Om Namah Shivaya - Om Namo Venkatesaya  


The Spiritual Diary - Insights and Inspirations compiled by Venkatananda

Control of the senses - the census?
Intensely means without a tense - without past, present and future.
The first person pronoun "I" may itself be nothing more than an idea. However, as soon as this idea arises, it creates you, the other person, the second person, the he, she, and it, the third person. From this division flows an interminable stream of worry, anxiety, fear and hate. How does one put an end to this? By realizing that you are the stream. The moment you realize that, the menace has ceased.
If you are unaware of the activity of the mind, you are trapped. If you are aware, it is humiliating - something which is nothing enslaves you more thoroughly than the 'solid' realities of the world!
One should be willing to sacrifice temporary pleasure in favor of eternal bliss.
Turning away from God is disease. He who turns to God is at perfect ease within.
The closer to perfection you are, the more you will be able to appreciate nearly everybody.
We say, "It takes two to make a quarrel." I am convinced it needs only one, and that is me! If the 'me' is kept out of the way, or if I refuse to fight, there can be no quarrel.
The sun shines, not because it wants to warm your back, but it shines because it is one of those things the sun cannot help.
The world is not going to be saved by something you and I do or not do - but in doing this the right way we find the right way
One had to observe this in a great master like Swami Sivananda to know where self-respect ends and arrogance begins, where timidity ends and humility begins. One has to learn the difference between meekness and weakness, when to bend down and when not to, when to fear and when not to. Both bending down and not bending down can be attributed to arrogance. Here one sees the beauty of appropriate action - and it needs an awakened intelligence which is sattvic.
And Lord Jesus commanded further that if you have fought against your brother, better leave your offerings, go and get reconciled with your brother before placing it on the altar.
When yoga speaks of virtue, it merely suggests that you should look at your own life. Become aware of what you are. We have too long and too morbidly indulged in 'Thou shalt, thou shalt not'. Virtue cannot be imposed upon one from outside.
In order to enter into that spirit of oneness, one must drop one's own ego, one's selfishness, and one's self-righteousness. When the veil that is the ego is discarded, the evil lust to dominate the other person vanishes.
There is no "normal" person in this world; and, of course, each man is "normal" to his own nature! The psychologist's "sword" of "abnormality" has ruined the life of many, stifling talents and compelling the psychologist-disapproved characteristics to commit suicide. Abnormality rarely exists in nature, but abounds in the psychiatrist's clinic, created and confirmed by him. Self-understanding will promote self-culture and self-realization. One need not fit into another's jacket, but one must be true to one's own self and grow in the image of God - that which one essentially is. Jealousy, envy and imitation are a waste of time and lead to psychological suicide.
Life is an opportunity, but ignorance converts it into a burden. God created a lot of work for man to do, but ignorance transforms it into worry. Man has his duty to his fellowman, but ignorance makes it a millstone around his neck, weighing him down with cares and anxieties. Wealth and wisdom God entrusted to man to serve his neighbour with; but ignorance bound him with them in the fatal ties of possessiveness.
The waters of the ocean are the same, whatever be the name given to the ocean at different points on the globe.
Trust in God, but first tie the camel.
Who is your friend and who is your enemy? It is your mind. If your mind is controlled, disciplined and pure, that mind is your friend. If your mind is impure, undisciplined, violent, full of hatred, attachment and vanity, it is your enemy.
If we learn to live without creating these prejudices, we shall be human beings!
Wisdom consists in being able to see at first hand, intimately, without any mediator.
Somewhere, at some time, the intellect has to stop in silence. When all this play of logic and reason, intellect and (let us say) intuition, has ceased, when there is supreme silence, what is, is he!
It may be unpalatable - truth is often unpalatable - to realize that one who supports a war in which others fight and get killed, is a cannibal. A cannibal kills other humans in order that he may live.
All the religions of the world have become putrid accumulation of dogma and ritual.
A very simple way to abolish wars is to insist that he who signs the declaration of war shall be the first soldier on the battlefront.
The inner consciousness 'is' the awareness and you cannot make it the object of your awareness. When the obstacles that stand in the way of the awareness - which is the very nature of the consciousness - are removed, the awareness exists and shines in its own light.
I am by nature an optimist, but I am realistic enough to be pessimistic when it comes to mass acceptance of any doctrine, thought, or ideology.
Nothing can really be understood intellectually. The intellect only thinks it understands. The intellect creates the problem and then it thinks that it has produced a solution or, if the solution is suggested by someone else, it thinks it has understood the solution. All this unfortunately is in the field of ignorance.
Some people have friends who love them and enemies who hate them. Some lucky people have friends who love them and enemies who sympathize with them. Some others have enemies who despise them and friends who dislike and disapprove of them.
Man thinks. He thinks he alone is capable of thinking. Granted. Where there is true knowledge, thought is irrelevant. Perhaps trees and other 'unthinking' beings know. They do not need to think.
Sorrow is deep ignorance, spiritual ignorance, spiritual blindness, in whose vicious grip we are caught.
Only God can see God. Flesh sees flesh, mind sees mind, heart sees heart, and God sees God.
Hunger does not arise in the mind, but from a deeper level; the mind merely calls it hunger. Unless something happens at that deeper level, no change is possible in the hunger-satisfaction pattern.
What you don't know is secret; what you know is gossip. Truth is neither.
Family, society, nationality, etc., are all extensions of the "me", and therefore we are concerned about "my" family, society or nationality, and not about human beings in general!
Our attention should not be focussed on 'doing' but on 'being'. Hence an example to be copied is useless. Examples must be understood, not copied.
I am immediately freed from this wasteful pastime of running other people down. If that can happen to us, it is already a great gain.
How is it that I am thinking something, saying something else and doing yet another thing? This is the problem of modern civilisation.
The mind has an extraordinary faculty of registering only what it is prepared to accept or, on the other hand, that which shocks.
The very movement of investigation saves us from sorrow and hence fear.
A teaching only becomes meaningful when one is in the situation that is described - then it is no longer a description, but a reality.
Can I follow your example? I can only see your behaviour, I do not know your motive, your 'being'. Hence, at best I become your worst caricature.
We are committed to either - or. Either I must give vent to my violence, or I must suppress it. Is there not a third possibility? That third possibility involves understanding myself and understanding others.
Let each problem come. As you look at it you will see that each problem has its own solution on its own shoulders. We want the solution to walk in front of the problem!
If you peel off your feelings, your thought processes, your rationalizations, your philosophies and your opinions, there shines the truth.
It is foolish to renounce religion because philosophers differ and are confused.
Fire is not the cause of something bursting into flames - the inflammable nature of the material is the cause.
Philosophers are necessary to interpret the mystic wisdom of sages. But these philosophers are like waiters in a hotel. If one is inefficient and makes a mess of your lunch, dismiss him - but do not go away without your lunch.
It is only when I bring something else in that conflict manifests in my life.
We only think or guess that we are searching for and seeking peace and happiness. In truth we do not know. For every time we get what we regarded as peace and happiness, we drop it and seek something else. Only this seeking is continuous. The quest is always there. Hence it is good to understand that quest. We do not know its goal, hence all that we can do is to be aware of it. In the meantime, normal life goes on. But when this inner observation is continuous, life's ups and downs do not affect us as they did when the observation was not there.
When there is no wish to kill and no wish to protect, when there is no wish to act and no wish to refrain from action, when the ego is completely silent, and action takes place, that action is natural action.
Power corrupts, but only corrupt men seek and assume power.
There is the test! When I am the aggressor and you are the oppressed, I can call to my aid sublime philosophy, but when the tables are turned, I must still be able to smile at the marvel of nature. If you are able to do this, probably you have seen some truth.
We mistake pain for pleasure and persist in it, though it is painful. We hypnotise ourselves into the conviction that this is pleasure.
As long as you scratch my back and I scratch yours, we will call ourselves lovers.
If you are on a moving train you cannot jump out and 'stop'. You will have to run along for a few moments till the momentum is exhausted.
Observation and relationship are equally important.
The welfare of society depends upon our good actions - so we should 'do good'. Society does not bother even if our motive is bad and attitude commonplace. But our own good and our salvation depend upon our inner motives and attitude.
We believe we are different from each other. That is the pollutant.
The world does not need me. It can get on jolly well without me. I do not need the world. I can jolly well get on without anybody - my constant companion being myself. Yet I need to serve, for only in such service, in such relationship, can I know myself. The service or the particular form of the relationship is not important; it is the self-awareness that is.
When you are facing the truth, you realize that there is no choice at all. It is only when you are looking at the shadow, the untruth, the falsehood, that there are different parts, different modes of behavior to choose from.
Just as we blame someone else for our unhappiness, we imagine that someone else will make us happy, give us pleasure or grant us peace.
The bird does not fly with only one wing. It has two wings and in the middle is the bird. One wing is knowledge, the other is action and in the middle is life!
This violence or the goodness in me is looking for an excuse to express itself.
Love doesn't want to change, doesn't fix any conditions.
You love her and so you are afraid you may lose her. You hate him, so you are afraid he may be around you all the time.
Only if I am open to what you say, can you teach me.
Be ever-mindful of your faults and the virtues in others, of your happiness and the unhappiness of others, wishing them happiness. Then you are a saint.
I must be open and at the same time an agency must be there; the two working together make for the teaching.
There is something beautiful in natural phenomena. Their inevitability and even their unpredictability are beautiful. There is no confusion, there is no indecision. There is wisdom.
Your life is not merely understanding or merely doing.
If we are honest we shall instantly and without the least difficulty see that our hopes are rarely realised. When they are, it is only because the hopes accidentally happen to reflect the reality.
Fear arises only in the darkness known as ignorance.
The child is the father of the man, and today's student is tomorrow's teacher.
Disharmony can only be removed in its totality by God's Grace - but in the meantime we can also do something about it.
Women all over the world are up in arms: in their arms they hold Man - father, husband, son, brother or friend. In those arms man finds security, peace, happiness, and hopefully salvation.
This is why understanding alone is not enough. It is like trying to fly on one wing, which is impossible.. Similarly, action alone is not enough either; understanding is the other wing.
When you follow the Guru Who is the Light of Truth, make sure that you have kindled the Light of Truth in yourself, that you are also the Light. Otherwise you will walk in the darkness of the shadow that the human personality of the Guru casts behind Him.
To a wise man and to a fool, there is no choice of action. The fool acts impulsively; the wise man acts spontaneously.
If you think about life you become a philosopher. If you look at life you become a yogi - this is the difference.
You see the tree, the sapling or the shoot. But the shoot is not an isolated event - it is connected to the tree.
The problem is inside me, the problem is me - not what I did years ago, but what I do now, what I am now.
From a pot of honey you can only get honey.
Ones's duty is the spontaneous expression of the own nature.
When that which you love the most - life - is seen as a vehicle that drives you to the grave, a profound change takes place. You learn to live and to love all.
Life is when you come out of your meditation room or your house, and you meet and live and work with others.
You and the other are one. It is the same fool who hits and who is hit! The cane is only one. At one end what happens is called expression and at the other end what happens is called experience. Therefore, you are not hitting and nobody is hit. It is the cane which keeps jumping around.
Karma yoga is living in such a way that you are not a problem to others, and they are not a problem to you.
Whether the other person recognises or does not recognise what I have done is immaterial, because what is done is worship of God Himself.
It's one of those extraordinary facts of life that, whereas you can train your thought or thinking and will yourself to think, you cannot will yourself to love.
When God does something Himself there is no motive or no one knows the motive except God Himself.
What is not clearly visible, observable, when you are sitting in meditation or practising pranayama or yoga asanas, becomes very clear in human relationship or in your daily activity.
