To Know Yourself

Swami Satchidananda’s teachings are basically simple: In reality each of us is peaceful and happy but we are not in touch with our true Self. He offers these methods for clearing away the toxins and other disturbances that made us ill-at-ease so we can realize our true Self:

1) Your Real Self

The aim of spiritual practices is to know your real Self. To see our true Self we must have clean, clear minds. One should primarily take care of the mind because the body is only an instrument of the mind.

2) The Search for Happiness

All are searching for happiness. In the case of human beings, you see hundreds of individual, social, communal, national, and international efforts. Happiness cannot come without unhappiness before and after. But happiness is not to be thought outside. It can never come from outside or inside. It can’t come – because it simply is. It is always everywhere. It is just happiness.

The basic sin or mistake is to forget your true nature. It’s a form of Self-suicide. You need to make your mind straight and undisturbed by taking away the cause of its disturbance. Once the want-stone falls into the mind, you are de-pressed and you have to full-fill it.

Nobody can always be completely happy without knowing that he or she is happiness. This is what God is.

3) What is Evil?

Satan, or temptation, is a kind of test. The Master wants the disciple to get tested.

The purpose of punishment is the student’s growth. Punishment comes not from anger, but to take away our uncleanness. Other than the ultimate power, there is no evil, there is no good.

4) You Came Alone – Just to Grow

If you know the purpose of suffering – to burn up your ego – you will even rejoice in it. Your body is given to you for good reasons, and you should not purposefully harm it. If pain comes, think of it as purgation. All suffering and pain are just losing happiness. You need the suffering to find out why you lost the happiness. Wanting is what causes unhappiness. But if you are contented, all things will come to you.

A person who is totally free from wants will not be like a dummy doing nothing. He or she will be used in some way or other by the Higher Will to being benefit to humanity.

You have free will to do what you want, if you do something only for, your own sake, the reaction comes back to, you. This reaction is called karmaCompare with Theosophy and Self-Healing, Yoga and Destiny. A selfless action won’t bring any karmaCompare with the Bhagavad Gita under Religion; but selfish actions always beings karma. Once the mind experiences the God within, there’s no more karma.

The mind with its desires is nothing but an illusion, maya. If there are no desires, there is no mind. You may possess things, but don’t let them possess you. And don’t hoard things. If you are detached from things, your peace is maintained. You can’t bring peace to others unless you first have peace yourself.

5) Peace of Mind

Your actions should be completely harmlessCompare with the Bhgavad Gita under Religion, and, at the same time, bring at least  some benefit to someone.
Our goal is to live in total tranquility. To attain this we have to keep the right company. Good company keeps you out of an environment where you might be deluded by worldly pleasures.
Find a beautiful, impersonal thought, where somebody else gets the result.
There is only one cause for all mental problems, worries and anxieties: selfishness. Unhappiness is caused by disappointments.
Peace is worth preserving more than anything else, even at the cost of your life. Ask yourself if an action will disturb your peace. If yes, then stay away. Choose your company wisely.

6) Forbidden Fruit

Every religion says the same thing: lead a life of sacrifice for others. We are indebted to nature, which is called God. Selfless people are the most peaceful. Perform an action just for the sake of an action, not expecting one thing in return, not even appreciation.
By themselves, actions are neutral. It depends on the motives and the results.
If you don’t renounce and you are a sincere seeker, probably the world will temporarily take all away from you.

Dedication and self-sacrifice for other’s sake is common in all religions. If we ponder these common points, we understand that we are doing the same thing with different labels.

7) The Disappearing Ego

God made everyone in God’s own image and said “love thy neighbor as thy own selfSee Universality of the Golden Rule in Religion.”  Instead people focus on themselves, their own community, their own country. Ego is selfishness and there is personal, national, racial and religious ego. We all must break the shell to allow the light to come in. That’s the main purpose behind all the Yoga practices. An egoistic person will never surrender.

But once the ego is emptied, you are really open because all prior knowledge was bases on ego. If you change things from “mine” to “our”, then you have gone to the root cause and transformed it. A little free will has been given so you can use it to, give it back again. If you submit yourself to that Higher Will, the little ego dies.
All body Chemistry is affected by your thoughts.

Don’t worry about what others say of you. You should know who you are. There is nothing missing in the world because it’s nature’s duty to give us all we really need. What nature will not do is fulfill our greed.

8) Wisdom

If you understand one another, you will also understand God. Draw silent lessons from all around you. Always listen and analyze what you hear. But there is  a great difference between listening and hearing. If you listen, you need not take notes. A witness never gets involved in the case and never joins one of the sides.

