Characteristics of Kali Yuga


We are now Kali Yuga, the age of quarrel, incessant troubles, tribulations, trepidation, calumnies, irreverence, ungodliness, ill-health, pollution, adversities, negativity, un-spirituality, hypocrisy, falsehood and terrorism. Both the Mahabharata and Srimad Bhagavatam give a vivid description of how things are like in Kaliyuga. Many of these things we can see happening around us and we ourselves are also guilty of indulging in many of these actions. The following is a but a short list of features typical of the events in Kaliyuga according to the Ithihaas and purana:

1). People recklessly and mindlessly destroy trees or groves.

2). Everyone will lack discrimination as regards food: they will eat anything and everything.

3). Passing themselves off as saintly, nefarious people will indulge in trade and commercial activity. In the garb of saintliness and spirituality, avaricious people will concentrate on amassing wealth, and find wealth is the mark of a man’s worth in society.

4). In Kaliyuga, man finds friendship only in his wife, and he regards his in-laws as true relatives.

5). People with money and wealth will be considered persons of noble birth with good qualities. People in power will steer the course of justice in their favour.

6). Impecunious and penurious people, and those who are not given to bribery will be deprived of justice.

7). People will consider going on pilgrimage to far-off places more important than honouring and serving their parents.

8). Brahmins will do the work of sudras.

9). Brahmins will abstain from sacrifices and the study of Vedas.

10). People will stop making offerings to their ancestors.

11). Brahmins will start to eat anything (i.e., they become indiscriminate in their choices of food).

12). Men will become feeble, and will have shorter life span: They will lack energy and valour.

13). During Kaliyuga, women will use their mouths for copulation.

14). Under the burden of excess taxation, householders will turn into robbers.

15). In ashramas, brahmacharis will indulge in evil conduct and pander to the desires of the world. The ashrams will be full of show-offs who are experts in the art of living off the food of others.

16). When Kaliyuga degenerates even further, Dharmic people will have shorter life span.

17). People will sell goods with false weights. There will be a lot of deceit associated with trade.

18). Towards the end of Kaliyuga, the young ones will act like old people. The conduct that suits the young is seen in the old. The old will think like children, and young people will have the intelligence of the old.

19). In Kaliyuga, people abbreviate the truth; because of this harm done to the truth, lifespans are further shortened.

20). There will be a lot of intermarriages between people from different strata of society, and miscegenation becomes the order of the day. They will behave like sudras who are devoid of austerities and truth.

21). Because of the shortage of cows, people will resort to drinking goat and sheep-milk.

22). In Kaliyuga, rules about what is to be eaten are transgressed.

23). Brahmins will not observe sacred vows but will criticize the Vedas. Deluded by logic they will give up worship and yajnas.

24). At the end of Kaliyuga, the world will be overtaken by mlechha conduct. There will be no rites and sacrifices. There will be unhappiness everywhere and no festivals will be celebrated.

25). Men will rob possessions of others, even that of widows.

26). Men will happily accept gifts given even by the evil.

27). When the end of Kaliyiga is near, the Kshatriyas will be the thorns in the flesh of the world. They will not protect others.

28). No one will ask for a girl’s hand in marriage; no one will duly give away a girl in marriage. When Kaliyuga is fully ripe, men and women will choose their spouses themselves.

29). Kings, discontented with what they possess, will use every means possible to steal the property of others.

30). When kaliyuga is fully advanced, one hand will steal from the other.

31). Cowards will take pride in their bravery and the brave will be immersed in depression like cowards.

32). During the final stages of Kaliyuga, there will be no Brahmins, Kshatriyas or Vaishyas left. At the end of Kaliyuga the world will have only one varna.

33). Wives will not tend to their husbands. Men and women will eat whatever they wish.

34). People will adorn themselves with the marks of a sadhu, i.e.. there will be profusion of fake sadhus.

35). (Cooked) food will be sold at all major thoroughfares. Note: According to manusmrti selling of cooked food is a sin; this is because everyone has a right to food, whether he has money or not).

36). When Kaliyuga is fully advanced, each will act as he wishes in the name  of human rights.

37). Brahmins will be oppressed by Sudras and thus tormented by the former will wander all over the earth looking for protection.

38). Sudras will expound on Dharma, and the Brahmins will listen to their discourses and serve them. Everything in the world will be utterly upside down.

