The past few days have been very tough for me. I have been trying to engage with positive things as much as possible. There is a small book in Bengali which I would often read. My bangla is not the best but I can read it decently. This book is by Swami Virajananda. Swami Virajananda is a direct disciple of Sarada Devi. His pictures also hang in my parents prayer area. He was my grand uncle’s guru. This book is concise pointers on spiritual life. I have never really come across an English version. So to engage my mind which was riddled by fear and anxiety I started translating these pointers. I thought it might be helpful for others as well. Here is the first lot.
1. What do you need to attain God
a. Patience b. Purity of mind and body c. A deep desire and wish for god d. Calm mind e. Devotion towards Guru
2. Whatever spiritual experiences you have don’t share it with anyone except your Guru. Your spiritual growth and desire should not be shared wantonly. The same way the shortcomings you have need not be discussed with strangers. Speak to God about your shortcomings and pray that God might help you overcome them.
3. When you sit down to meditate, before you start meditating let your mind wander where it needs to , for a few minutes. Just try to be a witness. Just watch the antics of the mind. Remember you are NOT the mind, you are the pure Atman. When a bad or negative thought arises, make sure you negate it by thinking you are consciousness itself.
4. To control the mind there is no other way apart from practice and a deep sense of renunciation.
5. Doesn’t matter for how long you chant/do the japa. Just make sure that when you are chanting you are doing it whole heartedly. God doesn’t care about how many minutes or hours you have chanted. The devotion and intent is important.
6. As you continue with the progress of japa, you will see your mind will become your own Guru. You will find all answers to your questions and how to lead your life. Your mind will tell you everything.
7. When you do Japa, try to imagine the chosen ideal. Even if you cannot imagine the whole face or body you can concentrate on one part, eg: the feet. It’s not easy to bring the mind to do Japa. But with practice you will succeed.
8. Never think of yourself as weak. Tell yourself you are capable of everything, I can do anything. Why will you accept defeat in front of the mind? Remember if you can conquer your mind you will be able to conquer the world.
9. Whether it’s doing Japa, or being in a satsang or singing , praying or just remembering god, whatever you feel like doing, whatever emotion sets in you, you must adher to it. But remember japa and meditation is very important. Don’t miss it for even one day. Even if you can only spend ten minutes in a day you must not miss it.
10. Faith makes the impossible possible. Hope is the reason life goes on. If you give up on hope you give up on life.
11. When you receive a Guru mantra/initiation remember God himself has given the key to reach him. That is his grace. If you disrespect it, you are not worthy of that grace.
12. You don’t need to renounce the world. And live like a sannyasi and live in a forest. The real renunciation is of the mind. If you are able to do this, it doesn’t matter if you live in a forest or in the world.
13. Who so ever actually wants him will get him. And the ones who don’t want him will always be a slave to the five senses.
14. Whenever fear or doubt assails your mind say this Shloka
“ Aham devo na cānyo’smi brahmhaivā’ham
na śokabhāk saccidānandarūpo’ham nitya-mukta-svabhāvavān”
This means I am God, I am nothing else but Brahman itself, I cannot be touched by fear or sadness, I am ever free. Om Tat Sat Om.
15. Keep thinking of God as much as you can. Remember he is your one and only, and he alone is yours. Think of him closer to you than your closest family. The more you love someone, you think of that person all the time. Everything ends but not the love of God. The more you remember him the more your desire for him will grow. And finally you will merge in him.
16. Dreams of The Guru, chosen ideal, gods and goddesses are very auspicious. The mind is encouraged by this. But you need not be disheartened if you don’t see such dreams either. And if you do see such dreams, there is no need to tell it everyone, only mention it to your Guru.
17. Every human being is made up of good habits and bad habits. Don’t ponder on the shortcomings of others. Think of your shortcomings. Magnify the good deeds of others.
18. You cannot progress on the spiritual path without devotion to your Guru. Never doubt the words of your Guru. Remember the words of the Guru is like the words from the Vedas. Follow the words of your Guru.