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Books > Hindu > Sadhana [A Text Book of the Psychology and Practice of the Techniques to Spiritual Perfection]
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Sadhana [A Text Book of the Psychology and Practice of the Techniques to Spiritual Perfection]
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Preface

Om Salutations to that adorable Lord Hari, than Whom there is nothing greater, and Who is above all this universe.

The term "Sadhana" comes from the root "Sadh," which means to "exert," "to endeavour to get a particular result or Siddhi." He who does th practices or attempts is called a Sadhaka. If he achieves the desired result, Siddhi, he is called Siddha. A fully-developed siddha is one who has attained full knowledge of Brahman. Self-realisation or Darshan of God is not possible without Sadhana. Any Spiritual practice is called Sadhana is obtained through Sadhana is Sadhya or Goal – the realisation of God or Brahman. Most comprehensive in its scope, this book presents almost every known form of Sadhana for the Experience of the Divine of Brahman.

If you want to evolve quickly you must have the right kind of Sadhana. If you are a student of the path of Self-reliance, you can yourself select the Sadhana for your daily Practice. If you are a student of the path of self-surrender, you should get the right kind of Sadhana from a Guru and practise the same with intense faith. < P> Why should you prolong the bondage unnecessarily? Why should you not claim your divine birthright right now? Why should you not break you bondage now? Delay means prolongation of your sufferings. You can break it at any moment. This is in our power. Do it now. Stand up. Gird up your loins. Do rigorous and vigorous Sadhana and attain freedom, which is immortality or eternal bliss.

Make the lower nature the servant of the higher through discipline, Tapas, self-restraint and meditation. This is the beginning of your freedom.

The divine within you is stronger than anything that is without you. Therefore, be not afraid of anything. Rely on your own Inner Self the Divinity within you. Tap the source through looking within.

Without renunciation you can never be happy. Without renunciation you can never be at your ease. Therefore renounce everything. Make happiness your own. Hold renunciation as the foremost of things.

Improve yourself. Build your character. Purify your heart. Develop divine virtues. Eradicate evil traits. Conquer all that is worthy and noble.

Only when you have purified the heart, silenced the mind, stilled the thoughts and surging emotions, withdrawn the outgoing senses, thinned out the Vasanas, you can behold the glorious Atman during deep meditation.

There are five means by which perfect tranquility or emancipation can be attained. These from the highest happiness. They are Satsanga or association with the wise, discrimination between the real and unreal, dispassion, enquiry of 'Who am I?' and meditation. These are called heaven. These are religion. These form the highest happiness.

Become a good man first. Then control the senses. Then subdue the lower mind by the higher mind. Then the divine light will descend. Only then the vessel will be able to receive and hold the divine light.

Practise meditation persistently and calmly without haste. You will soon attain Samadhi or the Nirvikalpa state.

Spiritual life is toilsome and laborious. It demands constant vigilance and long perseverance before substantial progress is made.

You have yourself built the walls of your prison-house through ignorance. You can demolish the walls through discrimination and enquiry of 'Who am I?'

Sufferings purify the soul. They burn up the gross material, sins and impurities. The Divinity becomes more and more manifest. They give inner spiritual strength and develop the will-force, the power of endurance. Hence sufferings are blessings in disguise.

Even a ray of inner light during meditation will lighten your path. It will give you great deal of encouragement and inner strength. It will goad you to do more Sadhana. You will experience this ray of light when the meditation becomes more deep and when you rise above body-consciousness.

Life is the unfolding of the latent capacities of the soul. Lead of the divine life. Generate sublime divine thoughts in your mind through meditation, Japa, Kirtan and study of sacred scriptures.

Bathe in the river of life everlasting. Plunge in it. Take a dip in it. Swim in it. Float in it. Rejoice.

Bask the body in the physical sunlight. Bask the soul in the sunlight of the Eternal. You will have good health and everlasting life.

Worship is the unfolding of the bud of the flower of the soul. Worship is life. Worship bestows life eternal. You may conquer millions of persons in a battle, but you will become the greatest conqueror only if you can conquer your own lower self or mind.

So long as your senses are not subdued or weakened you will have to practise Tapas or self-restraint, Dama or Pratyahara.

When the electric lamp is covered by many wrappings of cloth, there will be no bright light. When the cloth is removed one by one, the light grows brighter and brighter. Even so, when the self-resplendent Atman which is covered by the five sheaths is stripped off the sheaths by meditation on the pure Self and the practice of 'Neti Neti' doctrine, the Self-luminous Atman reveals itself to the meditator.

Sit down with a composed mind. Assert your mastery over the body and mind. Plunge deep into the chambers of your heart, and enter into the stupendous ocean of Silence. Listen to the voice which is soundless.

Purify the heart first and then climb the ladder of Yoga steadily with courage and undaunted spirit. Climb onwards swiftly. Attain Ritambhara Prajna and reach the summit of the ladder, the temple of wisdom, where the cloud of virtue of nectar dribbles from Dharmamegha Samadhi.

Build your spiritual life on a sure foundation, on the rock of the divine grace and strength of character. Take refuge in the Lord and His eternal Law. There is no power in heaven or on earth that can bar your path now. Success in Self-realisation is certain. Failure exists not for you. There is light on your path. All is brilliant.

Sadhana means any spiritual practice that helps the Sadhaka to realize God. Abhyasa and Sadhana are synonymous terms. Sadhana is a means to attain the Goal of human lie. Without Sadhana no one can achieve the purpose of life. Sadhana differs in different individuals according to the capacity, temperament and taste. Every one must take to some kind of Sadhana to attain the state of final beatitude. Sadhya is hat which is attained through Sadhana. It is God or Atman or Purusha. If you want to evolve quickly you must have the right kind of Sadhana. If you are a student of the path of self-reliance, you can yourself select the Sadhana for your daily practice. If you are a student of the path of self-surrender, you should ge right kind of Sadhana from a Guru and practise the same with intense faith.

