Svadhyaya – Its Practical Value by Swami Chidananda

Baba Times Digest© | 7 April 2014 17:45 EST | New York Edition

Svadhyaya: Its Practical Value

Divine Life Society Publication: God as Mother by Swami Chidananda

Mother Saraswati is actually an embodiment of the Vedas. Vedas mean transcendent knowledge of the Supreme Being. Upanishads are the highest reaches of the Vedas. We have been told how the very quintessence of these Upanishads was given to humanity in the form of the Bhagavad Gita. Therefore, Mother is present to the aspirant in the form of this unique universal scripture, Srimad Bhagavad Gita. Therefore, all great spiritual teachers, Acharyas, have enjoined upon the seekers to regularly, daily, study the Gita. We must always worship the Mother in Her form as the Gita, by unfailingly going to the Gita every day and trying to imbibe the gospel of the Gita gradually into our own lives. This instruction to read the Gita has been specially stressed in the Dinacharya which Gurudev has given to all aspirants living the divine life at his sacred feet. We also know that in the Niyama of the Patanjali Darshana, Svadhyaya is one of the important items.

We have seen how Mother Saraswati the Parashabda or the Primal Sound is manifest in Her various progressive aspects as Dhvani, then the articulate sound or Vak, and the specific Vak in the form of letters of the alphabet, and combination of letters giving us the Nama or the name and the Artha of the Nama appearing before us in the form of Rupa. As Mother is thus embodied in and through the sacred letters of the scriptures, all spiritual books and also Dharma-Granthas and all scriptures are therefore a mass of Saraswati Tattva. She gives us the knowledge of the Transcendent Being in and through Her Form as the written letter and the word. Therefore, when we take up the spiritual scripture and study it as part of our daily routine, we actually come into contact of Saraswati and try to be instructed by Her directly as She is manifest in the word.

Svadhyaya is an important Anga of daily Sadhana. Its importance to the spiritual aspirant is manifold; but at least one very significant part which Svadhyaya plays in the realm of Sadhana may just be touched upon, for it will show us how it helps to increase the Sattva and spiritual qualities in the thoughts, in the Bhava or consciousness of the seekers.

We know the entire nature and the make-up of the spiritual Sadhana is decided by one’s Samskaras. The mind is everything; and the mind is but a bundle of Samskaras. These Samskaras are acquired by Vyavahara. Contact with external objects, moving with persons, the experience of these contacts, go to form more and more Samskaras in the being. If these Samskaras go on increasing day by day, they become a terrible downward pull, a force tending to externalize and making the mind more and more Vishayakara. But they cannot be completely avoided. It is impossible to completely cut off all Vyavahara for the vast majority of spiritual seekers. Therefore, as a supreme psychological method of counteracting these Samskaras, these spiritual ideas are made to get into the mind through daily study of elevating scriptures. For by daily, diligent and regular study of scriptures, every day the spiritual aspirant takes into himself a whole mass of sublime spiritualizing, life-transforming ideas; and they form powerful, positive, Sattvic, spiritual Samskaras in the mind of the seeker. Thus, they help to overcome the unfortunate unspiritual Samskaras that are gathered inevitably during the course of daily Vyavahara. They have got the power to give a fresh Bhava to the aspirant. They change the thoughts, the Samskaras and the very Bhava of the aspirant. This daily feeding of the nature of the seeker with spiritual and Sattvic food in the form of ideas is achieved by our contact with Mother Saraswati in Her form of sacred scriptures—the lives of Saints, Gita, Bhagavata, Ramayana, Bible, Quran, Zend Avesta, Dhammapada.

Also, we find this creation of a set of powerful positive spiritual ideas in the mind help the aspirant during Dhyana, during the practice of concentration and inward meditation. We find that when an aspirant tries to do Dhyana, the mind wanders. In the beginning stages of Dhyana, this wandering is very powerful. The entire process becomes a see-saw, a sort of tug of war; the mind is brought to the Lakshya and it wanders again. There is one very undesirable thing here; when it wanders, the field of its idea in which this wandering takes place is all sensual, gross and worldly. This wandering cannot be arrested except by gradual practice and Vairagya. But in the meantime a change can be brought about; even if the mind wanders, provided that a whole set of powerful spiritual ideas are daily pushed into the mind through Svadhyaya, the field of ideas through which the mind wanders in its Vikshepa becomes gradually Sattvic. Instead of wandering in a vicious set of ideas, the mind has now a field of pure ideas, great ideas, elevating, Sattvic ideas through which it wanders. The wandering then becomes less harmful to the aspirant. The daily Svadhyaya is an invaluable asset to the aspirant.

Excerpts from:

Svadhyaya: Its Practical Value   - God as Mother by Swami Chidananda


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