Swami Sivananda (8 September 1887 – 14 July 1963) was a Hindu spiritual teacher and a proponent of Yoga and Vedanta. He studied medicine and served in British Malaya as a physician for several years before taking up monasticism.
- Be Good, Do Good. Do thou always without attachment perform action which should be done, for by performing action without attachment, man reaches the Supreme.
- Light, Power and Wisdom (1959), p. 6; note that the short phrase 'Be good, do good' had occurred in spiritual teachings of others in the 19th century, usually in conjunction with other injunctions. 'Be Good, Do Good' became a prominent motto of the Divine Life Society. Variant: Be good, do good, be kind, be compassionate. (p. 207)
- Until and unless Self-realisation is attained, Knowledge-Absolute is gained, there is ever the ebb and flow, the constant see-saw between the animal and the man in every human being. The beast or the brute is never completely absent or overcome except through a final Divinisation of the individual. As long as there is the human, side by side there will be the animal also, now the one having the upper hand, now the other.
- The diseases we suffer from the births we get here on earth are all products of actions done by us in previous times. Every action has its reaction and no action goes unrewarded in a suitable manner. Evil actions do not go without their bitter effects upon the doer. Here are given some of the many pitiable conditions of life which man has to live in due to his careless sinful deeds.
- Those men or women who abuse innocent poor servants, and coolies who are rather to be pitied and helped for their miserable condition, fall into a hell where they are severely thrashed and forced to embrace a burning image of iron like unto a man or woman. Those who abuse their marriage beds are given a similar punishment.
- Milk, barley, wheat, cereals, butter, cheese, tomatoes, honey, dates, fruits, almonds, and sugar-candy are all Sattvic food-stuffs. They render the mind pure and calm and play a very important part in the practices of spiritual aspirants, in the mental development of the student, and in the personality- power of the leaders of mankind.
- Fish, eggs, meat, salt, chillies, and asafoetida are Rajasic food-stuffs; they excite passion and make the mind restless, unsteady, and uncontrollable.
- Beef, wine, garlic, onions, and tobacco are Tamasic food-stuffs. They exercise a very unwholesome influence on the human mind and fill it with emotions of anger, darkness, and inertia.
Sayings of Swami Sivanada (1947)
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- Life on the earth is a school of Wisdom and Realisation of the Self. God is the unseen Teacher who through His great sons, through Nature herself, teaches man the secret and source of the attainment of Life Immortal. Thus, life abounds in lessons. He who heeds them, heeds towards freedom and Light; he who neglects, dooms himself: in darkness in which the world to-day is steeped.
- The misery and suffering that abound everywhere, reveal clearly that you have wantonly rejected the lessons of life. Foolish man! Your repeated, wanton neglect to learn the lessons of centuries has wrecked your boasted civilisation upon the rocks of hatred and greed.
- Stand not a beggar before the door of science seeking power that kills more than heals.
- Seek within. All power dwells in you, infinite power for good. Realise your real nature and be perennially happy and peaceful.
- The lessons of life has ever been “Hatred is not overcome by hatred, by love alone is hatred conquered." Spiritual wealth alone is the true treasure, the wealth of the whole world is but vanity.
- Strive to attain the supreme Reality” is the bold declaration of Sri Sankara. Yet you have made the material world alone the only solid reality. This treacherous mirage is luring humanity to its destruction. Stop this downward plunge.
- You may build a mansion with beautiful plaster, colored tiles, glass sky-lights, painted doors and windows, but if the foundation is sand and the bricks are straw, then the whole structure is doomed to collapse. It is the human being that has built up this structure of modern civilisation. The individual is the brick to this structure and he himself has degenerated into an un-Godly, Adharmic, unscrupulous being, characterized by extreme greed and utter self-seeking. Therefore... the rotten structure has fallen to earth before the blast of the winds of hatred and passion. Wake up now. Dispel this delusion. Be wise and realise the true purpose of life.
- Humanity, wake up! Turn Godwards. Turn towards the Divine Light while there is yet time. You can yet mend and make good. However low you may have fallen you can rise yet. The Lord has assured glory even to the worst sinner, if he but mends his ways.
- Live with a definite purpose. Do not roam about aimlessly. Walk with a definite aim. Climb the hill of knowledge steadily and reach the summit of the temple of Brahman or the grand abode of Life Immortal.