Know who your are. Listen to the silence. To realize, go into deep, deep silence. The only limit to wisdom is silence.

9) Who is the Guru?

Your own mind acts as a guru if it’s clean enough.  But you can ask someone for help. When you are ready, somehow Providence will bring a teacher to you. The outside guru will not actually take you to the goal, but can only show you the way. A guru is one who is not greedy, who is not after things, who is not doing things for his own benefit, but who is totally dedicated to others, always serene, totally balanced. The sign of a true guru is perfect contentment. The guru is always happy, eternal, stable, spotless and unchanging. A guru should give you total freedom.

10) Calming the Mind

It’s not easy to silence the mind. Learn to control the thoughts so you can create any thought you want. Try to create selfless thoughts. That’s why dedicated people never have worries, anxiety, or restlessness. They are permanently joyous. We shouldn’t do anything that will bring us down or destroy the piece of mind.

11) Consciousness

It is spiritual oneness that has to be realized. This is the goal of our life. A beautiful blending of both activity and relaxation is what is called tranquility and purity of mind. Always ask “Will this vision, desire, or experience help me, or will, it cause trouble?” Being united with everything you like outside you won’t be possible until the Yoga or uniting happens within you first. What you want to see outside, you must develop within and then project it out. You don’t have to trouble yourself with others all the time.
Begin to control our mind by staying away from any thought that will disturb the mind. Although the mind cannot be seen, it is clearly expressed through the body. If you are always thinking generous thoughts and doing loving things for people, it will be expressed in your face and body.

12) Stick to One Thing

Only after you have practiced concentrating – bringing the mind back again and again until it is well-fixed on one point -are you meditating. Actually, in meditation you are dying. Truly speaking, the goal, of all spiritual practices is to die. In deep meditation you feel that you are losing yourself. Find a method for meditation and stick with it. Do anything you want, but be one-pointed in the name of God.

13) Mantras

Mantras are sounds that may or may not have meaning. The one cosmic sound, represented as OM, has different aspects. These different aspects of OM are called mantras. By constant repetition of the mantra you develop that vibration because all the vibrations are within you. The purpose of the mantra is the meaning and you should think of the purpose when repeating mantra. Mantra means anything that makes the mind steady. Religion is scientific, not just mere belief. That’s why science and religion go very well together.
People who use mantras for selfish purposes will surely suffer the consequences tenfold. You can only spread the vibration through your system by frequently and regularly repeating the mantra. Your entire personality vibrates on that beautiful wavelength and automatically attracts similar vibrations. The smaller the mantra, the greater the power.

14) The Farmer Who Loved His Buffalo

If you like, you can just concentrate on the breath itself. When you meditate on something you should become that object.

15) Who Am I? Jnana Yoga

By knowing your true identity you can also know others. Contemplating and analyzing these points is another form of meditation, called Jnana Yoga or the Yoga of Wisdom.

The Knower isn’t angry, the mind is. If you analyze your mistakes and check if you were selfish, you will see that your unhappiness does not come from  outside you. Watch your mind, watch your breath. Become an observer, which is he key to this form of meditation. Once you know who you are, you will be the best instrument to bring peace and harmony to all. Neve take sides and become a neutral person. Neutrality is the center of God.

16) How to Meditate

The scriptures recommend the times when day meets night or night meets day for meditation – dawn and dusk. It’s best to sit in a crossed-legged posture. Sit straight. Keep the spine erect, but not stiff. If it’s a deep meditation, five or ten minutes is enough. Coffee and tea is not good because of the stimulant in them. You could also do meditation in action. It’s called Karma Yoga by focusing your entire mind on what you are doing. You may chose to focus your meditation either in the loving heart center or at the central tower between the brows which is the location of the holy of holies or sanctum sanctorum.

17) Tantric Yoga

In tantric Yoga the union is of Siva and Shakti, which are the masculine and feminine vibrations or powers that are within each of us. Ancient scriptures are difficult to understand and they all have esoteric or inner meaning.

18) Hatha Yoga

The human body is a temple. Keep it strong and supple and take care of it. Avoid anything that contains toxins or that unnecessarily stimulates your body; try to eliminate alcohol and tobacco. Without purity of the body it’s very difficult to purify the mind.

You can practice Hathaway Yoga. Don’t risk hurting yourself. The headstand is good. The shoulder stand is very beneficial to the thyroid gland and thus to all the glands in the body. Anyone who practices the positions should think of the asanas as a meditation session. Yoga means ease and one-pointedness of mind. After the session lay flat and send healing sessions to the parts of the body you feel has issues.