Those who follow the path of devotion should do Japa, read the holy scriptures such as the Bhagavata or the Ramayana. By the practice of Nava Vidha Bhakti, the Bhakta should develop Bhakti to a very high degree. Sravana, Smarana, Kirtana, Vandana, Archana, Padasevana, Sakhya, Dasya and Atma-Nivedana are the nine methods to develop Bhakti. Bhaktas should observe Vrata, Anushthana and do prayers and Manasic Puja. They should serve others, realising that the Lord recites in the hearts of all. This is the Sadhana for those who tread the path of Bhakti Yoga.

Those who follow the path of Karma Yoga should do disinterested selfless service to the suffering humanity and society in various ways. They should surrender the fruits of action to the Lord as Isvararpana. They should give up agency by realising that they are the instruments in the hands of God. They should get rid of their selfishness and control their Indriyas. They should completely consecrate their lives in the service of humanity. They should consider that the whole world is a manifestation of the Lord. If they serve people with such a Bhava, their hearts get purified in the long run. Eventually they get knowledge of the Self through Chitta Suddhi.

This is the Sadhana for the Karma Yogins. This is very important for all beginners in the spiritual path. This is not the goal itself. Many erroneously think so and neglect the higher courses of Sadhana. They should advance still further and through Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi reach the highest goal.

A Raja Yogi slowly ascends the Yogic ladder through the eight steps. He gets ethical training in the beginning to purify himself by the practice of Yama and Niyama. Then he steadies his posture. Then he practises Pranayama to steady his mind and to purify the Nadis. Then by the practice of Pratyahara, Dharana and Dhyana, he gets Samadhi. Through Samyama, he gets different Siddhis. He restrains all the mental modification that arise from the mind.

Those who take up the path of Vedanta or Jnana Yoga should acquire first the four means of salvation (Sadhana Chatushtaya)- Viveka, Vairagya, Shat-Sampat and Mumukshutva, Viveka is discrimination between the real and unreal. Vairagya is indifference to sensual enjoyments. Shat-Sampat is the sixfold virtues, Sama, Dama, Uparati, Titiksha, Sraddha and Samadhana. Then they approach a Brahma-Nishtha Guru who has realized the Supreme Self and hear the Srutis from him. Then they reflect and mediate on the Self and attain eventually Atma-Sakshatkara. Then the Jnani exclaim with joy: "The Atman alone is, one without a second. Atman alone is the one Reality. I am Brahman, Aham Brahma Asmi. Sivoham Sarvam Khalvidam Brahma." The liberated Jivanmukta sees the Self in all beings all beings in the Self.

The student of Hatha Yoga should try to awaken the Kundalini Sakti that lies dormant in the Muladhara Chakra by Mudras, Bandhas, Asanas and Pranayamas. They should try to unite the Prana and Apana and send the united Prana-Apana through the Sushumna Nadi. Heat is increased by retention of breath and Vayu ascends up along with Kundalini to the Sahasrara Chakra through the different Chakras. When Kundalini is united with Lord Siva at the Sahasrara Chakra, the Yogi attains supreme peace, bliss and immortality.

 

About the Author

Born on the 8th September, 1887, in the illustrious family of Sage Appayya Dikshita and several other renowned saints and savants, Sri Swami Sivananda had a natural flair for a life devoted to the study and practice of Vedanta. Added to this was an inborn eagerness to serve all and an innate feeling of unity with all mankind

His Passion for service drew him to the medical career; and soon he gravitated to where he thought that his service was most needed. Malaya claimed him. He had earlier been editing a Health Journal and wrote extensively on health problems. He discovered that people needed right knowledge most all; dissemination of that knowledge he espoused as his own mission.

It was divine dispensation and the blessing of God upon mankind that the doctor of body and mind renounced his career and took to a life of renunciation to qualify himself for ministering to the soul of man. He settled down at Rishikesh in 1924, practised intense austerities and shone as a great Yogi, saint, sage and Jivanmukta.

In 1932 he started the Sivanandashram. In 1936 was born The Divine Life Society. In 1948 the Yoga-Vedanta Forest Academy was organised. Dissemination of spiritual knowledge and training of people in Yoga and Vedanta were their aim and object. In 1950 he undertook a lightning tour of India and Ceylon. In 1953 he convened a 'World Parliament of Religions'. He is the author of over 300 volumes and has disciples all over the world, belonging to all nationalities, religions and creeds. To read his works is to drink at the Fountain of Wisdom Supreme. On 14th July 1963 he entered Mahasamadhi.