Anything taken for granted, including domestic relationships, is dead.
Supposing all of us were granted physical immortality - for ever and ever and ever. You know what a rotten world we would create? All the idiots will continue to be immortal!
If this is what you want, have it, but watch it and know what you are doing.
We are all students, pilgrims who have undertaken the same pilgrimage called life.
Humanweal, peace and happiness (at both the individual and the collective levels) flow from renunciation and not from acquisition. These are but words until one experiences them as living truths.
No-one has so far really defined 'happiness' and even if somebody has tried, that definition is not accepted by everyone - which means that happiness is a myth created by the self in order to make itself miserable!
Imposed discipline is imposition, not discipline, and it only gives birth to impostors.
When you are able to see ugliness and beauty, good and evil, for what they are, and at the same time avoid reacting in a judgemental way, you have found the key to rise above them (not by ignoring them or by imagining they do not exist).
"I have completely surrendered" - which means, "As long as you tell me what I want you to tell me, I'll do everything exactly as you say" - that's a very different kind of surrender.
As co-pilgrims we soon realise that happiness is sharing, that joy is to the giver.
Most of us think that we have freedom of choice. When we think so, the only truth is that we are in a state of confusion. We do not do what is right or wrong, the only thing we actually do is worry. It is the only action we commit unceasingly - worrying.
When you do something with all your heart and soul, there is guaranteed success.
Regard every one of your actions as worship of the Omnipresent God.
Love God in your own way, as your father, mother, friend, master, child or lover.
With the profit motive out of the way, people promote one another' s welfare.
There is a subtle middle path between the extremes of licence and tyranny (which is freedom), between weakness and domination (which is humility), between rigidity and liquidity (which is flexibility), between cold indifference and cruelty (which is love), between revolution and stagnation (which is evolution), between obedience and rebellion (which is cooperation), between formality and familiarity (which is affectionate respect). To find this subtle middle path is yoga - but to find this in oneself, not to look for it in others!
Worship Him in and through the temples, churches, synagogues and mosques, but worship Him in your own home too.
To educate is to bring out the truth which is present in the other man.
True, real meditation is a rare experience, but even an imperfect attempt will fill you with inexpressible peace and joy. You must be established in great virtues, like non-violence, truthfulness, and purity, before you can taste the bliss of deep meditation.
When life and consciousness are not divided into subject and object, experiencer and experience, there is no fear and there is no pain.
It is not possible for us deliberately to perform non-egoistic action, or to live a non-egoistic life. What is possible however is to be intensely aware within ourselves and to detect the play of the ego from moment to moment.
The ego looks for results, rewards and reciprocity.
Virtue and wisdom cannot be separated from life.
False modesty, which is a type of vanity so poisonous that it has no antidote.
Hence, by all means, look before you leap ... take a second look, and a third ... but for heaven's sake, leap!
You praise the teacher. He ought to be surprised to hear that the student could understand what he himself has not understood! But if he is as foolish as you are, then he thinks that he is a great teacher. And so goes the circus.
Even with discrimination one has to be careful. It has its light and dark sides. When the bright side is up, it says, "Spiritual life is more worthy" - but the dark side comes up and it says, "It is difficult". Strike while the bright side is up.
Something has happened - we have passed through some experiences and they have made some changes in us, so that we are looking at a different world, because the inner world, the inner observer is different.
Thank you very much for giving me this chance.
You see light outside because of light in your own eyes. A blind man cannot see. You see good in others if there is good in you; you see evil in others if evil is in you. Seeing evil is itself evil.
Thinking, feeling and willing - they seem to run in different directions. Integrate them and you have yoga in action.
He is so busy studying the psychological phenomenon of the internal annoyance of his anger that he has no time to be angry.
But can I live in relation with others all the time, and yet be inwardly watchful always?
There is no compulsion here, but an indication of a truth.
The life and death struggles of heroes are dismissed with a few brief sentences in a history book.
Light illumines: it has no choice. Darkness veils: it has no choice. Light does not say 'no' to darkness; darkness does not say 'no' to light, either.
When that 'me' goes, everything that divided us has gone.
That is meditation, which is both the practice known as meditation, and the uninterrupted vigilance that is characteristic of the yogi.
I am my sister's and brother's keeper. In their joy lays mine.
There are three kinds of peace: the peace of the grave; the peace of the idiot; the peace of the knower of God, the sage. We want to know that peace - the peace that passeth understanding.
Poverty is a curse, not so much to the sufferers, but to you and me - everyone.
It is important to understand discipline as study, not so much to say I will do this or I will not do this, but to understand craving and resistance.
Vices become delectable modes of pleasure.
It is sufficient if we understand that such is the fact of creation and appreciate that the other man's viewpoint is as valid and as true as our own.
One no longer functions as a crazy individual fighting against the rest of the universe, but works in total harmony with the entire cosmos.
Non-violence is a subtle inner adventure leading to self-knowledge.
You have only one constant companion. He was born with you. Death.
That heart which is hurt is violent.
To live is to do.
When what you are about to say is not factual, pleasant and beneficial, say something else.
Time has to be conquered by its own best use.
When God is all this, you cannot hate anyone, you cannot be afraid of anyone. That is probably what God is!
Real discipline is self-discipline.
In order to discover what is right action, I must know right now who or what makes me do this that I do.
Love is the spontaneous manifestation of the seeing, of the realization of this unity in which we are all knit - whatever our religion, caste, nationality or social status.
Are there not sufficient pleasant and unpleasant experiences in daily life which can be used to trigger meditation?
The "I" creates a motivation, a goal or a reward. Thus are born the ideas of success and failure, pleasure and pain, and all the rest of the pairs of inseparable opposites.
What is God? Why not admit: "I do not know."
When the craving for experience (of pleasure, etc.) ceases, life does not cease. Pure experiencing goes on, for it is part of the very existence.
If the problem concerns an action, the solution is action, too, and is not a question of words and formulae.
The good man delights in the happiness of others.
The purest human being is one who is what God created him - a human being - without ever wishing to be something else, somebody else; in a word, egoless.
"My" happiness cannot be promoted at the expense of yours - your restlessness will soon engulf me. In this sense, "I am my brother's keeper".
What is it that resists? Hope, fear, cravings.
Persistent repetition of a lie has the power to make it appear to be real.
Bear insult, bear injury. This is the highest sadhana.
Life is not logical - it has to be lived by one who is alive to it, and not to a purpose invented by the brain, which is polluted by all sorts of ideas.
The yogi realises the distinction between truth and viewpoint - truth being that which exists and viewpoint being the mental activity.
The "me" is a ghost-like substitute for the ignorance of your identity.
Have you noticed how mothers, in order to pacify their babies, give them a sucker? In the same way, when we start weeping, someone gives us a philosophy or religion, and pretty soon we're sleeping and not finding the truth!
Live in this world as if you were living with a cobra in the same room.
What is dough without any form?
Knowledge cannot come to an end in the sense that you forget. As long as your brain functions normally, it stores what has been received. Knowledge comes to an end only by being assimilated.
We have cultivated the delightful habit of naming things and experiences - calling some good and others evil, some happiness and others unhappiness, some desirable and others undesirable.
But what must I do in order to digest and assimilate knowledge? I have to acquire knowledge of life - whether indirectly through study of the scriptures or directly from life - from the scripture known as the world, as life itself.
Knowledge without discipline is newspaper. Knowledge with discipline is scripture.
But please also remember that while you are enjoying a sweet dream you are inviting a nightmare, because they both belong to the same family. There is only one way to avoid both of these, and that is that you must wake up.
When you find an excuse you are really accusing yourself of insincerity.
What is nature? It is what makes grass green and milk white.
The closest you can come to understanding it is when you know that you do not understand! Then you stop and start to enquire.
Is it possible for us to become aware of this daydreaming, without disturbing its course?
But if you have done what you had to do, this will happen, by God's Grace.
Silence is not of speech - silence is of the mind.
If we dream that we are being attacked by a tiger, what we need is not knowledge of holy scriptures, but merely to wake up from slumber.
When in the light of knowledge there is neither seeking nor avoidance, there is treedom. In that freedom the inner awareness spontaneously functions "in the present".
If you think you have understood, you are a fool!
In this clear vision, we see that what we call "the pairs of opposites" are in fact inseparable - our error consists of aspiring to have one of the pair, without the other, because we think they are independent.
Our life is so completely wrapped up in irrational fantasies that they provide the motivation for whatever we do - good and evil.
The spirit of enquiry is a fire that consumes the enquirer and the enquiring mind, and shines as illumination or knowledge.
That relationship - my so and so, whatever it may be - makes you do all sorts of good things. This is a reason why this irrational, stupid idea of a relationship is very jealously guarded and maintained by society.
Unless you see the problem, you sense the danger, the problem is neither real nor urgent to you.
Life is an opportunity, but ignorance converts it into a burden. God created a lot of work for man to do; but ignorance transforms it into worry. Man has his duty to his fellowman, but ignorance makes it a millstone around his neck, weighing him down with cares and anxieties. Wealth and wisdom God entrusted to man to serve his neighbour with; but ignorance bound him with them in the fatal ties of possessiveness.
One who has never seen burning fire may be told that it is hot. He believes that statement. But when he draws near a real fire he feels the heat. He now has faith in the truth that fire is hot. If he comes into direct contact with it he knows.
Why is there this restlessness within oneself, this dissatisfaction? Because there is a craving for satisfaction of a particular type.
The infant's vision is pure. Perhaps even the notion that there is an object external to itself has not arisen in it, because its own ego-sense has not been developed.
If you eat some bitter fruit, the moment you realise it is so, you can spit it out. But you cannot spit out your tongue or a sore stomach.
We are familiar with robots, pillars; we are not familiar with human saints.
You don't fight with this 'me' - you don't fight with shadows.
It is more difficult to stand on your feet (be self-reliant) than to stand on your head (in the yogi's head-stand).
What is the cause of your disappointment? Your expectations!
When you read the news of any conflict, look within and you will see that your own heart justifies one of the parties and condemns the other. It is the 'I' that does it. This violence is within yourself.
There is one serious difficulty, which we experience in life - solutions come at a time when there are no problems, and problems arise at a time when there are no solutions.
So, while doing what has to be done, the ego steps in and says, 'I want to get something out of this." If we achieve what we wish to achieve, we are distracted; if we do not we are frustrated.
The ripe apple does not fall because it 'hates' the tree or 'loves' the ground!
If we are not interested in God, He is not interested in us!
Hate arises from 'loving' the opposite.
But your life immediately loses one thing, and that is regret. Whatever you do, you take full responsibility for.
It is the mind, and not the senses, which registers the experiences, remembers, cherishes or dreads. Then it pursues pleasure, it is afraid it may not get or lose it, it hopes it will get it and have it forever.
If I know why I am doing this, then that awareness - which is aware of the contradiction - is free from the contradiction and hypocrisy.
So long as I am aware of this contradiction in myself, there is no contradiction.
With the exception of those who deliberately choose to be wicked, the vast majority of people who grope in the darkness of ignorance and whose ignorance confuses them as to their duty, making evil appear as 'necessary in the circumstances', will definitely grow spiritually if more and more people take upon themselves the duty of educating their brethren (especially the younger generation) in the art of right conduct.
Sacrifice is when the sanctity or the holiness of something which has always been holy is restored into it. I can also be made sacred or sacrificed.
Even a dry blade of grass cannot be wafted by the wind except by God's Will.
Freed from what? From nothing: from some sort of foolish idea that you had previously entertained. That is what they call freedom or liberation.
We do not deny that science has discovered many laws of nature - that the atom has so many protons and electrons. But I only beg of you not to forget Him who put them there - I assure you that the scientist did not.
