Life from the True Angle

Swami Satyananda Saraswati

To serve the less fortunate man is the greatest form of worship of God, to repeat his name and constantly remember Him is the surest and quickest way to achieve success and attain eternal peace, to regulate life according to the shruti injunctions is the greatest cure of the malady, to meditate daily for two hours is the only way to soothe the nervous mind.

To waste time in extracurricular activities is the greatest of all earthly sins, to wreak the faith of God is an untold mishap, to idly waste time is the worst form of liability.

Life is the mysterious phenomena – hence only needs to maintain measure of a great precaution to deal with it. The mysteries of life unfold to one who regards it as the greatest of gifts from God. Life no longer remains a ‘magical box’ if one takes to the sadhana sincerely. To those who have had implicit faith in God, life became a happy celebration of festivities.

Neither the temples, nor the mechanical repetition of stotras, nor even the supernatural forms could help your country so long. Where was Somnath temple’s so-called miraculous deity when Mohammad Gaznavi plundered and broke it eighteen times? Where was the supposed divinity of Kashi Vishwanath when it was the centre of aggressive wars? Where were the siddhas and yogis (of your description) when the conflagration of war was bringing down the heart of India to ashes? It was the priests, the credulous masses, the super materialistically defied persons – the forerunners of destiny of yours and mine – who did more harm to us than was done by Nadir Shah and Taimur Lang jointly.

And if you wish to rise, stand and walk, take it from this sadhu, that not but your own material efforts would work out your long and cherished plan. No god and goddess, no priest and ascetic can help the material prosperity of a nation. Because of our dilapidated spiritual attitude, we have been suffering so long while the rest of the nations have gone much ahead in material advancement.

The ‘living saints’ of every time and history and nation have served the cause efficiently. Buddha was the man who revived the conditions of our country of his time. Shankar was the person who changed the integral structure of India. Tulsi was marvellously successful in bringing about a thorough revolution in the aspirations and expressions of our countrymen. He undoubtedly eliminated the face of ghosts, devils and evil forces from the masses. It was he who discouraged the malpractice of siddhis. It was Ramakrishna who prepared India to fight for her real cause. Today it becomes our duty to pay our due unto them – the champions of human cause.

Simplicity is the scientific way of life. Good speech is the most precious of all ornaments. Service is the salt of life. Japa is the soap. Asanas purify the body. Name purifies the mind, dhyana strengthens willpower. Work strengthens the future. Study makes one perfect.

Life without devotion has no meaning at all. Peace comes not in the absence of ‘God Faith’. Verily peace is granted to those who have a refined culture – keen sense of duty, faith in good and God. Peace be to them who are pure at heart, intensively courageous in action, serviceable to the low and fallen, meditative before they take up any work.

God helps those who help others

Most of our aspirations are woven around our little family, business and whims. We do not come to take notice of theirs, especially those who need be noticed, rather who are lying unnoticed. When you take care of others, God and nature will take care of your welfare. This law is historically tested and found correct. God helps those who help others too (not only to themselves). If you were ablaze with a fiery determination of helping others too, then, take this from me, you are going to be endowed with capacities.

It does not, however, mean that you should stage a drama of your ideals. What Satyam has in his mind to say is that one should at least have a great ambition and a burning aspiration to help others. It is not necessary that you should consider material and non-material help alone as one form of service. Sweet speech, sympathetic utterances too, are one of the aspects of service.

Help old widows, the blind and leprosy stricken fellow men, this is a service. Love untouchables. Do not ill-treat sweepers. This too is a service.

Do not misbehave with beggars. Beggars are your unfortunate brothers. I cannot help reiterating to analyse the plight of a beggar whom you are facing.

But mind you, it is not compulsory to necessarily give him a coin, you may please do this, but do not rebuke him and thus break his innocent and already broken heart. Well, a margin also may be maintained for such purpose.

The religious feelings, therefore, are that 10 percent of the income should never be utilized for the family, 20 percent must be reserved for the emergency need, such as sick aid, marriage and other accidental commitments, 10 percent at least should go for education of poor children, 10 percent is the margin, and 50 percent for the household needs and other regular allowances. This distribution is according to religious sanctions. In practice, of course, it may need a proper sense of adjustments.

A course in history

What exactly a businessman needs is daring initiative and enterprise. But, you know, enterprise needs a great deal of self-confidence, a proper sense of self-reliance. Who are those well-qualified in self-confidence? Look at the Americans and Englishmen. What made them this?

By the end of the 17th century the revolution there had completely broken the backs and fronts of the priesthood, witchcraft and super naturalized tendency of the masses. Astral utilities were declared as dangerous. Extra phenomenalism was confined to scientists only, masses had nothing to do with super-physical realities whether or not they are real.

