[Advaita-l] spiritual daily routines of the members

Br. Pranipata Chaitanya pranipata at hotmail.com
Sat Dec 4 23:24:26 CST 2010

> The 20 point spiritual diary as given by Acharya Caitanya ji is also
> given by Swami Sivananda ji in many books. --Praveen R. Bhat

Hari Om Shri Praveen ji, Pranaams!

Swami Sivananda ji maharaj is none other than Guru of Swami Chinmayananda 

The message quoted in another list is repeated here.

Keeping a Spiritual Diary

In order to protect the growing spiritual wealth in you and not suffer the
sorrow of setbacks,it may help to post twenty `soldiers' around you, in the 
of twenty questions to put to yourself at the end of each day's activities. 
track of the questions and answers in the form of a spiritual diary that you
keep strictly and continuously for three months, but never for more than six
months at a stretch. You must not let yourself become habituated to diary
writing. At any time that you feel a setback in your spiritual growth, take 
the diary again for a week. It is the experience of many masters and 
of seekers that this diary-keeping is the sovereign remedy for spiritual 
turned into sour scepticism.
The following are the twenty items that constitute your diary. The list is
compiled to suit all temperaments. Select fifteen items out of the twenty 
pursue them diligently. Enter the items as heads for fifteen columns, and
indicate each day your report on yourself under each category. At the end of 
month, study the chart you have made to determine the schedule of your 
or decline for the month.
1. How many hours did I sleep? Normally six hours of sleep are sufficient 
for a
quiet living spiritual seeker.
2. When did I get up from bed? You should be out of bed between 4.30 am and 
am. The early morning's quiet will assist you in your spiritual evolution. 
great masters have found, from their own personal experience, that this part 
the day is most beneficial for spiritual practice. In the early stages, you 
need an alarm clock to awaken you. If you find yourself being too sleepy 
getting up, let a brisk shower freshen you up.
3. How long did I practice concentration? Begin with small doses, and 
the period of concentration slowly and steadily.
4. What religious books am I now reading? Reading the lives of the great 
and their declarations of Truth in a spirit of inquiry will greatly help you 
thinking intelligently. In reading such books, do not be content with their
story content alone. All such stories have deep symbolic and philosophic
significance, and your aim should be to unravel the deeper meanings.
5. For how long was I in companionship with good(satsang)? Satsang here does 
mean merely attending prayer meetings and religious discourses. Once you 
developed the spirit of inquiry, you will automatically seek out friends
interested in discussing religious topics with you. Where such friends are 
available, good books will serve as good company; discover companionship 
6. For how long did I engage myself in disinterested service (karma yoga)? 
act of service, performed in a spirit of detachment, will further the growth 
the noble qualities of love, tolerance, mercy, and so on. Learn to serve Him
through the people you are helping.
7. How many maalaas(rosaries) of japa did I perform? One maalaa consists of 
beads, with a mantra chanted at the turning of each bead. In order to do 
effectively, you must strive as far as possible to exclude all extraneous
thoughts from the mind during the period of japa practice.
8. How many Upanishad mantras did I read? Read only a little each day, but
digest what you have read and allow your mind to reflect over the great 
behind the words of the mantras.
9. How many mantras did I write? Mantra-writing is the easiest way of fixing
your concentration. Keep a separate note book for this purpose, and 
write about a page of your chosen mantra. While writing the mantra, do not 
or look around, nor move away from the work until the allotted amount is
finished. This exercise will add your concentration immensely, since you 
your mind with the ideal suggested by the mantra as you whisper and write: 
hand is writing the mantra, the eyes are seeing the mantra, the mouth is 
chanting the mantra, and the ears are listening to the mantra. The mind thus
becomes easily single-pointed.
10. How many hours did I observe silence? Keeping silence does not mean
expressing all your thoughts in relation to the outside world by making 
If you do so, your mind will be entertaining thoughts that relate to the
objective world. The aim is to withdraw one's attention to the inner world 
the spirit.
11. How many days did I fast? Fasting here does not mean abstaining from 
continuously for long periods of time, such as 21 or 41 days. Fast
regularly-once a month, once a week, or once a fortnight.
12. What did I give away in charity? Giving here means giving in thought, 
or kind.
13. How many lies did I tell and with what self-punishment? A lie is 
uttered against your conscience with a view of obtaining some advantage for
yourself. During the act of lying, you will all the time be conscious of
uttering something against your natural inclinations in order to surmount a 
or imagined difficulty. Such conflicts will haunt you after the lie has been
told and will become a wall of China in your spiritual practice. Do not 
yourself to console yourself by saying that the lie was small and did not 
anyone detrimentally. In all events, lying disturbs your mental poise. If 
tell a lie, give yourself severe punishment, such as fasting or increasing 
period of daily silence.
14. How many times was I angry, and how long did each attach of anger last?
Anger arises out of nonfulfillment of your desires. Array the forces of
tolerance, mercy, sympathy, and understanding of the weakness in yourself 
and in
others in order to win a victory over anger.
15. How many hours did I spend in useless company? In all spiritual 
you should attempt to see yourself as a child who desires to come home after
having stayed away for a time, charmed by some pleasant attraction 
elsewhere. In
spiritual practice, this coming home is possible only if you scrupulously 
useless company, thus creating a proper atmosphere for your inner work.
16. How many times did I fail in brahmacarya? Remember, brahmacarya means
self-control in all areas-eating, talking, sex, and any other indulgences.
Self-control within bounds is the safest rule.
17. What virtues am I developing consciously? For a month at a time, take to 
cultivation of single noble quality, such as love, tolerance or kindness.
18. What evil quality am I trying to eradicate? Become conscious of thoughts
that hold you down and slow your spiritual progress. Negative qualities are 
milestone tied around your neck while you are trying to swim. You have to 
the cord, let the weight sink, rise to the surface of the water, and swim to 
shore. You must diagnose your own malady and find its proper cure.
19. How many times did I fail in controlling an evil habit, and with what
punishment? Punishment here may be dealt out similarly as in paragraph 13 
20. When did I go to bed? Simply enter the time of retiring.

-----------------------Meditation & Life by Swami Chinmayananda. Chinmaya
Publications, Piercy, USA. Chapter 26.
In Shri Guru Smriti,
Br. Pranipata Chaitanya 

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