This insight transforms the world without touching it, transforms life without changing it.
Education is the expression of whatever is best in man, and the spirit of education is the focusing of attention within one's own heart to observe what is thus expressed! Such observation is itself maturity.
Even devotees of the Lord who humbly worship him as they have been taught by their ancestors and preceptors, will reach God. This is a gentle rebuke for so many yogi and intellectual giants who sigh with grief that these devotees, 'ignorantly' worshipping God, are 'lost souls' whom it is their duty to 'save'! Leave them alone. The Lord whom they worship will look after them. Moreover, they must awaken themselves, save themselves. No-one else can do it for them. They must find and go their own way.
Enlightenment has nothing to do with seeing lights and visions, which are at best "encouraging signs of divine Grace" in the words of Gurudev Swami Sivananda.
Any action that needs justification is already wrong.
If there is no hope at all, one can be extremely active, live a full life.
Understanding is not done in the brain but in something that stands under - in the heart.
You are enlightened: that is, you travel through life, treading softly, without unnecessary weight or burden.
When the body is ok - nerves calm, mind steady, heart pure - there is clearer vision, clairvoyance. Love enables you to function on another plane. Hence, you perceive what others miss. The whole thing enables you to reach a degree of refinement, of transparency, of sensitivity - when you are sensitive to the sufferings, joys, feelings of others - and sensitive to the truth that others may not possess it, and so may behave differently towards you.
Without spirit it is not spiritual practice, it is mechanical practice.
Perhaps 'breathing' was intended more to bring about relaxation of the nerves and calming of the mind than just ventilating the lungs.
If there is frustration, and at that very moment you are wise enough to look within and to see this frustration, you immediately see that the frustration is not related to you, but to the hope that was entertained. Where there is hope there is frustration - the frustration belongs to the hope. Life goes on.
At least 72 times a minute (pulse rate) your inner peace is disturbed.
Peace of mind is not your goal, it is a landmark.
Spiritualization of relationship is not a psychological quality. It is not the opposite of physical togetherness, which is certainly necessary for certain forms of communication. Even while there is this physical togetherness, it is the spirit that counts. One cannot imagine that one has achieved the spiritualization. One can only ensure that the relationship is not dependent upon the physical or the material. That is spiritualization.
Memory has its own proper field of activity; but when it is allowed to interfere in life and in relationships, it is destructive.
The yogi merely wants to make sure that the switch is with him - not because he thinks he can meditate, but because he can avoid the distraction.
One who has really realized God does not know that he has. One who thinks or feels he has realized God, has not. Hence, at no stage can we renounce the Guru. To the devotee, guru and God are one.
Meditation is not just a 'part' of life. Perhaps 'life' is part of this samadhi!
If someone is suffering and you want to help, it is good to tell him that the soul is not suffering, but is full of bliss. Offer consolation at all levels and ask, "Can I help you?" Don't just talk philosophy - it is cruelty. Put yourself in his position.
The truth will be seen by diverse people from infinitely diverse points of view, and each one is exactly the same as the other.
If at the same time there is intellectual cooperation and emotional involvement, there is tremendous energy.
There are no miracles or magic in yoga. Self-discovery is the greatest and the only magic in yoga.
Never mind, you have slept for years. What does it matter if you don't make it this morning? Tomorrow morning you'll start again. That is a very beautiful form of meditation.
They have an expression in English: "Thinking, feeling, willing." "Thinking, feeling and living" is more appropriate.
Something that is changing from moment to moment seems to be constant - like the flame of a lamp. The flames of "fire" are being renewed every moment, by fresh fuel being converted into fire, but the single flame appears constant. Yet it seems a mystery that, remaining constant and doing nothing, that flame has consumed all the oil!
God is very easy to realise. But first make your mind still, and sit still. That is much more difficult!
Why must I throw it over my shoulders? It has already passed. I am foolishly imagining that I am carrying this load on my shoulders, and in order to relieve myself of this non-existent burden, I introduce God's Will or Karma.
This fault-finding prevents fact-finding enquiry.
It is only because the experiencer, in ignorance, looks outside that the ignorance is perpetuated; when the hero turns his gaze within he is not deluded.
Whatever be the name you give to it, we need divine intervention in order to wake up from this spiritual sleep.
The wisdom, the understanding, the perception, the realization of this truth, is the continuity in this constant change.
If you alertly watch the mind when it enjoys pleasure, you can discover bliss - but hope you will not be distracted by the pleasure!
In order to dismiss the worry concerning the unborn future, and the brooding concerning the dead past, you use the idea of "God's Will" to drop them.
The fact that you cannot do certain things like flying, merely means that that perfection belongs to birds and not to man!
All our actions and services, all our charities and austerities, all our prayers and adorations reach God. If only man recognizes this great truth, then his whole life and all his actions are spiritualized and sublimated.
Our mind is so complicated that it rebels against anything simple.
To one who is awake and vigilant, the whole of life can be the Guru.
They even say that God is so merciful, that, knowing that you would not do it, He made the breath do this japa!
"Assassination" means nothing more than two Asses facing each other! If you are wise, you will make it unnecessary for another to kill you.
"Why should this headache come to me?" Have you asked yourself: "Good heavens, why not me!" It is 'Why me?' which resists the headache and makes it worse.
Be what you want to be - the content of what you are, in reality, is God.
There is a story of a man who suffered from an argumentative mind, full of doubts. He was saved from this by his Guru merely shouting at him once: "Shut up!" This switched off the chattering mind and he became a great sage.
In sleep there is not a trace of harmfulness in your consciousness, only complete peace. What happened to that when you woke up?
We are looking for love instead of loving - that is the problem!
What is thought of is not the truth; it is a thought.
God is an unknown quantity - unknown, but not unknowable. God is not a transferable or marketable commodity. God is an inner reality, the essence of your being, which each one has to discover. Is your God the same as someone else's God?
Any growth which is natural, and therefore valid, is imperceptible.
Swami Sivananda used to say that life is a great school, and pain is a great teacher.
Whether I face light or face darkness is left to me.
What is the difference between you and me? If there is a real difference, why is it there? Because you think there is a difference. After thinking that there is a difference you go round looking for a difference. Naturally you will find it because you create it! It is the mind that creates all these differences and the differences exist in the mind.
Whether I will turn towards light or turn towards darkness is not predictable. The choice is there for me to be either a fool or a wise man. That is all the choice; the rest is choiceless.
"Yes, you are right!" wins your heart.
If the "I" has turned towards the light at one stage, then the spirit of wisdom makes the choice; the light makes the choice.
Misery is not so hard to bear as the desire to push it away!
Truth is indescribable. It is so indescribably simple that every description complicates it! But the vain human intellect cannot desist from attempting such description and definition.
Hoarded wealth is a curse.
Het spiritueel leven of sadhana is een grote kunst. Iedere streek met het penseel is heel belangrijk - we moeten het heel zorgvuldig plannen, en iedere handeling moet gebeuren na dit diep te hebben overwogen. Gedachten, woorden, en daden, moeten subtiel en weloverwogen zijn.
We see even in the wickedness of other people, their own inner soul-struggle to find the light, the truth, God.
Conflict is born of ignorance. Wisdom sees different forces as cooperative agents. Wisdom is synthesis. Wisdom recognises that even the threatening pull in the opposite direction' is inevitable when the pendulum swings, and this recognition acts as the moderating influence.
Respecting this freedom, even He does not interfere.
We do not appreciate all the miracles in daily life - we are too busy looking for miracle-makers with extraordinary powers.
'Thank you' often means 'our account is settled'.
The baby is gazing at you without projecting a single thought of what you are.
Can we, in all things, find the subtle middle path? Then we shall see God.
The whole life is only mental modification.
Man struggles against the inevitable. The inevitable is the reality! This reality takes no notice of the private wishes and aspirations of puny, ignorant man.
Pain is inherent in life. There is no need to search for some more.
Man might call his creatures 'tradition', 'culture', 'nationhood', or even 'philosophy'. But, his creatures must inevitably share his characteristic - confusion, ignorance, impermanency and hopelessness.
Belief takes away the pain of not knowing what it is, and the keenness to know what it is. Belief dangerously "saves" us from the difficulty of discovering the truth about ourselves. Use belief as a springboard, not as a coffin-lid!
What makes relationship? Simply, very simply, relationship comes into being; it happens. None of us were born together - we came alone and we will go alone. Our relationship had a beginning and it must have an end. This is the plain truth, and intelligence which sees this, instantly transforms relationship into something very beautiful, sacred and holy. I don't know what brought us together, but that which brought us together knows what should happen, so I approach relationships very respectfully. I didn't seek this relationship - it happened. And even if I thought that I sought it, it still happened! We have come together for a brief moment - that which has arisen must also cease - so I do not expect anything, I am only waiting to discover why we have been brought together and for how long. In this waiting there is respect, there is love and a total lack of expectation. From moment to moment I am discovering your interests and how this relationship may be beneficial to both of us. But throughout, one truth is clear - I was alone, I have come together with you and I will be alone again. I am not dependent upon you nor are you dependent upon me, but in our coming together there is a certain temporary dependence. There is beauty here. Coming together is a blessing, whether we are husband and wife, brother and sister, Guru and disciple or fellow pilgrims. When this truth is realised, all our relationships are transformed into something holy. This truth is living, flowing like a river - in it nothing is taken for granted. If expectation should creep in, poisoning the relationship, intelligence springs into action: "You have taken this relationship too far." Expectation drops and the relationship continues on its own sacred level. This life is a blessing and a privilege.
Integrity and sincerity are not technical skills that can be acquired; they are spiritual qualities that manifest themselves when the covering veils are removed.
That aspiration is there only when one knows that somehow one is caught and that this bondage is intolerable.
Simplicity, goodness, integrity, sincerity and other divine qualities are gifts of God - they cannot be acquired.
One has to learn this art of dealing with sorrow or happiness, which is passing all the time. Whatever unhappiness that has not yet reached me, I avoid. If I do that, then I have enough strength and energy to deal with the sorrow that does reach me. I don't invite it, I don't anticipate it, and I don't run into it. The intelligence points clearly to the sorrow and avoids it. The sorrow that has already reached me, I allow to blow over.
The quest for self-discovery is unending. When the identity has been found, the individuality has been lost. Realization is knowledge without a knower and an object, the known without subject and object. Knowledge alone remains, the knowledge of identity. In yoga there is no belief. Where knowledge takes over there is no belief. It is because we have gone along the path of faith, belief that we have messed up our lives. If I know I am a human being, and if I know you are a human being, then there is total identity, total oneness. Nothing in the world will disturb this knowledge. According to yoga, knowledge is something that is born when the individuality dissolves in the quest. This whole thing is pure awareness; it is called meditation.
The self can get into any dress, take any form, and still it becomes self. Only God knows how to make it non-self.
The love that is directed towards Him becomes immortal, and the lover that is thus linked to the immortal is also immortalized.
Freedom is freedom from that which you possess and are possessed by. Freedom is freedom from that which you know, and have therefore limited. Freedom is freedom from that which has conditioned your mind and distorted your vision.
Yoga enables us to recognize the psychological, social, religious and national barriers, and recognize them for what they are. If we recognize that an unhealthy life-style is endangering our life, then it will drop away. If we recognize that the psychological barriers we erect within ourselves, with an external polished behavior for the public and an internal nature hidden even from ourselves, are a danger to our peace of mind and happiness, they will drop away. In the same way too, we will know that the religious and national barriers that we have put up, in the false hope of ensuring our security and prosperity, do in fact promote their opposite. Then these too will drop away from our consciousness.
