This section is from the "Advices on Spiritual Living" book, by Sri Swami Chidananda.See also A Call to Liberation.
Beloved Immortal Atman!
Blessed Seeker after Truth!
Om Namo Narayanaya. Salutations and greetings in the name of Sri Gurudev. May the blessings of God be with you always. As I write these lines from Gurudev's holy Ashram, the early morning sunshine falls upon me and reminds me that hot summer days have now arrived. The Sun has commenced to turn on its intense summer days and it is difficult even to imagine that just two months before in March, this place was in the grip of an almost winter-like cold wave. In the present heat one finds it difficult even to remember that recent chill-spell.
This entire area is now in the grip of the annual Yatra spirit. With summer has started a steady stream of pilgrims flowing towards the high Himalayan shrines - holy Badrinath, Kedarnath etc. Doors of the sacred temples have opened last month and the devout pilgrim is blessed and sanctified by the Darshan of the Lord. At Rishikesh too, as well as across the Ganges, everywhere there are Satsangas in progress. Thousands of devotees and seekers are highly benefited, inspired and elevated by these Satsangas and spiritual Sravana. Verily this is a Divine region. The Satsanga of his Holiness Swami Bhajananandaji at Paramarthaniketan, the Satsanga of revered Sri Hanumanprasad Poddarji Maharaj and H.H. Swami Sharananandji Maharaj at Geeta Bhavan, the Satsanga of Pujya Shri Mastram Babaji upon the big rock in the Ganges nearabout Lakshmanjhula side are all Divine boons granted by God for the people of this present age. Anyone who comes to Rishikesh during summer must certainly reap the benefit of these Satsangas. Persons of Vedantic inclination can attend the Satsanga of His Holiness Swami Chaitanyagiriji Maharaj at Kailash Ashram and also have Darshan of His venerable Holiness Sri Swami Vishnudevanandji Maharaj.
Satsanga is the very salt of life. The power of Satsanga is indescribable. In Satsanga alone you begin to see clearly, think clearly and know things clearly. Satsanga gradually dispels the Avichara and Aviveka. It gives you insight into the real nature of the fleeting phenomenon of this world. It creates in you the sense of reality of God. It brings about dawn of discrimination. The beginning of wisdom is only to be got in Satsangas. Satsanga takes you into an inner quietness, where restlessness subsides and peace prevails. Satsanga gives you new understanding and opens your eyes to your former follies and errors. It throws light upon the path leading to wisdom and perfection. Satsanga is a boat to take you across the ocean of Samsaric existence to the far shore of Immortality and Eternal Blessedness. Satsanga is God's gift to believing mankind. This Uttarakhanda is verily the blessed home of Satsanga since time immemorial. The holy Himalayas and the sacred Ganges have created here a divine atmosphere that is unique and unparalleled in the entire world.
I like to say a word to you about a very important thing with reference to the present prevailing state of affairs in this country as well as throughout the whole world today. The typical features to be observed in the present-day condition seem to be a growing tendency towards mutual hostility, violence amongst sections of people, a tendency to form parties in conflict with other similar parties, emphasising difference instead of unity and oneness, sacrifice of truth and the practice of falsehood in the interest of immediate profit and personal gain. And above all a general restlessness in all fields of man's life. It is important at such a time to have a firm centre in which to abide, to have firm stable moorings founded on fundamental principles and ideals in life. This alone will give stability to your mind and personality without which you will be swept away upon the tides of restlessness that keep coming up again and again.Hold on to noble principles.
This is the way to remain firm and stable in an agitated age and to acquire a strength that will enable you to resist the impact of adverse and unspiritual forces around you. Hold on to the Divine Principles within you and never move away from it under any circumstances. This will provide you with unassailable protection and strong defence against all combined forces of disorder and disruption in social and ethical life. Trials, trouble and temptations will no longer devastate you and disperse your personality. Your life will be as a house built on rock. Therefore O Seeker be bold! Hold on to noble Principles. Know that Virtue, Character, Moral Code, Dharma and an Ideal these indeed constitute your real strength, your true wealth and life. They give substance to the emptiness of modern existence with its superfluous sensationalism and pleasure pursuing mentality. Principled living is the bulwark against chaos. Virtue is defence against temptation and degeneracy. Character is power. Dharma is firmness. Your Ideal is a shining light in darkness around you. God speed you onward upon this Shining Path O Child of Eternal Light! Move on towards the Goal of divine perfection. Ever press onwards through all the vicissitudes of life and its ever-changing scenes. You have a great purpose to fulfil, a grand grand goal to reach. Tarry not on the way nor allow trifles to divert you from this glorious quest and its glorious destination.
Rise upon the wings of Virtue and Worship! Gradually ascend into the pure air of spiritual living. Soar into the high heavens of God-Experience. My prayers are ever with you! I wish you Peace, Joy and Illumination. With regards, love and good wishes.
1st June, 1967
Sivanandashram Letter No. XLII