Swami Sivanada’a Essential Virtues
Be tranquil within. Let that inner peace and
joy radiate through a serene countenance. A serene countenance is peaceful,
smiling and serious and does not betray any violent emotions. It is like the
surface of a still lake.
Be regular in your daily habits, and in your
work and spiritual practices. Get up at a particular time. Be clock-like in
your daily activities. You will be free from worry, fear, anxiety, haphazard
and shabby work. You will do
the right thing at the right moment.
Do not boast of your birth, position,
qualifications and spiritual attainments. Praise others. See good in all. Treat
even the lowliest creatures as your equal and with respect.
Let your words agree with the thoughts; let
your actions agree with your words. Let there be harmony among your thoughts,
words and actions.
Be artless. Be simple in your speech. Do not
twist words and topics. Be plain; avoid diplomacy, cunningness
and crookedness. Be simple in your dress. Be simple in your food.
Be truthful. Stick to your promises. Do not
exaggerate. Do not twist facts. Think twice before you speak. Speak truthfully.
Speak sweetly. Be precise in what you say.
Be calm. Bear insult patiently. Bear injury,
suffering, failures and disrespect calmly. Do not be elated by praise,
pleasure, success and honour. Look upon both with
equal vision. Behave alike towards friends and foes.
Never let anything disturb your inner peace.
Remember that you cannot achieve anything if
you are fickle-minded. Choose your goal or ideal and remember it always. Never
let it go out of mind even for a moment.
Irritability is the precursor of violent outbursts
of anger. Watch carefully for the disturbance in the mental equilibrium. Watch
for the ripples of anger that might rise in the lake of the mind. Quell them
then and there. Do not
allow them to assume greater proportions. Then
you will attain peace.
Understand well the nature of people with whom
you come into contact. Adjust your mode of approach to them. Adjust yourself in
such a way as to be pleasing to them. Joyfully bear with the eccentricities of
react in a harmonious manner. Serve all and
love all. Have the feeling that the Lord dwells in the hearts of all as the
Self of all.
Respect everybody. Bow with folded hands
before all. Do not talk in a loud voice before elders and venerable persons.
Look at the toes while you walk. See the Lord in all and feel that you are His
servant and so the servant
of all. Consider none as inferior to you.
This is the natural friend of fixity. Once you have fixed your aim and chosen your path,
stick to it. Do not waver. Be steadfast. Never compromise on your fundamental
principles. Have the attitude: "I may give up my life
but I will not swerve from the path; I will
not break my vows."
Develop an integral personality. Tie all the
loose ends of your character. Become a man of high moral principles. Lead a
life of righteousness. Let righteousness waft its sweet fragrance from you.
Everyone will trust you,
obey you, respect you and revere you.
Shun mean-mindedness as dung and poison. Never
look into the defects of others. Always appreciate the good qualities of
everyone. Be dignified in bearing. Never stoop to ignoble thoughts, words and
Take a broad view of things. Ignore the faults
of others: Be great and noble-minded in whatever you do. Avoid silly talk and
childish prattle. Let not the mind dwell on little things and insignificant
Give, give and give. This is the secret of
abundance. Radiate thoughts of goodness and love. Forgive the faults of others.
Bless the man who injures you. Share what you have with others. Disseminate
to one and all. Use the material wealth, knowledge
and spiritual wisdom that you possess as a divine trust.
In whatever you give be liberal. Have a large
heart. Do not be miserly. Take delight in the joy of others, in making them
happy. Generosity is a sister-virtue of charity. It is the fulfilment
of charity, magnanimity and nobility.
Be pure at heart. Eradicate lust, anger and
greed. Be pure in your thoughts. Think of God always. Think of the well-being
of all. Be pure in your words; never utter harsh, unkind words. Be pure in
body. Keep it clean and
healthy. Let the dress and surroundings be
clean. Observe the rules of physical, moral and spiritual hygiene.
These eighteen "Ities"
will pave the way for you to march into the kingdom of God. They will open for
you the gates of immortality. You will achieve great success in this life
itself. A man who possesses these qualities in a
very large measure is a saint indeed, who will
be respected, adored and worshipped by one and all.