contents

Publishers' Note7
Preface10
Prayers15
INTRODUCTORY
A Survey of the Evolution of the Ancient Indian Spiritual Techniques31
CHAPTER - ONE
FOUNDATIONS OF SADHANA
Prerequisites of Spiritual Sadhana51
The Three Governing Factors of Sadhana58
Primary Principles of Sadhana and Their Perversions60
Abhyasa: The First Phase of Sadhana66
Four Points for Memory in Sadhana66
Bases of Spiritual Sadhana67
Aspects of Spiritual Sadhana69
Sadhana: Its Techniques of Applied Psychology81
Easy Method of Sadhana in Worldly Environment82
Some Secrets of Sadhana83
The Essence of Sadhana85
CHAPTER - TWO
SIGNIFICANT PROCESSES IN SADHANA
The Movement of Vasanas in Sadhana86
Role of Restraint in Sadhana90
Repression in Sadhana and Its Effects94
Triple Withdrawal in Sadhana100
Patience in Sadhana101
Perseverance in Sadhana106
Continuity in Sadhana108
Four Progressive Stages in Sadhana108
CHAPTER - THREE
TYPES OF SADHANA
Fourfold Sadhana109
The Simple Sadhana113
Most Important Sadhana115
A Dynamic Sadhana116
Antaranga Sadhana118
Ethical Sadhana118
Mouna Sadhana120
Brahmacharya Sadhana126
Sadhana of the Antarmukha Vritti128
Sadhana by Circumspection129
Sadhana in Self-analysis129
Sadhana of Pratipaksha Bhavana130
Sadhana of Spiritual Vision131
The Disciplines of Universal Love131
CHAPTER - FOUR
SADHANA IN THE PRASTHANATRAYA
The Sadhana of the Veda133
Sadhana in the Brahma Sutras134
Sadhana of the Upanishads139
Sadhana of the Bhagavad-Gita145
CHAPTER - FIVE
SADHANA IN THE SMRITIS, EPICS AND PURANAS
Sadhana in the Manusmriti152
Sadhana in the Ramayana153
Sadhana in the Mahabharata157
Sadhana in the Bhagavata Purana159
Vishnupurana: Sadhana for Liberation171
Sadhana in Garuda Purana173
The Sadhana of the Yogavasishtha173
CHAPTER - SIX
SADHANA IN THE VARIOUS SCHOOLS
Sadhana in Veerasaivism177
Sakti Yoga Sadhana177
Sadhana in Saivasiddhanta179
Sadhana in Kashmir Saivism180
Sadhana in Pasupata Yoga181
CHAPTER - SEVEN
SADHANA IN SIVANANDA SUTRAS
Sadhana of Sivananda Upadesamritam182
Sivananda Mano-Vijnana Sadhana Sutras187
Sivananda Hatha Yoga Sadhana Sutras188
Sivananda Karma Yoga Sadhana Sutras189
Sivananda Bhakti Yoga Sadhana Sutras189
Sivananda Yoga Sadhana Sutras190
Sivananda Vedanta Sadhana Sutras190
Integral Yoga Sadhana191
CHAPTER - EIGHT
SARVA-SADHANA-SANGRAHA
Triplets in the Four Main Paths of Sadhana194
Svara Sadhana194
Laya Yoga Sadhana198
Pranava Sadhana201
Soham Sadhana203
Vichara Sadhana205
Dhyana Yoga Sadhana211
Japa Yoga Sadhana221
Gayatri Sadhana226
Mantra Yoga Sadhana230
Sankirtan Sadhana236
Tantra Yoga Sadhana237
Sava Sadhana238
Kriya Yoga Sadhana239
Sangita Sadhana241
Sadhana by Prayer246
Sadhana of the Yoga of Synthesis248
CHAPTER - NINE
IMPORTANCE OF SADHANA
Spiritualisation of Human Nature254
Life's Supreme Purpose258
The Struggle for Perfection260
Need for Sadhana260
Outgoing Tendencies of the Senses and the Need for Self-control263
Qualification for Sadhana264
Sadhana ? The Main Purpose of Life267
Brahmamuhurta: The Best for Sadhana269
A Sermon on Sadhana270
CHAPTER - TEN
SADHANA FOR THE CONQUEST OF LOWER NATURE
Sadhana for Mastering the Mind272
Various Methods of Mind-control277
Sadhana for Controlling the Ten Senses278
Sadhana for Developing Vairagya280
Sadhana for Elimination of Egoism281
Six Sadhana for Eradicating Jealousy289
Sadhana for Annihilation of Arrogance292
Sadhana for the Subjugation of Hatred294
Sadhana for Controlling Anger295
Sadhana for the Conquest of Fear296
CHAPTER - ELEVEN
SADHANA FOR VARIOUS SIDDHIS
Four Sadhanas for God-realisation299
Sadhana for Developing Will-power299
Sadhana for Sense-control302
Sadhana for Conquest of Raga-Dvesha304
Sadhana for Freedom from accidents309
Sadhana for Success, Prosperity and Enlightenment310
The Nineteen Factors of Sadhana for Peace311
Sadhana for Samadhi in Six Months314
Sadhana for Awakening Kundalini315
Sadhana for Realisation of Oneness315
CHAPTER - TWELVE
OBSTACLES TO PROGRESS IN SADHANA
The Mind of the Aspirant: A Psychological Study317
Sadhana and the Vagaries of the Practitioner321
Temptations in Sadhana321
The Difficulty of Progress in Sadhana322
Main Impediments to Sadhana324
CHAPTER - THIRTEEN
KARMA YOGA SADHANA
Service is Essential327
Karma Can be Transformed into Yoga331
Results of Karma Yoga Sadhana333
CHAPTER - FOURTEEN
BHAKTI YOGA SADHANA
Outlines of Bhakti Yoga Sadhana336
A Few Facets of Bhakti Yoga Sadhana340
Faith, Aspiration and Self-surrender343
Nine Modes of Bhakti Yoga Sadhana344
Essential in Bhakti Yoga Sadhana349
The Role of Faith in Bhakti Sadhana351
Important of Sadhana in Bhakti Yoga352
The Gist of Bhakti Yoga Sadhana355
CHAPTER - FIFTEEN
YOGA SADHANA
Yoga Sadhana: Introductory357
Yoga Sadhana Explained360
Yoga Sadhana: Its Eight Fundamentals361
Mental Purification: An Essential Condition365
Need for Yoga Sadhana365
Structure of Yoga Sadhana368
Practice of Yoga Sadhana373
Practical Yogic Instructions374
Inner Yogic Discipline383
Light on Yoga Sadhana393
Main Obstacles in Yoga Sadhana394
CHAPTER - SIXTEEN
VENDANTIC SADHANA
Vedantic Sadhana: Introductory401
Aspects of Jnana Sadhana402
The Seven Stages of Jnana403
Methods of Vedantic Sadhana405
Obstacles in Vedantic Sadhana406
The Nature of the Jnani407
Hints on Vedantic Sadhana407
Vedantic Aphorisms424
Essence of Vedantic Sadhana429
CHAPTER - SEVENTEEN
COURSES OF PRACTICAL SADHANA
Twelve Aspects of Saguna Dhyana Sadhana431
A Programme of Sadhana431
Practical Sadhana: A Discussion434
Sadhana for Ten Days449
Sadhana for Forty Days450
Daily Routine450
Ten Minutes Sadhana on Twelve Virtues454
Twenty Important Spiritual Instructions455
The Science of Seven Cultures457
Everyday Guide to Sadhakas460
Importance of Spiritual Diary463
Resolves for Quick Spiritual Progress468
The Resolves Form468
Secret of success in Sadhana470
An Ideal Grihastha Sadhaka470
Some Hints on Sadhana471
Kabir's Method of Sadhana475
