Mumukshu is a Sanskrit term for one who is focused on attaining liberation, and a seeker of knowledge and truth. This article was adapted as part of ‘’Some Practical Suggestions for Daily Life’’, which appeared in Theosophical Siftings Vol. 3 and later became part of a popular little booklet with Blavatsky’s ‘’Practical Occultism’’.
T H E following are some of the hints given me by one whom, of all human beings, I revere most, about the rules which should guide an aspirant after truth in his daily life. By this I do not mean to back these rules by his authority, but I request my brothers to take them for w hat they are w orth. My object in writing this is the same as that expressed in the following lines:
If I am right, thy grace impart,
Still in the right to stay ;
If I am wrong, O teach my heart,
To find the better way.
“Rise at four in the morning. Rise as soon as you awake, without lying idly in bed, rolling about, half waking and half dreaming. Then earnestly pray that all mankind may be spiritually regenerated; that those who are struggling on the path of truth may be encouraged by your prayers and work more earnestly and successfully; and that you may be strengthened and not yield to the seduction of the senses. Choose a clean spot somewhat distant from your house, and having answered the calls of nature, cleanse your teeth. Then retire to a quiet place in your house, and having saluted Ganesa and your master, do as follows.
If you are a Raja yogi, picture before your mind’s eye the form of your master as engaged in Samadhi; or of some god whose image you have seen frequently. Fix it before you, fill in all the details, circle him thrice and prostrate yourself before him; then worship him as you would your household god; having prostrated again, pray that all mistakes of omission and commission might be forgiven (all this mentally, of course). This will greatly facilitate concentration, purify your heart and do much more. Or reflect upon the defects of your character; thoroughly realise their evils and the transient pleasures they give you, and firmly will that you should try your best not to yield to them the next time. This self-analysis and bringing yourself before the bar of your own conscience facilitates in a degree hitherto undreamt of your spiritual progress.
Or if you practice Yoga, do so, but in practising restraint of breath, do not allow your mind to wander on any other subject, but fix it on any p art of your body, as for example on one of the lotuses. This concentration can also be practised without restraint of breath. Bathe afterwards, exercising during the whole time your will, that your moral impurities should be washed away with those of your body. This is effected in the case of Brahmins by the sprinkling of the magnetised water over them before bathing, and by the Purusha Sukta and other mantras pronounced while bathing; but they should do this with a knowledge of their meaning and their effects. Then wearing a silk cloth or one that was not touched by others since it was dried, perform your Sandyavandanam . Many do not know the immense spiritual truths contained in it and the incalculable good it would do them. Perform it properly and with a knowledge of its esoteric significance, and it forms a yogic practice in itself. You may then enter upon your daily avocations.
In your relations with others observe the following rules :
1. Never do anything which you are not bound to do as your duty, that is, any unnecessary thing. Before you do a thing, think whether it is your duty to do it.
2. Never speak an unnecessary word. Think of the effects which your words would produce, before you give utterance to them. Never allow yourself to violate your principles by the force of your company.
3. Never allow any unnecessary or vain thought to occupy your mind. This is easier said than done. You cannot make your mind a blank all at once. So in the beginning try to prevent evil or idle thoughts, by occupying your mind with the analysis of your own faults or the contemplation of the perfect ones.
4. During meals, exercise your will that the food which you take should be properly digested and build for you a body consonant to your spiritual aspirations, and not create evil passion and wicked thoughts. The five oblations to the five Pranas which are offered before eating, the rule enjoined that we should not speak during our meals and that every mouthful should be taken after pronouncing one of the sacred names of Vishnu, effect this in the case of the Brahmins.
Eat only when you are hungry and drink when you are thirsty and never otherwise. If some particular preparation attracts your palate, do not allow yourself to be seduced into taking it simply to gratify that craving. Think that the pleasure which you derive from it had no existence some seconds before, and it will cease to exist some seconds afterwards; that it is a transient pleasure ; that that which is a pleasure now, will turn into pain if you take it in large quantities; that it gives pleasure only to your tongue ; that if you are put to a great trouble to get at that thing ; that, if you allow yourself to be seduced by it, you will not be ashamed at anything to get it ; that while there is another object that can give you eternal bliss, this centering your affections on a transient thing is sheer folly; that you are neither the body nor the sense, and as such, the pleasures or the pains which these enjoy can never affect you really, and so on. Practise the same train of reasoning in the case of every other temptation, and though you will fall often, you will effect a surer success.
Do not read much. If you read ten minutes, reflect for as m any hours. Habituate yourself to solitude, and to remain alone with your thoughts. Accustom yourself to the thought that no one beside yourself can assist you and wean away your affections from al things gradually. Bathe in the evening after you come home from your labours (this is said only of those whose health would allow them — I. N .). Before you sleep pray as you did in the morning. Review the actions of the day, see wherein you have failed, and resolve that you will not fail in them to-morrow.”
Iswar Nisna , B. A ., F. T. S
(The Theosophist v.10, n. 119,pp. 647-649)