This section is from the "Advices on Spiritual Living" book, by Sri Swami Chidananda.See also A Call to Liberation.
Beloved Immortal Atman,
Blessed Seekers after Truth,
Om Namo Narayana. Loving Pranams,
Homage unto the Divine. May the Grace of the Supreme Being be upon you all; Glory to the Lord; My humble and sincerest GOODWISHES & GREETINGS to you for Joy, Prosperity and Success during this NEW YEAR. May Happiness and Spiritual progress mark all its days and may good thoughts, sweet and kind words and noble selfless deeds of help and service unto others fill the entire year ahead. You are Divine. Therefore let Divinity radiate from you in everything that you think, say and do. Live to express the perfect God-Essence that dwells within you. Let all the movements of your daily life be filled with the light that illumines the innermost shrine of your spiritual heart which is the divine centre of your real being.
Beloved Friend: you are the moving temple of God. God is within you as on all-pure and bliss-filled Divine Presence. That God is Love: Unlock the food gates of the Ocean of Divine Love within thee, and let flow that love over all the universe. Love all. Encompass everything here with that Love. Live Love. Think Love. Speak Love. Do deeds of loving kindness and goodness in all the actions of your day-to-day life Even the most trifling of actions do with love for God. Do all things for Him. Fill your mind with loving thoughts towards all created beings and things. Fill your heart with pure feelings of kindness, compassion, affection, friendship and genuine love towards everything upon earth. Regard none as thine enemy. Feel all as thine own. For we are brethren in the divine, all being children of God. Merciful be thine attitude towards all creatures and things here. Speak gentle words alone, of friendship and divine brotherhood in the Lord. Utter soft speech that brings happiness unto others and helps them to bear the trials and burdens of this life. Kind words affectionately uttered bring heaven down to man on earth. Unkind and harsh worlds contradict the Divine Law of Life and thus take the joy out of life and cause pain. Therefore beloved seeker: fulfil the Law by filling your speech with Love and thus helping to bring light into the lives of all. Engage in actions of loving-kindness which the noble brothers of the sublime Buddhist faith refer to by the beautiful term Metta. It is the expression of the highest principle in man. It is impersonal, universal, motiveless love toward everyone and everything. It leaves no place for anything else except such love in your heart. Such love is Divine. It makes you Divine by enabling you to rise up into Divine Experience.
Love is the one and only Law that can bring solace, peace and happiness to mankind in this world. It is the higher principle with which man can overcome the grievous results of his past folly, blindness, wickedness, selfishness and the sufferings created by them. Love will give back to World Humanity the Peace, Safety and Security which it has lost through the transgression of this supreme principal of life, namely, Loving Kindness. Blessed Seekers, strive to restore unto humanity peace, joy and welfare by practising the rule of cosmic love or Vishwa-Prem and living a life of loving goodness and kindness unto all.
Spiritual Life means unfoldment of the hidden Divinity within you. It implies the manifestation of this inner Divine nature which is your real self. Yoga is the process for bringing about this inner awakening, unfoldment and manifestation. All Sadhana is for manifesting this Divinity of your true Swaroopa: fact of divine experience. A life that contradicts LOVE in any manner cannot become spiritual or grow on divinity. It cannot progress towards God because He is attainable through Love.
Because HE IS LOVE: God is love. Anything in your life that contradicts LOVE, know it to be undivine. It is not daivi-sampatti expounded by Lord Krishna. Selfless Love, Compassion and friendliness are divine, Sattwic and, therefore, help spiritual unfoldment, Hatred, anger, dislike, ill-will, prejudice, envy, jealousy, intolerance, harshness, selfish and resultant unkindness are the negation of Love and hence are great obstacles to spiritual advancement as they are undivine expressions of your lower earthly nature. They must die and the nature, the inner man should be cleansed of this dross before the Light of Truth can flood your inmost beings and grant you Illumination, Divine Experience and Immortality. Love is the great and marvellous power that can effectively root out all evil in man and transform him and make him godly.
Love is the greatest purifying force on earth. It makes your life divine. It is therefore the very basis and support of Divine Life as expounded by Gurudev, worshipful and beloved Sivananda Swamiji. Therefore overcome all blemish through the sanctifying power of pure selfless love of all and attain the goal of God Consciousness, my beloved Atman. God Bless you.
Glorious NEW YEAR unto you. My deepest regards, love and prostrations to you all, souls journeying onward unto Divine Perfection.
Yours in Sri Gurudev
D. L. S. H. Q.
Sivanandashram Letter No. XXV
Beloved Immortal Atman!
Blessed Seekers after Truth,
Om Namo Narayanaya. Salutations in the name of Gurudev Sivananda.