CHAPTER - EIGHTEEN
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ON SADHANA
Religion, Saint and Yogi476
Prerequisites for Realisation477
The Science of Mantra Repetition477
Japa Yoga482
Problems of Sadhana482
What Should Be Our Goal?484
Methods of Mental Purification485
Problems of Self-realisation486
Hatha Yoga487
The Need for a Spiritual Guide489
Definition of Faith and Development of Devotion491
Questions in Bhakti Yoga192
Questions in Vedanta498
Questions in Raja Yoga499
Yoga and the life Divine500
World and Renunciation501
CHAPTER - NINETEEN
INTIMATE ADVICE TO ASPIRANTS
Aspirants ? A Distinct class by Themselves503
Advice to Sadhakas506
Instructions to Sannyasins512
Guiding Lights518
Sweetness in Sadhakas521
Spiritual Guidance for Aspirants522
Need for Great Vigilance524
The Voice of Spiritual Aid526
Sadhana and Samadhi528
Some Spiritual Don' ts531
Sadhana and the Guide531
Guidance from the Scriptures536
Sadhana Panchakam of Sri Sankaracharya542
CHAPTER - TWENTY
INSPIRING SVADHYAYA FOR ASPIRANTS
Physical Body and Life Divine543
Repetition of Divine Name543
Man and His Stepping Stones543
Peace, Salt of Life and Sankirtan543
The Sage, Happiness and Power544
Life, The Melting Heart and Divine Grace544
Humanity, Love and Goodness545
Purity, Aspiration, Realisation545
Sadhana and Sakti545
Anger, Mind and Self-conquest546
Compassion, Satsanga and Discrimination546
Truth, Vedanta and Human Imagination547
Inner Happiness and Omnipresence of the Lord547
God and His name548
The Body and the Blessing of Human Birth549
The Main Supports in Sadhana549
The Demands of Yoga and the Worldly-minded550
Difficulties in Life and the Messages of the Saint550
God-consciousness and Sat-Chit-Ananda550
Patience, Contentment and Divine Light551
Love and Secret of God-realisation552
Wisdom and Perfection553
The Lord, His Form and His Presence554
Analogies and Some Forms of Blessing555
Life on Earth and the Liberated Sage556
Self-control and Brahma Jnana556
Virtues and Bhakti557
Rewards of Japa and Upanishadic Study558
Vairagya, Abhyasa and Meditation558
Ignorance and the Corroding Human Passion559
Representatives of the Divine Beauty560
Pathway to Purity560
The Sage and Equal Vision561
Thoughtfulness and Sweet Disposition561
Cheerfulness and the Oneness with the divine562
Main, The Architect of Circumstances562
Yoga, The Epitome of Religious Experience563
The Origin of Desire and Brahmic Realisation563
Good Conduct and Obstacles on the Path564
The Pervasive Brahman, The Astral Body564
Vedanta, The Path of Wisdom565
Faith and the Love of God565
The Inner light and the Truly Wise566
Definition of Religion and a Life in the Lord566
Obstacles to Spiritual Progress and the Value of Suffering567
World, Mind and Prayer568
Attributes of the Divine Consciousness569
Indiscrimination, Anger and the Language of the Heart570
Saintliness and the Tender in Heart570
Art, Life and Bhakti571
A Rational Knowledge of the Divine572
The Search for Immortality573
Gauranga and the Miracles of Name573
Ethical Life and Control of Emotions574
Ideals in Nature575
Importance of Virtue and Prem575
Silence, Its Meaning and Its Place576
The Middle Path576
Steps of Aspiration577
Byways of Blessedness577
Manasic Puja Sloka by Sri Sankaracharya578
Excellent Slokas from Avadhuta Gita for Meditation578
The Life Triumphant579
The Tree of Self, Sadhana and Samadhi579
CHAPTER - TWENTY ONE
SONGS OF SADHANA
The Gist of Sadhana580
Practice of real Sadhana584
Intimate Advice584
Song of Sadhana Week584
Song of a Sadhaka586
Phases of Sadhana587
Twenty Precepts for Practice587
CHAPTER - TWENTY TWO
SOME EXPERIECES OF ASPIRANTS
Purpose of Sadhana590
Experiences of Sadhakas593
Collective Sadhana594
Instructions to Sadhakas597
APPENDIX - I
A DRAMA IN SADHANA
The Path of a Sadhaka603
APPENDIX - II
A GARLAND OF PRECEPTS IN SADHANA
Foundations of the Life Divine614
The Discipline of Detachment614
Practice of Yoga Sadhana614
The Easiest From of Sadhana615
Qualifications of Aspirants615
Sense-control and Self-purification617
Obstacles in Sadhana619
Egoism-The Seed for Birth and Death619
Desire ? The Root-cause of All Miseries621
The Three Principal Enemies6222
Selfishness-A Deadly Vice626
Cardinal Principles of Practical Sadhana626
The Inner Spiritual Discipline627
Jnana Yoga Sadhana628
Light on the Path633
Special Spiritual Instructions635
Nivritti Sadhana639
Science of Yoga Sadhana641
Self-effort and Destiny642
Brahmacharya ? The Basis of All Sadhana643
Goodness, Purity and Truthfulness644
Charity ? An Aspect of Sadhana646
Suffering ? A Stepping-stone to Success647
Sadhana and Self-realisation648
Essentials of Spiritual life648
Importance of Spiritual Practices649
Important Sadhanas650
Secret of Success in Sadhana652
Overcome Temptations653
Meditate and Realise655
The Ideal Aspirant656
Light on Sadhana657
Advice to Aspirants660
Realisation of the Self661
The Way to Kaivalya662
Progress on the Path664
Sadhana ? The Only Purpose of Life666
Concentration and Meditation667
Brahmic Consciousness668
The Key to Blessedness671
Sadhana and Some Experience672
APPENDIX - III
SIVANANDA SADHANA SARA
Fundamental Aspects of Sadhana674
The Nature and Processes of Sadhana675
Concentration and Need for Vigilance676
Conditions for Yoga Sadhana677
Sadhana, The Divine Name and Equanimity678
The Results of Real Love679
Formula in Higher Sadhana680
Sadhana and the spiritual Destiny681
Sadhana and the Mind681
Requisites for Spiritual Progress682
Guidance in Sadhana684
The Principles of Spiritual Progress686
Elements of Sadhana687
Background of Thought688
Sadhana and Samadhi689
Phases of Spiritual Practice690
APPENDIX - IV
Only with an Invincible and powerful arrow of yogic concentration can you kill the seven faculties that trouble you692
APPENDIX - V
Sivananda's Synthesis of Sadhanas (Sri K.S. Ramaswami Sastri)695

