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Swami Sivananda Saraswati

16th September 1950. Swami Sivananda addressed the students of the B.N. College, Patna University. The following is an extract:

“My dear brothers, don’t think you can study the Gita after you have grown old, when you are 50 or 70 years of age. You don’t know how to control this body. The legs have become very luxurious. You cannot sit in padmasana. Now you can start practising padmasana; if you feel the pain apply some oil. Make the body light by light food and pranayama. Practice of bhastrika purifies the nadis. Many people nowadays suffer from constipation; if they practise a little pranayama, their constipation will vanish. Practise bhujangasana, shalabhasana and dhanurasana. They will make the spine elastic. They will increase the peristalsis also. Don’t take churan or powder, but practise asanas.

Meditate on the nature of the self. ‘I am Satchidananda-Existence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute’. Meditate on divine qualities. If you are not able to practise this abstract meditation, then meditate on the sun, the light, or all-pervading ether or air. Meditate on the light that is shining in your heart; meditate on those dream pictures that you sometimes get. Meditate on the form of your guru or saints. Meditate on anything your mind likes best. Meditate on the form of your father, on his qualities.

Get up at 4 a.m. This is not possible if you go to bed at 12 after having been to the cinema. Nowadays cinema houses are springing up everywhere, every day. They produce all sorts of eye diseases. The mind is also filled with craving and restlessness. That is what the cinema bestows on you. Yes, you are eager to go to the cinema.

Paranjikhani vyatrinat swayambhuh,

Tasmat paran pashyati na antaraatman,

kashchit dheera.

We want such upanishadic dheeras, people with wisdom. One who dies in war is not the only dheera. A spiritual hero is also a dheera. The external warfare will end in a few months or years; nowadays with atomic and hydrogen bombs, the duration of wars is much shortened. But this is not the case with the internal warfare. It goes on for years together, for several lives. The termination of this war depends on the amount of scientific knowledge that you have acquired.

The scientist is a raja yogi only; but his mind works in different grooves. He has given us much comfort but has increased our restlessness. For all his mastery of science, he is groping in darkness. He won't find the atma through or in his laboratory. Atma is the self – to attain which you will have to withdraw the mind from the external objects and direct it within.

When you close your eyes for a little while, at once you want to open them. You have not practised meditation. If you study for four or five years, you can become a MA, if you write a thesis, you can become a Ph.D. But to develop a single virtue it takes several years.

Be regular in your japa. Be serious. This is your life problem. You must reach the goal. Discipline the indriyas. There is a great power in the Lord’s name. When a man is bitten by a cobra, he gives a telegram to one who knows the mantra; and the man is cured. If I come near you and utter the word bichchu, scorpion, you at once jump up. When I say rasagulla, your mouth waters. When I say ‘You are a donkey’, you get enraged. What is there: have you developed four legs? When such is the power of mere words, what a great power must be in the Lord’s name? Prahlada and Mira knew the power of the name.

The spiritual seed must be sown when you are young. Even when you are studying in college, get up in the early morning and meditate. Just as a powerful lens is made only by rubbing it – rub, rub, and rub the mind and make it pure. Don’t argue much on transcendental matters. Arguments fail. The frail intellect will not be able to grasp adhyatmic, spiritual, truths. When you are in a delirious condition, the little intellect does not function. Even the best doctors are baffled at times: they are unable to explain certain states of a man. They call them idiosyncrasies. This is because the mind is a finite instrument; it is frail; when one is under chloroform, the intellect vanishes. Let us not depend upon this fickle intellect. Let us repeat Ram Nam.

From Sivananda’s Lectures, during All-India and Ceylon Tour, 1950, Chronicler Swami Venkatesananda