39). Discarding the gods, bones set into walls will be worshipped.

40). Men will be addicted to meat and liquor and will be weak in Dharma.

41). Rains will come down at the wrong time.

42). Overcome by the burden of taxation, brahmins will flee in the ten directions.

43). Friends and relatives will act only out of love for wealth.

44). Women will be harsh and cruel in speech and will love to cry. They will not follow the words of their husbands.

45). Travelers in transit (guests) will ask for food and water but will not receive it. They will be refused shelter and will be forced to sleep on the roads.

46). People will leave their own countries and seek refuge in other countries, directions, regions, etc., and will roam around the world lamenting ‘Alas, father!’, ‘Alas, son.’

47). Mutual liking between the boy and girl, and not family pedigree or social status, etc., will be criterion for selecting a spouse.

48). Cheating will be the order of the day in business relations.

49). Sexual skill will be the criterion for excellence in men and women.

50). The only mark of evil will be poverty.

51). The one who can make a great display (of his austerities, occult powers etc.) will be considered the greatest sadhu.

52). Brushing one’s hair and dressing up will be considered as substitute for bath.

53). The highest purpose of life will be to fill one’s belly.

54). Maintenance of one’s family will be looked upon as the highest skill.

55). Dharma will be followed to gain fame.

56). There will be no rule in becoming a king. Any Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya or Sudra, depending on who is the most powerful at the time, will become the king. At that time, the rulers will be so greedy that there will not any difference between them and robbers.

57). Houses will be desolate because of the lack of chanting of Vedas and absence of guests.

58) In Kali-yuga the people will be sinful, short-lived, unfortunate, slow, and unintelligent.

How then to survive the virulence of Kali Yuga?

“In this Kali Yuga, when the physique of the vast majority of persons is not good…Japa is an EASY way to God-realisation… There is no Yoga GREATER than Japa Yoga” (pg. 279, Yoga Samhita). In the Gita, Sri Krsna says, “Among Yagnas, I AM Japa Yagna”. Sri Brahma said the same truth to Naradha in Kali-Santarana Upanishad. Vishnu Purana (6:2:17), Brhan Narayana Purana (38:97) have underlined the same fact. Srimad Bhagavatam (12:3:52) asserts, “OTHER processes of worship are NOT possible in THIS yuga”. Hence, Japa IS the sadhana for Kali Yuga.

“In this Kali Yuga, God-realisation can be had in a short period. It is the grace of the Lord. You need not do severe Tapas now. You need not stand on one leg for several years, as people did in days of yore. You can realise God through JAPA, Kirtan (=singing) and prayer.” pg 128, Japa Yoga by Swami Sivananda.

Srimad Bhagwatam 12:3:52 says

krite yad dhyayato vishnum tretayam yajato makhaihdvapare  

paricaryayam kalau tad dhari-kirtanat

That is, whatever result was obtained in Satya-yuga by meditating on Vishnu, in Treta-yuga by performing sacrifices, and in Dwapara-yuga by serving the Lord’s Lotus feet can be obtained in Kali-yuga simply by chanting the holy names of God.

Padma Purana (Uttara-khanda 72.25), in support of the above, desclares:

dhyayan krite yajan yajnais, tretayam dvapare ’rcayan;

yad apnoti tad apnoti, kalau sankirtya keshavam.

In sum, Whatever is achieved by meditation in Satya-yuga, by the performance of yajna in Treta-yuga or by the worship of Krishna’s lotus feet in Dvapara-yuga is obtained very easily in the Age of Kali simply by chanting the name of God.

Garuda Purana 1.228.18, “What is obtained by means of contemplation in the Krta-yuga, reciting mantras in the Treta-yuga and worshiping in Dvapara is obtained in Kali-yuga by constantly remembering Lord Kesava.”

Garuda Purana 1.230.20, “Evil influence of the Kali age, wicked statements, vile utterances of heretics – none of these affect the mind of the person in whose mind Lord Kesava finds a place”.

Garuda Purana 1.230.23, “If Govinda is fixed in the mind, the vile age of Kali is transformed into Krta. If Acyuta is not fixed in the mind even Krta-yuga is transformed into Kali age”.

