Authors Preface

Man wants happiness. He shuns pain. He makes various sorts of efforts (Pravritti) to get happiness from objects and gets himself entangled in the meshes or snares of Maya. As these objects are perishable, finite and conditioned in time, space and causation, he fails to get the desired happiness from the objects. This world is Apurna (imperfect) and there is uncertainty of life. A barrister talks at the telephone, ascends the staircase to take his meals upstairs and dies on the staircase.

There is not an iota of happiness in objects and they are Jada (insentient). Even the sensual pleasure is a reflection of Atmic Bliss only. Just as a dog which sucks a dry bone in the streets imagines foolishly that the blood comes from the dry bone, whereas, it really oozes from its own palate, so also worldly-minded persons foolishly imagine that the happiness they enjoy comes from the objects only.

There is a mental uneasiness, dissatisfaction, discontent and restlessness even in multi-millionaires and kings. Some kind of sorrow, misery or pain is always present even when you are in the height of enjoyment of worldly pleasures. When the marriage of your second son is celebrated the remembrance of your first son who passed away, torments your mind. Mind is so constituted that the rhythm of pleasure and pain is kept up like the rhythm of systole and diastole (contraction and dilation) of heart. You entertain the idea that the happiness will pass away soon. This adds pain when you are in the enjoyment of sensual pleasure.

You can find eternal, infinite, supreme peace and bliss, only in the Atman of your heart. It is an embodiment of bliss (Ananda Swarupa).

All objects that you see consist of five parts, viz. Nama-Rupa-Asti-Bhati-Priya (name, form, existence, knowledge, bliss). Nama and Rupa constitute the world. They are the cause for human activities and sufferings. Asti, Bhati and Priya are the Svarupas of Atman or Brahman or Moksha.

Amongst the things desired by human beings of this world, Moksha alone is the best and highest thing. The means (Sadhan) for Moksha is Atma Jnana (knowledge of the Self or Atman), Vichara of "Who am I?" or significance of "Tat Tvam Asi" Mahavakya. This is the means for attainment of Brahma Jnana.

Moksha is desired in order to get rid of the pains of Samsara which are in the form of birth, death, disease, old age, etc. Moksha can hardly be attained without Sadhana.

Some say, that Karma is the Sadhan for Moksha. Some other say, that Karma and Jnana combined (Samucchayavada) is the means. Sri Shankara has refuted the Karma and Samucchaya theories by strong, sound, convincing arguments and has established the Truth that Kevala Jnana (pure knowledge alone) is the means for Moksha. Just as fire is the direct means for cooking food, so also Brahma Jnana is the Sakshat Sadhana (direct means) for Moksha. The famous Mandana Misra (Sureshwaracharya) disciple of Sri Sankara has also said in his reputed book Naishkarma Siddhi that Kevala Jnana alone is the means for Moksha.

Do not say: "Karma. Karma. My Karma has brought me like this." Exert. Exert. Do Purushartha. Do Tapas. Concentrate. Purify. Meditate. Do not become a fatalist. Do not yield to inertia. Do not bleat like a lamb. Roar OM, OM, OM like a lion of Vedanta. See how Markandeya who was destined to die at his sixteenth year became a Chiranjeevi, an immortal boy of sixteen years on account of his Tapas! Also note how Savitri brought back to life by her Tapas her dead husband; how Benjamin Franklin and late Sri T. Muthuswamy Iyer of Madras High Court elevated themselves. Remember, my friends, that man is the master of his own destiny. Visvamitra Rishi, who was a Kshatriya Raja, became a Brahma Rishi like Vasishtha and even created a third world for Trishanku by his power of Tapas. Rogue Ratnakar became the sage Valmiki through Tapas. Rogues Jagai and Madai of Bengal became highly developed Saints. They became the disciples of Lord Gauranga. What others have done, you also can do. There is no doubt of this.

You can also do wonders and miracles if you apply yourself to spiritual Sadhana, Tapas and meditation. Read the book 'Poverty to Power'? by James Allen with interest and attention. You will be inspired. Draw up a programme of your life. Follow my Twenty Spiritual Instructions and Forty Golden Precepts. Adhere to the "Spiritual Daily Routine" prescribed by me. Apply yourself with zeal and enthusiasm to Sadhana. Become a Naishtic Brahmachari. Be steady and systematic in your Yogabhyasa. Assert. Affirm. Recognise. Realise. Shine in your native pristine Brahmic Glory. Become a Jivanmukta. You are the children of light and immortality. "Tat Twam Asiā€”Thou art That," my dear readers.

This is a book with a message of hope, success in life, of peace, of bliss and of the secret of life itself. Herein will be found the Way to Peace, to Truth, and to the Abode of Immortality, eternal sunshine, infinite Joy and Knowledge (Nirvana or Kaivalya) or the final beatitude, the highest goal of life.

Swami Sivananda

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