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Sadhana [A Text Book of the Psychology and Practice of the Techniques to Spiritual Perfection]

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Preface

Om Salutations to that adorable Lord Hari, than Whom there is nothing greater, and Who is above all this universe.

The term "Sadhana" comes from the root "Sadh," which means to "exert," "to endeavour to get a particular result or Siddhi." He who does th practices or attempts is called a Sadhaka. If he achieves the desired result, Siddhi, he is called Siddha. A fully-developed siddha is one who has attained full knowledge of Brahman. Self-realisation or Darshan of God is not possible without Sadhana. Any Spiritual practice is called Sadhana is obtained through Sadhana is Sadhya or Goal – the realisation of God or Brahman. Most comprehensive in its scope, this book presents almost every known form of Sadhana for the Experience of the Divine of Brahman.

If you want to evolve quickly you must have the right kind of Sadhana. If you are a student of the path of Self-reliance, you can yourself select the Sadhana for your daily Practice. If you are a student of the path of self-surrender, you should get the right kind of Sadhana from a Guru and practise the same with intense faith. < P> Why should you prolong the bondage unnecessarily? Why should you not claim your divine birthright right now? Why should you not break you bondage now? Delay means prolongation of your sufferings. You can break it at any moment. This is in our power. Do it now. Stand up. Gird up your loins. Do rigorous and vigorous Sadhana and attain freedom, which is immortality or eternal bliss.

Make the lower nature the servant of the higher through discipline, Tapas, self-restraint and meditation. This is the beginning of your freedom.

The divine within you is stronger than anything that is without you. Therefore, be not afraid of anything. Rely on your own Inner Self the Divinity within you. Tap the source through looking within.

Without renunciation you can never be happy. Without renunciation you can never be at your ease. Therefore renounce everything. Make happiness your own. Hold renunciation as the foremost of things.

Improve yourself. Build your character. Purify your heart. Develop divine virtues. Eradicate evil traits. Conquer all that is worthy and noble.

Only when you have purified the heart, silenced the mind, stilled the thoughts and surging emotions, withdrawn the outgoing senses, thinned out the Vasanas, you can behold the glorious Atman during deep meditation.

There are five means by which perfect tranquility or emancipation can be attained. These from the highest happiness. They are Satsanga or association with the wise, discrimination between the real and unreal, dispassion, enquiry of 'Who am I?' and meditation. These are called heaven. These are religion. These form the highest happiness.

Become a good man first. Then control the senses. Then subdue the lower mind by the higher mind. Then the divine light will descend. Only then the vessel will be able to receive and hold the divine light.

Practise meditation persistently and calmly without haste. You will soon attain Samadhi or the Nirvikalpa state.

Spiritual life is toilsome and laborious. It demands constant vigilance and long perseverance before substantial progress is made.

You have yourself built the walls of your prison-house through ignorance. You can demolish the walls through discrimination and enquiry of 'Who am I?'

Sufferings purify the soul. They burn up the gross material, sins and impurities. The Divinity becomes more and more manifest. They give inner spiritual strength and develop the will-force, the power of endurance. Hence sufferings are blessings in disguise.

Even a ray of inner light during meditation will lighten your path. It will give you great deal of encouragement and inner strength. It will goad you to do more Sadhana. You will experience this ray of light when the meditation becomes more deep and when you rise above body-consciousness.

Life is the unfolding of the latent capacities of the soul. Lead of the divine life. Generate sublime divine thoughts in your mind through meditation, Japa, Kirtan and study of sacred scriptures.

Bathe in the river of life everlasting. Plunge in it. Take a dip in it. Swim in it. Float in it. Rejoice.

Bask the body in the physical sunlight. Bask the soul in the sunlight of the Eternal. You will have good health and everlasting life.

Worship is the unfolding of the bud of the flower of the soul. Worship is life. Worship bestows life eternal. You may conquer millions of persons in a battle, but you will become the greatest conqueror only if you can conquer your own lower self or mind.

So long as your senses are not subdued or weakened you will have to practise Tapas or self-restraint, Dama or Pratyahara.

When the electric lamp is covered by many wrappings of cloth, there will be no bright light. When the cloth is removed one by one, the light grows brighter and brighter. Even so, when the self-resplendent Atman which is covered by the five sheaths is stripped off the sheaths by meditation on the pure Self and the practice of 'Neti Neti' doctrine, the Self-luminous Atman reveals itself to the meditator.

Sit down with a composed mind. Assert your mastery over the body and mind. Plunge deep into the chambers of your heart, and enter into the stupendous ocean of Silence. Listen to the voice which is soundless.

Purify the heart first and then climb the ladder of Yoga steadily with courage and undaunted spirit. Climb onwards swiftly. Attain Ritambhara Prajna and reach the summit of the ladder, the temple of wisdom, where the cloud of virtue of nectar dribbles from Dharmamegha Samadhi.

Build your spiritual life on a sure foundation, on the rock of the divine grace and strength of character. Take refuge in the Lord and His eternal Law. There is no power in heaven or on earth that can bar your path now. Success in Self-realisation is certain. Failure exists not for you. There is light on your path. All is brilliant.

Sadhana means any spiritual practice that helps the Sadhaka to realize God. Abhyasa and Sadhana are synonymous terms. Sadhana is a means to attain the Goal of human lie. Without Sadhana no one can achieve the purpose of life. Sadhana differs in different individuals according to the capacity, temperament and taste. Every one must take to some kind of Sadhana to attain the state of final beatitude. Sadhya is hat which is attained through Sadhana. It is God or Atman or Purusha. If you want to evolve quickly you must have the right kind of Sadhana. If you are a student of the path of self-reliance, you can yourself select the Sadhana for your daily practice. If you are a student of the path of self-surrender, you should ge right kind of Sadhana from a Guru and practise the same with intense faith.

Those who follow the path of devotion should do Japa, read the holy scriptures such as the Bhagavata or the Ramayana. By the practice of Nava Vidha Bhakti, the Bhakta should develop Bhakti to a very high degree. Sravana, Smarana, Kirtana, Vandana, Archana, Padasevana, Sakhya, Dasya and Atma-Nivedana are the nine methods to develop Bhakti. Bhaktas should observe Vrata, Anushthana and do prayers and Manasic Puja. They should serve others, realising that the Lord recites in the hearts of all. This is the Sadhana for those who tread the path of Bhakti Yoga.

