by Swami Krishnananda
The contents of the present book form the theme of the discourses which the Swamiji delivered for seven days during the Sadhana Week held at the Headquarters of the Divine Life Society, in the year 1973, before an audience of seekers of varied endowments and differing capacities on the path of spiritual practice. Hence, the lectures bear, naturally, an informal and personal touch of the teaching style, and this also explains the conversational accent maintained throughout, rather than a stricter form of expression usually associated with a deliberately written text.
The First Discourse starts with the present state of human perception and understanding in its empirical set-up; and explains the exoteric sacrifice (yajna) of Sage Vajasravasa to gain celestial ends; the query of Nachiketas; the meeting of Nachiketas and Yama, the Lord of Death; the three boons Nachiketas requested for; the temptations on the way; the persistence of the seeking soul; the distinction between the pleasant and the good in world-experience.
The Second Discourse explains the meaning of the pleasant and the ultimate good; the error involved in the desire for pleasant sensations of the body and the ego; the point concerning life here and hereafter; the pattern of world-experience as analysed; the spiritual import of the Upanishad teaching; the three stages of the mystic ascent of the soul outlined in the three boons offered to Nachiketas.
The Third Discourse points out the disciplines that are necessary for the pursuit of the Inner Life; the need for a spiritual guide; the nature of the higher knowledge; the seven stages of meditation on Reality; the characteristics of the final goal of life.
The Fourth Discourse delineates the super-logical nature of Reality and its knowledge; the methods of yoga described through the analogy of the chariot of the human individuality in its relation to Reality, as the most practical part of the whole exercise of spiritual endeavour; the difficulties on the path; the subtleties of the Inner Way of the Spirit.
The Fifth Discourse investigates the intellectual processes in sensation, perception and cognition; the techniques of abstraction, concentration and meditation; the nature and experience of the merger of the individual in the Universal.
The Sixth Discourse expounds the glorious march of the soul along the path to the Absolute; the higher yoga of the Consciousness and its supernal attainments.
The Seventh Discourse clinches the mystery of life and death; and the methods of communion with the Supreme Being.
We are confident the students of philosophy and yoga will find, on a close study, that one rarely does come across a presentation to be placed in ones hands in which the fire of the soul burns so brightly through its pages.
THE DIVINE LIFE SOCIETY
27th January, 1977