Swami Sivananda: “In this kali Yuga, even if just ONE Ekadashi is observed with DISPASSION, faith and DEVOTION, AND if the mind is WHOLLY fixed on Hari, one is freed from the rounds of birth and death. There is no doubt this. The scriptures give us their assurance on this point.” (pg. 152, Hindu Fasts & Festivals).

Sources:

1. G. P. Bhatt & J. L. Shastri (Tr). The Bhagavata Purana (5 Volumes): Delhi 2002

2. Debroy, Bibek. The Mahabharata: Complete and Unabridged (Ten Volumes): Penguin India, 2015

3. Mahabarath by Kamala Subramaniam,

4. Pandey, Pandit Ramnarayandutt Shastri. The Complete Mahabharata (The Only Edition with Sanskrit Text and Hindi Translation) – Six Volumes: Gita Press, Gorakhpur, 2017

5. Saraswati, Swami Akhandananda (Tr). Shrimad Bhagavata Purana (2 Volumes): Gorakhpur 2004

6. Yoga Samhita by Swami Sivananda

7. Kali-Santarana Upanishad

8. Vishnu Purana (6:2:17)

9. Brhan Narayana Purana (38:97)

10. Srimad Bhagavatam (12:3:52)

11. japa Yoga by Swami Sivananda

12. Śri Sanatkumara-saṃhita Verses 1-25 (Verse 13)

13. Hindu Fasts & Festivals by Swami Sivananda

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Sadhana — Is it Necessary?


Question 1: Someone I know says that there is not much importance in Sadhana and that it is enough to have faith in one’s Guru.

Mata Amritanandamayi: “Son, a person who has faith in (the Guru) will perform sadhana as (the Guru) instructs. Such a person will live without erring even a little bit. Will your disease be cured if you only believe the doctor but do not take the medicine? Not only that, faith will gain strength and steadiness only if sadhana brings experience. Otherwise, faith will slip into irresoluteness. You cannot progress without sadhana. Can’t you see even jivanmuktas (those who have achieved liberation while tenanting the body) doing meditation and japa (repetitions of the mantra) to set an example? No progress will accrue to him who simply sits saying faith will save me without doing anything. Unquestioning obedience is what is meant by faith and devotion. Whatever the Guru says, one should unconditionally obey.  Do not ask any questions. Do not doubt the Guru. One should unconditionally obey the Guru whatever he says, whether it is doing service to the Guru, service to society, Japa, Dhyana or anything else.” (pgs. 82-83, Awaken, Children! Vol. 3).

Question 2: I do sadhana but I feel empty. Why is this so?

Mata Amritanandamayi: “We do some kind of spiritual practice, and then, dissipate the acquired spiritual energy by indulging in worldly affairs.” (pg. 71, Awaken, Children! Vol. 1)

Mata Amritanandamayi: “Whatever spiritual power is gained through meditation and other spiritual practices gets dissipated through indulgence.” (pg. 123, Awaken, Children! Vol. 1)

Question 3: How do we find the time to do sadhana? We are all too busy with work and family.

Mata Amritanandamayi: “Out of 24 hours, allow 22 hours for worldly affairs. Think of Him for at least two hours. Japa should also be done for some time while sitting in solitude. It should be performed whenever you have the time, even at work. (pg. 84, Awaken, Children! Vol. 1)

Question 4: Is it all right if one chants mantras even without knowing the meaning ?

Mata Amritanandamayi: “…if you chant your mantra without knowing its meaning, it has its own powers. Even then, it is better if it is chanted with faith and love. Concentration is also necessary.” (pg. 97, Awaken, Children! Vol. 1)

Mata Amritanandamayi: “…although God’s Name has a power of its own, when we chant it with bhava or concentration, it becomes more powerful.” (pg. 117, Awaken, Children! Vol. 1)

Question 5: Is it necessary to do sadhana everyday? Is it wrong or even harmful to stop sadhana for a day or two?

Mata Amritanandamayi: “Do not do sadhana with the intention of making it known to others or to please them. We don’t stop brushing our teeth, taking a shower or eating food because those are necessities. In the same way, we should remember that sadhana is also necessary for us every day. We will stink of we do not take a bath and brush our teeth. It will be troublesome for others also.  We should understand that refraining from doing sadhana is at least as harmful as this. Sadhana should become a part of our life.” (pgs. 122-123, Awaken, Children! Vol. 1).

Question 6: What is the best place to do sadhana?