Those who follow the path of Karma Yoga should do disinterested selfless service to the suffering humanity and society in various ways. They should surrender the fruits of action to the Lord as Isvararpana. They should give up agency by realising that they are the instruments in the hands of God. They should get rid of their selfishness and control their Indriyas. They should completely consecrate their lives in the service of humanity. They should consider that the whole world is a manifestation of the Lord. If they serve people with such a Bhava, their hearts get purified in the long run. Eventually they get knowledge of the Self through Chitta Suddhi.

This is the Sadhana for the Karma Yogins. This is very important for all beginners in the spiritual path. This is not the goal itself. Many erroneously think so and neglect the higher courses of Sadhana. They should advance still further and through Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi reach the highest goal.

A Raja Yogi slowly ascends the Yogic ladder through the eight steps. He gets ethical training in the beginning to purify himself by the practice of Yama and Niyama. Then he steadies his posture. Then he practises Pranayama to steady his mind and to purify the Nadis. Then by the practice of Pratyahara, Dharana and Dhyana, he gets Samadhi. Through Samyama, he gets different Siddhis. He restrains all the mental modification that arise from the mind.

Those who take up the path of Vedanta or Jnana Yoga should acquire first the four means of salvation (Sadhana Chatushtaya)- Viveka, Vairagya, Shat-Sampat and Mumukshutva, Viveka is discrimination between the real and unreal. Vairagya is indifference to sensual enjoyments. Shat-Sampat is the sixfold virtues, Sama, Dama, Uparati, Titiksha, Sraddha and Samadhana. Then they approach a Brahma-Nishtha Guru who has realized the Supreme Self and hear the Srutis from him. Then they reflect and mediate on the Self and attain eventually Atma-Sakshatkara. Then the Jnani exclaim with joy: "The Atman alone is, one without a second. Atman alone is the one Reality. I am Brahman, Aham Brahma Asmi. Sivoham Sarvam Khalvidam Brahma." The liberated Jivanmukta sees the Self in all beings all beings in the Self.

The student of Hatha Yoga should try to awaken the Kundalini Sakti that lies dormant in the Muladhara Chakra by Mudras, Bandhas, Asanas and Pranayamas. They should try to unite the Prana and Apana and send the united Prana-Apana through the Sushumna Nadi. Heat is increased by retention of breath and Vayu ascends up along with Kundalini to the Sahasrara Chakra through the different Chakras. When Kundalini is united with Lord Siva at the Sahasrara Chakra, the Yogi attains supreme peace, bliss and immortality.

 

About the Author

Born on the 8th September, 1887, in the illustrious family of Sage Appayya Dikshita and several other renowned saints and savants, Sri Swami Sivananda had a natural flair for a life devoted to the study and practice of Vedanta. Added to this was an inborn eagerness to serve all and an innate feeling of unity with all mankind

His Passion for service drew him to the medical career; and soon he gravitated to where he thought that his service was most needed. Malaya claimed him. He had earlier been editing a Health Journal and wrote extensively on health problems. He discovered that people needed right knowledge most all; dissemination of that knowledge he espoused as his own mission.

It was divine dispensation and the blessing of God upon mankind that the doctor of body and mind renounced his career and took to a life of renunciation to qualify himself for ministering to the soul of man. He settled down at Rishikesh in 1924, practised intense austerities and shone as a great Yogi, saint, sage and Jivanmukta.

In 1932 he started the Sivanandashram. In 1936 was born The Divine Life Society. In 1948 the Yoga-Vedanta Forest Academy was organised. Dissemination of spiritual knowledge and training of people in Yoga and Vedanta were their aim and object. In 1950 he undertook a lightning tour of India and Ceylon. In 1953 he convened a 'World Parliament of Religions'. He is the author of over 300 volumes and has disciples all over the world, belonging to all nationalities, religions and creeds. To read his works is to drink at the Fountain of Wisdom Supreme. On 14th July 1963 he entered Mahasamadhi.

