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Preparatory Steps In Spiritual Practice 
By Swami Vivekananda 

Viveka (discriminations) - especially of the food we eat.

According to Ramanuja there are three things in food we must avoid. First there is Jati, the nature or kind of food, which must be considered. All exciting food should be avoided.

The next thing to be considered in regard to food is Ashraya, the person from whom the food comes. The idea is that each man has a certain aura around him; and what ever he touches, a part of his character is left on it. It is supposed that a man's character emanates from him like a physical force, and whatever he touches is affected by it. 

The other thing to be considered is Nimitta, the instrument. Dirt and dust must not be in food.

We must not eat food a part of which has been eaten by some one else (leavings of the food of others). 

The next thing is Vimoksha, freedom. He who wants to love God must get rid of extreme desires; desire nothing except God. This world is good so far as it helps one to go to the higher world. 

After this comes Abhyasa, practice. The mind should always go towards God.

The greatest aid to this practice of keeping God in memory is perhaps music. The Lord says to Narada, the great teacher of Bhakti, "I do not live in heaven, nor do I live in the heart of the Yogi, but where My devotees sing My praise, there am I." 

The next is Kriya, work. Doing good to others. The memory of God will not come to the selfish man. The more we come out and do good to others, the more our hearts will be purified and God will be in them. Man has no right to live in a house himself, until he builds for the poor also, or for anybody who needs it. 

Next there is our duty to the lower animals. 

Then there are Kalyana, wishing well to all, and Satyam, truthfulness.

Next Arjavam, straightforwardness, rectitude. Simpleness, no crookedness in the heart, no double-dealing. 

Daya, pity, compassion.

Ahimsa, not injuring any being by thought, word, or deed

Danam, charity. There is no higher virtue than charity. 

Anavasada - not sitting down, not desponding; but cheerfulness.

Uddharsa - avoid excessive merriment

Hare Krishna Mantra

Gayatri Mantra

Aspects of Hinduism

From " The Song Celestial" - Bhagavad Gita

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