By Swami Chidananda
Editor's preface :
A spiritual treatise may or may not satisfy the habits of the intellect, but, doubtless, it has to cater to the needs and the demands of the soul and the intuition. As such, the words of a saint, a messenger of the Spirit, speak to us during the calm and splendid durations we have with our soul within. H.H. Sri Swami Chidanandaji Maharaj voices silently to the inmost core of the thinking man. His talks do more intimately appeal directly to the hearts of aspirants. This publication commands a position in the field of spiritual literature almost akin to the one that Bhakti-Yoga occupies among the group of Yogic paths leading to the emancipation of the individual. Bhakti-Yoga is like a highway train picking up passengers from the different stations they happen to come from. It sees no distinction of social status and rank and qualification but only a genuine zeal to get into and tread the way. Everyone, without distinction, can have access into this gate; all can enter into this temple of this unique Yoga. Mundane distinctions disappear before the mansion of the Supreme Friend and Lover of man. All can find their equal right before God; for the Divine Spirit is no respecter of social differences and man-made restrictions. This small book of this Life Spiritual, in the same wise, greets a novice to answer his query as to what the real purpose of life is, what the meaning of true Yoga is, what the spirit of true renunciation is, and how to start with virtue, pass through holiness and culminate in Godliness. The advanced seeker in the midst of the high pitch of conflict and struggle finds here and there spot-lights to remove his darkness of doubt and dilemma and suddenly comes across solutions to his conflicting problems in the split of a second. And the more perfected soul would be delighted at heart because the literature deals with matters concerning divine living, abounds with talks on the glory of God, liberation, bliss and peace and narrates the exemplary ideals of great devotees like Sri Hanuman of the Ramayana fame, and the brilliant inspiring life and example of saints who lived up to the modern context of time. The book is universally inspiring and guiding. Being mostly general in treatment and slightly abstract in character, any approach to it with a motive of finding the particular in the form of details of techniques and practices of various systems of Yoga would be misplaced. The work may simply be taken most reverently as the message of a saint on the path of Nivritti (renunciation) and Yoga. At the same time, the value of the book is no less than the usual text-books on Yoga and Vedanta; the latter deal specifically with particular aspects and systems of Yoga; they concern the need and purpose and aim of their chosen trainees and students of the more rigid systems. On the contrary, the need for a treatise of this kind is first and foremost in respect of the general readers and the Sadhakas; for it couches life in all its peripheries. The general principle always comes first and the particular later. The work is a collection of Swamiji’s writings and speeches which are in the form of essays, articles and short discourses delivered on different occasions. The first five articles have been adapted from Swamiji’s inspiring addresses at the Satsangas in the Ashram at the Headquarters and they serve as a clarion-call to those who are in a slumber as yet to the life of the Spirit on account of ignorance of the true meaning and purpose of life; and after awakening them, infuse new strength, courage, hope and vigour into their lives by reorienting their movement towards God. Then comes the discussion of the basic principles of Yoga, and the primary requirements it calls for from its students. The juvenile curiosity which looks upon Yogic life as a rosy path has been cautioned and the possible obstacles that beset the path have been pointed out. The norm of conduct of a Yoga student with relation to the society around the humanity in general has been set forth as being one of service, equality and sympathy, especially. We have to follow the foot-prints of wise sages who have already trodden the arduous steep mountainous path of spirituality. A devotee of God, the Almighty, becomes invulnerable due to the infinite strength provided to him by the eternally inexhaustible source of power and energy, Purushottama, the Lover and Friend of man, a Presence at once manifest in all things, a Power pervading the universe with innumerable forms as His mighty World-Yoga. This point has been vividly and interestingly brought out by drawing a picture of contrast between Hanuman and Ravana. The true concept of Devi-worship and the need for an overcoming of all that belongs to the low, base and bestial nature. Whereas the epicurean’s charge has been refuted and given a challenge with the true spirit of renunciation, attention has not been slackened to remind the austere recluses of their responsibility and sacred, supreme duty. The human mind, with its structure and psychological working, has been broadly analysed and then sufficient hints on practical Sadhana have been given. The modern man has not been spared on any lame excuse in his attempt at abolishing the worship and adoration of God from his life on the ground of lack of time and opportunity. He has been supplied with a novel method of Sadhana in the form of mental union in Yoga while offering the physique to the work on hand. This is the concluding chapter of the book. Thus, through the seemingly unconnected topics runs an interconnecting link like the thread into which beads of pearls have been strung to make a beautiful garland.