receive these teachings and practice them, you will realize every truth I have told you. It is not complicated; I have given only those spiritual techniques that will enable you to perceive and commune with God. No matter how unpleasant your circumstances in this world, when you discover God you will see Him working through you and manifesting in everything, and you will be filled with His love and joy.

India’s rishis remind us that health and prosperity, material accomplishments and possessions, are not lasting. Why concentrate only on goals that are perishable? What is lasting is the ever-new joyous contact of God and the attainment of Self-realization—finding out who you are, knowing that the image of God is within you. When you have that realization, you will be a satisfied person. The scriptures of India describe one who attains this state as a siddha, “successful one.” When I was teaching congregations of hundreds and thousands I was often called “successful.” That did not impress me. One may be recognized by the whole world and yet be unknown to the only One whose attention matters; and he who attracts the notice of God may be entirely unknown to the world. Which would you prefer? I wanted only the recognition of my Father. The acclaim of the world can be so intoxicating that man forgets to cultivate the all-fulfilling approbation of the Lord.

It is natural for man to yearn for the role of king on this earthly stage, but if all were kings, there could be no play. Your part is just as important as anyone else’s. The point is that you must play your role according to the Divine Director’s wish; when you live your part to please God, you will be successful. This should be the constant prayer in every human heart:

“My Lord, work Thou through my hands; they were made to serve Thee and to pick flowers for Thy temple. Mine eyes were made to behold Thy presence in the flickering stars, in the eyes of soulful devotees; my feet were made to take me to Thy temples everywhere to sip the nectar of Thy sermons to seeking souls, – my voice was made only to speak of Thee. I taste wholesome food that I may be reminded of Thine all-nourishing goodness; I inhale the perfume of flowers that I may breathe Thy fragrant presence there. I dedicate my thoughts, feelings, and love to Thee. All my senses are in harmony with Thy celestial orchestra of fragrance, beauty, and joy playing their refrain in the eternal symphony of the cosmos.

“Lead me from darkness to light. Lead me from hatred to love. Lead me from limitations to Thine inexhaustible power, – lead me from ignorance to wisdom. Lead me from suffering and death to everlasting life and enjoyment in Thee. Above all, lead me from the delusion of human attachment into realization of Thy love eternal, which plays hide-and-seek with me in all forms of human love.

“Father, Mother, Friend, Beloved God, reveal Thyself unto me! Leave me in ignorance no longer. All delusion I cast from the sacred shrine of my soul. Be Thou the only King sitting on the throne of my ambitions, the only Queen in the castle of my love, the only Deity in the temple of my soul. Keep me awake in Thy consciousness, that I may pray and demand unceasingly until Thou dost open all doors into Thy home of wisdom, and there receive me, Thy prodigal child, and entertain me with the fatted calf of immortality and eternal joy.”

(pgs. 258-260, Man’s Eternal Wisdom)

No Time for Spiritual Practice

Question: Many obstacles confront me — I have no time to meditate, I am very tired from work, there are many demands upon me — yet something inside pushes me to keep searching.

Swami Muktananda: “That force inside you that keeps pushing you to search for something spiritual in your life is the real Truth.

Is it only for spiritual practices that you don’t have time? Or, don’t you have time for anything else either? Everything else is ordinary, but this is most important. If you don’t have time for the inner search that will take you to the highest levels of consciousness, what is the point of just eating, drinking, and living in the outer world? If you don’t make time to work for your spiritual growth, what is the point of your human birth?

“Just as you have divided up your time for the different things you do in your life, you should also find time for meditation, becuase this is far more important than anything else. If you can’t find any time for it, at least meditate when you lie down to sleep. Start repeating the mantra and it will continue through your sleep. Even that will probably be enough for you.

“The situation that I find people trapped in amazes me. They say they don’t have time for realisation, they don’t have time for spiritual wealth, they don’t have time for inner peace. They don’t have even a hope of attaining any of these things if they continue as they are. What can you possibly get out of a life that is so intensely fast? At least, do something for your spiritual growth when you lie down to sleep.”

(pg. 5, From the finite to the Infinite)