Mata Amritanandamayi: “Sadhana should be done in the presence of a Perfect Master or in an ashram”. (pg. 135, Awaken, Children! Vol. 1).

Question 7: I got a mantra from you; isn’t it enough that I have been accepted as your disciple?

Mata Amritanandamayi: “Concentrate on your sadhana…. Mother gave a mantra to everyone. Do not be puffed up because of that and think, ‘I am mother’s disciple.’ Do not feel proud thinking, ‘I have the ticket’ after getting onto a bus or train. If you do not show the ticket when the ticket collector comes, he will immediately make you get off. He will let you alight at your destination only if you use your ticket for the proper place and in the proper way. Otherwise, you will have to get off before your destination.” (pg. 219, Awaken, Children! Vol. 1)

You may also be interested in the following articles:

https://antaryamin.wordpress.com/2009/11/09/so-amma-is-your-guru-really/

https://theunboundedspirit.com/tv/

What is Ego? Do Spiritual people have ego?


Question 1: Everyone in spiritual life talks about ego, and that it is the greatest impediment when it comes to attaining God. What, actually, is ego? How does it cause trouble to us?

Answer 1: “Ego… is the self-asserting principle…born of ignorance…It is the ego which has created the idea of separateness from God or the Atman, It is the ego which is the ROOT CAUSE of ALL human sufferings and births and deaths.” (pg. 44, Jnana Yoga by Swami Sivananda)

Question 2: How do we know whether we have ego? Or, whether we are acting out of egoistic tendencies? Are there are definite signs of the existence of ego?

Answer 2: “…ego identifies itself with the body, mind, prana, and the senses. Wherever there IS ego, there are mine-ness, SELFISHNESS, LIKES and DISLIKES, LUST, ANGER, greed, HYPOCRISY, PRIDE, JEALOUSY, delusion, arrogance, conceit, impertinence, vasanas (=tendencies), trishnas (=cravings)…”   (pg. 44, Jnana Yoga by Swami Sivananda)

Question 3: How do we get rid of this ego that causes so much trouble?

Answer 3: “…destrouction of thought, DESIRES, cravings, mineness, selfishness, JEALOUSY, PRIDE, LUST is really destruction of mind or egoism. Control of SENSES also is annihilation of the mind or egoism.” ( (pg. 44, Jnana Yoga by Swami Sivananda)

Question 4: Do people who are in spiritual life or who practise religions have ego?

Answer 4: “This egoism assumes a subtle form. The gross egoism is NOT so dangerous as the subtle egoism.”  (pg. 44, Jnana Yoga by Swami Sivananda)

Question 5: I have known people who claim that their religion is the truest and the rest are bogus, or they claim that their group, congregation, church, mosque or temple is genuine and the others, although they may belong to the same religion, do not belong to the true path of and to God. Are they actually working under the influence of ego?

Answer 5: “..Institutional egoism is a subtle form of egoism. The man identifies himself with the institution and gets ATTACHED to the institution or cult. He has no broadmindedness or catholicity.”  (pgs. 44-45, Jnana Yoga by Swami Sivananda)

Question 6: How to easily detect ego as it is so subtle and abstruse?

Answer 6: “The working of egoism is very mysterious. It is VERY difficult to detect its various ways of working. It NEEDS a SUBTLE and SHARP intellect to find out its operation. If you practise INTROSPECTION DAILY in silence, you WILL be able to find out its mysterious ways of working.”  (pg. 44, Jnana Yoga by Swami Sivananda)

Question 7: In your answer to Question 2 you said if we identify ourselves with the body, mind, senses, etc., it is an indication that we have that lurking ego in us. If this is so, what about our feelings regarding foreigners, strangers and people who do not belong to our society, culture, etc. Is that feeling of seeing the difference between us and others in terms of nationality, attainment, class, status, etc., the work of ego too?

Answer 7: “The seed of this ego is the differentiating intellect or Bheda Buddhi… This ego likes his own birth, place, and district, people of his district, own mother tongue, his own relations, and friends, his own ways of eating, mode of dressing. He has his own predilection and preferences, He dislikes others’ ways of eating, dressing, etc. (pgs. 44, 45 Jnana Yoga by Swami Sivananda).

Question 8: You see, I have spiritual friends—great spiritual friends, who are excellent advisers, guide and counsels. They have the little tendencies that you have described. Does it mean they too have the ego?