There is deep, deep within each one of us this feeling 'I am so and so' and that has to be shaken.
Desires and feelings are thoughts too. They create endless problems in our lives.
So if I start thinking now that you are a manifestation of God and go on thinking it, it is possible that one day I'll really see God in you.
Can you also drop everything and reduce every action to ashes? When will you do that? When you discover that the ego which motivates this action does not exist, that pure action takes place not because 'I want', not because 'I don't want'. If this 'I' which says 'I do' is seen to be non-existent, then your problem is solved. Then what is called God's Will will prevail.
Without hope you don't die. That hope keeps you alive is one point of view: as long as you're alive there is hope that you'll get something. But this much is true - that hope creates a thing called future, which does not exist and therefore forces you to ignore the truth as it is. It is being present. That's all.
You are extremely humble for you see that the lowliest person in the world is you in another form.
I am alone, I was born alone, I will die alone and nothing, nothing, nothing in the world will do anything! Even so, everybody is born alone and will die alone and will pursue their own course. I cannot cling to them and there is no sense in my allowing myself to be clung to. In the meantime, you and I are together - we can make our lives as pleasant and comfortable as possible. As a matter of fact, if there is no attachment there is a greater joy in relationship. There is no jealousy, no sense of possession, no clinging, nothing. Whether you are my father or mother, my wife or husband, my son or daughter it's beautiful. As long as we are together - which means as long as you want to stay with me and I want to stay with you - we can love each other. But even then I realise that one day you will die, one day I will die. When that is seen clearly, then there is no attachment.
Dharma is a power, a force, a Shakti that bears, upholds, uplifts, preserves, sustains, protects and exalts.
Some people think that, unless they give in a big way, they should not think of giving at all. It is a great loss.
Some animals can see even in dense darkness, but some human beings are blind, although there is light and they have eyes.
Liberation is from ignorance. Renunciation is of its offspring - egoism and mineness.
A man who is ignorant may find the truth one day, but the man who thinks he knows everything is far from God.
If I see a scorpion in my lap, it is impossible for me not to act immediately. The seeing itself is action. Such is the beauty of seeing the truth for what it is. But in our case we think we see the truth and the danger in the sort of life that we are leading. Because we are only thinking of this danger we also think that we can somehow fix it. That is a confused mind. It has no power to act and there is no action, only confusion.
The goal of the body is the grave or the crematorium. But the goal of the soul is God or perfection. "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your father in heaven is perfect." In our endeavor to reach this perfection, we serve humanity. This is culture, this is religion.
Before saving someone who is drowning, are we sure that we are good swimmers?
Why should we beg for food from God, our Parent? Work for it! Why should we pray for prosperity? Work for it. Why should we pray for health? Live a clean life.
One ceases to judge when there is love at heart. Love does not need to be proved. When affection, neutrality, freedom, etc. have to be proved, love is absent.
"I" is immediately afraid of "you". That fear generates conflict, violence, hatred.
In a truly holy man, action does not need a motivation.
Meditation is the direct immediate observation of the arising of the "I", the ego, without a mediator.
There is a distinction between thinking and worrying. Thinking is essential; worrying is unnecessary - it actually prevents thinking.
Study all the scriptures as a bee collects nectar from the different flowers, and makes sweet honey. But beware - do not manufacture poison. The bee does not do it.
Integrity and sincerity are not technical skills that can be acquired, but spiritual qualities that manifest themselves when the covering veils are removed. Neither wholeness nor sincerity can be fashioned by human effort, it is human effort that veils them.
I may pretend that whatever I am and do in my life, as long as I sit and meditate for half an hour every morning, I can call myself a yogi.
Education is that which is able to bring out the best in each one of us. It is beginningless! Hence it is a fresh beginning every day, every moment. It is a spiritual adventure undertaken by the parent, teacher and student together. None of the three has authority over the others, all of them being part of this maturing process. All of them learn all the time from one another and from themselves. In this spirit of co-operation there is no compulsion, no surrender, no suppression and no rebellion. Education is the expression of whatever is best in man and the spirit of education is the focussing of attention within one's own heart to observe what is thus expressed! Such observation is itself maturity.
There are a number of cults that claim that, when you meditate, all disease will go. Impossible. And what for?
Only in an atmosphere of discipline will the young be inspired to discipline themselves.
Self-discipline is the antidote to selfishness. Only he who is unselfish can be disciplined.
To the devotee everything is the gift of God; therefore he is constantly contented.
We don't want to look within because even an occasional glimpse is so horrifying that we would rather busy ourselves by 'saving' someone else.
Fear understood is fearlessness.
A beautiful Sanskrit verse describes the following sequence: "Knowledge (education) gives rise to right conduct (gentleness, humility and so on); right conduct generates the requisite qualification; the qualified and skilful earn wealth; wealth is righteously utilised, and happiness follows."
Illiteracy is a curse. Poverty is a curse. Backwardness is a curse.
You really are the cosmic being, but you have hypnotized yourself into a self-limited personality. Therefore the yoga of meditation is not self-hypnotization, but self-dehypnotization.
Put yourself in the other man's position, sincerely and truly. What would you expect? Compassion? Be compassionate.
God compels us, at a certain stage, to love Him as He loves us. It does not depend upon our will to yield or not to yield; it depends upon God.
Aggression is frustrated craving. Where craving arises, that craving itself becomes aggression, violence and hate. The object is not the real cause of the craving arising; but the craving arises in me. First I dismiss the illusion that there is an external cause and I begin to investigate the internal cause.
Even if meditation leads nowhere else, at least it does not cause the destruction of all those living things and the intoxication of the body.
Aggression is the deluded ego-sense which struggles to protect the shadow at the expense of the substance.
Whatever I may practice, if I am not sincere in the sense of wholesouled dedication and an integrated approach, yoga is not possible. Yoga is integration, wholeness.
The love of one is merely a stepping stone for the love of all, not to be treated as an isolated experience.
It is the emotional assent that provides the energy for what we do.
Love is merely the expression of the unity that already exists between us.
In order to find out what God is, you must first of all know what sort of person you are, who you are - not the body, not the living being, the flesh and bones, but the inner-spiritual entity. God is not so different from this inner spiritual entity. But whereas your spiritual or psychological personality is subject to ignorance and therefore egoism, God is not.
Since a truth has been declared by a holy man, something deep within us says that it must be true. Therefore, if there is a defect, it is in me, in my vision, in my perception. I start from there.
Renunciation is of its offspring - egoism and mineness.
Your friend's friendship, your husband's or wife's love, your rival's jealousy, your servant's devotion, your enemy's hate, the saint's goodwill and the neighbour's ill-will - all of them without exception, are really and truly the manifestation of love which is God.
The whole-souled acceptance and emotional participation in what you are doing is tremendously important.
We often forget that though sages may behave like mad men, mad men are not sages!
Be happy, smile, but be deadly earnest, sincere and serious. This combination of sincere earnestness, with great joviality and cheerfulness, is also yoga.
Let us not forget: God who is Omnipresent, is in the idol too.
The mind which creates happiness will also create unhappiness.
If I say, "I am happy, " it implies that yesterday I was unhappy and I fear that my happiness may not last till tomorrow.
The "I" is the measure with which we measure all else. If the weighing scale is not set properly, it will only give us a wrong reading! Know thy self!
The 'devout' have turned praying into preying! We do not pray to Him - we prey upon Him.
There is no such thing as failure really. There is only failure to do, not failure to achieve. Success is always there. So long as one does anything, success follows. To succeed is "to come after".
Liberation is from ignorance.
Fire does not look for a hot water bottle; confirmation of warmth is not necessary. The heart in which love shines, which is aware of itself without being aware of the other, with no necessity for that love to flow towards another in a dualistic relationship, that heart is unselfish and divine.
In order to understand the religious importance of prayer, it is essential that we should become aware of the nature of the three elements in prayer: who it is that prays, to whom the prayer is addressed and what the motivation is and therefore what the prayer is. One who endeavours to find an answer to these three questions enters into the state of prayer which is deep meditation.
It is necessary to distinguish ambition from action. Action is natural, inherent in life; just as "eating" (and therefore hunger) is natural to all living beings. But ambition is not natural, even as "craving for chocolate" is not natural.
When these words are uttered, the first person who hears the prayer is myself. I am suggesting to myself, I am praying to myself, "May all be happy," - which means I should not make anyone unhappy, and, if possible, I should work for the happiness, peace, health and prosperity of everyone I come into contact with.
When we assume the paramount importance of ambition, we are either blind to its destructiveness, or accept it as the inevitable price one pays for progress.
I don't want to pray to God for wealth, that's easy. The only thing that is difficult (if not impossible) for us, because we are bound hand and foot to reason, logic and thought, is how to deal with the mind which defies reason.
You can promote the others' happiness by just a kindly smile and a loving look.
If the praying devotee believes that the prayer is addressed to another person, then he does not take responsibility for the prayer.
Love and happiness can only be given out.
Ignorance is a type of knowledge that tells us that we are looking in the wrong direction or through wrong glasses which pervert our vision.
Living does not involve struggle, contrary to popular misconception. The simplest form of "living" is joyous and blissful, and life is intelligent, wise and alert enough to avoid pain and unhappiness instantly.
If I think that my happiness lies in his (or her) doing what I want, so does his happiness lie in me doing what he (or she) wants! It is at once plain that if happiness is mutual, giving it is easier, more practicable and less of a problem than demanding it.
It is the pursuit that makes pleasure pleasurable - and the inevitable reaction, painful.
'Agree with thine adversary' is a sacrifice also!
This feverish activity, with its selfish motivation, keeps the individual so intensely occupied that he has neither the time nor the energy nor the motivation to examine the whole position and ask, "Am I the real doer of these actions?"
Expectation is violence. To resist expectation is violence, too.
"I do this" seems to be incomplete, and therefore the individual adds, "because I want that". This feverish activity, with its selfish motivation, keeps the individual so intensely occupied that he has neither the time nor the energy nor the motivation to examine the whole position and ask, "Am I the real doer of these actions?"
Words are distracting, disturbing and unnecessary superfluity. Yet again the Grace of the Guru supplements non-verbal communication with verbal communication, because we are deaf to the enlightening eloquence of silence.
When the experience touches the individual who is busy with his selfish and goal-motivated activity, the individual classifies these experiences into desirable and undesirable. Two more motivations are added to his busy-ness - the seeking of the desirable experiences and the avoidance of the undesirable. He is unable to see that these experiences come and go in utter disregard of his wishes! Harassed by all this, the individual, imprisoned in the shell, invents concepts of happiness and unhappiness, damnation and redemption, God and Satan, heaven and hell, and believes that all of them exist in truth.
So long as the water flows between the banks it brings prosperity and happiness to the people and cattle.
Charity destroys greed and reminds us that we have created nothing and own nothing.
Only the right understanding of the impermanence of all that we seek in this world and intuitive faith concerning the existence of something beyond this can really and truly produce virtue.
If the heat of motivation has been turned off, there is a lot of time, energy and incentive to examine the nature of action.
Do not break anyone's heart because that is the real house of God.
Lght hurts the owl's eyes. So we, who are accustomed to darkness, find it hard to face the light.
And when truth becomes living truth, that living truth experiences no difficulty whatsoever, no obstacle whatsoever.
If you are totally dedicated to wisdom (philosophy) and if you directly understand the mind (or directly become aware of it) then you are practising yoga.
Discover is to uncover. It is there. It has to be uncovered.
You love your friend, child, wife, Master, etc. But, you should become aware of it as love; this awareness is division. Then this love should be sublimated into devotion to the divine presence in all of them.
Motiveless, desireless, unselfish love is wisdom; all else is ignorance.
