One of the greatest master yogis of the 20th century was Swami Sivananda Saraswati, founder of Sivanandashram in Rishikesh in northern India, on the banks of the Ganga in the foothills of the Himalayas.
His many writings have inspired thousands through the decades since his passing in 1963. The following quotes are taken from his book Kingly Science, Kingly Secret, about key aspects of practical spiritual life. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do.
1. To be a yogi means to abide continuously in God, and to live at peace with others.
2. Through the power of pure reason and discrimination, you must be able to differentiate the essentials from the non-essentials in religion and philosophy. Then only can you be happy.
3. To become wider and deeper and more inclusive in one’s being and consciousness is the aim of Yoga and this is the goal of human life.
4. What a person strongly believes in, that he experiences and that he becomes. The whole world is a product of faithful imagination. If you have no faith in the world, the world does not exist. If you have no faith in sensual objects, they will not give you pleasure. If you have no faith in God, you will never reach perfection. Wrong faith turns even existence into non-existence.
5. Evolve. Expand. Grow. Develop and realize the Satchidananda Atma.
6. Every soul is a circle. The circumference of this circle is nowhere but its center is in the body. Death means a change of this center from one body to another. Why then should you be afraid of death?
7. Only the most prominent thought of one’s life occupies the mind of a person at the time of death. The predominant thought at the time of death is what in normal life has occupied the person’s attention most.
The last thought of a licentious man will be the thought of his woman. The last thought of an inveterate drunkard will be that of his peg of liquor. The last thought of a greedy moneylender will be that of his money. The last thought of a fighting soldier will be that of killing his enemy. The last thought of a mother who has been intensely attached to her only son will be that of her only son. I once saw a dying man who had been having the habit of using snuff. When he was in a an unconscious state, he used to move his fingers towards the nose very often and do imaginary sniffing. Obviously he was having the thought of snuff in his last moments.
At the time of death, the whole storehouse of impressions and desires is churned and the strongest and most cherished desire comes to the surface of the mind of the field of mental consciousness. Thus the churned-up cream of cherished desires arrests the attention of the dying man for immediate gratification. He thinks of that only at the time of death, just as the most vital mango plant shoots up prominently in the nursery, so also the strongest desire shoots up to the surface of the mind.
8. When the knowledge of the self is attained, there is no more transmigration. Mother Prakriti’s work is now over. She unravels all the experiences of this world to the individual soul and its is higher and higher through the various bodes till it regains its essential divine nature, till it merges itself in the Supreme Self or Para Brahman.
9. Thou art the master of thy destiny. Thou art divine. Live up to it. Feel and realise thy divine nature. Draw courage and spiritual strength from within.
10. Believe in divine possibilities.