Answer 8: “It is the ego which has created the idea of separateness from God or the Atman… This ego wants to exercise POWER and INFLUENCE over others. He wants TITLES, prestige, STATUS, RESPECT, prosperity, house, wife, children. He wishes to domineer and rule over others. If anybody points out his defect his vanity feels offended. If anyone praises him he is elated. This ego says, ‘I know everything. He does not 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.”  (pgs. 44, 45 Jnana Yoga by Swami Sivananda)

Question 9: It, indeed, is subtle and dangerous. But how to destroy it?

Answer 9: “This ego lurks like a thief when you start introspection and self-analysis. It will ELUDE your grasp and understanding. You must be alert and vigilant. If you obtain the GRACE of the Lord through JAPA, kirtan, prayer and DEVOTION, you CAN EASILY kill this ego.”  (pg. 46, Jnana Yoga by Swami Sivananda) 

Mantra Japa and Japa Yoga


Question 1: A high premium has been placed on Japa (=chanting). Isn’t chanting but incantation of a certain formula or a group of words? How could a mindless repetition of a set of words can become a life-saving instrument, or one that has the key to life mysteries?

“A SPIRITUAL mantra puts us in touch with the highest goal of human life, the Self. Such a mantra is NO ordinary combination of letters and syllables, but a living force. The Nam,e of God is not different from God.” (pg. 80, Where Are You Going? by Swami Muktananda)

Question 2: How is it different from other practices like meditation, yoga, ritualistic prayers, etc.?

“While other techniques are means of attaining Him, mantra (chanting) is His very being. That is why it is SO easy to experience God by repeating the mantra. Mantra repetition bears fruit very quickly.”  (pg. 80, Where Are You Going? by Swami Muktananda)

Saint Tukaram, “With the Name of God on your lips, the bliss of liberation is right in your hand.” (pg. 80, Where Are You Going?)

Question 3: Everyone about me is chanting but I do not see any difference in them or in their lives. They have not changed or changing. How come chanting isn’t working for them?

Saint Tukaram, “Everyone repeats the Name of Rama (=God), including cheats, thieves, and priests. But the way in which the great devotee repeats the Name is entirely different, because the Name redeems them.” (pg. 81, Where Are You Going?)

“The mantra has its own power. However, if we want to obtain the full fruit of the mantra, we have to repeat it with FULL AWARENESS of its meaning… Most of the time, we repeat the mantra with the WRONG understanding, thinking that the syllables of the mantra and the object of the mantra are different from each other and from ourselves. That is why the mantra does not bear immediate fruit for us.” (pg. 81, Where Are You Going? by Swami Muktananda

Japa Versus Meditation


Question: What is the most efficacious way to attain God?

Swami Yatiswarananda: Japa—repetition of the divine Name is a most efficacious first step. (pg. 302, Meditation & Spiritual Life)

Question: I have been doing Japa but I do not see any evidence of my attaining God.

Swami Yatiswarananda: Japa is not to be done parrot-like. Patanjali says, “Tajjapastadartha-bhavanam” (Yoga Sutra 1:28). As you repeat the divine name, do the “arthabhavana“. What is “arthabhavana“? Dwelling on the meaning. You find trhat as you progress in spiritual life, you understand the deeper and deeper ‘meaning’ of the mantra. first of all, let us think of the luminous, blissful Form of the Ista Devata. Then, think of Him as an embodiment of infinite purity, knowledge, devotion, compassion, love and bliss. Then, think that He is no other than the Paramatman—the all pervading Spirit dwelling in all beings. (pg. 302, Meditation & Spiritual Life).

Question: I think, I am more into meditation (=dhyana) than chanting (=japa): Meditation appeals to me more.

Swami Yatiswarananda: We talk of dhyana or meditation. You say, ‘I am meditating.’ What are you meditating on? Going on brooding over something or other? That is not what is implied by that word…. (Meditation) will not come all of a sudden. Japa (=chanting) is a step towards that. Repeat the divine Name, thinking of Him; then, the mind becomes a little calmer, and even the sound drops off. As you  thus go on thinking of Him, the Ista Devata becomes more and more real than the things of the world. (Then, meditation takes place.) (pg. 302, Meditation & Spiritual Life).

Question: How often must I do Japa (=chanting) or all these that you have said before I see any results?