19) The Breath of Life

When you are practicing the Hatha Yoga postures you may feel a rush of energy or prana. Prana is the vital energy or force that causes movement. You get prana from food, from the sun, and from the air you breathe. The abdomen comes in as the air goes forcefully out of the nostrils. The. Do alternate nostril breathing. Patanjali says that by practicing pranayama the mind becomes clear and fit for concentration.

Should you ever feel upset, tense, or worried, do some slow breathing with full attention on the breath, and you will easily bring the mind to a calm state.
A spiritual person should be strong – not just mentally but physically too. Prana is wasted in many, many ways, such as overeating, oversleeping, overtaking, and overindulging in sex.

20) How to Stop Smoking

We go begging to cure cancer, and at the same time spend money to make people smoke more. The so-called refined, sophisticated grown-ups go for tranquilizers, sleeping pills, or nice extra-long cigarettes. You can never achieve anything by forcing anybody. But by education you can change things. Real beauty and tranquility are based on a peaceful mind.
We are in the world to grow mentally, to gain more experience, to realize the truth. To have the mind calm and serene, we must take care of the physical body. With Hatha Yoga you can eliminate the craving for nicotine by removing the nicotine in the lungs. By practicing bellows breathing you can burn it out. If you are a strict vegetarian, you won’t have that much craving. Meat has purine and that’s not good for you and makes you crave nicotine and caffeine.

21) Food Makes the Mind

Diet plays a very, very important part in people’s lives. If you can, avoid all flesh foods and animal fats including eggs, which also have the flesh part in them. Strict vegetarians even avoid milk product but it’s different because it does not have concentrated fat found in meat. Adults don’t really need milk though. Vegetables, grains, nuts and fruit are free from disease-producing germs.

The difference between vegetables, animals, and human is I the expansion of consciousness.
The more developed one is the more one feels. Aim at the least pain whenever possible, even among the fruits on the same tree. You can’t kill any animals if you have a loving heart.

22) How to Eat

Know when you eat that all food is God’s body. Your eating should be a sacrifice. Never eat when you are tired, in a hurry or angry. Be who you are and don’t worry constantly when you eat and drink. Eat when you are really hungry. You can prevent almost all illnesses by being attentive to your diet and by limiting the amount you eat. You should not eat more than one full meal each day. Don’t put too many food varieties in the stomach at the same time.

23) Fasting

When you fast you are reconditioning your body almost as you would overhaul a machine. Every part of your body will become delicate and more sensitive after the fast.  When you fast toxins will leave your body and your tongue will be clean and you know you have fasted long enough. Even if you don’t have time for a long fast, fasting one day each week will certainly help you.

24) Heal Yourself

You can heal yourself with fasting and by deep breathing and by directing Prana to the affected area. Visualize the part where you have the ache or pain. When you breathe in direct your attention to the area. Feel that you are taking Prana from outside. If people just ate the right foods and led the right kind of life, there would certainly be no need for so many hospitals. Go back to nature and lead a natural life.

If you use sesame oil, it will take away the toxins and be very helpful for arthritis and rheumatic troubles. People who have cholesterol troubles should use sesame oil in cooking. You can also heal your body just through your thinking. You can also send Prana to others. You can send a spiritual charge by your touch but don’t let people know that you are doing anything to heal them. Instead, ask them to do something to heal themselves.
People should face their own karma. That’s the best education.

25) Self-mastery

You can master your own body and mind. If you achieve self-mastery, then you are the master of everything. You can train your senses to obey you. Begin with little things, and when you achieve the, you will gain confidence. If someone is angry at you show love. To overcome fear, build up thoughts of hope, courage, and faith.

26) Walking Sticks

Nothing here is difficult. The only difficult task is ridding yourself of old habits. If you can learn to hear the voice of your higher Self, then you can follow what it says. When you get into some trouble, always take the blame yourself. Seriousness is important, but don’t become tense. Remember that it is for peace that you are doing everything. If the very doing is disturbing your peace, either the doing is wrong or my approach is wrong. If possible, live with other seekers or correspond with them.
Don’t think that you have to isolate yourself to reach your goal. You are liberating your mind from associations but you need not give up all your friends. All you need is to understand that you are just you.

27) The Butcher and the Yogi

All you have to understand is that the aim of Yoga is always to keep the mind clean, calm and peaceful.

28) Business Yoga

Work in your livelihood as Karma Yoga – selfless service. Do all the work for the joy of doing it. Charge nothing for your labors; accept whatever you are paid. Choose work for someone or something that is worthwhile. Offer your work, your energy to God, the All, everyone. You cannot go without financial support.