You can escape or rebel against all your masters. But you cannot escape to fight this master - the ego. It drives you relentlessly and remorselessly.
The permanent values invented by man are his creatures and therefore share their creator's character - impermanency.
You, I, he, she and it are like the beads of a necklace, and the thread interpenetrating the whole is God.
There are permanent realities which are not man's invention and which do not care to be discovered by man.
The spiritual teacher can do nothing if one is satisfied with the type of life one is leading.
Somewhere between mad materialism and sleepy spirituality is the path of wisdom, the path of yoga. On account of its subtlety, it cannot be pointed out as 'This is it'. It can only be described as the Middle Path. It is not broad, like the huge middle class in society. It is the finest centre, the middle, the imperceptible truth.
It is not the pain that is painful, but the inner resistance of 'why should it happen to me?'
It is only now that there are millions of people who call themselves Buddhists, millions of people who call themselves Christians, millions of people who call themselves Hindus. But, how many people recognized that Buddha was enlightened, how many people recognized that Jesus was Jesus Christ, how many people recognizes that Krishna was an incarnation of God? Very few. If there were half a dozen fanatic devotees, there were also a dozen fanatic critics. During their own lifetimes they were not recognized as they are recognized now. That is obvious.
So, if my heart is not open, even if God stood in front of me and taught me, I would not pay any attention. I would ask a million questions and demand an identification card, "How do I know that you are God, and not an impostor?" Unless I am receptive, nothing is of any use; and if I am receptive, everything is of use. Isn't that sample!
You don't get hung up on past unhappiness or happiness. You don't get hung up on the future happiness or unhappiness. You're just left with the present happiness or the present unhappiness. Then you are quite happy!
Wherever a true disciple is, there is the Guru. That true discipleship itself is the Guru
Aware of the thorn, of the venomous snake, one is constantly on guard, one-pointedly, this above all! Vigilance until the last breath!
Gurudev Swami Sivananda once told someone: "It is easy to find a guru, but it is very difficult to find a disciple."
When you see that the lovely tail and the dreadful mouth both belong to the same cobra, you do not touch the tail and you are not bitten by its mouth.
It is not a sin to be unenlightened as long as we are looking for the light.
Facing the cobra, one does not stay motionless, but one does everything one has to do - except one will not step on it.
If the heart hears, the Word becomes flesh, living truth abides in the heart and the seeker obeys the Master's commands without a second thought! It is not even obedience; for the disciple sees no alternative. It is not obedience because it is not external compulsion or even persuasion. There is total surrender.
The second third of life's misery is expectation. You are expecting another spell of happiness to come. That expectation is more excitement, more tension. If it doesn't come you are miserable. If it comes and it is not up to your expectations, you are miserable again. What must you do? Drop the expectation and let life take over.
God or Guru does not have a stereotyped behaviour. "Do you love God?" asks Gurudev. If you love God with all your heart and soul you will recognise Him, whatever be His appearance and behaviour.
We doen wat we willen. Als het goede resultaten oplevert, nemen we het voor onze rekening. Als dat niet het geval is, zeggen we "Het is Gods wil".
Humbly approach the teacher, serving in whatever manner you can. It is not that the teacher is in need of your service, but it is through that service that you tune in. The entire trick lies in tuning in to the teacher, tuning in to the holy man. It is then that the knowledge begins to flow.
Can one ask oneself, "Have I looked at the problem from all possible angles to ensure that all foresee-able factors have been taken care of?" This enquiry is endless, unfathomable and pathless.
Are we leading exactly the same life as other animals, with an added burden called an intellect?
You take the fullest advantage of every spell of happiness that comes your way, but you don't cling to it. If it goes, it goes. Therefore you are safe from the terrible distress that formerly possessed you when happiness left you.
Devotion and affection, plus service, open the channel of communication.
We don't mind extremes of emotion, but we don't like calm, tranquil life. We have reached such a state of perversion that we value those things.
Is that what we are here for - to tell one another what we should or should not do?
One does not "accept", as accepting leads to justification and defending.
It is blessed to be born human. It is blessed to experience the longing for freedom from the tyranny of the mind. And thirdly, it is indeed a rare privilege and bliss to enjoy the company of the holy one.
Can we live without clinging and kicking?
If there is some dirt just below your eyes, it is quite possible that you can't see it. You have to seek someone else's help to find this dirt.
I followed Swami Sivananda implicitly, and am glad to have done so. No doubt, he asked me to do things, and I did them because I knew it was right to do them; the responsibility was mine all the time.
The bee does not compare this flower with the other flower.
The Guru cannot see for the disciple, the Guru cannot force the disciple to see, nor even persuade him to see, for all this is violence.
But, is it enough not to hurt intentionally? Or, is it necessary also to consider possible consequences and avoid even unintentionally hurting another? Also, is it possible that everything that we do may directly or indirectly hurt someone, even when this was not intended?
The immature man prays for worldly success, prosperity and happiness, without realizing that these and the pursuit of pleasure were the real causes of his unhappiness!
He who rejects 'external' (scriptural, parental or guru's) guidance should be careful enough to avoid the 'promptings of the conscience' and probe deeper to come face to face with the innermost springs of action.
We must stop "examining" our emotions, looking for explanations (justifications) and blaming others or ourselves for our actions. Thought obstructs spontaneous activity!
The purpose of the liturgy is also the same - to lift the human heart to the lap of God. We sit together, and feel we are all one. That is the Truth. As soon as we leave the places of worship, however, we completely ignore the lesson we learnt.
It does not take two to make a quarrel, but only one, and that one is "me". If "I" will not quarrel, no one can make me quarrel, no one can quarrel with me. At once there is peace, harmony, health and happiness in me, and in my relationship with others.
Nature is complex in her simplicity. She loves those who try to understand her.
Problems only arise when someone wants to imitate someone else. I want to imitate you, only because I have not discovered what I am.
A man is known by his companions! For they do in a subtle way influence us. They awaken and vivify the tendencies (good or bad, desirable or undesirable) latent in us.
When one discovers one's inherent inner nature, it becomes natural for one to become good. It needs no persuasion, no imposition, and no enforcement from outside.
Be neither an optimist nor a pessimist. Blow the 'mist' and get clarity.
If I love someone, whatever he does is all right. But if I hate someone, I don't mind if he is killed. These two constantly lead me into some kind of mess or other.
In nature there is no worry.
Balance is to match my effort with the challenge in front of me.
Don't disturb a man's faith, but say "You are quite right". But add a little thing extra and one day he will become a saint!
When I don't imagine anything, I see the world as it is, the circumstances as they are, and not as I hoped they might have been, nor as I fear they are, but just as they are. I see the circumstances just as they are, without the calculating intellect, and without the emotional heart clouding the whole thing.
When I am measuring up to a standard I am struggling all of the time.
When harmony does not prevail, it is good to stop, pause and re-examine the situation.
You are God's child and I am God's child too.
So, even this disharmony has to be discovered and seen for what it is. Then it hurts. It will hurt if (and only if) we are sensitive, sincere and serious about our own discovery. If we are, then we stop blaming others for what exists in us.
Do what you have to do; the reward is not your concern.
Once I taste this inner peace and harmony, health and happiness, I see that they are all one, and that it is its own protector.
Give more than you take. Serve more than you are served. Love more than you are loved.
But, as long as that hope is there, there is no hope of attaining anything.
What the revelation of life is, is a great secret, known only to you.
Death is not a respecter of persons, but it is in love with all.
When truth becomes living truth, that living truth experiences no difficulty and no obstacle whatsoever.
When you realize that death puts an end to all this, you live without being torn between these concepts of good and evil, right and wrong.
It is up to the disciple to see for himself how the mind throws up doubts and distractions.
I do not want to see only from one angle, one side. I want to go round, and see what it looks like from the front, from behind and from all sides. Then I will never be shocked.
Our own little human self, the ego, bursts in every little while - sometimes in a tragic way. Tragic because at such times our own selfish little personality projects itself in the garb of the divine, which is terribly confusing. Hence meditation is vital.
It is the understanding that everyone is free to free himself from ignorance with the help of knowledge (experience), and that if my experience is real to me, yours is equally real to you.
Spiritual life demands keen discrimination, intelligent dispassion and firm determination. This demands an ability to make sacrifices, a daring spirit of adventure and a willingness to make the necessary psycho-spiritual experiments which might cost us not only the pleasures of this worldly life but our life itself.
Why not, right from now, observe within myself this bud bursting with eagerness to blossom?
If the spirit is not there, even a swami teaching in his glowing garb might be paving his way to hell.
We blame our present conditions on a remote past, ignoring the immediate cause (which may be the same as the remote cause). The problem is inside me; the problem is me, not what I did years ago. It is more profitable therefore that we should look within immediately, now, and discover the present cause of the present conflict or unhappiness, without relating it to past Karma or commitment.
Some functions in the body are completely involuntary. In the same way, life in the world goes on whether we will it or not. The major part of it is beyond our control.
We do not suffer because of some unknown sin we committed in the distant past, but because of the state of our being just now
If you have no faith in the Guru you will suspect whatever He says, even when He points to God - which means you are not sincere, mature or eager in the first place.
The most dreadful sequel of the past is the repetitive tendency which past action leaves in our mind. This is the reason why our life runs round in circles.
Only fools think that knowledge and action are two different things; knowledge must be followed by action.
The mind can only comprehend that which it can compare with something that is already known.
When will 'I' leave 'me'? But why should I pick it up at all? Why do I pick it up? On account of ignorance, of selfishness and of foolishness. Oftentimes we wake up after we have been trapped.
It is a terrible sin to give up something that you love. Smoke until it burns your lips and burns your lungs, because until you decide not to take up the next cigarette, nobody on earth can help you.
While this love is not there and when obedience is seen to be lacking in the spirit, one has to turn to what is prestigiously (in the right sense of that word - deceptively) called conscience.
Is there any problem in our life that cannot ultimately be traced to this single thing - selfishness? If I give that away, I am free.
Helplessly whirling on this merry-go-round, man invents what he considers permanent values.
We have been told that, if we suffer in this world, we will go to heaven and enjoy there. We have been conditioned to think that in order to enjoy afterwards we must suffer now. The suffering is therefore directly related to some pleasure later on. We cannot abandon the idea of pleasure altogether. Let it go, I don't want it either here or hereafter, neither physical nor spiritual. I don't want this at all; it is a nuisance.
If you have a whole bookshelf of cookery books, it will not appease your hunger until you apply the recipes and cook something!
If I go to the teacher, I must go symbolically holding a flower in my hand. "It is the flower of my heart that I offer at Your Feet." And having offered myself at His Feet, I stand there not expecting a thing, knowing that expectation itself is the parent of all unhappiness, of all misery.
The ego has 'understood' the teaching and henceforth becomes the Master's self-appointed messenger or interpreter.
The pattern of development is not something imported from outside, it is already there. Divinity is not something which I can get from outside. It has merely to unfold.
A spiritual organisation is a necessity, but a dangerous necessity. If you are constantly alive to the danger, your spirit is alive too, and you are not trapped. God be with you as Wisdom.
The flower unfolds beautifully and subtly, because the fullness or the developed state of perfection was already inherent. It did not have to call for perfection. Even in the bud stage, perfection was there already. Therefore the unfoldment has to happen. There can be no hurry in development, no haste in unfoldment. It has to happen.
"Go on, go on," He would say. "My voice is not good." "God knows your voice is not good. It is no news to Him! Go on, sing!"
We are caught in "either - or." Either I must do it or God must do it. This is an artificial choice. Either "I" must do it or "they" must do it. Why not both? Why not do my part of it.
