SPIRITUAL DUTIES AND RULES OF CONDUCT OF A RESIDENT DISCIPLE OF THE MONASTIC SELF-REALIZATION ORDER
as outlined by the Guru-Founder, Paramahansa Yogananda
You are blessed that vou have felt the desire to seek God. The Bible tells us: “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:44) Strive your mightiest to the end of life and you will reach the divine Goal.
Purpose of Rules
Self-discipline is the keystone of character development. Through willing obedience to the rules of the Self-Realization Order the spiritual aspirant gradually attains freedom from many petty habits of like and dislike that inhibit spiritual growth. “Whim-freedom,” as our Guru Paramahansa Yoganandaji termed it, is really slavery to selfish moods and desires. To tempt God to come on the altar of our hearts we must demonstrate to Him that we are willing to sacrifice egoistic desires to “do as we please” in order that we may do that which will please God.
The renunciant should not be discouraged by temporary failures, but rather take heart, remembering that “saints are sinners who never gave up” — who never gave up the struggle to overcome imperfections of the little self, in order to manifest the greater Self.
The aim of the Self-Realization renunciant is to overcome the body consciousness and to live more by the power of mind and soul; he should not ask to be excused from spiritual routine and hermitage duties for reasons of personal comfort and convenience. Exceptions may be made, however, subject to the discretion of the counselor, who has been specifically assigned to help the renunciant, for the following reasons:
(b) officially assigned duties that may interfere with regular routine;
(c) necessary errands for the Fellowship.
Outline of Spiritual Duties
1. Attend morning and evening group exercises and meditations.
2. Attend all classes and activities stipulated by the counselor to the renunciant.
3. Have a minimum of one half-hour of individual meditation every morning upon awakening.
4. Have a minimum of one hour of individual meditation every night before [going to bed every night].
[missing numbers 5 -16]
…absorb Self-Realization teachings. Comparative reading and study, particularly in the early training of the novice, tend to confuse the mind and divert the attention from the main goal.
17. Engage each day in some form of recreational exercise (in addition to the group practice of SRF energization exercises) approved by the counselor. A healthy body facilitates deep meditation, which requires that bodily distractions be overcome by mental aboveness. On the weekly day of silence recreational exercise should be of a quiet nature, such as walking, or sports which can be engaged in silently — it is important not to lose the inner peace cultivated on the day of silence, and not to disturb others with unnecessary noise and talk.
18. Practice economy in the hermitage with the interest you would take in your own home. Shut off unnecessary lights; do not waste food; be considerate in the use of hermitage furnishings, household appliances, grounds, and cars. Your thoughtfulness and economy help to make it possible for Self-Realization Fellowship to assume the financial responsibility of caring for more devotees who, like yourself, desire to follow this path.
19. Be considerate of others by cooperating with the rules and by doing your part to maintain the spiritual harmony of the ashram.
20. Cooperate whenever silence or quietness is requested.
21. Restrain conversation to a minimum during working hours, doing all work with the greatest interest and thought of performing all duties for God and the Gurus, and not for self.
22. Do not make a habit of aimless visiting with other disciples; or with family and outside friends. Accept the advice of your spiritual counselor concerning this.
23. Refrain from gossip or negative talk, which upsets others and is detrimental to one’s own spiritual progress. The renunciant who has questions or problems; or who is troubled in mind concerning some phase of his training; or who objects to the actions of another person should seek first the help of his spiritual counselor.
24. Accept whatever further rules Self-Realization Fellowship deems necessary to originate and enforce on behalf of the SRF renunciant’s individual spiritual, mental, or physical welfare.
25. If for any reason the renunciant feels, after having entered the Order, that he is unsuited for the hermitage life, he should consult with his counselor before deciding what he should do. Sometimes a devotee becomes unnecessarily discouraged over temporary failure. Such a spiritual aspirant should, in his own best interests, seek the advice of his counselor, before making a final decision to leave in the belief that he is unsuited for the monastic path.