Don’t always think the capitalists are out to exploit you. Whether you are a secretary or the manager, think of the welfare of the business. Consider how it can grow better and best perform its duty. Your motive should be for the benefit of the community. Always recognize the needs of the other person.

29) The Art of Giving

We should always give whatever we have; we don’t need to grab from each other. Through caring and sharing we find ease within ourselves, and among our fellow beings. Giving should come from the heart. Wherever you feel it is necessary to help, go there and work.
If someone begs from you, and you give that person something, don’t think you are helping him or her. That person is helping you by giving you an opportunity to show your generosity. Don’t give by knocking on the door and pushing yourself in.

Always discriminate and think before you give. Think of the benefit of the receiver. If you ever have selfish expectations when you give something that will surely disturb your peace later on. Making the receiver obliged to you is karma, and not Karma Yoga or true service. Karma Yoga is just doing for the sake of doing, for the joy of serving. The minute you expect something in return you lose the joy, you lose your peace of mind.

30) The Act of Receiving

One of the main purposes of Yoga is to keep the mind calm. If you accept gifts you feel obligated and according to the Yoga percepts of Patanjali, that is the reason you are advised not to accept gifts; if you do, unconsciously you become obliged to the giver. If you ever receive a gift that has some strings attached, return it and your mind won’t be disturbed. Whenever you receive something fro m anyone always try to give something back.

When you don’t cling to anything, everything comes back and wants to remain with you – even if you say “Why don’t you go?”

31) Living in the Present

No teacher, guru or religious institution can purge you of your karma. You sow better karma if you don’t return hatred with hatred. As a Karma Yogi, you act without attachment to the fruits of your labor. Your actions are performed just for the joy of performing them. The joy of doing a job well is the best reward.

32) The Greatest Joy – Karma Yoga

You quickly learn your weaknesses while serving others. It’s easy to simply go to a corner and meditate. But there’s another form of meditation: action. During Karma Yoga you meditate on what you are doing. You watch your feelings and your mind. Practice Karma Yoga whenever you have the opportunity. An intelligent person will learn something from a mistake, but a fool will make the same mistake again and again.

Find out what will bring peace and joy to yourself and others. When you do everything for the sake and joy of just doing it – as a benefit for the whole world and not for your personal benefit – you retain your joy. Set aside a week and say that this is your Karma Yoga week. I won’t do anything for my sake or start with a selfless day. You have to serve with love and control your passion and selfishness.

33) Marriage on the Path

If there is spiritual attraction, the marriage will be made in heaven.  It means dedication to one another and the humanity at large. Two minds come together to help each other realize their true nature. Going side by side with the right partner is a good way to reach God quickly. When the couple’s love for each other blends together it becomes love of God, marriage is a divine institution.

Wanting others to approve of you, or blaming someone else for your problems, is a form of self-condemnation. Fulfill your responsibility and give the other plenty of freedom. You must have one aim in life – two bodies, but one mind.

When children are involved try staying together even when you have problems unless it is impossible. Don’t forget that marriage is for giving, not for getting. It is a path of quick growth to realize God. If you are dedicated to your spouse and family, you are a dedicated person.

34) Sex

When conserved and properly transformed, seminal energy gives you an aura of vitality. You may sometimes see the astral body around such a person. This aura shows the purity and beauty of mind. In Yoga the key is moderation in thought, word and deed – which includes sex. The family people, who live a beautiful life of service to each other and the world at large, won’t lose anything from that union.

There is no sin in homosexuality. Condemning homosexuality as a big sin is a worse sin. The condemning itself is a sin.

What is a perfect act? By your action you should not bring any harm to anybody and at least some benefit to somebody. If your actions are based on this rule you are a Yogi. If two people are living together without creating any problem to themselves or to others, then they are fine. Let them be happy. Marriage helps in limiting sex. As long as you are married you have certain duties. Don’t refuse or repress the other person.
Every action does not need to end up as a physical expression. Sometimes a smile is enough.

Analyze a partner before giving yourself to him. Why does he like you? If you think he is right then you can give yourself to him. Remember to avoid overindulgence.

35) Parent-Child Relationship

Tamil scriptures say the best gift that children can give to their parents is to excel them. The parent’s duty is to raise their children with such a high standard that at any gathering the children are asked to take the foremost place where they can pass on beautiful thoughts to others. Parents must see that their children receive the knowledge to be good people and leaders. Giving children right knowledge is more important than all the material comforts. They need to know how to live a life of joy and peace.

