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 of all; dissemination of that knowledge he espoused as his own
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, practiced 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 organized. 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.
About this Book
The goal of life is the attainment of final beatitude. This can be attained by meditation.
The Ultimate Truth can be experienced by all persons by regular practice of meditation with
a pure heart.
This book deals with how to develop concentration. What is meditation, prerequisites
for meditation, favourable places for meditation, suitable diet, guidelines to successful
meditation, practice of meditation, the most common obstacles in meditation and all such
information which a seeker of Truth wants to know before starting the practice of
No more words. Enough of discussions and heated debates. Retire into a solitary
room. Close your eyes. Have deep silent meditation. Dive deep into the inner-most recesses
of the heart. Drink the nectar of immortality.
O my dear aspirants! I send you the thought-currents of peace from the peaceful atmosphere
of the sacred Himalayas, the abode of Rishis.
The goal of life is the attainment of final beatitude or Moksha. Moksha can be
attained by constant meditation.
Reality or Brahman can be realized by man. Many have attained Self-realisation. Many
have enjoyed the Nirvikalpa Samadhi. Sankara, Dattatreya, Mansoor, Shams Tabriez., Jesus,
Buddha were all realized souls who had direct perception of the Truth.
The Ultimate Truth or Brahman or the Absolute can be experienced by all persons by
regular practice of meditation with a pure heart. Mere abstract reasoning and study of books
will not do. What is wanted is direct experience. The direct experience is the source for
higher intuitional knowledge or divine wisdom. This experience is superconsious or
transcendental. There is neither the play of the senses nor the intellect here. This is not
an emotional experience. The senses, mind and intellect are at perfect rest. They do not
function a bit. This experience is not an imaginary experience of a visionary dreamer. It is
not a reverie. It is not a hypnotic trance. It is solid living Truth like the Amalaka fruit
on the palm of your hand. The third eye or the eye of wisdom is opened in the experiencer.
The extraordinary experience comes from cognition through the spiritual eye or the eye of
intuition. This eye of wisdom can be opened when the senses, mind and intellect cease
Samadhi or blissful divine experience arises when the ego and the mind are
dissolved. It is a state to be attained by one's own effort. It is limitless, divisionless
and infinite, an experience of being and of pure consciousness. When this experience is
realized, the mind, desires, actions, and feelings of joy and sorrow vanish into a void.
He who has controlled his mind is really happy and free. Physical freedom is no
freedom at all. If you are easily carried away by surging emotions and impulses, if you are
under the grip of moods, cravings and passions, how can you be really happy, O sweet beloved
child! You are like a rudderless boat. You are tossed about hither and thither like a piece
of straw in the vast expanse on the ocean. You laugh for five minutes and weep for five
hours. What can wife, so, friends, money, fame and power do for you when you are under the
sway of the impulses of your own mind? He is the true hero who has controlled his mind.
There is an adage: "He who has controlled his mind. There is an adage: "He who has
controlled his mind has controlled the world." True victory is over the mind. That is real
freedom. Thorough rigorous discipline and self-imposed restrictions will eventually
eradicate all desires, thoughts, impulses, cravings and passions. Only then, and not until
then, can you expect to be free from the thralldom of the mind. You should not give any
leniency to the mind. You should not give any leniency to the mind. The mind is mischievous
imp. Curb it by drastic measures. Become a perfect Yogi. Money cannot give you freedom.
Freedom is not a commodity that can be purchased in the Crawford Market. It is a rare,
hidden treasure guarded by a five-hooded serpent. Unless you kill or tame this serpent, you
cannot have access to that treasure. That treasure is Spiritual Wealth, that is Freedom,
that is Bliss. The serpent is your mind. The five hoods are the five senses through which
the mind-serpent hisses.