contents

Publishers' Note7
Preface10
Prayers15
INTRODUCTORY
A Survey of the Evolution of the Ancient Indian Spiritual Techniques31
CHAPTER - ONE
FOUNDATIONS OF SADHANA
Prerequisites of Spiritual Sadhana51
The Three Governing Factors of Sadhana58
Primary Principles of Sadhana and Their Perversions60
Abhyasa: The First Phase of Sadhana66
Four Points for Memory in Sadhana66
Bases of Spiritual Sadhana67
Aspects of Spiritual Sadhana69
Sadhana: Its Techniques of Applied Psychology81
Easy Method of Sadhana in Worldly Environment82
Some Secrets of Sadhana83
The Essence of Sadhana85
CHAPTER - TWO
SIGNIFICANT PROCESSES IN SADHANA
The Movement of Vasanas in Sadhana86
Role of Restraint in Sadhana90
Repression in Sadhana and Its Effects94
Triple Withdrawal in Sadhana100
Patience in Sadhana101
Perseverance in Sadhana106
Continuity in Sadhana108
Four Progressive Stages in Sadhana108
CHAPTER - THREE
TYPES OF SADHANA
Fourfold Sadhana109
The Simple Sadhana113
Most Important Sadhana115
A Dynamic Sadhana116
Antaranga Sadhana118
Ethical Sadhana118
Mouna Sadhana120
Brahmacharya Sadhana126
Sadhana of the Antarmukha Vritti128
Sadhana by Circumspection129
Sadhana in Self-analysis129
Sadhana of Pratipaksha Bhavana130
Sadhana of Spiritual Vision131
The Disciplines of Universal Love131
CHAPTER - FOUR
SADHANA IN THE PRASTHANATRAYA
The Sadhana of the Veda133
Sadhana in the Brahma Sutras134
Sadhana of the Upanishads139
Sadhana of the Bhagavad-Gita145
CHAPTER - FIVE
SADHANA IN THE SMRITIS, EPICS AND PURANAS
Sadhana in the Manusmriti152
Sadhana in the Ramayana153
Sadhana in the Mahabharata157
Sadhana in the Bhagavata Purana159
Vishnupurana: Sadhana for Liberation171
Sadhana in Garuda Purana173
The Sadhana of the Yogavasishtha173
CHAPTER - SIX
SADHANA IN THE VARIOUS SCHOOLS
Sadhana in Veerasaivism177
Sakti Yoga Sadhana177
Sadhana in Saivasiddhanta179
Sadhana in Kashmir Saivism180
Sadhana in Pasupata Yoga181
CHAPTER - SEVEN
SADHANA IN SIVANANDA SUTRAS
Sadhana of Sivananda Upadesamritam182
Sivananda Mano-Vijnana Sadhana Sutras187
Sivananda Hatha Yoga Sadhana Sutras188
Sivananda Karma Yoga Sadhana Sutras189
Sivananda Bhakti Yoga Sadhana Sutras189
Sivananda Yoga Sadhana Sutras190
Sivananda Vedanta Sadhana Sutras190
Integral Yoga Sadhana191
CHAPTER - EIGHT
SARVA-SADHANA-SANGRAHA
Triplets in the Four Main Paths of Sadhana194
Svara Sadhana194
Laya Yoga Sadhana198
Pranava Sadhana201
Soham Sadhana203
Vichara Sadhana205
Dhyana Yoga Sadhana211
Japa Yoga Sadhana221
Gayatri Sadhana226
Mantra Yoga Sadhana230
Sankirtan Sadhana236
Tantra Yoga Sadhana237
Sava Sadhana238
Kriya Yoga Sadhana239
Sangita Sadhana241
Sadhana by Prayer246
Sadhana of the Yoga of Synthesis248
CHAPTER - NINE
IMPORTANCE OF SADHANA
Spiritualisation of Human Nature254
Life's Supreme Purpose258
The Struggle for Perfection260
Need for Sadhana260
Outgoing Tendencies of the Senses and the Need for Self-control263
Qualification for Sadhana264
Sadhana ? The Main Purpose of Life267
Brahmamuhurta: The Best for Sadhana269
A Sermon on Sadhana270
CHAPTER - TEN
SADHANA FOR THE CONQUEST OF LOWER NATURE
Sadhana for Mastering the Mind272
Various Methods of Mind-control277
Sadhana for Controlling the Ten Senses278
Sadhana for Developing Vairagya280
Sadhana for Elimination of Egoism281
Six Sadhana for Eradicating Jealousy289
Sadhana for Annihilation of Arrogance292
Sadhana for the Subjugation of Hatred294
Sadhana for Controlling Anger295
Sadhana for the Conquest of Fear296
CHAPTER - ELEVEN
SADHANA FOR VARIOUS SIDDHIS
Four Sadhanas for God-realisation299
Sadhana for Developing Will-power299
Sadhana for Sense-control302
Sadhana for Conquest of Raga-Dvesha304
Sadhana for Freedom from accidents309
Sadhana for Success, Prosperity and Enlightenment310
The Nineteen Factors of Sadhana for Peace311
Sadhana for Samadhi in Six Months314
Sadhana for Awakening Kundalini315
Sadhana for Realisation of Oneness315
CHAPTER - TWELVE
OBSTACLES TO PROGRESS IN SADHANA
The Mind of the Aspirant: A Psychological Study317
Sadhana and the Vagaries of the Practitioner321
Temptations in Sadhana321
The Difficulty of Progress in Sadhana322
Main Impediments to Sadhana324
CHAPTER - THIRTEEN
KARMA YOGA SADHANA
Service is Essential327
Karma Can be Transformed into Yoga331
Results of Karma Yoga Sadhana333
CHAPTER - FOURTEEN
BHAKTI YOGA SADHANA
Outlines of Bhakti Yoga Sadhana336
A Few Facets of Bhakti Yoga Sadhana340
Faith, Aspiration and Self-surrender343
Nine Modes of Bhakti Yoga Sadhana344
Essential in Bhakti Yoga Sadhana349
The Role of Faith in Bhakti Sadhana351
Important of Sadhana in Bhakti Yoga352
The Gist of Bhakti Yoga Sadhana355
CHAPTER - FIFTEEN
YOGA SADHANA
Yoga Sadhana: Introductory357
Yoga Sadhana Explained360
Yoga Sadhana: Its Eight Fundamentals361
Mental Purification: An Essential Condition365
Need for Yoga Sadhana365
Structure of Yoga Sadhana368
Practice of Yoga Sadhana373
Practical Yogic Instructions374
Inner Yogic Discipline383
Light on Yoga Sadhana393
Main Obstacles in Yoga Sadhana394
CHAPTER - SIXTEEN
VENDANTIC SADHANA
Vedantic Sadhana: Introductory401
Aspects of Jnana Sadhana402
The Seven Stages of Jnana403
Methods of Vedantic Sadhana405
Obstacles in Vedantic Sadhana406
The Nature of the Jnani407
Hints on Vedantic Sadhana407
Vedantic Aphorisms424
Essence of Vedantic Sadhana429
CHAPTER - SEVENTEEN
COURSES OF PRACTICAL SADHANA
Twelve Aspects of Saguna Dhyana Sadhana431
A Programme of Sadhana431
Practical Sadhana: A Discussion434
Sadhana for Ten Days449
Sadhana for Forty Days450
Daily Routine450
Ten Minutes Sadhana on Twelve Virtues454
Twenty Important Spiritual Instructions455
The Science of Seven Cultures457
Everyday Guide to Sadhakas460
Importance of Spiritual Diary463
Resolves for Quick Spiritual Progress468
The Resolves Form468
Secret of success in Sadhana470
An Ideal Grihastha Sadhaka470
Some Hints on Sadhana471
Kabir's Method of Sadhana475
CHAPTER - EIGHTEEN
