This section is from the "Advices on Spiritual Living" book, by Sri Swami Chidananda.See also A Call to Liberation.
Blessed Immortal Atman!
Dear and Revered Members!
Om Namo Narayanaya!
Jai Sivananda! Salutations and adorations at the Feet of the Universal Being, the one Divine Reality, whom the prophets of all religions have realised in the innermost depths of their illumined Superconsciousness. May the Light of that supreme Divinity fill our lives, on this auspicious occasion of the celebration of the Bharatavarsha's national festival of lights, Dipavali, with His Divine Grace! May the choicest Blessings of God and Gurudev grant you all inner spiritual illumination.
Since all of you are devoted to the ideals of divine living, you would readily find the rows of lights lit for the Festival, illuminating the very meaning, purpose and Goal of human life. This earthly life is a glorious opportunity, granted to the individual soul to attain the conscious knowledge of its eternal oneness with the illimitable Light of Cosmic Consciousness.
This gift of human life is a rare opportunity, a splendid change, given to us by the benign Hand of the all-merciful God, for transcending all limitations, bondage, sorrow, suffering, pain, grief and weaknesses of all sorts, and for attaining that unlimited glory and that experience of immeasurable peace which emerges from your union with the Divine. That is the goal; that is the central meaning of life; that is the prime purpose of your existence here upon the earth plane.
With all its defects and imperfections human life has this great redeeming feature, that it is a passageway to the Light of Immortality. Live life in the Divine. Recognise your existence here as such and live in the light of this recognition, of this inner awareness, this inner knowledge. Let each day dawn for you as a fresh opportunity and occasion opening up before you to move one step further towards this great attainment of Divine Realization. Within yourselves, let there be, everyday, a Festival of Lights. And while you live a life of such unceasing and blessed quest towards the supreme Attainment, live a life of great virtues, a life of simplicity, humility, nobility.
Let all your life be a radiation of Virtue - the inner perfection that is inherent in each soul. Let life be an outflow and expression of the goodness, that is the truth of your being, because you are made in the image of God. Like Him, you are Divine, Goodness, Purity and Truth. Let your life, therefore, be an active manifestation of these divine qualities which are the essential part of your innermost reality. Thus alone would you prove that you have caught the true significance of the outward ceremony of lighting several rows of lights that the observance of the Dipavali festival enjoins. Live, then, the life Divine.
Blessed Self! Withdraw the senses from the objects; withdraw the mind from the senses and establish yourself in your inner divine Centre. Be the unchanging one amidst the changing body-and-mind-personality. Let the spiritual Principle in you prevail. Let the spirit Divine enshrined in you express itself in all its glory, express itself through a life of Yoga, through the thought and motives of the mind, through the actions and deeds of the body. Let all actions be full of love, goodness and purity. That is real Divine Life.
Gurudev Sivananda always insisted on living a life of virtue. For, the life of virtue is the common basis of all Yoga, no matter whether it is Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Jnana Yoga or Hatha Yoga. A life of purity, virtue, goodness, self-control, selflessness, humility, forms the common foundation of Yoga, of all spiritual attainment and all practical religion. This is the basis, the indispensable preparation. Sincere aspirants can never afford to neglect or overlook this vital truth of spiritual life and realization - that Divine Unfoldment is based upon a life of purity, goodness, truth, selflessness and humility.
Practise daily the virtues, Gurudev has listed in his Song of Eighteen Ities serenity, regularity in Sadhana, magnanimity, absence of vanity, - ego. Ego is the great stumbling block. It is the great stone-wall that prevents the individual from rising upwards to the Universal Consciousness. Ego individualises consciousness; it is the seat of all petty likes and dislikes, all clingings, identification and selfishness. It is a false superimposition. The real personality, the real Consciousness Divine is forgotten and this erroneous identification with the body and the mind gives rise to the I-idea. It creates this false human personality and makes you forget your true Immortal Consciousness. You think of yourself as Mr. so, as this little mind and when the mind is in a wave of anger, you say, I am angry. How can that wave touch you, you who are the Changeless consciousness Supreme? But you lose knowledge and awareness of your true Nature and identify yourself with every passing wave and phase of body and mind. That is bondage; that is ignorance.
Be large-heated; embrace all; feel oneness with all; realise the infinite inner Divine Self. Be tolerant towards all; regard all people as your own Self, and thus develop virtues and lead the sublime life, a real Christ-like life which all great saints and mystics have embodied in themselves. All those who have reached spiritual Illumination, have themselves been the very personifications of Virtue. Thus we see there is a fundamental connection between a life of virtue and the highest spiritual experience. Therefore, lead the Life Divine. May your inner life be a perpetual festival of Lights!
- Swami Chidananda
1st December 1963
Sivanandashram Letter No. IV