Swami Yatiswarananda: All this will happen if we undergo regular spiritual practice. (pg. 302, Meditation & Spiritual Life).

What Is Japa?


Question: What is meant by Japa (=Chanting)?

Ramana Maharshi: “Japa means clinging to one thought to the exclusion of all other thoughts,. That is the purpose (of Japa). It (should eventually) lead to dyana (=meditation), which (in turn) ends in Self-Realisation or jnana.” (pg. 56, The Spiritual Teaching of Ramana Maharshi)

Question: How should I carry on Nama-japa (=chanting the holy name of God)?

Ramana Maharshi: “One should not use the Name of God mechanically and superficially without the feeling of devotion. To use the Name of God, one must call upon Him with yearning and unreservedly surrender oneself to Him. Only after such surrender is the Name of God (would) constantly (be) with the Man.” (pg. 56, The Spiritual Teaching of Ramana Maharshi)

“You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.” [Deuteronomy 5:11] [NIV 2011]

Signs of Spiritual Progress


Swami Sivananda: “These are the signs that indicate that you are growing in meditation and approaching God: You will have no attraction for the world. The sensual objects will no longer tempt you. You will become desireless, fearless, ‘I’-less and ‘mine’-less. Deha-adhyasa or attachment to the body will gradually dwindle. You will not entertain the ideas, “She is my wife; he is my son; this is my house.” You will feel that all are manifestations of the Lord. You will behold God in every object.

“The body and mind will become light. You will always be cheerful and happy. The name of the Lord will always be on your lips. The mind will be ever fixed on the lotus feet of the Lord. The mind will be ever producing the image of the Lord. It will be ever seeing the picture of the Lord. You will actually feel that Sattva or purity, light, bliss, knowledge and Prema are ever flowing from the Lord to you and filling up your heart.

“You will have no body-consciousness. Even if there be body-consciousness, it will be in the form of a mental retentum. A drunkard may not have full consciousness that he has a cloth round his body. He may feel that something is loosely hanging from his body. Even so, you have a feeling of the body. You will feel that something is sticking to you like a loose cloth or loose shoes.

“You will have no attraction for the sex. You will have no sex-idea. Woman will appear to you as manifestation of the Lord. Money and gold will appear to you as pieces of stone. You will have intense love for all creatures. You will be absolutely free from lust, greed, anger, jealousy, pride, delusion, etc. You will have peace of mind even when people insult you, beat you and persecute you. The reason why you are not perturbed is that you get immense spiritual strength from the Indweller or the Lord. Pain and pleasure, success or failure, honour or dishonour, respect or disrespect, gain or loss are alike to you.

“Even in dreams, you are in communion with the Lord. You will not behold any worldly pictures.
You will converse with the Lord in the beginning. You will see Him in physical form. When your consciousness becomes cosmic, conversation will stop. You will enjoy the language of the silence or the language of the heart. From Vaikhari (vocal speech), you will pass on to Madhyama, Pasyanti and Para (subtle forms of sounds) and eventually you will rest in soundless Omkara or soundless Brahman. 

Dispassion and discrimination, serenity, self-restraint, one-pointedness of mind, Ahimsa, Satyam, purity, forbearance, fortitude, patience, forgiveness, absence of anger, spirit of service, sacrifice, love for all, will be your habitual qualities. You will be a cosmic friend and benefactor.

“During meditation you will have no idea of time. You will not hear any sound. You will have no idea of the environments. You will forget your name and all sorts of relationship with others. You will enjoy perfect peace and bliss. Gradually you will rest in Samadhi.

“Samadhi is an indescribable state. It is beyond the reach of mind and speech. In Samadhi or the superconscious state the meditator loses his individuality and becomes identical with the Supreme Self. He becomes an embodiment of bliss, peace and knowledge. So much only can be said. You have to experience this yourself through constant meditation.

“Contentment, unruffled state of the mind, cheerfulness, patience, decrease in the excretions, sweet voice, eagerness and steadiness in the practice of meditation, disgust for worldly prosperity or success and company, desire to remain alone in a quiet room or in seclusion, desire for association with Sadhus and Sannyasins, Ekagrata or one-pointedness of mind are some of the signs which indicate that you are growing in purity, that you are prospering in the spiritual path.

