Lead Us to Light…

From the teachings of Swami Sivananda Saraswati

The path of teaching may sometimes be precipitous, sometimes pleasurable. Equally, the path of learning may sometimes be dull, sometimes delicious. The following words of Swami Sivananda, it is hoped, will inspire us to guide and be guided.

Yoga is your unique heritage. Proceed upon this path gradually and steadily. Nothing can be achieved overnight. Yoga does not want you to turn away from life; it demands spiritualization of life.

Be regular in your practice. This is of paramount importance. It is useless to talk of cessation of war, while you are still full of hatred and jealousy. So first remove your own inharmonious vibrations. Then there will be no more war between nations. It is individuals who constitute a nation.

When you mix with people, again and again, fix the mind on your point of concentration. Rest your background of thought on your chosen form or abstract image. This serves as a strong fortress to protect you from the onslaught of negative thoughts.

Difficulties exist only so that you may grow strong by overcoming them. So overcome all difficulties, one by one, patiently. If you fail ten times, do not despair. If you fail a hundred times, do not be disheartened. If you fail a thousand times, rise up and march on boldly. Failures are indeed stepping stones to success.

The more you give the more you will get. You will be in tune with the cosmic energy. This is the divine law.

When once you have resolved on a definite line of action, carry it out dexterously, with cool deliberation and consideration. Procrastination is the thief of time. One who procrastinates can never succeed in life, or in any undertaking.

Keep the mind in a state of moderation. The mind likes to always run to extremes. It runs either to extreme joy or extreme depression. Extremes meet and bring about a reaction. In excessive joy the mind cannot be calmed. Hence, let the mind always be calm and cheerful.

Words exist for the transmission of ideas. Words and ideas are inseparable; they are like fire and its heat. Be careful in the selection of your words. They can produce violent disturbance in the feelings of others. Speak only those words that give happiness and comfort to others.

Do not brood over failures, defects and mistakes. This will weaken your will power. Let the defects be. They will be removed quickly when the will grows and becomes purer and stronger.

There must not be the least attachment to any kind of work. You must be ready to leave any work at any time. There may be a divine call upon you for certain work. You will have to take it up at once without grumbling, whatever the nature of work may be, whether you are willing or not. You will have to stop it also, if conditions and circumstances demand you to do so. This is yoga.

There is nothing chaotic or capricious in this world. Things do not happen in the universe by accident or chance in a disorderly manner. They happen in regular succession and events follow each other in a regular order. There is a kind of definite connection between what is being done now by you and what will happen in the future. Always sow the seeds that will bring pleasant fruits and make you happy.

Do not be a slave to one idea. Whenever you get new, healthy ideas, the old ones must be given up. An internal fight between nature and will is going on in the mind, between the old, worldly habits and the new, spiritual habits. In the case of aspirants, the fight is between the old samskaras of the sensual world and new, spiritual samskaras. It is a fight between viveka, wisdom, and indriyas, senses.

The mind is so framed that it cannot work without expectation of fruits or anticipation of rewards for actions. Train the mind to work disinterestedly. Discipline the mind with patience and perseverance. In the beginning all your actions may be selfish. But if you work hard in the field of karma yoga for a while, five actions out of a hundred may be unselfish. After some years of incessant struggle, fifty actions out of a hundred will be unselfish. A good time will come when all your actions will be unselfish and pure.

Entertain only thoughts that are useful and helpful. This is the stepping stone to all spiritual progress. Every thought must be of a constructive nature; it must be positive and definite. Mental images must be well defined. Every thought must bring comfort and peace to others and never bring pain or unhappiness. Then you are a blessed soul on earth.

Be equanimous in all conditions, knowing that they are nothing but the fruits of your own past actions. Be indifferent to the pairs of opposites. Always be rooted, inwardly, in the self. Always be blissful. Radiate bliss and joy. Now none is foe, none is stranger. Feel and see the self in all beings. Be devoted to the well-being of all humanity. Love for love’s sake. Work for work’s sake.

Some aspirants are humble at the beginning of their career. But when they get name, fame, some followers, some disciples, they become victims of pride. Now they cannot do any service, they cannot carry anything on their heads or even in their hands. Your ideal should be to become humbler than a blade of grass. Then you will develop patience and understanding, and have goodwill on all sides, from everyone.

Never complain against bad environments. Create your own mental world wherever you remain, wherever you go. The mind deludes you, at every moment, at every step. Try to overcome the obstacles and difficulties by suitable means. Do not try to run away from unfavourable environments. Providence has placed you there to make you grow quickly.

Lead a simple life. Practise daily meditation and establish peace in your own heart. Then you will radiate it to all who come in contact with you.

Do not think too much about the method of nishkamya yoga (the yoga of selfless service). Just begin somewhere. Work with the right intention, the right spirit. The way will open before you.

The real teacher is the Spirit. He lives in your heart. Seek Him. Find Him. Enter into Him. And rest peacefully, forever.