This section is from the "Advices on Spiritual Living" book, by Sri Swami Chidananda.See also A Call to Liberation.
Immortal Atma Swaroopa!
Blessed seekers after Truth!
Om Namo Narayanaya.
Om Sri Ram Jaya Ram Jaya Jaya Ram! I wish you all a very, very happy and auspicious NEW YEAR. Upon this eve of the commencement of the first month of Chaitra, at the advent of spring when you are about to celebrate the festival of Yugadhi, I send you joyous greetings for this New Year and my love and good wishes for your health, happiness, prosperity, all-round progress and success. May God grant you all that is auspicious and blessed throughout this New Year.
One of the wonderful facts about our Vedic New Year is that it opens with a most auspicious holy day of festive worship. The month of Chaitra ushers in the Sri Ramanavami, which is the sacred Birthday of Lord Rama, the grand Avatara who personified Dharma in all its aspects and perfection. The advent of this Avatara heralded the resurgence of Dharma and the establishment of the rule of righteousness and the moral order. Even as the divine Sri Krishna is the beloved and darling of India, so, too is Lord Sri Rama the ideal and hero of India. His Avatara Leela is the thrilling indication of the sublime heights to which the human individual can attain and should strive to attain. As a divine Avatars, He constituted an approach to God-realisation, which is the goal of your life. Devout worship of Rama leads to God-consciousness. He is a link and a channel between you and the transcendental Absolute Reality. The Lord of Khosala, the crest-jewel of the Royal race of Raghu, is the incarnated personification of the Supreme Divinity, the Paramatman or the Para-Brahman of the Upanishads. Rama Bhakti is an unfailing way to eternal emancipation from the thraldom of birth and death. His Divine Name RAMA is the ark which takes us safely across the turbulent ocean of Samsara to the far shore of immortality and beatitude. This Divine Name is verily the inexhaustible mine of all auspiciousness, the destroyer of the impurity of this iron age, the holiest of holy things, the saviour of this world. It is a seed of supreme satisfaction and veritable bestower of all boons. It is a gateway to the kingdom of blessedness. The glory of Ram Nam verily beggars description. Its greatness is unfathomable. Human speech and intellect ever fail to assess its supreme unparalleled worth. Ram Nam is the most precious, priceless jewel in the treasury of our holy land's spiritual culture. I boldly assert that it is this great Ram Nam that is sustaining Bharatavarsha today.
O beloved children of India! Come, come adopt the Ram Nam way of life. Saturate yourself with Ram Nam. Bathe in the divine nectar that ceaselessly showers from Ram Nam. Ram Nam is the quintessence of the Divine Grace. Ram Nam is your greatest benefactor, dearest friend and unfailing companion. Chant Ram. Sing Ram. Let the tongue repeat Ram Nam is an unbroken and continuous stream. Root yourself in Ram Nam. Enshrine Ram Nam in your heart and mind. Let Ram Nam resound from every cell and pore of your body. Let Ram Bhakti radiate from your entire being. Ram Ram Ram! Om Sri Jaya Ram Jaya Ram Jaya Ram! Make your life thrill with Ram Nam. Let your heart throb with Ram Nam. Let your breath flow with the rhythm of Ram Nam. Let blood course through your entire being in unison and tune with Ram Nam. Make your life a veritable joyous song of Ram Nam. Supreme blessedness shall accrue unto you. Freedom, fearlessness and joy will fill the entire being. In this age, there is no greater or more effective and unfailing method of God-attainment than the practice of the wondrous Divine Name. The Name of God is verily God Himself. Supreme Divinity is present here, for you, as God's Name. Name and God are not two. They are one and the same. Name is God!
What shall any one say about the power, the greatness and the glory of the Divine Name of Rama! Divine name will bring you face to face with God. It will grant you Mukti here and now. It will burn up all impurities. It subdues the turbulent senses. The power of the Divine Name calms the surging passions. It restrains the outgoing tendency of the mind and subdues its restlessness. The scattered mind now becomes indrawn and one-pointed. Ram Name tames the arrogant ego and renders it Sattvic and holy. Purifying the heart, the Divine Name creates devotion and arouses Divine Bhav within your heart. It drives the mind inward and leads to a state of meditation. Repeated persistent Japa of the Divine Name rends the veil of ignorance and brings on the resplendent experience of God-vision.
Have faith. Be simple and pure. Tread the path of truthfulness. Become selfless. Serve all. Develop noble character. Give up anger, hatred and selfishness. Overcome greed by generosity and sympathy. Overcome hatred by love and forgiveness. Overcome all restlessness through sincere belief and firm faith. Become rooted in Ram and Ram Nam. O seeker! Know that this entire world is verily the manifestation of Ram and His divine power and glory. Now sing with saint Tulsidas:Siya Rama Maya Saba Jaga Jaani
That is, Knowing that the entire world is permeated by Lord Rama and His power, I salute (everything) with both hands folded together. Whatever you see, hear, touch, taste and smell, all is indeed the manifestation of Rama alone. Recognise all sounds to be Rama Nama in infinite variation. Ram Nam is the quintessence of the Divine Grace of the Supreme. Beloved and worshipful Gurudev Sivananda Swamiji Maharaj mentioned Namopathy as the unfailing divine-medical treatment for the eradication of the dire disease of Ajnana and Samsara. This is the literal truth. Believe and be blessed.
Blessed Sadhaks, come now, let us meditate upon Sri Ram. Set aside everything. Become silent. Sit on the Asana. Close your eyes. Behold Sri Rama with the inner eyes, standing before thee, radiant and gracious. He pours his love, compassion and Divine Grace upon you now. Visualise Him vividly in the heart-shrine. Bask in the radiance of His spiritual presence. Repeat Ram Nam. Cast away all other thoughts and repeat Ram Nam. Forget the world and body. Think Ram and Ram alone. Repeat Ram Nam in continuous, unbroken Japa and remembrance. Dwell in Ram and repeat:RAM RAM RAM RAM RAM RAM RAM RAM
I leave you now silently and joyously in the glorious presence of Rama. May you be absorbed in Ram. May Ram Nam, Ram Prem and Ram Bhajan enrich your life. Om Sri Ram Jaya Ram Jaya Jaya Ram! Glory be to Lord Rama! Glory be to Ram Nam! May God bless you.
With regards, Prem and Pranams,
Yours in Lord Rama,
Sivanandashram Letter No. XX