But I'm afraid I love that word disillusion. It implies that you are under an illusion and that illusion was knocked away. One should love to be disillusioned!
When God made you, He put something into this personality of yours that he did not put anywhere else in the world.
But unless based on truth, these act as palliatives and tranquillisers, and by mitigating the pain they lower the vitality.
In countries where there is the concept of competition, the concept that prosperity means one must promote someone else's adversity.
Whoever created the world and 'me' did not intend that I must be miserable. It depends upon me.
I see that when it comes to this matter of development, of life itself, when I am working with other people, there is this spirit of competition, there is this spirit of desire to shine better than somebody else, there is this desire to dominate others. Therefore, there is the seed of violence.
Because he is not concerned, he does not judge. He only sees the suffering of others. His goodness spontaneously responds to relieve that suffering.
I do not know what I am; I do not know whether I am a vicious or a good person. It is only in my encounter with you, when I come to deal with you, when I bring myself to work with you, and when we are all engaged in this business of development, that I discover myself - "discover" in the sense of "uncovering".
Unless the whole life is transformed into divine life, it's still hopeless, useless.
Self-development is like the unfolding of the spirit that is already there. But I am not able to discover that spirit all at once, because the spirit is covered. When I turn to look within, I am merely seeing that cover. The "cover" of craving for pleasure, craving for domination, for superiority - all of which is violence. I need to be able to look at this clearly, look at it closely, turn it around, and see how it works, so as to handle it successfully.
The dull intellect thinks that one point of view is the absolute truth which means that you think that your point of view is the only truth in the whole world.
It is only when there is no disorderly feeling and thinking, no commotion, that I can see clearly. This clear-seeing is what is really called "clairvoyance".
My Guru often pointed out, "Serve someone self-forgetfully." If you are able to reach that point of self-forgetfulness in the service of even one person, then it is possible for you to acquire a taste for it, and this period of self-forgetfulness might become more and more permanent, more and more expanded. In the course of time you may not only forget the self, but find out that the self does not exist.
"Either - or" - either we rush or we go to sleep. Neither of these is true.
In the real world of life there is no room for hopes and ambitions at all. There's plenty of room for action - which is inevitable - but hopes and ambitions must lead either to distraction, (occasionally), and to frustration, (more often).
Let us have the truth, even if the heavens should fall. One must have the courage to discover the truth within one's own nature, without merely assuming what it is like.
Our effort should be to assimilate the truth and not let it stay as an almond with shell. Cracking this nut of truth is called yoga.
I should not be ashamed of the undivine thoughts in me, nor should I assume "I am all God".
You cannot beat a flower into blossoming.
Objective phenomena are interpreted by one's own self. Everything in this world is 'related' to oneself, evaluated on the touchstone of one's own self. To the extent they are related to one's self - either through love or through hate or through fear - their value is exaggerated. Life's problems therefore do not spring from the external objects, but from the triple factor of love, hate and fear. Life and its problems, objective phenomena and their value can therefore be understood as they are, only if we understand these three factors. Fear is not inherent in the objects feared, but comes into being within me in relationship. This fear, if not understood for what it is, will continue to infect all relationships, as it goes in search of a cause. Even so in the case of love (in the sense of sensual infatuation) and hate. Hence it is vital that one should turn within oneself to see what this fear is.
When the thorn is in one's foot, one does not resignedly say, "This is not my business, leave it to God."
The Light is the (our) destination. But, we shall not know that unless we tread the path and reach the destination.
The asking itself is the answer.
Whatever man captures dies. Whatever he hoards smothers him. What he seeks destroys him.
Light illumines, it is not concerned with, nor is it responsible for what we do with or in that illumination.
When I have truly assimilated something I do not even record it. What for? I am that!
Diversity does not cease to be by merely raising another thought called unity, another thought called omnipresence, another thought called infinity. It only adds to our worries.
The intensity of this dialogue is kept high by the intensity of the mutual affection between the guru and the disciple and their earnestness in the quest of truth.
If I am not able to see God in this man, it is not because this Omnipresent God suddenly disappeared from that particular spot. There is something wrong in me so that I cannot read the fine print. It is not because the fine print is not clear, but because my eyesight is not good. Therefore I must rectify that, instead of trying to manipulate the outside world.
Learning what someone else has said about something else is what I call foreign knowledge - knowledge that belongs to somebody else. It is not part of me, it is not me. When that 'knowledge' comes to an end I am born.
We cannot do without the Guru on the spiritual path. We cannot do even without the material objects like food, clothes, and shelter. These are like the crutches with which the lame man walks. We cannot renounce them all of a sudden. We must develop inner strength, dispassion to a high degree, before we can be content with chance alms, the shade of a tree, or near nudity.
It is easy to abstain and it is easy to indulge; but it is difficult to be moderate.
It is the ego that says, "I am egoless."
The 'I' did not exist at all in Him. Therefore, His actions were unpredictable.
But life is not something that stands in front of you - life is in motion.
Yoga has no goal at all. The pursuit of the goal is the root cause of all our troubles and difficulties. When the goal is dropped, life seems to know which way to flow, how to flow and in that flow there is no problem, there is no anxiety, there is no mental distress, there is no unhappiness. But the avoidance of unhappiness is not necessarily the goal of yoga. When the self remains the self, without pursuing a goal outside itself, without pursuing an object created by itself, there is bliss. Bliss is not the goal. Once the bliss is taken to be a goal outside the self, the division is made and trouble starts.
What we usually do with all the great masters is to follow all the convenient examples. What suits me, I follow. But I cannot do what is uncomfortable for me. And therefore, when he does what does not suit me, I say, "Oh, He was so great. He was God almighty; he can do that, but I cannot; I can only do this." I put Him on a pedestal and worship Him - and what is comfortable, nice, and pleasant, I blindly copy. That won't do.
Wherever we start in our search for the Truth we must remember that these are words.
This is not what I am here for; not to imitate, but to find myself. What am I here for in this world? What is my unique role to play in this world? That each one has to discover - then that itself acts, enriching one's life.
Vigilance does not mean tying ourselves with a set of 'do's and don't's', but looking within and seeing what it is that creates all these problems. This looking within is meditation, and has to be constant.
"If you are inwardly awake, life itself teaches you, everything around you becomes your teacher. If you are inwardly asleep, then God almighty, standing in front of you, is of no use to you."
You may think, 'I am an Indian,' 'I am a Swami.' Another person thinks, 'I am a German', 'I am a yogi'. But these differences do not exist in the Self.
Therefore, one who seeks enlightenment or freedom from limitation must expose himself to these different facets, to the teachings of different Masters, different Gurus, so that there is a comprehensive understanding of this truth. It is immediately clear that one who thus exposes himself to several masters is freed from one of the greatest scourges we find among ourselves - criticism. "My guru is superior to yours."
You can be virtuous only if you (a) see the danger in non-virtue and (b) you observe the non-virtue without emotional involvement (thus avoiding self-pity and self-justification), and see the utter foolishness of it.
It is my openness, my discipleship, and my eagerness to learn that matters. Once this realization is there, the whole path is clear.
So, someone else's point of view is useless to you and it is quite possible that your point of view is equally useless to him.
If I go to him as a disciple, one who wants to learn, an embodiment of discipline, then first I must realize that I am ignorant; second that this ignorance is dreadful, that it is the cause of all my sorrow and unhappiness; and third, that this light will help to dispel the darkness of ignorance.
If I sit here and lick honey for the next hundred years, that taste of sweetness will eventually come to an end, but the sweetness of the honey itself never comes to an end, because the sweetness and honey are not two different things. They are one. That is bhuma, the Infinite. That alone is Bliss and that alone is Peace.
Ee should feel that we are nothing - zero. This zero is full, perfect, complete.
Likes and dislikes, craving and hate, are imaginary. Imagination gives rise to fear and thus to hope, and calls all this the 'future'.
The only unchanging factor in this universe is constant change; it is continuous, the continuity itself is unchanging.
Fear, hate, etc., are born of a non-existent diversity, a division between 'me' and 'the other'.
I have a rather simple prayer. "God, give me enough health to be able to serve, to work, and enough pain not to forget you."
If there is unhappiness or sorrow in me, I am not going to ask 'Why is it there?' or 'How did it arise?' but 'What is it?'
There is this vacuum, this emptiness that draws all these problems to itself; and therefore I must become aware of this emptiness. I or the personality is the emptiness that invites all the problems. If there were no vacuum, the air would not rush in.
If your mind, your heart, the emotion and life itself all come together and function as vichara, there is nothing that this cannot achieve.
If I want to maintain my dignity in spite of the fact that I am a fool, running after pleasure, I will invent a theory, a doctrine, in order to cover my own wickedness. Now I am not only a wicked man, but also a cheat!
Any love that is restricting is not love.
When we really and sincerely pray, we see the whole life in a completely different light - that there is immortality without any metaphysical connotation. And then birth, death, old age, pain, and what is called suffering, are all seen as part of the ever-flowing stream, ever changing and yet never changing. All our prayer is meant to awaken ourselves to this truth.
Vichara is the light that illumines all that we do in our life - all the thoughts, words and deeds. There is guidance as to what should be done and what should not be done, what should be renounced and what should not be renounced, without attachment. In that light one realises what one's own unique position in life is, without comparing, without feeling superior or inferior to others. Thought becomes inspiration or inspiration becomes thought, and emotion becomes devotion. The vision is freed from division, diversity is seen as identical with unity and unity with diversity. I remain I, without feeling somehow that I am different from you. I am what I am meant to be, I do what I am meant to do, but without distinguishing myself from you.
Is it possible to be free of selfishness and thus become directly aware of what this self means? What is this self? We have completely neglected this quest, and instead have been busy building up relationships, family, properties, endlessly multiplying our problems; then struggling to escape from them, and thus creating more.
If that ignorance is avoided in the first place and one is awake inwardly, neither the recognition of something as pleasure, nor its subsequent samskara and the craving would arise.
Our concepts have poured into this emptiness. This is our mistake. We keep the emptiness in its glorious state and try to rid ourselves of our problems, but the emptiness is still there and will attract something else.
When you see that the lovely tail and the dreadful mouth both belong to the same cobra, you do not touch the tail and you are not bitten by its mouth.
So long as my life is based upon what this emptiness and its contents dictate, it will run in cycles. That's all, the limit that you and I can reach. The question must arise one of these days, "Who is it that is aware of this emptiness?" Then there is what is called enlightenment. Such an enlightened life is divine life.
Dharma is not only righteousness or the performance of one's duty, but it is the balance or the force of equilibrium continually disturbed on account of the dynamic nature of creation. When the balance is so altered that the very nature of the creature is threatened, there is the descent of light - the inner light of insight.
You're tottering, you're not quite steady, and suddenly you fall flat on the ground, lie down for a few minutes, and get up - that's called death and what is known as rebirth.
A name is merely like a collar you put around your dog in order that you may recognise it and not throw a piece of bread to another dog. It has no more value than that.
When we ask someone else to make up our mind, we are literally looking for a scapegoat.
Krishna asks us to destroy this tree of ignorance by non-attachment. But we cling to its many branches. We name them 'pleasure' and 'pain', 'happiness' and 'unhappiness', and then enter into a relationship with them. We love some and hate others, thus courting endless agony and anxiety.
There is a Tamil saying, "Even your brothers do not help you as much as a few good spankings will help you."
We miss the delight and the surprise by bringing our hopes, desires and expectations with us.
If I am anxious to have peace of mind, I am like the person who is preoccupied with the need for falling asleep and repeats, "I must sleep, I must sleep." He will not sleep! Possibly, if I stop telling myself, "I must sleep," I will fall asleep immediately.
