By Sri Sri Sitaramdas Omkarnath

Advise Unto Sadhus – Duties for Renunciates:

Leaving the bed in the brahma-muhurta (pre-dawn) contemplate Sri Gurudeva in the head and Ishta Deva in the heart, then mentally offering worship, offer salutation to the earth and proceed for daily ablutions etc.

It is the duty of a brahmachari to take bath thrice a day. Separate quarters should be maintained for japa etc.; thrice should the God be worshipped, and if it is possible, nityahoma should be performed with one-hundred-and-eight bilva leaves.

Pure, frugal and sattvik diet is to be had twice, in the morning and night. It is your duty to read the Gita, Chandi, Srimad Bhagawata, and Ramayana etc. Naam Sankirtan, Ajapa-Japa, Gayatri and Ishta Mantra Japa are to be done regularly.

Take bath thrice a day, if it is not possible for you to do that, take bath once at midday and wipe your body neatly with a wet towel in the morning and evening.

Brahmins should perform sandhya at prescribed hours every day and also worship and prayers, japa, meditation etc.; members of other orders must take to scriptural reading, chanting, meditation etc. It is necessary to do asana shuddhi (This is stated in Guru Gita)

Do japa and dhyana thrice, rising early in the pre-dawn (brahma-muhurta), midday and evening, and (if possible) also in the midnight.

Leela chintan (contemplation of His divine sports), contemplation on Guru (Favourite Deity), Guru and on Naad (latter in the case of those who have experienced the anahata naad) are duties.

Eat sattvik food. If the tongue craves for pungent or bitter dishes, overcome it by starving it with barest minimum of it. By eating only twice a day, in the morning and night, the merit of fasting accrues.

Sweets should be forsaken as you would forsake poison.

Make an offering of Vaishwadeva Bali; offer whatever you eat according to the rite prescribed in the text Sri Vaishnavamatabja Bhaskar. If it is not possible for you to observe ekadashi fast, have only fruit and water once. Observe vows on auspicious days like Janmashtami.

Do not sleep during the day. Pursue satsanga or read religious texts.

Eschew evil company. Do not read dramas, novels and cheap literature.

Special attention should be given to timely prayers. Prayers should be offered thrice every day. Being prayerful always, one must practice holding a dialogue with God.

Everyday undertake to read and study Sri Gita, Sri Vishnusahasranaam, Sri Chandi, Sri Maharasayana, Sri Naamamrit Lahiri, Sri Abhayvaani, Sudhadhara etc. and if possible, recite Srimad Bhagawat, Sri Ramayana etc.

Do not enter a householder’s abode with an ulterior motive.

Accumulation is good for a grihastha (householder). It is no good for the devotee of God. May you be among the exclusive devotees of God!

Solitude & Refraining from Female Company

Those who are interested in their own welfare must perform religious practices, bhajan etc. in a secluded place.

It is God’s decree– men who are inclined towards self-knowledge must forsake the company of women and also of those (men) fond of female company. They should contemplate upon Me without indolence in solitary places.

Chances of gaining Ishta Deva are very remote for Brahmacharis who cannot forsake company of people at large, and that of women especially.

It is important for sadhus to be extremely careful in dealing with women; otherwise, it’s difficult to progress on the spiritual path. The sages declare: ‘if you live in a lampblack-room, you are bound to get at least some black mark. In the same manner, through the company of women the mind is sure to contract some blemish.’ It is obligatory on the part of people, who are truly desirous of happiness, to shun contact with women in thought, word and deed.

Sadhu (saint), Brahmachari (devout celibate), a siddha (realised master), no matter who it is, it is obligatory for him to avoid staying in the company of a woman in a solitary spot irrespective of who she is— a sister, daughter, disciple, wife of Guru, a woman-seeker or a siddha woman. He who does not abide by this injunction of Shastras will have to bear the mark of ignominy; he is sure to be tarnished.

Keep away from women. Do not speak directly to their faces. Set your eyes on their feet; do not converse with or touch any woman in a secluded place. Thinking that woman is an embodiment of Divine-Mother, practice offering pranaam to her. Don’t touch a wooden image of a woman even with your feet.