- In the spiritual path there are constant failures and set-backs. Repeated endeavour, constant vigilance and undaunted perseverance are needed.
Autobiography of Swami Sivananda (1958)
- The life of a mendicant during pilgrimages helped me to develop in a great measure forbearance, equal vision and a balanced mind in pleasure and pain. I met many Mahatmas and learnt wonderful lessons. On some days I had to go without food and walk mile after mile. With a smile I faced all hardships. (Introduction)
- It would be easy to dismiss the question by saying: “Yes, after a prolonged period of intense austerities and meditation, while I was living at Swaragashram and when I had the Darshan and blessings of a number of Maharishis, the Lord appeared before me in the form of Sri Krishna. But that would not be the whole truth, nor a sufficient answer to a question relating to God, who is infinite, unlimited and beyond the reach of speech and mind. Cosmic Consciousness is not an accident or chance. It is the summit, accessible by a thorny path that has steps—slippery steps. I ascended them step by step the hard way (How God Came Into My Life)
- I consider that goodness of being and doing constitute the rock-bottom of one’s life. By goodness I mean the capacity to feel with others and to live and feel as others do, and be in a position to act so that no one is hurt by the act. (What Life Has Taught Me)
- Goodness is the face of Godliness. I think that to be good in reality, in the innermost recesses of one’s heart, is not easy, though it may appear to be simple as a teaching. It is one of the hardest things on earth, if only one would be honest with oneself. (What Life Has Taught Me)
- There is no physical world for me. What I see I see as the glorious manifestation of the Almighty. (What Life Has Taught Me)
- Due to Prarabdha or Vikshepa of the mind, or a craving for sensual enjoyments or for some form of luxury, or a curiosity to see various places; people try to go away from the Ashram. Some advanced students after some years of stay in the Ashram, like to gain some experience from meditation in the interior parts of the Himalayas... In the Ashram, in the past, a few students with powerful senses and cravings, criticised me and abused the Ashram and the whole of the Himalayas and left the place in anger. I blessed them and prayed for light, knowledge and proper understanding and inner spiritual strength to them. But they all go out only to come back to the Ashram with a thorough change of heart. I welcome them with great love and affection. I forget the past quickly. (Helpfulness and Love Towards All)
- It is not through compulsion or rules or regulations that men can be transformed into divine beings. They all must have convincing experiences of their own. (Helpfulness and Love Towards All)
- This world is a strange world. We have to learn many lessons. One of the disciples of the Lord Jesus betrayed the Lord. Many obstacles will come to the growing aspirant at every step. We will have to show our strength. (You Cannot Get Away From Evil)
- Do not be agitated by little things. Be cheerful. Smile. Walk boldly. Think and feel that nothing has happened. Don’t worry about little things. (You Cannot Get Away From Evil)
- You have to do many great actions yet. Prakriti is preparing you in a variety of ways. Feel this. Be grateful to the Lord. (You Cannot Get Away From Evil)
- Run in the open air. Do mild Pranayama. Chant OM. Sing with devotion. Dance in ecstasy. Depression will vanish soon. You are Ananda Svarupa — where is gloom and depression? They are mental creations only. Remain silent. You can gain more by silence. (Overcome Depression and Gloom)
- Do not leave Japa and Sadhana even for a day. Adjust and adapt. Bear insult and injury. Learn to forget trifles. Tactfully move with people. Train everyone in Bhajan and Kirtan. Create spiritual vibrations wherever you go. Then you will find peace, joy, happiness and prosperity. There will be joy in all faces. This is the way for harmony. When you are agitated and irritated, take to Japa or leave the place for some time. Love all and serve all. (When You Are Agitated)
- For prayers and meditation, you can have any comfortable position. You must select a fine pose in which you can sit for a long time comfortably. The only condition is that your neck and back should be erect. Close your eyes, breathe in and out very slowly and mentally repeat the Mantra OM OM OM and think of the divine qualities of the Lord. Now you will enter into silent meditation. You will enjoy great peace and acquire inner spiritual strength. (Avoid Extremes in Yoga)
- Yoga does not consist in sitting cross-legged for six hours or stopping the beatings of the heart or getting oneself buried underneath the ground for a week or a month. These are all physical feats only. (What Is Actual Yoga)
- Yoga is the science that teaches you the method of uniting the individual will with the Cosmic Will. Yoga transmutes the unregenerate nature and increases energy, vitality, vigour, and bestows longevity and a high standard of health. Try to increase the power of concentration. Japa will help you to have a one-pointed mind. (What Is Actual Yoga)
Conquest of Fear (c-1960)
- Fear is a great enemy of man. It is the enemy of his progress. It disturbs his peace and harmony. It sucks or saps his vitality and energy. It drains the nervous system of its reserve of energy. It produces weakness.
