The 8th of every month is observed as the birth-date of H.H. Sri Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj. And we take up new teaching for the whole month. This month Sadhana Tattva or The Science of Seven Cultures by Sw. Sivananda is going on.
An ounce of practice is better than tons of theory. Practice Yoga, Religion and Philosophy in daily life and attain Self-realisation.
These 32 instructions give the essence of the Eternal Religion (Sanatana Dharma) in its purest form. They are suitable for modern busy householders with fixed hours of work. Modify them to suit your convenience and increase the period gradually.
In the beginning take only a few practicable resolves which form a small but definite advance over your present habits and character. In case of ill-health, pressure of work or unavoidable engagements replace your active Sadhana by frequent remembrance of God.
Eat moderately. Take light and simple food. Offer it to God before you eat. Have a balanced diet.
Avoid chilies, garlic, onions, tamarind, etc., as far as possible. Give up tea, coffee, smoking, betels, meat and wine entirely.
Fast on Ekadasi days. Take milk, fruits or roots only.
Practice Yoga Asana or physical exercises for fifteen to thirty minutes every day. Take a long walk or play some vigorous games daily.
5. Observe silence (Mouna) for two hours daily and four to eight hours on Sundays.
6. Observe celibacy according to your age and circumstances. Restrict the indulgence to once a month. Decrease it gradually to once a year. Finally take a vow of abstinence for whole life.
7. Speak the TRUTH. Speak little. Speak kindly. Speak sweetly.
8. Do not injure anyone in thought, word or deed. Be kind to all.
9. Be sincere, straightforward and open-hearted in your talks and dealings.
10. Be honest. Earn by the sweat of your brow. Do not accept any money, things or favour unless earned lawfully. Develop nobility and integrity.
11. Control fits of anger by serenity, patience, love, mercy and tolerance. Forget and forgive. Adapt yourself to men and events.
12. Live without sugar for a week or month. Give up salt on Sundays.
13. Give up cards, novels, cinemas and clubs. Fly from evil company. Avoid discussions with materialists. Do not mix with persons who have no faith in God or who criticise your Sadhana.
14. Curtail your wants. Reduce your possessions. Have plain living and high thinking.
15. Doing good to others is the highest religion. Do some selfless service for a few hours every week, without egoism or expectation of reward. Do your worldly duties in the same spirit. Work is worship. Dedicate it to God.
16. Give two to ten percent of your income in charity every month. Share what you have with others. Let the world be your family. Remove selfishness.
17. Be humble and prostrate yourself to all beings mentally. Feel the Divine Presence everywhere. Give up vanity, pride and hypocrisy.
18. Have unwavering faith in God, the Gita and your Guru. Make a total self-surrender to God and pray: “Thy Will be done; I want nothing.” Submit to the Divine Will in all events and happenings with equanimity.
19. See God in all beings and love them as your own Self. Do not hate anyone.
20. Remember God at all times or, at least, on rising from bed, during a pause in work and before going to bed. Keep a Mala in your pocket.
21. Study one chapter or ten to twenty-five verses of the Gita, with meaning, daily. Learn Sanskrit, at least sufficient to understand the Gita in original.
22. Memorise the whole of the Gita, gradually. Keep it always in your pocket.
23. Read the Ramayana, the Bhagavata, the Upanishads, the Yogavasishtha or other religious books daily or on holidays.
24. Attend religious meetings, Kirtans and Satsangas of saints at every opportunity. Organise such functions on Sundays or holidays.
25. Visit a temple or place of worship at least once a week and arrange to hold Kirtans or discourses there.
26. Spend holidays and leave-periods, when possible, in the company of saints or practice Sadhana at holy places in seclusion.
27. Go to bed early. Get up at four O’clock. Answer calls of nature, clean your mouth and take a bath.
28. Recite some prayers and Kirtan Dhvanis. Practice Pranayama, Japa and meditation from five to six O’clock. Sit on Padma, Siddha or Sukha Asana throughout, without movement, by gradual practice.
29. Perform the daily Sandhya, Gayatri Japa, Nityakarma and worship, if any.
30. Write your favourite Mantra or Name of God in a notebook for ten to thirty minutes, daily.
31. Sing name of God (Kirtan), prayers, Stotras and Bhajans for half an hour at night, with family and friends.
32. Make annual resolves on the above lines. Regularity, tenacity and fixity are essential. Record your Sadhana in a spiritual diary daily. Review it every month and correct your failures.