Spiritual Instructions

    Spiritual Life

    Swami Yatiswarananda


    ONE has to begin as early as possible with one’s spiritual  life. Unless we have sown the seed of spirituality in our soul  early in life, there is no possibility of creating the spiritual  mood in later life. Those who are not spiritually minded  while they live in the world, can never be spiritually minded  when they retire from the world. They will find that the old  impure impressions have become so deep that there is no  possibility of effacing them. That they have become the  slaves of their instincts and impulses, and that they can no  longer act in the way they would like to, cannot take up a  higher and purer life, neither mentally nor physically. Our  ideal is to make a beginning of liberation in this very life and  to make the best use of the time that is given to us.

    Yatiswarananda Swami | Open Library
    Swami Yatiswarananda


    The Grace of the Divine comes to a person in the form of  self-effort, in the form of the will to strive for something  higher and more permanent than all these phenomena.

    Some speak of destiny, others speak of self-effort, while  again others hold, “Yes, it is true that everything depends on  the will of the Lord, but the Lord desires that | should strive  my utmost. Self-effort comes to me as a manifestation of my  ‘destiny’; it is the will of the Lord that creates in me the de-  sire for striving”. But without purity and real, unfeigned dis-  passion there can never be any spiritual life, or even any  deep spiritual striving. Unless we strive our very utmost and  our best, the Lord’s Grace will not descend on us.


    What is most essential in all forms of spiritual life is to  keep the greater part of the mind thinking of God, thinking  of the Ideal, and never to allow it to give its thoughts entirely to the world or worldly affections and relations even  when occupied with some worldly duty. We must know how  to divide the mind to some extent, so that we can make one  part of it cling to the Lord and to the Lord alone, whatever  be our occupation.

    Through constant practice, through unflagging practice,  we may develop an attitude of mind that enables us to think  and to feel that whatever we do is a service to the Lord, and  that we have no right to the fruits of any of our actions. “O Lord, whatever works | do, | look upon it as a form of worship  to Thee.” This service may be physical, intellectual or spiritual.

    Watch the reactions in your mind brought about by certain  people and things, and act accordingly. Avoid everything that  is apt to rouse old, evil impressions and thoughts belonging  to your former life. We cannot allow ourselves to run after worldly love and affections and have the higher Divine Love  at the same time. God and worldly affections cannot live together.

    We should have the ideal fixed that neither worldly nor  heavenly pleasures are our goal, that our ultimate goal is  Self-realisation—neither this world nor heaven, nor any other  world. Heavenly enjoyment is no better than earthly enjoy-  ment, and so long as there is hankering after heavenly enjoy-  ment, we can never attain the goal. We must yearn for God  more than for His creation either in heaven or in earth.    Before we actually begin our spiritual life in real earnest,  we must decide if we are really fully prepared to pay the  price. We must fix once for all our ideal, our conduct of life,  and everything, and then stick to it in all circumstances. If  we wish to transcend all the unrealities, there must always  be a certain amount of dare-devil in us, a certain amount of  fearlessness and true heroism. Unless we are prepared to  sacrifice all our worldly desires and our sense of, ‘I-ness’ we  can never hope to realise the higher ideal. “Give us discrimination, give us renunciation, give us devotion and know-  ledge”—let us pray thus to the Divine.


    You must never associate too freely with people and must  always use discrimination. If another person attracts you,  just direct the mind into some higher channels, create in  yourself some dislike or disgust for the person in question, so  that that person loses all charm for you. Later on this disgust  is to be effaced so that you can look at that person with the  same indifference with which you would look at a stranger  you have never known. In spiritual life, although to a great  extent you cut off your personal relations with others, you  come to have a wider love and sympathy for them through  the medium of the Divine. When one finds something higher,  the lower ideal automatically loses its attraction, and is put  aside.    The We should also practise a certain amount of control and  discrimination regarding the food we take. And so long as we  are in the body, the body must be properly taken care of and  nourished to keep it a fit instrument for realisation of the Divine and for the Divine’s work. There is much more body-con-  sciousness in the person who is ill or weak than in the  perfectly healthy and normal person. We have to see that our  body-consciousness is reduced to a minimum if we want to  make good progress in spiritual life.    Unless our mind be to some extent pure and non-attached  and prepared for renunciation, we can never even think of  God-realisation. Try to purify your heart, to purify your mind,  as much as possible. Then the blazing fire of spiritual realisa-  tion will burn away all desires.