When I peep back into the pages of Russian History, I find the Russian condition of pre-Lenin era just the same as it is in India today. When the old history underwent a red revolution, the old religion could no longer stay and sustain the blows. And the results? Russia has out beaten most of the nations in powers and prowess, in duty and character, in art and religion. Well, there are no churches which feed and maintain the practice of a nation.

The conclusion, therefore, which I draw is that Indians must deal with the Maths, religion with the religion and nature with the nature. Let us not create a confusion and perform irrelevant ceremonies. When the malady is material, do cure it materially – when it is spiritual, do treat it spiritually, when the afflictions are supernatural, please bear in mind, no force whatsoever can avert them. This conclusion, which I assert, is in accordance with the text of our scriptures.

Now the religion

Religion means a proper sense of duty, which helps an individual to regain his lost glory, to decipher the lost track.

Dharma, hence, means a stable platform, which retains our essential values of life, our character, aspirations and ambitions. Since it upholds or keeps us firmly established in a settled position, it is called dharma. Since it calls us to a ‘Return’, it is called ‘Religion’. Now then the religion must have an integrated space and scope in our daily life. Now then the Religious Code must excommunicate the parasites which are flourishing in the name of religion. Now then the religion should be disintegrated from the so-called social ceremonies and buffoonery, with an impartial judging – and under no chance should the religion be taken to be the totality of templetarianism, churchianty, mosqueshness. On the other hand, religion should form the fundamental basis of our attitude to varying motives, actions and emotions in our day-to-day life. Thus everyone of our motives, actions and emotions can be concerted and spiritualized in the fraction of a second without the least tinge of tamasha, spectacle, and clownish demonstrations.

Regulation is the song of life

Get up at 4 am. Practise yogasanas, meditation, japa, swadhyaya, mantra writing and prayer, thus get ready for the day with a mind filled with tranquillity, a body with smartness, a soul with positive ideals, a day with a lot of hours. This is the best time when you can not only meditate, but commune with yourself also. This is the opportune moment when God ideas occur to the mind and elevate your entire life and career. Brahmamuhurta, from 4 to 6 am, will very ably, rightly, silently and efficiently inaugurate the day’s functions. You know that ‘Well begun is well done’.

In the beginning the task will appear somewhat difficult – rather inconvenient, but gradually everything will be all right. Similarly at night from 8 to 10 pm, one should try to review, analyse and criticize the accomplishments of the day. But bear in mind this practice should not be held seriously – simple recapitulations of various engagements and commitments alone will do. Gradually this two-hour practice will do immense good to you. This will cast away your prejudices, develop memory and the power of judgement. This will also bestow upon you a special ‘psychic personality’ through which you can help yourself and help others too.

Too much brooding over and excessive planning weakens the mental strength. It is followed by inertia, however dynamic the person may appear, brooding is an extremely unhealthy condition of life. Therefore, one must efficiently eliminate inertia. To eliminate the habitual inertia one needs heavy preoccupations. But it is true that one can’t have day-long heavy preoccupations. Hence the hour at our leisure should be spiritualized. The easiest way to spiritualize the idle hours is to repeat the Ishta mantra in the beginning so long as you have not developed a religious-cum-philosophic temperament. Of course, after a certain stage when you have held a proper sway over your mind you may pull on with religious thinking, manana. But at present mere repetition of the name will do to render the mind peaceful, calm, sharp and strong. Don’t you think, please, that name is merely a blind ideology. No and never. It is a tried technology in religion.

Kirtan is the most important and potent of all known methods of sadhana. Do kirtan at night along with your family members. It will not only produce a positive atmosphere in your home, but it will train up the psychology of your children too. Children fear and shrink before a strict and grim-faced father, while the religious-minded father creates in them a sense of regard and initiates in their lives a process of evolution.

Pray when you get up. Pray before you go to bed. Pray before you sit for eating. Pray when you have done the eating. Prayer spiritualizes, energizes and revives the art of living.

Aim high and work hard. Recreation is a baseless excuse for the sadhana. Indians do not need recreation. We have been recreating and sleeping for more than eight centuries. Now the time of need has come that we shall recreate our potentialities, revive our own culture and assert the sanctity of our soul.

Regulate yourself if you wish to regulate your family affairs. Regulation is the song of life. Regulation is the law of life. Regulation regulates self-committable irregularity. Regulation is real religion. It is a rare commodity nowadays but no amount of feverish efforts will bring desirable results in material and spiritual region as well as a well-regulated life will enable you to master the success in all spheres of life.

—Printed in YOGA Vol. 8, No. 8 (August 1970)