Many are learned, but few are wise. Libraries are replete with books. Pandits disgorge
mouthfuls of quotations. In lecture halls, there is a plethora of polemic argumentation. All
words! Words! Words! Where do we find the practice of precepts? How can we gain illumination
from walking encyclopaedias and talking dictionaries? Who goes through the rigours of
spiritual discipline and kills the brute in him? Who grips the cobra of desire and pulls out
its fangs? Who vanquishes the ego and tramples upon it? If one does these, that one can
thrill you with his words, can enlighten you with a look and elevate you with a thought.
Each syllable that he utters is a spark of fire that can burn up all your foulness,
littleness and pettiness. Lucky indeed are we to have one with in Swami Sivananda Saraswati
of Ananda Kutir.
"Even as blazing fire burns wood to ashes, the fire of wisdom reduces to ashes all
Karma, O Arjuna," says Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita (Ch. IV-37). There we have a most
assuring statement indeed. It gives us hope and confidence. Even the best of us have the
lurking fear in our hearts that our past and present Karmas may wind round us and bind us
for ever. But after this assurance from the Lord, we can breathe free and heave a sigh of
relief. Yet, there rises up a doubt. Have we the blazing fire of wisdom in us to reduce our
Karmas to ashes? Well, we need not bother. Our Swamiji has given us "Wisdom Sparks" now.
Have no fear, dear reader. If you are eager to have spiritual illumination, you can
have it here and now. You have only to keep the cotton of your mind dry. Desiccate it by the
warmth of your spiritual aspiration. Place "Wisdom Sparks" (now in your hand) on the cotton
and blow upon it the breath of devotion to God and Guru. Then will arise the blazing flame
of wisdom, which will burn up all your Karma and lead you to the land of Bliss Immortal.
Our Swamiji has the unique quality of seeing the Highest in everything. When he
thinks of a babe in the cradle, he sings "Suddhosi, Buddhosi, O Papa, Nityosi, Niranjanosi,
O Chella." (Thou art pure, Thou are Intelligence, O child; Thou art Eternal, Thou art
Untainted, O dear one!) He is so full of the desire to instruct that when he looks at
falling drops of water, he breaks into high philosophy.
"Light drops of water make the mighty ocean; little words of love, little acts of
kindness, little good thoughts will make you a saint." When he sees someone churning curd,
his thoughts rise high and he exclaims:-"The Jnana-Yogis churn with the rod of OM. They
bring out the jewel of Atma during Nirvikalpa Samadhi." He casually sees a gunny bag with
the name of 'Dalmia cement' on it. Suddenly his mind flies up to the Eternal and he bursts
forth: "Harder than cement is Ego. Break this through Atma Vichar. Love is indeed the best
cement, to cement broken hearts. Purchase this though it is dear, because it is the best."
One who has eyes can see the soul of the Swamiji in this song. When he read 'cement' he
reflected upon the hardness of the ego. That was his first perception. The 'evil' side of
cement i.e., its hardness (as that of the ego) suggested itself first; but he is so
intensely trained in perceiving only good in everything. He therefore quickly passed on to
speak of love as the best cement. What for? To cement broken hearts. There you see the
Swamiji as an embodiment of love. This thought being a good one, endures in his mind and he
goes on:-"It is largely manufactured in the heart-mills of India's Rishis. The ingredients
of this rare cement are Rati, Prem and Mahabhav."
The accuracy of Swamiji's observation can be judged from his poem '
The Language of a Smile'. "The smile from gall heart smells very pungent. The smile of a
saint is radiant." His nature and inborn gentility is seen when he says "Sages do not laugh,
they smile through their eyes. Rude people laugh. Guff, or giggle is silly. It is indecent
There are many more such 'sparks'. Gather them and garner them when you have the
leisure. Ruminate over them and you will rise above your 'littlenesses.
About the Book
Spiritual knowledge is imparted with the best result not through the precision of logic and
reason, but through image literature, art and beauty. It is the change of the feelings of
heart and not the understandings of the brain that touches the being of the inner man.
Adhyatma-Vidya is the science of the innermost essence of the universe and it cannot
therefore, come under the intellectual categories of objective discernment. The teachings of
the sages have all had the conspicuous characteristic of appealing to the whole nature of
the human being,-not merely an aspect of him. The highest teachings are executed in the
homely language, the language of the heart of man. The simple great declarations of the
Upanishads serve as examples.
We have here the Wisdom Sparks, the materialization of the spontaneous flow out of
the depth of Swami Sivananda. It is a book meant for children and adults, the young and the
old, men and women alike. The human touch in him coupled with his deep sagacity and
impervious knowledge have proved to be such a beautiful combination of the relative and the
super physical characters that his writings are a joy to the sorrowful, a strength to the
weak, an illumination to the ignorant. The blending of intelligence and feeling, a melting
of the head and the heart, is a common feature found in these outflows of his blissful
expressions. Human troubles are not alleviated through flowery speeches and subtle
hairsplitting arguments, for the source of sorrow is rooted in the very make-up of the
individual and not in his superficial coatings. The inner disease is not cured by washing
the outer shirt. The root has to be dug out.
A study of these highly spiritual lines from the holy pen of the saint is meant to
cheer up the weary aspirant in his journey towards the City of the Immortal.
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Brahma Sutras (85)
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