- Fear is of two kinds, viz., natural or rational fear, when there is a threatening situation to endanger life; and unnatural or unusual fear which has no objective reality.
- The origin of most neurotic fears can be traced to childhood. The seeds of fear may lie dormant in childhood in the subconscious mind. They sprout forth after some time during some period of crisis or stress.
- Panicky fear is more contagious than typhoid or cholera. The atom bombs cause terrible panicky fear. People leave their houses and move to villages.
- Anxiety and worry are the effects of fear. Some sort of fear gets buried in the subconscious mind. So man worries himself. There is continued strain and tension in the mind.
- If the fear is released or dispelled, he will have peace of mind.
- Normal fear is healthy. It paves the way for one’s progress. It preserves life. A Headmaster is afraid of the Inspector of Schools. He takes a very keen interest in training the boys. All the boys get success in the examination. An engine-driver of the Railways is afraid of his superior officer. He is very careful in the discharge of his duties. No collision occurs. A physician is afraid of getting a bad reputation. He takes great care of his patient. He makes researches. He saves many lives. He becomes a famous physician also.
- Psychologists are of opinion that there cannot be absolute fearlessness and that only determined effort can be made to conquer fear. This is incorrect. Psychologists have no transcendental experience. A perfect sage who has knowledge of Brahman is absolutely fearless. Upanishads declare in a thundering voice, “The knower of the fearless Brahman becomes himself absolutely fearless.” (Brihadaranyakopanishad)
- There can be fear only where there is duality. How can there be fear for one who experiences non-duality? Such a person is the most courageous of men. The courage of a soldier in the battlefield or of a dacoit is only Tamasic courage. It is not courage at all. It is only brutal ferocity born of hatred or jealousy. That Sattvic courage born of Wisdom of the Self alone is real courage.
- Fear exists to glorify courage. A timid man exists to glorify a courageous man. There will be no value for goodness if badness does not exist. One side of a thing cannot have significance without the existence of the other side. Hence everything in this world has two sides. Dvandvas exist to keep up the flow of the world.
- Fear is illusory; it cannot live. Courage is eternal, it will not die. Perils, calamities, dangers are the certain lot of every man who is a denizen of this world. Therefore, O Man! Fortify your mind with courage and patience. Fortitude, courage, presence of mind will sustain you through all dangers.
- A man of courage does not tremble in the hour of danger. He is not embarrassed and bewildered. He does not sink down. He is not overwhelmed by despair... He smiles away all dangers and difficulties, blows the trumpet of triumph and attains victory in the end.
- As you think, so you become. As you think, so you develop. As is your ideal, so gradually your life will become. This is so, because there is a great transforming power in thought.
- Take, then, the life of perfect men like Bhishma and think of their deeds and their life and ideals. Your life will be filled by purity, courage, etc. You will become a noble, perfect man. The thought will transform you into its own likeness. Man becomes like what he worships. Man becomes like what he thinks. This is indeed true.
- Sit with closed eyes in the early morning. Meditate on courage, the opposite of fear, for half an hour. Think of the advantages of courage and the disadvantages of fear.
- Practice the virtue during the day. Feel that you actually possess courage to an enormous degree. Manifest it in your daily life. In some weeks or months fear will be replaced by courage. Repeat the formula “Om courage” mentally, daily several times.
- God bestows perfect security on His devotees and removes all sorts of fears. He transforms the sense of insecurity and fear into one of confidence and faith. He saves him from panic and despair.
- A devotee sees only the Lord in all names and forms.
- Take refuge in Lord, in His name and grace. All fears will vanish completely. He will bestow strength, fortitude, courage, presence of mind, etc., in you.
- Wikiversity: Happiness/Everyone needs a spiritual centering (section Sivananda)
- Divine Life Society (founded by Swami Sivananda)
- Teachings of Swami Sivananda, Divine Life Society HQ