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Vibrant spiritual presence, beloved and worshipful Gurudev! Adorable Presence Divine, Thou Who art the all-pervading, the all-immanent, our source and origin, our support and inner sustainer, our fulfilment and Goal Ultimate! One Thou art—manifest as Guru, unmanifest as the Universal Being. Gurur-brahma gurur-vishnuh gurur-devo mahesvarah; guruh sakshat param brahma tasmai sri gurave namah (Guru is Brahma, Guru is Vishnu, Guru is Siva, Guru is the Supreme Brahman Itself—prostrations to that Guru).

Thus those who have realised through their highest transcendental spiritual experience the oneness, the inseparable unity of the illumined and enlightened jnani and the Supreme Brahman, have uttered this sublime ideal: yasya deve para bhaktih yatha deve tatha gurau, tasyaite kathita hyarthah prakasante mahatmanah (He whose devotion to God is supreme and whose devotion to the Guru is as great as to the Lord, to that high-souled one all the knowledge of the scriptures stands revealed). The path-pointer, the remover of the veil and the truth hidden behind the veil, the destination to which the path leads—they are linked up and bound up by a relationship of identity and unity.

Knowing this, vibrant spiritual presence, Gurudev, in whose proximity and before whom we have come this beautiful day, and adorable Divine Presence, Who art the all-pervading, the all-immanent, alpha and omega, the beginning and end of all things, we bow to Thee, two in one. We bow to Thee, offer our heart’s devotion, our gratitude for this perennial flow of continued grace, for the gift of proximity, the grace of spiritual fellowship and the blessedness of this silent hour of meditation and prayer to commence the day in an ideal way. May your benedictions and grace be our wealth and our treasure, our sure support and strength, our unfailing help and light upon the path!

Radiant Immortal Atman! Beloved seekers and sadhaks! Great is your good fortune, unparalleled is your supreme good fortune. Most blessed are you, thrice blessed, even more so. Sankara spoke of three blessings: human birth, longing for liberation and the proximity of liberated sages, spiritual masters and their wisdom teachings. We have a fourth blessedness which makes the other three blessednesses worthwhile and fruitful: that is an environment and a facility affording every favourable factor for the practice of the living of the inner life, practice of spiritual discipline, contemplating the Divine and engaging in sadhana, a facility affording every factor that is necessary, helpful and favourable.

If you reflect upon it seriously, contemplate it earnestly, consider it with great sincerity, you will be amazed and you will start wondering what you have done for this unutterable, unparalleled, incomparable good fortune. This four-fold blessedness conferred upon you in this age, which they call the iron age, the godless age, the age of materialism, hedonism, atheism—in this age, if you will consider your unique position, then it will percolate into your mind, you will begin to wonder, and then you will understand what ahetuki kripa, motiveless grace is.

Turn to God with sincerity. Turn to God for help and you will receive it. Turn to Him day after day. Meditate. Direct your mind, focus your heart and meditate upon Him with faith, with love and with humility. What you ask for shall never be denied.

But then, as we have to contend with God, we also have to contend with our own unregenerate, self-assertive, persistent, die-hard, lesser nature, the animal in man. As we have to connect ourselves with God, we have also to contend with ourselves, our grosser, lower, unspiritual, carnal nature—carnal passion, physical appetites, lust, greed, and anger which is inseparably linked up with carnal passion and desire. These are the dire enemies of the sadhak upon the spiritual path, hard to overcome, but not impossible. It is possible.

Jahi satrum mahabaho kamarupam durasadam (Slay thou, O Arjuna, the enemy in the form of desire which is hard to conquer). This is the fact, this is the ades (command): “O Arjuna, slay this enemy, great enemy, in the form of impure desire, carnal passion and physical lust.” It is formidable, but slay it. It is difficult to overcome, but can be overcome.

Therefore, the seeking soul should never lay down his arms before this enemy and surrender—never, never! But more often than not, not recognising this foe, this enemy, we think it is our well-wisher, friend. We befriend it. Such is the beguiling, alluring nature of this dire enemy. The devil comes as an angel; the poison comes as delicious sweetness. It is only one who is on guard, it is one who is awake, standing ready for action, that can contend with this enemy within one’s own self. Uttisthata jagrata (Arise, awake).

Kamah krodhascha lobhascha dehe tisthanti taskarah jnanaratnapaharaya tasmat jagrata jagrata—Lust anger and greed, they are dacoits to rob and plunder the pearl of wisdom, not coming from outside to assail or invade you, but residing within your own body. Therefore, be awake, be awake,” says Sankaracharya in Vairagya Dindima. But such is the folly, the ignorance, such is the extraordinary delusion, the perverse nature of deluded seekers, that seeing not the enemy about whom ample warning is given again and again by all masters, all teachers, all Gurus, all saints and sages from the most ancient times up till Gurudev himself, we go into the camp of the enemy as though it was our well-wisher, our friend.

We invite temptations; we go into that area where we are tempted. We cultivate the company of such persons who are our temptation, who are our downfall, who are the ones through whom these lower propensities assail us, by whom they are stimulated and made manifest.

Therefore, a wise seeker, a true aspirant, an authentic, genuine Yogi, a true lover of God, will and must shun those persons and places where temptation lies—not rush in where angels fear to tread. It is only if you are true to yourself, honest with your teacher, and before the eyes of God you are His child, His devotee, His lover, then alone these teachings will mean a turning point to you, these teachings can transform you once and for all.

Turn to God for help and you will receive it without fail, unfailingly. Turn to Him every day in meditation—meditation with faith, meditation with love, meditation with humility. And be on guard against these inner enemies to which you are host, inner enemies dwelling within your self, meaning you no good. This is the mystery of God and His creation, the great maya which is duratyaya (difficult to cross). Be on guard, never lay down arms, never give way. Always know that one day you have to overcome and you will overcome.

Nothing is more formidable than intense aspiration, mumukshutva. Nothing is more powerful than the power of faith and determination, sattvic determination. Nothing is more powerful than the Name of God. Nothing is more powerful than sincerity. Everything can be overcome. But then, you should not multiply, you should not strengthen the enemy, you should not run into his camp and then bewail. It is futile, in vain. For our undoing will be ourselves and not anyone else.

With all the four blessednesses, nothing will avail if you are not true to yourself and if you are not determined to avoid all such places and all such persons that constitute your temptation—morning, noon and night, every hour of every day of this golden gift of God, this piece of life we call a day. If you make each day given to you through His unutterable love, immeasurable love, a day of alertness, vigilance, watchfulness, wakefulness, a day of sincerity, earnest determination, true aspiration, a day of genuine love for God, then each day you will be a step nearer to that grand, glorious goal of life. Thus, day by day, living in a perfect way, making it divine, a life sublime, bless yourself, bless yourself, bless yourself! In this task, God speed you! In this task, Gurudev bless you!

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Sivananda Yoga (Yoga DVD)

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