People are immersed in worldliness. They madly run after money and women. They have
no time to think of God and higher spiritual things. The sun dawns and the mind runs again
in its old, usual, sensual grooves of eating, drinking, amusing and sleeping. The day has
passed. In this way the whole life passes away. There is neither moral development nor
Really, there is no pleasure in objects. Atma gives a push to the mind and sets it
in motion. A Vritti or thought-wave arises in the mind on account of the force of a Vasana
or latent subtle desire. The mind is agitated and runs towards the particular object. The
agitation will not subside till the mind gets the desired object. It will constantly think
of the object. It will scheme and plan various methods to achieve the desired object. It
will be ever restless. It will be ever assuming the shape of the object. As soon as the
object is obtained and enjoyed, the particular Vritti that was causing agitation in the mind
gets dissolved. Vritti-Iaya takes place. When Vritti-laya takes place, you get peace and
Ananda from the Svarupa or Atma within only and not from the object outside. Ignorant
persons attribute their pleasures to external objects. That is a serious blunder indeed.
There is no happiness at all in any of the objects of the world. It is sheer
ignorance to think that we derive any pleasure from the sense-objects or from the mind.
Whenever we feel our desires are satisfied, we observe that the mind moves towards the
heart, towards Atma. In pleasure also, there is exercise of the mind. It expands. It turns
inward and moves to its original home, the place of its origin, Atma and enjoys Atma-sukh,
the bliss of the Self.
Why do you search in vain, for your happiness, O worldly fools, outside, in objects,
money, women, titles. Honours, name and fame, which are false, worthless and like cowdung?
You cannot get your happiness there. You are entirely deluded. Search within the heart,
subjectively in the Atma, the source and fountain of all happiness.
Real happiness is within you. It is in the Atma. It is subjective. It is in the
Sattva Guna and beyond Sattva. It manifests when the mind is concentrated. When the Indriyas
are with-drawn from the objects outside, when the mind is one-pointed, when there is
Vasana-kshaya or annihilation of the Vasanas, when there is Manonasa or annihilation of the
mind. When you become desireless and thoughtless, Atmic bliss begins to dawn; spiritual
Ananda begins to thrill.
Be silent. Enter silence. Silence is Atma. Silence is Brahman. Silence is Centre.
Silence is the Hridaya Guha, the heart-cave. When the mind runs from one object to another,
that state in the interval wherein you become mindless for a very short time is
Svarupasthiti. That is Brahman. When the mind is controlled fully, Vrittis ease. When all
the modifications sub-side, you enter into the silence then and then alone. Realise this,
this very moment. Feel the divine glory and Brahmic splendour now by closing the eyes, by
drawing the Indriyas, by stilling the mind, by silencing the thoughts, by sharpening the
intellect, by purifying the Chitta, by meditating on OM, by chanting OM with Bhava, with
feeling. Keep up the continuity of Brahmic consciousness throughout the 24 hours. Have an
unceasing flow of Atmic consciousness. This is very, very important. This is a sine qua non.
This is a great desideratum.
O Prem! There is a place where you will neither hear any sound nor see any colour.
That place is Param Dhama or Padam Anaamaya, painless seat. It is the realm of peace and
bliss. There is no body-consciousness here. Here mind finds rest. All desires and cravings
melt away. The Indriyas remain quiet here. The intellect ceases functioning. There is
neither fight nor quarrel here. Will you not seek this silent abode through silent
meditation? Solemn stillness reigns supreme here. Rishis of yore attained this place only by
melting the mind in the silence. Brahman shines here in native effulgence.
Forget the body. Forget the surroundings. Forgetting is the highest Sadhana. It
helps meditation a great deal. It makes the approach to God easier. By remembering God, you
can forget all these things.
Sit at ease. Close your eyes. Look within. Withdraw the rays of the mind. Silence
the thoughts. Meditate on Atma or the Absolute. Chant OM. Sing OM. Feel OM. Mentally repeat
OM. The mind will move now to its Centre or Source slowly. You will forget the body and the
world. The breathing will become very slow. The breath will move within the nostrils. Your
heart will be flooded with joy and bliss. Divine nectar will trickle down. Drink it to your
heart's content and attain immortality. Divine peace, eternal tranquility will roll over
your head, wave after wave. Plunge deep in the ocean of peace. Swim freely and rejoice. What
a magnanimous, happy state! What blissful freedom!! What wonderful perfection and
Dear brothers! Children of Immortality! Plod on. Push on. Do not look backward.
Forget the past. Forget the body and the world. But forget not the Centre. Forget not the
source. A glorious brilliant future is awaiting you. Purify. Serve. Love. Give Live in OM.