“You will hear various kinds of Anahata sounds, of a bell, a kettle drum, thunder, conch, Veena or flute, the humming sound of a bee, etc., during meditation. The mind can be fixed in any of these sounds. This also will lead to Samadhi. You will behold various kinds of colours and lights during meditation. This is not the goal. You will have to merge the mind in that which is the source of these lights and colours.

“A student in the path of Vedanta ignores these sounds and lights. He meditates on the significance of the Mahavakyas of the Upanishads by negating all forms. “The sun does not shine there, nor do the moon and the stars, nor does this lightning shine and much less this fire. When He shines, everything shines after Him; by His light all these shine.” He meditates, also like this: “The air does not blow there. The fire does not burn there. There is neither sound nor touch, neither smell nor colour, neither mind nor Prana in the homogeneous essence. Asabda, Asparsa, Arupa, Agandha, Aprana, Amana, Atindriya, Adrishya, Chidanandarupa Sivoham, Sivoham. I am blissful Siva, I am blissful Siva.”

“Be a spiritual hero in the Adhyatmic battlefield. Be a brave, undaunted, spiritual soldier. The inner war with the mind, senses, Vasanas and Samskaras is more terrible than the external war. Fight against the mind, senses, evil Vasanas, Trishnas, Vrittis and Samskaras boldly. Use the machine-gun of Brahma-Vichara to explode the mind efficiently. Dive deep and destroy the undercurrents of passion, greed, hatred, pride and jealousy, through the submarine or torpedo of Japa of OM or Soham. Soar high in the higher regions of bliss of the Self with the help of the aeroplane of Brahmakara Vritti. Use the ‘mines’ of chanting of OM to explode the Vasanas that are hidden in the sea of subconscious mind. Sometimes move the ‘tanks’ of discrimination to crush your ten enemies, the ten turbulent senses.

“Start the Divine League and make friendship with your powerful allies viz., dispassion, fortitude, endurance, serenity, self-restraint, to attack your enemy-mind. Throw the bomb of “Sivoham Bhavana” to destroy the big mansion of body and the idea “I am the body,” “I am the doer” and “I am the enjoyer.” Spread profusely the gas of “Sattva” to destroy your internal enemies viz., Rajas and Tamas quickly. “Black-out” the mind by destroying the Vrittis or Sankalpas by putting out all the lights or bulbs of sensual objects so that the enemy ‘mind’ will not be able to attack you.

“Fight closely against your enemy ‘mind’ with the bayonet of one-pointedness (Samadhana) to get hold of the priceless treasure or Atmic pearl. The joy of Samadhi, the bliss of Moksha, the peace of Nirvana are now yours, whoever you may be, in whatever clime you are born. Whatever might be your past life or history, work out your salvation. O beloved Rama, with the help of these means come out victorious right now, this very second.”

(Source: http://www.sivanandaonline.org/public_html/?cmd=displaysection&section_id=1724&parent=640&format=html)

Japa, Meditation and Seclusion


Q: What is the difference between Japa and meditation?
A: Japa is the silent repetition of the Name of the Lord. Meditation is the constant flow of one idea of God. When you repeat ‘Om Namo Narayanaya’ it is Japa of Vishnu Mantra. When you think of conch, discus, mace and lotus-flower in the hands of Vishnu, His earrings, crown on His head, His yellow silk Pitambara, etc., it is meditation. When you think of the attributes of God such as Omniscience, Omnipotence, etc., it is also meditation.

Q: Give me practical instructions as to how to meditate.
A: Sit in Padma or Siddha Asana in a solitary room, keep the head, neck and trunk in one straight line. Close your eyes. Imagine that a big effulgent sun is shining in the chambers of your heart. Place the picture of Lord Vishnu in the centre of a lotus flower. Locate the picture now in the centre of the blazing sun. Repeat His Mantra “Om Namo Narayanaya” mentally and see His image in your heart mentally from foot to head, His weapons in the hands, etc. Shut off all other worldly ideas.

Q: When I meditate, my head becomes heavy. How to remove this?
A: Apply Amalaka oil to the head and take cold bath. Dash some cold water on the head before you sit for meditation. You will be all right. Do not wrestle with the mind.

Q: Is seclusion necessary?
A: Absolutely necessary. It is indispensable.

Q: How long should I remain in seclusion?
A: For full three years.

(Source: pgs. 136-137, Concentration and Meditation)