I wish to express my great thankfulness to the numerous devotees and friends in India, as well as from several countries abroad, who have remembered me with so much kindness and love, and sent their affectionate Christmas and New Year's greetings, and expressed their sincere goodwill for this servant of Gurudev as well as other Ashramites. Trying though I am to acknowledge all of them individually I avail myself of this opportunity of collectively conveying my grateful thanks to all of these blessed and gracious souls. May they ever dwell in the remembrance of the Supreme Lord, Who is the sublime connecting link between us all here. Let us contemplate that we are together when we strive to keep ourselves in the presence of the one Reality, because true spiritual brotherhood is wrought by the oneness of our common goal and the common centre of our abidance namely God. We have to constantly remember that all other relationship except that of God, are transient, fluctuating and essenceless. He who loves mankind for the sake of the Divine that indwells man, has verily established oneness with humanity.
As you all know, this servant has been away from the Headquarters for the whole of January. Half of February also shall be spent in touring and visiting Divine Life branches in Bengal and other states. In spite of my desire to do so, I regret, it is not possible at this moment to give you a detailed account of the uplifting activities of the Divine Life Society that took place in the past month of this protracted tour of mine of Southern and Eastern parts of India. I, therefore, restraint myself here merely by telling you that all the programmes throughout my tour in the state of Maharashtra, Andhra & Orissa were very well organised and this servant had the blessed opportunity of addressing vast congregations, meeting many persons, visiting several holy shrines and places of Pilgrimage. The mission of Gurudev and the message of Divine Life was spread far and wide in an organised and grand manner. The Divine Life Conferences at Viajayawada in Andhra and at Puri in Orissa were crowned with resounding success. I want to express my gratefulness to numerous capable organisers, devotees and selfless workers who strove hard to organise the programmes, making every arrangement for our comfortable stay and journeys and thus became worthy instruments of God and Gurudev in this great endeavour. Although the reports of these programmes etc. will be published in the Branch Gazette' and Divine Life', I shall try to say something more specific in my next letter, if possible.
In my letter of 15th January, published in the Branch Gazette of the same month, I paid my homage and offered prayers on the sudden and shocking demise of our revered Prime Minister Sri Lal Bahadur Shastriji. In fact when India had not yet recovered from the shock of his loss, it was stunned once again by the passing of most revered and beloved Sadhu T. L. Vaswaniji Maharaj at Poona on the 16th January. With deep regret I received the news. During my visit to Poona in the third week of December, 1964, I had the most blessed occasion and the unique opportunity of placing my head at the holy feet of our beloved and worshipful Dadaji - Sadhu Vaswaniji Maharaj. I vividly recollect how I was filled with happiness at the time and considered myself most sanctified by his holy Darshan and the warm embrace of Divine Love in which he graciously enfolded this servant. Now that has become a thing of the past, he will yet always remain as an evergreen memory and refreshing inspiration. Very recently, on the 4th January, 1966, I visited the St. Mira School at Poona, founded by Revered Dadaji and had the privilege of addressing the students there. Revered Dadaji's life was devoted to the propagation of the spiritual message, and though he was a devoted scholar of the scriptures of all faiths, his writings were simple and forthright. He believed in aiming his message to the heart of his reader rather than his head. He was a great Bhakta and had fittingly named one of his journals and many educational institutions after the celebrated Bhakta Mira. Gentleness personified, his very presence filled the atmosphere with love. Though he is no more among us physically, he is present everywhere in spirit to guide and inspire all who listen to the message of his life and work. May his loving guidance continue to lead us on the path of righteousness and Bhakti.
The Punyatithi of Sri Samartha Guru Ramdas falls on 14th of this month. A saint and a realised soul of a very high order, he was deeply distressed with the historical conditions of the motherland of that time. He placed his wisdom and statesmanship at the disposal of Shivaji. Shivaji Maharaj was so devoted to him that at the climax of his career and the heyday of his empire he laid his entire kingdom at the feet of his Guru and thereafter acted only in the capacity of his minister. He even replaced his royal standard by a saffron flag. Living in close proximity of a great empire-builder, Samartha Ramdas remained steadfastly rooted in his renunciation and devotion to Lord Ram. Ram Nam were his life. His Punyatithi is a day for us to rededicate ourselves to duty and devotion.
Beloved Aspirants: This month also marks that great festival and fast, Mahasivaratri on the 18th. This at once reminds me of the hungry and tired hunter of the Sivaratri Vrata Katha, who even when he unwittingly performs the Vrata attains Lord Siva's grace. It is a beautiful poignant tale, which all of us know. This allegorical tale teaches us that Jiva (the hunter) with great effort pursues sense objects, but thwarted in this quest of the unreal falls asleep, that is, turns away from them and fasts (shuns sensuality) and wakes up to realise that he is in the midst of the forest - darkness of ignorance. He then climbs the tree of knowledge and keeps vigil against falling a prey again to his senses. He uninterruptedly performs the Puja of Lord Siva and attains unity with Him. This points the way to the life of a Sadhak aiming at God-realisation. Let the lives of you all follow this pattern; may you all reach your goal of God-realisation; let all observe this great Vrata in its true spirit and invoke the grace of Gauri and Shankar.Om Namah Sivaya
Yours, in Gurudev
1st February, 1966
Sivanandashram Letter No. XXVI