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ON SADHANA
Religion, Saint and Yogi476
Prerequisites for Realisation477
The Science of Mantra Repetition477
Japa Yoga482
Problems of Sadhana482
What Should Be Our Goal?484
Methods of Mental Purification485
Problems of Self-realisation486
Hatha Yoga487
The Need for a Spiritual Guide489
Definition of Faith and Development of Devotion491
Questions in Bhakti Yoga192
Questions in Vedanta498
Questions in Raja Yoga499
Yoga and the life Divine500
World and Renunciation501
CHAPTER - NINETEEN
INTIMATE ADVICE TO ASPIRANTS
Aspirants ? A Distinct class by Themselves503
Advice to Sadhakas506
Instructions to Sannyasins512
Guiding Lights518
Sweetness in Sadhakas521
Spiritual Guidance for Aspirants522
Need for Great Vigilance524
The Voice of Spiritual Aid526
Sadhana and Samadhi528
Some Spiritual Don' ts531
Sadhana and the Guide531
Guidance from the Scriptures536
Sadhana Panchakam of Sri Sankaracharya542
CHAPTER - TWENTY
INSPIRING SVADHYAYA FOR ASPIRANTS
Physical Body and Life Divine543
Repetition of Divine Name543
Man and His Stepping Stones543
Peace, Salt of Life and Sankirtan543
The Sage, Happiness and Power544
Life, The Melting Heart and Divine Grace544
Humanity, Love and Goodness545
Purity, Aspiration, Realisation545
Sadhana and Sakti545
Anger, Mind and Self-conquest546
Compassion, Satsanga and Discrimination546
Truth, Vedanta and Human Imagination547
Inner Happiness and Omnipresence of the Lord547
God and His name548
The Body and the Blessing of Human Birth549
The Main Supports in Sadhana549
The Demands of Yoga and the Worldly-minded550
Difficulties in Life and the Messages of the Saint550
God-consciousness and Sat-Chit-Ananda550
Patience, Contentment and Divine Light551
Love and Secret of God-realisation552
Wisdom and Perfection553
The Lord, His Form and His Presence554
Analogies and Some Forms of Blessing555
Life on Earth and the Liberated Sage556
Self-control and Brahma Jnana556
Virtues and Bhakti557
Rewards of Japa and Upanishadic Study558
Vairagya, Abhyasa and Meditation558
Ignorance and the Corroding Human Passion559
Representatives of the Divine Beauty560
Pathway to Purity560
The Sage and Equal Vision561
Thoughtfulness and Sweet Disposition561
Cheerfulness and the Oneness with the divine562
Main, The Architect of Circumstances562
Yoga, The Epitome of Religious Experience563
The Origin of Desire and Brahmic Realisation563
Good Conduct and Obstacles on the Path564
The Pervasive Brahman, The Astral Body564
Vedanta, The Path of Wisdom565
Faith and the Love of God565
The Inner light and the Truly Wise566
Definition of Religion and a Life in the Lord566
Obstacles to Spiritual Progress and the Value of Suffering567
World, Mind and Prayer568
Attributes of the Divine Consciousness569
Indiscrimination, Anger and the Language of the Heart570
Saintliness and the Tender in Heart570
Art, Life and Bhakti571
A Rational Knowledge of the Divine572
The Search for Immortality573
Gauranga and the Miracles of Name573
Ethical Life and Control of Emotions574
Ideals in Nature575
Importance of Virtue and Prem575
Silence, Its Meaning and Its Place576
The Middle Path576
Steps of Aspiration577
Byways of Blessedness577
Manasic Puja Sloka by Sri Sankaracharya578
Excellent Slokas from Avadhuta Gita for Meditation578
The Life Triumphant579
The Tree of Self, Sadhana and Samadhi579
CHAPTER - TWENTY ONE
SONGS OF SADHANA
The Gist of Sadhana580
Practice of real Sadhana584
Intimate Advice584
Song of Sadhana Week584
Song of a Sadhaka586
Phases of Sadhana587
Twenty Precepts for Practice587
CHAPTER - TWENTY TWO
SOME EXPERIECES OF ASPIRANTS
Purpose of Sadhana590
Experiences of Sadhakas593
Collective Sadhana594
Instructions to Sadhakas597
APPENDIX - I
A DRAMA IN SADHANA
The Path of a Sadhaka603
APPENDIX - II
A GARLAND OF PRECEPTS IN SADHANA
Foundations of the Life Divine614
The Discipline of Detachment614
Practice of Yoga Sadhana614
The Easiest From of Sadhana615
Qualifications of Aspirants615
Sense-control and Self-purification617
Obstacles in Sadhana619
Egoism-The Seed for Birth and Death619
Desire ? The Root-cause of All Miseries621
The Three Principal Enemies6222
Selfishness-A Deadly Vice626
Cardinal Principles of Practical Sadhana626
The Inner Spiritual Discipline627
Jnana Yoga Sadhana628
Light on the Path633
Special Spiritual Instructions635
Nivritti Sadhana639
Science of Yoga Sadhana641
Self-effort and Destiny642
Brahmacharya ? The Basis of All Sadhana643
Goodness, Purity and Truthfulness644
Charity ? An Aspect of Sadhana646
Suffering ? A Stepping-stone to Success647
Sadhana and Self-realisation648
Essentials of Spiritual life648
Importance of Spiritual Practices649
Important Sadhanas650
Secret of Success in Sadhana652
Overcome Temptations653
Meditate and Realise655
The Ideal Aspirant656
Light on Sadhana657
Advice to Aspirants660
Realisation of the Self661
The Way to Kaivalya662
Progress on the Path664
Sadhana ? The Only Purpose of Life666
Concentration and Meditation667
Brahmic Consciousness668
The Key to Blessedness671
Sadhana and Some Experience672
APPENDIX - III
SIVANANDA SADHANA SARA
Fundamental Aspects of Sadhana674
The Nature and Processes of Sadhana675
Concentration and Need for Vigilance676
Conditions for Yoga Sadhana677
Sadhana, The Divine Name and Equanimity678
The Results of Real Love679
Formula in Higher Sadhana680
Sadhana and the spiritual Destiny681
Sadhana and the Mind681
Requisites for Spiritual Progress682
Guidance in Sadhana684
The Principles of Spiritual Progress686
Elements of Sadhana687
Background of Thought688
Sadhana and Samadhi689
Phases of Spiritual Practice690
APPENDIX - IV
Only with an Invincible and powerful arrow of yogic concentration can you kill the seven faculties that trouble you692
APPENDIX - V
Sivananda's Synthesis of Sadhanas (Sri K.S. Ramaswami Sastri)695

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