Yet just before reaching the danger spot we are complacent; just as the waters of a river about one hundred yards upstream from a waterfall appear to be completely calm, unaware of the awaiting fate.
When I wheel round and face the sun, I see only the sun, the light, and not myself. That is God-realization, self-realization, whatever you want to call it. That is perfection where there is no shadow and where truth alone shines!
Thinking about wisdom is a waste of time, like thinking about food at lunch time.
If it is part of human nature, it is absurd even to think of changing the reality. In that case, I must accept exactly the same behavior from the other man, and everything will become all right!
The Bhagavad Gita was taught on the battle-field just before the war commenced, and in that stress situation Arjuna did not have time to sit down and contemplate the message. Long afterwards Arjuna sought Krishna again and said: "Many years ago when we were about to fight, I collapsed and you gave me a brilliant exposition of philosophy. I have forgotten that. Won't you repeat it?" Krishna replied: "I was in a different mood then, because you were in a receptive mood. It is not possible to recapture it now. But I remember vaguely what was said: so I'll repeat it."
If, for example, a man has a long nose and he goes on rubbing it until it becomes the desired length, it may take six million years! The doctor could have done it in a few minutes! That is the beauty of natural evolution, unfoldment. It may happen now, or centuries later, but it has to happen eventually.
What is yoga? Krishna says: "That, having realised which you do not crave anything, and established in which the greatest calamity doesn't have the least effect on you. That is yoga." That is jnana also.
Even other qualities like arrogance, self-conceit and anger, when veiled by hypocrisy, can create the illusion of virtues! They masquerade as self-respect, righteous indignation and dignified bearing.
If you are aware of consciousness there is a division, and that is either your point of view, your object or your thought.
First, I must prepare myself; I must be ready to burst into flame. Then I must go to a Guru. By merely looking at Him, I may attain enlightenment.
Doubt may be destructive, though a healthy doubt may save a genuine seeker from a charlatan.
The Guru may have to instruct me once, twice, thrice. Usually the Holy Men restrict themselves to three attempts. My Guru would go up to ten - He had infinite patience. If you still would not listen, He would not throw you out, but offer you some tea or coffee.
You know that the body is impermanent - use it, live in it nicely, wisely - and when the time comes, drop it. You do not think that it is permanent, but that does not mean that you are asked to think that it does not exist! It does exist, but it is not permanent. That is pure vision, clairvoyance.
Wat zie ik eerst, eenmaal ik mijn aandacht naar binnen richt om te zien welke mijn fundamentele natuur is? Ik zie niet welke mijn natuur is. Ik zie dat ik hebzuchtig ben, dat ik zeer prikkelbaar ben, dat ik fier ben en geinteresseerd in prestige. Deze dingen komen op wanneer ik rechtstreeks in mezelf kijk. Kan ik dus zeggen dat dit mijn natuur is, dat ik een humeurig persoon ben? Ik kan nogal duidelijk zien dat ik gemakkelijk van streek ben, gemakkelijk geergerd. Kan ik dat nemen als mijn natuur? Hetgeen natuurlijk is voor mij moet eveneens constant zijn.
What you have to do is very different from what I have to do. It is a waste of time to imitate one another.
Why is it that we always have to be told what our duty is? It is because the attention is elsewhere. I am not discovering my nature, but I am more interested in covering up my nature, and pretending that I am something else. I am looking at someone else, and comparing myself with him. This is another wretched pastime, because it always misleads me.
You praise the teacher. He ought to be surprised to hear that the student could understand what he himself has not understood! But if he is as foolish as you are, then he thinks that he is a great teacher. And so goes the circus.
Your duty is your nature, and you cannot violate your nature. It is natural for a bird to fly, but not for me. If I jump off a balcony, nature asserts itself, not my imagined ability to fly. Nature triumphs all the time. Therefore, can I discover that nature? It has to be discovered now, every day. It is then that what my duty is, becomes clear.
The world's moral (and therefore basic) problems are nothing if the religious forces get together, instead of tearing humanity apart by mean-mindedness and jealousy.
I am constantly looking outwards, thinking, "What shall I gain from all this?" Duty is not something that I can learn from somebody else. It can only be discovered by observing one's own nature. The spontaneous expression of that nature is one's duty. In that there is no "thou shalt" and "thou shalt not". This does not arise at all. Once I turn my attention within, to see what my fundamental nature is, what do I see first?
He who sees God or the Self in all, and all in God or the Self, is a yogi.
I am a man, and as long as there is life, as long as there is consciousness, I know that I am a man, not a woman or a dog. Can I also say, in the same way, that I am irritated all the time? Few of us can say that.
Surrender must happen in its own good time. First you were bad, then you struggled hard and you became good. Then you struggled harder and you became better. Completely free of all evil qualities, you were the embodiment of all good qualities - and immediately you became worse because you were full of vanity. That is the time to surrender, and from there on surrender flows.
Every religion declares that God is one, that humanity is one, yet each one declares that it alone has the monopoly of this truth. How can religion unite man by dividing it, by carving out a slice of its own, and then proclaiming the other slices to be untruths or half-truths?
If one sincerely realises that "I could not make it myself and hence I prayed for divine grace; and it was on account of the grace that I succeeded. The success belongs to the divine" then there is true humility and continued prayerfulness. This is the key to the continued reception of grace and continued success.
Love does not exercise control nor impose its authority. Love is freedom, but this freedom is the freedom of the spirit, which asserts this freedom in humility, unselfishness and pure love - not in revolts, revolutions and violence.
Is it possible to look at unhappiness, sorrow and attachment without blaming others or even oneself.
Freedom is basically a spiritual quality. Man demands freedom because his spirit is free - ever free - never bound. Freedom is a quality of the spirit; it is not the result of a reaction.
When you really see that whatever you do is all turned into ego, vanity - then surrender arises.
We discover the truth, only if we have the courage to say, "I can hear but I cannot understand." We hear, but we do not understand the truth; we think, yet we do not understand the truth. We console ourselves that we "know".
It is only grace that can remove the 'I'. Can I, on that score, neglect to do anything? Then I am accepting and rationalising this mineness. So I have to struggle hard against it and then come to the precipice where I say, "Lord, not my will, Thy will be done. I don't know how to deal with this. I have done everything possible to overcome it. It is not possible for me. 'Me' cannot overcome 'mine'." It is then that there is an incarnation of this divine Power within you and that which was not there is realised to be not there.
We need to remind ourselves constantly that, though walls make the house, we do not live in the walls, we live in the space which was there even before the walls went up.
If I discover that I continue to be a prey to fear, to a sense of insecurity, sorrow and suffering, then surely it is not because the law of grace has become inoperative in my case, but because I am not a devotee. If there is fear, then devotion is not.
What is mind without moods, thoughts, feelings? When this enquiry is pursued, meditation happens. When this enquiry is pursued the seeker becomes truly humble and also truly virtuous. Such a seeker is the most noble citizen in the world, an asset beyond value. He is neither an escapist nor a selfish man.
If you have not tried your best, the ego is unwilling to accept defeat; and this is an essential condition to true self-surrender. When this condition is fulfilled, surrender happens and grace flows; there is absolutely no doubt that whatever happens from there on is realised to be the operation of grace.
Life has become a problem only because we have tried to isolate it from death, treating death itself as a problem. When we see that death is not a problem, but an inevitable component of life, then life is not a problem either. Life and death are inseparable.
The indivisible manifests as the diverse; all contradictions harmonise in the indivisible. This is considered a great secret because of the human intellect's inability to comprehend the totality. Hence the need to resort to an approach that is beyond the intellect but not irrational.
It is in the darkness of ignorance that prejudices thrive and cover the mind, thus creating the illusion that you are different from me.
Everyone within the field of the divine influence is redeemed - the saintly and the sinful, for energy is one and divine. All life is divine.
You may say that there is no difference between kindness and cruelty, except that kindness will beget kindness and cruelty will beget cruelty. Are you prepared to treat what you receive in the same spirit in which you give?
It will not do to ignore violence, to turn our face from it, and to pretend that we have eradicated it. It is there, in each one of us, in as much as we take sides, approve or disapprove, judge and advise.
If one is prepared to face the truth, even if there is only one small glimpse of it, just one little hole in the roof through which the light streams in, if one is prepared to hang onto it, then even one's failure in life can be welcomed and greeted as grace.
Even the striving to be happy is the surest proof of unhappiness. In this striving, when one grabs moments of happiness, the grabbing destroys the happiness and the striving, which is unhappiness, alone remains. When all these are dropped, then happiness is. It can never be caught. I can never seek happiness. I can never be happy. I am happiness.
The mind is caught in this trap of measuring, defining and thus confining. Understanding that all description is a limitation, one may drop the measuring instrument and catch a glimpse occasionally of the Immeasurable.
The quest itself is, the questioning intelligence is, the questioner is, was and will be, till dissolved in self-knowledge - when the quest ceases.
The mind ('my mind') too, is limited and conditioned - by the enormous stuff that has been fed into it birth after birth. It is loaded with this memory and so responds to this as a computer would. The intellect which is individualised cosmic consciousness can function only within the logic barrier. It is obsessed with the 'why', and it invents reasons and explanations which somehow satisfy it. The intellect may even 'accuse' the mind and the senses without realising that the accuser is also the accused! It is also conditioned.
God creates work - man creates worry. God creates challenges - man creates problems. Good will is truly God's Will.
If you are able to observe your own qualities, whether they are good or bad, those qualities undergo some change. So, while observing what is euphemistically called 'oneself', a change takes place. When the observation becomes a bit more intense, one has to wonder at some time, "How did I become my own object? With what can I observe myself and know the truth concerning myself?" When that burning question arises there is an inner explosion and an expansion of consciousness that is indescribable.
Maybe, when the "lander on Mars" scans in the direction of the earth, he does not see it at all, and decides it does not exist or at best sees it as a particle of dust which, if magnified a million times, resembles a rounded anthill, with individual ants creeping over it.
One cannot but appreciate the need for a form in worship, but that form by itself is a dead body. If I need a form and I cling to that form, it is like sleeping with a dead body. I must make sure that the person I am sleeping with is alive! So we need neither the form alone nor the spirit alone, but a spirit in form, a form enclosing the spirit.
Perhaps the first pronoun "I" is nothing but the abbreviation of the full word "Idea". The first person pronoun "I" may itself be nothing more than an idea.
When you say you don't know what it is, you don't call it anything anymore. The problem disappears without any effort but the supreme effort of self-surrender.
How did man create this space around himself in the first place? Surely by thinking that he is independent of and separate from the rest of the universe. This thought itself is space. This thought (which is the "I"-thought) generates other thoughts in order to assume and to establish a relationship between the individual and the rest of the universe. These thoughts pollute that inner space.
Truth cannot be applied. It has to be realised. It has to come from within. It must be realised and become the living truth.
The ego asserts itself and assumes an importance it does not possess. The ego thinks that it supports life and that it is indispensable, and that without it, life cannot go on in this world.
Even in striving for good things, being good or doing good, there is already strife, egoism and vanity. They will come in through the back door.
I am unhappy all the time because I am pursuing something. I am pursuing a goal that is fleeting, impermanent. What is permanent? The pursuer of all these goals, the experiencer of all these experiences, the knowledge that forever knows remains as knowledge. It doesn't pursue any goals thereafter, it is ever there, not static, not asleep, but awake, wide-awake, undivided, uncontaminated.
When Grace descends into us and we are able to observe this, then we don't see grace or the reality of God or consciousness. What we see are our own defects and weaknesses, the million ways in which we cheat ourselves, justify and rationalize our actions, our behaviour, our mode of life.