Feel always and everywhere the indwelling, all-pervading Presence. Realise the Self. Rest in
the magnanimous Ocean of Peace, in the stupendous Sea of Stillness. Drink the nectar of
immortality. May the Indwelling Presence be your centre, ideal and goal. May joy, bliss,
immortality, peace, glory and splendour abide with you for ever.
Nectar's sons! In this book I have placed before you in detail not only the
step-by-step approach to meditation and the mechanics of its practice, but also all the
obstacles that stand in the way of meditation and God-realisation. I have then proceeded to
suggest various effective methods to remove those obstacles. Stand up now like an undaunted
spiritual soldier in the Adhyatmic battle-field. Become a spiritual hero of great
intrepidity and unique chivalry. Get over the obstacles fearlessly one by one and manifest
divine glory, splendour, purity and sanctity. Wait patiently with a calm and serene mind for
results. Do not be hasty, rash and impetuous. Allow proper time for regeneration and
renovation. Nil desperandum. Never despair. Wear the Vairagya coat-of-arms. Wield the shield
of Viveka. Hold the banner of faith. March boldly and cheerfully with the band of Bhum
Bhum, Bhum, Om Om Om, Ram Ram Ram Shyam Shayam, Shyam. Stop not till you drink the
elixir of immortality to your heart's content. Stop not, dear Sadhaks, till you enter the
immortal realm of eternal sunshine, undecaying beauty, unfading ecstasy, supreme bliss,
infinite joy, unalloyed felicity and unbroken peace. This is your final destination. You can
take eternal rest now. This is your goal. This is your highest aim and purpose of life. Rest
now in everlasting peace, friends! God-bye unto you all. Cheer yourselves. Share this rare
panacea with your brothers. Elevate them. This noble and stupendous selfless work is
awaiting you now in the grand plan. Fulfill the Divine will and become a Buddha of undying
fame. Salutations unto you all!
When a bee finds that its feet are stuck in the honey, it slowly licks its feet
several times and then flies away with joy. Even so, extricate yourself from the mind's
sticking and clinging to this body and children through Vairagya and meditation. Fly away
with joy from this cage of flesh and bones to the Source, Brahman or the Absolute.
Meditate. Purify your mind. Practise concentration in a solitary room. Then
squeeze out the Upanishads and the Gita from your heart. Don't depend upon imperfect
commentaries. If you are sincere, you will understand the real Sankalpa, the real thoughts
of the Rishis of the Upanishads and Lord Krishna, what they really meant when they uttered
those wise Slokas in the scriptures.
Unfold the Divinity that is lurking in your heart by concentration and meditation.
Don't waste your time. Don't waste your life. Meditate. Meditate. Don't lose even a single
minute. Meditation will remove all the miseries of life. That is the only way. Meditation is
the enemy of the mind. It brings about Manonasa or the annihilation of the mind.
When you reach the spiritual summit of thoughtlessness, you will reach the abode of
immortality and eternal peace and supreme bliss. O Ram! Start your homeward journey. March
boldly in the spiritual path. Be not afraid of difficulties. Be bold. Ascend peak after
peak. Cross the deep ravines of subtle Moha and pride that come on your way. Take a long
jump and cross the mystic frontier of Avyaktam. Chop off the thoughts that wage again and
again a guerilla war. Enter now the infinite domain of pure bliss and highest knowledge.
Regain you old pristine divine glory. Rest in your Satchidananda Svarup.
No more words. Enough of discussions and heated debates. Retire into a solitary
room. Close your eyes. Have deep silent meditation. Feel His presence. Repeat His Name OM
with fervour, joy and love. Fill your heart with Prem. Destroy the Sankalpas, thoughts,
whims, fancies and desires when they arise from the surface of the mind. Withdraw the
wandering mind and fix it on the Lord. Now Nishta, meditation, will be-come deep and
intense. Don't open your eyes, Don't stir from. Your seat. Merge in Him. Dive deep into the
innermost recesses of the heart. Plunge into the shining Soul within. Drink the nectar of
immortality. Enjoy the silence now. I shall leave you there alone. Nectar's sons! Rejoice,
rejoice,! Peace, Peace! Silence, silence! Glory, glory!
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