Integrated Personality

From the teachings of Swami Sivananda

An integrated life is a grand symphony of many reflexes, impulses, desires, emotions, thoughts and purposes. There is harmony among these dimensions of the personality and discordant notes are not produced.

The sure sign of a person's integration is his behaviour. Such a person is always sincere and honest in word, thought and action. He is honest with himself and honest with others. Truthful by nature, he does not exaggerate, misrepresent, manipulate or distort facts to suit self-interest. He neither broods over the past nor dreams about the future, but acts in the living present.

Positive in outlook, he is always ready to learn and grow. He accepts the trials and tribulations of life as they come and does not blame anyone or anything for them. Grounded in self-awareness he is neither aggressive nor defensive in his dealings with others. He is spontaneous, efficient and creative. Moderation is his motto, discrimination is his guideline and self-knowledge his goal.

Meditation enables us to discover the rhythm of integrated living. The more active we are, the more we are required to be meditative. In fact, this is one of the secrets of progress in spiritual life. Meditation is breathing in, activity is breathing out. Success in meditation manifests as increased concentration, efficiency, foresight, and memory. We are able to do more actions in less time. Our perceptions become keen and our powers of observation become clear. Steadiness of mind comes from self-control, and self-control is control over both the mind and the senses.

Put yourself in the place of others. Learn this great secret. What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others.

Do not think of the good deeds you have done and do not even expect any thanks for what you do. If you help someone, never remember it and if someone helps you, never forget it. Spiritual life and devotion to God are essential for preventing a feeling of frustration in life. Do not care which way this person goes or that person acts. But do your part fully, sincerely, tenaciously. Be good and do good. Let spirituality not be a Sunday service affair.

There is so much talk of universal brotherhood, love, cooperation, mutual understanding and cultural revival, but so little practical living of these ideals is to be found. Unless your idealism is vitally and dynamically lived, it is worthless. Being and doing are the need of the hour.

It is practical, positive goodness that can surely overcome all the negativity and problems that one complains about in this world. God has given you common sense. Act wisely.

The world is for your education. You learn many lessons daily. If you learn all the lessons you can, if you utilize all opportunities to the best advantage, in the spirit of yoga, then your capacities and willpower will develop. You grow, evolve and expand.

Difficulties exist so that you may become 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.

There is no greater undertaking than purifying our life of all enmity, impurity and passion, and filling it with love, goodness, peace and purity.

The ideal of man

The ideal of man in the Bhagavad Gita is the sthitaprajna or the gunatita, one who is neither unduly elated by success, nor grieved by sorrow, who is equipoised in the most adverse circumstances, in praise and censure, in wealth and poverty, in all conditions of life. He is ever conscious of his real nature, unaffected by the play of the elements and modifications of the mind. He is perfected because he does not follow the course of the senses, but `casts off all the desires of the mind and is satisfied in the Self by the Self' (2:55).

He is the sage of steady wisdom, who has neither attachment disguised as love nor hate for anybody. His longings have turned away from earthly objects on account of realization of the Supreme. He indeed has attained everlasting peace who rests in perpetual awareness of the Absolute (2:55, 57, 59, 69, 70, 72).

This is not a utopian ideal. This is the birthright of all, to be sought and attained by all. Happiness is within, relaxation and peace are within. The spiritual seeker should therefore look within. He should see the One in all and all in the One. His equal vision should not make a distinction between high and low. Ever conscious of the divine presence in himself and in all creatures around him, he is never separated from the Divine. Engrossed in such awareness, one cannot commit any harm to one's fellow-beings, hurt others or go against the good of society.

Though such a perfected man has nothing to achieve for himself, yet he works for the good of the world, in order to set an example to others. This world is a great stage, where the drama of life is enacted. Everyone has to learn from this great teacher, the world. No one can ignore this ideal training ground if he wishes to evolve and elevate himself and attain perfection.

This is the ideal of man as described by Sri Krishna. Let all aspirants rededicate themselves to the attainment of this ideal. This is the goal of life. This is the way out of limitation, delusion and suffering.

In the Bhagavad Gita is found the wonderful message of hope, consolation, peace and, above all, the divinity of man. Here the problem of life is solved. Here is the message of fearlessness for everyone, which lifts the individual from the depths of penury and misery to the heights of immortality and eternal bliss.

The message of Sri Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita heartens us all with the magnificent ideal of the union of man with God, even while performing one's duties in a spirit of selflessness, non-attachment and surrender to God.

Divine Life Magazine, August 1953