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St. Luke Writing
St. Luke Writing, painting ca. 1525 and 1550

Spiritual Diary, a Daily Record of Observed Facts

In several of our courses, we have suggested following the example of Swami Sivananda who recommended keeping a spiritual diary. 

This diary is designed to inspire you to observe yourself objectively and to become responsible, to answer to yourself for each day. 

Below, you will find a series of questions that you can answer at different stages of your day. Feel free to modify it as you see fit. 

The first set of questions is for the morning, the second set is for the late afternoon, and the final set is for before going to bed. You can get any type of journal for recording your answers. You can use just a plain piece of paper, a little binder, an app, or a computer. It does not matter how you do it. What matters is that you do it every day. 

Spend whatever amount of time you want each day on answering the diary questions. Some students like to make through and deep diaries. Others spend only a few minutes. It is entirely up to you. 

“The keeping up of a daily spiritual diary is an indispensable requisite and of paramount importance. Those who are already in the habit of keeping it know its incalculable advantages. Diary is a whip for goading the mind towards God. It shows the way to freedom and eternal bliss. It is your Guru [teacher]. It is the eye-opener. It develops the Manana-Sakti or the power of reflection. It will help you to destroy all your evil qualities and to be regular in your spiritual practices. If you regularly maintain a diary, you will get solace, peace of mind and quick progress in the spiritual path. Those who desire to grow in morality and spirituality, those who wish to evolve rapidly must keep a daily record of their actions.

“All great men of the world keep diaries. The life of Benjamin Franklin is known to you all. He kept a daily diary. He noted down the number of untruths and wrong actions for which he was responsible during the course of the day. In course of time, he became a perfect man. He had perfect control over his mind. Mahatma Gandhi used to advise the students to keep a daily diary always.

“A big thief is hiding himself in your brain. He has snatched away your Atmic pearl. He is giving you immense worries and troubles. He is deluding you. The thief is your mind. You must not be lenient towards him. You must kill him ruthlessly. There is no other sword sharper than this diary to kill him. It checks his happy-go-lucky ways and destroys him eventually. All your daily mistakes will be corrected. A good time will come when you will be entirely free from anger, untruth, lust, etc. You will become a perfect Yogi.

“Your father and mother gave you this body. They gave you food and clothing. But this diary is superior to your parents. It shows the way to freedom and eternal bliss. It gives you solace, satisfaction and peace of mind. Turn the pages of your diary carefully once a week. If you can record your actions every hour, your growth will be rapid. Happy is the man who keeps a daily diary for he is very near to God. He has a strong will and he is free from defects and mistakes.

“By keeping a spiritual diary you can then and there rectify your mistakes. You can do more Sadhana [spiritual practice] and evolve quickly. There is no other best friend and faithful teacher or Guru than your diary. It will teach you the value of time. At the end of every month calculate the total number of hours you spent in Japa [mantra recitation], study of religious books, Pranayama [transmutation], Asanas [exercises], sleep, etc. Then you will be able to know how much time you are spending for religious purposes. You have got every chance to increase the period of Japa, meditation, etc., gradually. If you maintain a daily diary properly, without any fault in any of the items, you will not like to waste even a single minute unnecessarily. Then alone will you understand the value of time and how it slips away.

“Compare the total of the last month with those of the previous months. Find out whether you have progressed in your Sadhana or not. If you have not progressed, increase your practice daily. You can do more Sadhana and evolve quickly.

“In maintaining a diary, you should not utter any falsehood anywhere. You are keeping it only for your own benefit. It is the diary of a religious aspirant who is treading the path of truth to realise Truth. Acknowledge your faults openly and endeavour to rectify yourself in future. You should not neglect to record everything in your diary. It is better if you compare the progress of your work of the present week with that of the previous week. If you are not able to do so once a week, you must at any cost compare it once a month. Then you will be able to make various adjustments in different items, increase the period of Japa and meditation and decrease the time of sleep. […]

“Do not be ashamed to mention your mistakes, vices and failures. This is meant only for your own progress. Do not waste your precious hours. It is enough that you have wasted so many years in idle gossiping. Enough, enough of the troubles you had all these days in satisfying your senses. Do not say, "From tomorrow, I will be regular." That "tomorrow" will never come. Be sincere and start doing Sadhana from this moment. If you are really sincere, He is ever ready to help you and give you a push in your spiritual march.

“He who regulates his life on the above lines is sure to become a Jivanmukta or a Yogi in this very birth. Do it practically and see how you grow. Start maintaining a spiritual diary from this moment itself and realise the marvellous results.” —Swami Sivananda

Questions for Your Spiritual Diary


At what time did you go to bed? What time did you awaken in bed? How many hours did you sleep?

Did you record any dreams in your dream journal? What was your mood upon awakening? Why?

What spiritual exercises did you use to start your day? How long was your morning spiritual practice?


How much did you remember your inner divinity? How much did you pray?

What spiritual knowledge did you study today? What did you learn from your spiritual study?

How well did you hold your tongue today?

How did you serve others today?

How many hours did you spend in useless company or on useless activities?

Did you keep your chastity?

Did you eat properly? What did you eat, and how did it affect your consciousness, mind, emotions, and body?

Did you eat consciously?

What was your mood today? Why? What effect did this have on yourself and others?

What mantras did you use today? How much?

What physical exercise did you get today? How did it affect your consciousness, emotions, and body?

Did you restrain your egotistical impulses today? Which ones were visible to you today?

How many lies did you tell? How did you make up for that?

How many times did your anger appear? For how long? How are you answering for that?

How many times did your lust appear? For how long? How are you answering for that?

How many times did your envy appear? For how long? How are you answering for that?

How many times did your fear appear? For how long? How are you answering for that?

How many times did your [other defect] appear? For how long? How are you answering for that?

Did you fail to control a harmful habit? Which, and how are you dealing with yourself for it? 


Rate the quality of your concentration today: 0 is worst, 10 is best. Explain why your concentration is at this level.

How much did you meditate today? Describe your meditation practice in detail.

Did you retrospect your thoughts, feelings, and actions? What did you learn?

Did you meditate on a defect? How long? What did your meditation show you about it?

What virtue did you work on developing? What did you learn about it?

What harmful quality are you trying to eradicate? What did you learn about it?

What is the chief obstacle impeding your meditation? What is the antidote to that obstacle? Did you apply the antidote today?


Rate your day: How many hours were you spiritually active and aware? How many hours were you mechanical and unaware?

Based on everything above, summarize where you invested the most effort and energy today:

( ) I invested most of my energy into awakening and developing my consciousness.

( ) I invested most of my energy into external circumstances (work, home, school, family).

( ) I invested most of my energy into emotional habits.

( ) I invested most of my energy into intellectual habits.

( ) I invested most of my energy into physical habits or worldly activities. What will you improve tomorrow?

Have Questions?