To train the child properly, parents should be loving, but strict and firm. Show the child that life’s games are playful, not really to win over the other person. Parents need to be strict when kids want their freedom and not advice but the parents’ money. If kids want to experience everything, the door is open. If the kids got all the experiences, they can come back. But they have to pay for their own way back.

As long as the children want the help from their parents, the parent- child relationship is there. But parents can learn from their children and should be open to their opinion. They also have to let them go when they want to. Children should leave their parents if they hinder them in their personal and spiritual growth.

36) Renunciation

When a person is interested in spiritual life, there is no worldly obligation whatsoever. If God calls you at any point, you can leave the world. The only way to be happy is to dedicate yourself completely to God or all of humanity. Live to bring peace and joy to everybody.

Even if your dedication is not a hundred percent at first, some dedication will lead to more. We are all interested in success in life. The secret is not to run after it, then it will come to you. Stick to what you are, where you are. Do the same things in the same place, but with a different attitude: I do it for your sake, not for my own”.

If you renounce al possessions but are still attached to your body, you are not free. Attachment to your body means overindulgence. Enjoyment means using things well without being affected by them. You can live this way in family life, fulfilling our duties without a possessive attitude. With the right partner you can be a renounced person in the midst of married life. But real renunciation comes naturally – your desires just drop from you.

37) Life and Death

In life we are all players and there are some rules to this game of life. You have your freedom, but if you take unlimited freedom, you will mess up the whole game. Your freedom should not affect other people’s freedom. Freedom is for everybody. We are part of the whole.

The meaning of death is that one form dies to give room to another form. Death is inevitable. The soul continues on to another body, which may or may not be physical. The body you have now is an outcome of your past desires. The soul is always alive. It’s immortal. You are given the body you need to continue toward the goal. If we realize the immortal principle that makes us and shapes us into different forms, why should we be afraid of death?

38) Prayer

If you really want God to show you the way, pray. Prayer is the only way. Ask him to guide and direct you. God is always there. But you have to reach to receive God’s help and you have to do your part. God helps those who help themselves. Through your prayer and devotion you should be in communication with God. God does not want your scholarly attitude or your literacy. He wants to know how much you practice and it must come from the heart.

Unless you give well, you can’t take well. Just give for the sake of giving and the taking will come automatically. You need a clean and broad mind. But at the same time don’t be greedy. When you focus your mind on a particular idea connected with God, then prayer is a form of meditation. Choose what you like for meditation or prayer, but mean what you say and what you do.

39) If You Tune, You Get the Music

If you can’t yet discipline your life, that doesn’t mean you must stay completely away from spiritual practice. At least chant God’s name. Slowly you will get self-discipline. Of course we love our homes, our countries, our mothers, our religions, but that does not mean we should ignore others, or hate them or push them aside. True love of God means universal love.

40) The Man Who Hated God

Whether you are an enemy or a friend, what counts most is the interest – constant remembering. Hating God as your enemy makes you also think of God. One-pointed devotion with the entire life dedicated to God is the basic requirement of Bhakti Yoga.

41) The Ant in the Sugar Hill

There are various approaches to God. The world that you see is just name and form. If you can see beyond the name and form, you see the truth.

You function on different levels. If you use the physical body, think yourself as a Karma Yogi dedicating all actions to God. With your heart think yourself as a Bhakti Yogi who is an instrument of God. With your head think yourself as a Jnana Yogi who does not identify with anything less than the true Self. If you blend all together, think of yourself as a Raja Yogi integrating all the approaches .

42) What We Call Holy

There is only one God, who is the life in us. God doesn’t care what name we use, but rather what feeling we are using. Oneness is to be experienced in the complete silence of the mind; the realization of God can’t be grasped totally by the mind. Your first and foremost duty as a human being is to recognize the spiritual force functioning within to put yourself in God’s hands through your own intelligence.

When the Cosmic Consciousness is satisfied that you are really a great channel, it will send you more and more.

43) Truth is One, Paths are Many

Whatever path you choose according to your temperament and taste, stay with that consistently. Be devoted to the religion from which you came. Religion means all- embracing, no quarrels. Holy books and rituals are here to help you realize the spirit within, to feel the oneness and the universality.

44) Cosmic Consciousness

All paths lead home. Who lives in the middle of that home? OMThis is also mentioned in Proof of Heaven. God created the whole universe with that sound. When people get caught up in the names and forms they get in trouble.
Remember that you are the Self and the Self never undergoes any change.

Epilogue: Old Wine – New Bottle

These are just some points. You must find your peace. You don’t have to talk about it; just do it. All I teach is that you learn to be selfless.

I really feel we are coming into a great spiritual age. I see an awakening.

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