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January 2009

The teachings of Swami Sivananda will be presented in Yoga during the year 2009. In the current issue, he guides aspirants on the basics of living a spiritual life.

High on Waves

New Year Message

Practise Integral Yoga

Twenty Important Spiritual Instructions

May I Answer That?

Yama & Niyama: The Path of Ethical Discipline

Basic Guidelines for Yogic Practices

Eating to Support Your Sadhana

Purify Your Heart

Signs of Spiritual Growth

Yoga in Daily Life



Signs of Spiritual Growth

Once a jolly ant that was living in a mountain of sugar met another ant living in a mountain of salt and asked: “Hello, my dear friend! How do you do?” It replied: “I am not as jolly as you are. My mouth is always salty, as I am living in a mountain of salt.” The jolly ant said: “Come along now to my abode. I shall make you jolly. I live in a huge mountain of sugar. If you stay with me, your tongue will become sweet.” The unhappy ant followed the jolly ant to the mountain of sugar. After a week the jolly ant asked his friend: “How do you fare now, my amiable comrade?” It replied: “Still the same, my good friend.” The jolly ant said, “Your tongue needs a good brushing up. You were living for several years in a mountain of salt. Wash your mouth well with this saccharine solution. Rub your tongue well with this sugar soap.” It followed the instructions of the jolly ant. On the eighth day its mouth turned sweet and it also became very jolly.

Some aspirants hold within themselves some subtle, hidden desires, greed, attachment and pride. These cling to their minds just as the old salt clung to the tongue of the miserable ant. They complain like the ant of the salt mountain: “We have no spiritual progress. We have no self-realization. We are not enjoying spiritual bliss.”

Rub your mind and the heart with the soap of japa and selfless service. You will enjoy supreme bliss. You will experience peace, cheerfulness, contentment, dispassion, fearlessness and an unperturbed state of mind under all conditions, indicating that you are advancing on the spiritual path.

Spiritual progress is not measured by siddhis or psychic powers, but by the depth of your bliss in meditation. These are sure tests of your spiritual progress:

  • Is your interest in inner spiritual activity and outer sadhana increasing day by day?
  • Is spiritual life a matter of great delight to your consciousness, a delight far transcending the happiness that the world of material pleasures offers?
  • Has your personal awareness come to possess a sense of peace and strength which non-aspirants do not find in their everyday lives?
  • Do you feel certain that your power of discrimination and light of thought have been steadily growing?
  • Is your life being gradually led to such experiences which reveal to you the operation of a will and intelligence other than your own, the will and intelligence of the omnipotent presence?
  • Has there come into the conscious activities of your everyday life the active function of a new delightful angle of vision, a new perspective, a strong sense of self-possession, a steadily growing conviction of your dependence on and intimate relationship with the all-pervading divinity?

If your answer to all or any of these questions is in the affirmative, be absolutely sure that you are progressing, and speedily, on the spiritual path.

Sadhana or spiritual practice should make you ever cheerful, more concentrated, balanced, peaceful, contented, dispassionate, fearless, compassionate, desireless and I-less. Sadhana should give you a rich inner life, introspective inner vision and an unruffled state of mind under all conditions of life. These are the signs of your spiritual growth. Seeing visions and lights, hearing psychic sounds, smelling psychic smells, etc. do not have much spiritual value, although they indicate that you have attained the first degree of concentration.

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