We have all done this; somebody insults you and you get angry and upset and you are miserable for a couple of days. Even that is not necessary. The whole incident lasted only ten minutes. So, why did you have to hold onto it? But the mind keeps chewing it over: "He should not have done that. This should not happen to me." The trouble happened long ago, but chewing it again, you are perpetuating the unhappiness. Time washed it away immediately.
If you are integrated, every moment of your life is divine, every moment of your life is meditation.
One good thing about the factor of time in our lives is that it seems to take everything away. If there is a little happiness, time washes it away. Unhappiness won't last as long as you don't hold it back, wishing it weren't there.
What matters is not how much water is in the ocean, but how much your bucket can carry. What kind of vessel have you got and how much can that vessel contain?
The human being can only appreciate a certain amount of pain and a certain amount of pleasure; beyond that, both of them are exactly the same experience. We suffer a dreadful illusion that the more pleasure, the better. It is not true. One becomes unconscious with pain and swoons with pleasure - they are exactly the same. In the same way, people cry out of pleasure and cry out of pain - the tears are the same. So neither the body, nor the external object, determines the definition of pain or pleasure, happiness or unhappiness.
It is in the fullness of one's achievement that there arises the knowledge or understanding that it was all due to divine grace; in that understanding there is intelligent and dynamic self-surrender.
A holy Man came to a very simple and beautiful understanding - sorrow is 's-o-r-r-o-w', nothing more than the word. If the word were not there, and if the mind that gave value to that word were not there, where would sorrow be? This Holy Man discovered that "as you think, so you become". This does not mean what it is generally regarded to mean. It only means this: I am thinking of sorrow and at that moment I experience sorrow. In exactly the same way, happiness is nothing but 'h-a-p-p-i-n-e-s-s', the word and the corresponding concept that seems to arise in the mind. Once the concept has arisen in the mind, the mind itself experiences the same concept. What is it that gives rise to that concept? When you directly enquire into this, you come face to face, not with sorrow, not with happiness, but with the content of these, which is the same - the spirit of the mind.
Among materialists, you will find many spiritual beings. Among atheists you will find devotees of God. Among the superstitious you will find highly intelligent beings. Among fanatics you will find those who are full of love and tolerance. The fact that they exist surrounded by the opposites makes them more valuable and precious: oases in deserts.
If you try to remember something that happened ten years ago, you will never be able to remember it as it was, without some imagination distorting it. Memory is never pure; it is invariably distorted by hope. Hope interferes with the purity of memory, and in the same way all our hopes are invariably built on memory. Take the memory away and there are no hopes.
To 'run away from oneself' means just this: the attention instead of flowing towards one's centre tries to stray into some sort of object during that period.
The effort to create order is disorder. The mind that sees this truth, not as an idea but as truth, is alert. The alert mind itself is order, virtue.
Grace does not mean dropping of self-effort, but Grace itself becomes self-effort, and self-effort becomes Grace.
I was alone before you came, and now I think I am with you, but it is not true. If my heart stops now and I collapse, you will not be with me, no matter who you are. My fate will be exactly what it was before you came into my life.
That is what satsang means. Can we draw a little closer to this truth by communing with these words? If that is possible, we are blessed! So, one must understand the spirit. Once you get into the spirit and go on listening to it, then something happens. The penny drops - occasionally, and not on every occasion, and not on every page that you read. Sometimes the penny drops here, sometimes there. There is a time when I understand that, there is a time when I understand this, there is a time when I understand a third thing. If it has to happen, it has to happen!
I am looking for happiness - how do I know that such a thing exists? If you ask this question seriously, only one thing exists and that is the questioner. The hoper of the hopes exists; the rememberer of the memories exists. That is all.
The planets would not twinkle but for the light of the sun. In themselves they are dull and dark. A great South Indian devotee thus spoke to the Lord: "Lord, I am a destitute without you; and your supreme compassion needs me - a weak and undeserving sinner - in order to shine. So, we are both indispensable to each other!" What a bold and true statement!
There is a state in which there is no thinking as such - I think.
A single lamp may not be powerful enough to illumine a whole street, even as a single pious action may not bring about illumination of the self. But it is possible to illumine the whole street with strings of little lamps (Diwali), even as, if all the little acts of one's life are holy, there is illumination of the self.
Nature is complex in her simplicity. She loves those who try to understand her.
Some are reputed to have great foresight. They read the future, and they are so clever that they can avert a calamity before it befalls them! They take great precautions; and since these precautions have no troubles to deal with, the precautions themselves create the troubles, become the trouble.
We do not know what happiness means. We only know what sorrow means. Happiness is, according to our limited experience, the period in between two sorrows; the time when we are not miserable. Between two headaches there is a head - waiting for the next headache! Life is something that happens between two deaths. Happiness is something that happens between two sorrows. I was unhappy yesterday, and while I say that I am happy today, there is the sneaking suspicion that this may not be so tomorrow. The valley between two hills of sorrow is envisaged to be happiness. The wish to enjoy the delight, the bliss - to capture and hold it - that becomes sorrow! Whatever you are trying to hold onto is dead. You are left with just the effort of holding on! That effort is pain and sorrow. Unfortunately, since we do not want to recognize this truth, we do not see it as such. We pretend to ourselves that we know what happiness means. The mind is not trained to live in truth. Freedom from sorrow is a negative concept. We want something positive, so we invent bliss. Having invented it, we go looking for it, we want to experience it. The periods in between the peaks of pain in life are regarded by the foolish mind as bliss, which is in fact non-existent.
Belief is a ladder that helps you get to the roof. To rest on the ladder is childish. But right belief is a ladder that helps you get there, thank God and thanks to the belief itself.
When the thorn is in one's foot, one does not resignedly say, "This is not my business; leave it to God." One does not "accept", as accepting leads to justifying and defending. Facing the cobra one does not stay motionless, but does everything one has to do - except one does not step on it! Similarly with a thorn in the foot. Aware of the thorn, of the venomous snake, one is constantly on guard, one-pointedly. This above all - vigilance till the last breath.
I serve you because I love you or am devoted to you, which means it is all in me and does not look at you, into you; it is not dependent upon what you do towards me. If that is possible, there is love. Then you are free; in that service there is freedom - I am free to serve you because I don't expect anything in return.
Perhaps "breathing" was intended more to bring about relaxation of the nerves and calming the mind, than just ventilating the lungs.
If you love me you do all sorts of things and you are prepared to undergo any amount of privation, suffering and expense. You love me because you think I am your friend or your brother. That relationship - my so and so, whatever it may be - makes you do all sorts of good things. This is a reason why this irrational, stupid idea of a relationship is very jealously guarded and maintained by society. But the unfortunate factor is that it is not goodness alone that flows out of this 'mine'. You care only for people whom you regard as 'my' people. Are these people really mine?
It is when the mind has a mental image of a past experience of pleasure projected onto an object, that the link is established. The desire arises. Otherwise there is no craving in the heart of man if this process is cut somewhere.
If 'I' is absent, as in deep sleep, unhappiness ceases too. But, then, what is 'I'? When you look for it, you cannot find it. If the 'I' is nowhere to be found, sorrow is nowhere either. This discovery leads to great joy. However with the next experience, 'I' arises again. This time it is not so deadly. You have the key to the problem. You can dispose of it quickly. When you find a firm foothold in Self-realisation the awareness in you is able to stop the sorrow before it arises. It is simple, if you learn not to complicate your life.
We all enjoy a calm mind in sleep, but since we are unaware of that calmness, it is of no use to us. The yogi tries deliberately to reproduce, create this calmness, while he is awake.
There is not much that you do not know. Moreover, when you hear something new, especially what your selective mental receptor disapproves of, you do not listen. There is danger here, for when you do not listen you distort and destroy or destructively use what you hear. This danger can only be avoided when you are mature enough to be sincere, to realise that Self-knowledge is not the product of external prod but inward sight, and you have the courage to face up to your own weakness.
What is devotion? It is motion in depth within me. There should be no externalization. The opposite of emotion is devotion or depth; the fountain which sees the truth, which loves the truth, which loves God deep within, not only here but everywhere, deep within. When I reach the depth of the image, I suddenly realize that in the depth of all beings, including this being, there is God. How shall I worship him? In any manner I like.
If you contemplate the growth of a tree, you will realise that as its branches spread out, its roots go deep and spread out underground, too. Minus the roots, the growth above - even if it were possible would wither away and might become a menace. No-one would dare sit under a tree without roots. Yet the whole of humanity today lives in such a state!
The karma yogi is able to jump six feet, the bhakti yogi four feet, the jnana yogi eight feet. Where will they land? All of them down the well! Unless we achieve integral perfection, there is no perfection.
Hope is described as a good friend, because it keeps you going. But it is your ennemy when you are looking for the truth.
This "I" was originally the infinite. Probably the letter "I" actually stood for the whole word 'infinite', but we use the word "I" to refer to the finite, to the absurdly little thing, a dot, a point. This littleness must go. This "me" must go, must disappear.
Scriptures are validated by personal experience, and till such personal experience is gained, it is unwise to accept or reject them blindly.
A man wearing simple sandals walks gently; the same man wearing fashionable shoes has a different gait. When we talk of civilization, we imply a greater accumulation of, or intimate association with the machine. Yet does the machine civilize us, evoke civilized behavior in us? Perhaps not.
The tortoise is enjoying life, which means whatever happens is natural and inherent in life. He's not running after something. You can see very well why the illustration is given. The tortoise doesn't run after any pleasure. But no-one can say that the tortoise therefore does not enjoy at all. It enjoys as much pleasure staying there as running around.
Yoga is integration of our own personality, which prevents countless physical and mental maladies; of our individuality within society, which ensures social welfare, harmony and national prosperity; of the soul with God, which is enlightenment or salvation. It is not a religion or a cult. Rightly understood: it is the core of all religions. Religious conversion loses all meaning; yoga strengthens and vitalizes one's faith in one's own religion. It promotes true understanding in each practitioner who is eager to concede to others the same religious freedom that he wishes to enjoy. Step by step yoga leads us to the pinnacle of perfection, total freedom from every type of limitation and bondage.
When you become imperturbable like the ocean, even if there is an excitement you are still the ocean. Millions of waves may be there, but still the ocean remains ocean.
Yoga is life - the whole of our life must be transformed into divine; that is divine life. To live in tune with the infinite, to let divinity radiate through every one of our thoughts, words and deeds - that is yoga. That is the price we should be prepared to pay, to win the priceless prize of self-realization.
One is good by nature. One does not want to be good, nor wish to be good - goodness is inevitable.
We are living in a strange world and yet not so strange, for it has always been so. For those who have made an honest study of the legend called history and the history called legend, it would appear that the problem has remained the same - the struggle between the forces of light and the forces of darkness. The former triumph and their triumph turns them (or their descendants) into the latter. So the world merry-goes-round.
Frustration is half of this process of spiritual awakening, because we are trying to deal with something that is fundamental. Until you become enlightened, this frustration will keep you company. And that's very good company! We are not frustrated because we are unable to deal with this shadow. Intuitively we realise that it is merely a shadow, it doesn't exist, yet it haunts us so terribly. You can't get at it. It's like a phantom pain in a limb that does not exist. So this frustration is likely to keep you company for a long time - or until you reach enlightenment.
One who would like to tread this spiritual path must be eternally vigilant; he should not relax that vigilance even for a single moment. As long as there is an "I" capable of being vigilant and therefore of being non-vigilant, one should be vigilant. This eternal vigilance itself is enlightenment, liberation. I think now it is easy to see how and why a person who is eternally vigilant must inevitably enjoy his life here and now. That is obvious. If I know that when I stick my finger into this power point, it might electrocute me or give me a painful shock, I will not do it at all. That is the person of eternal vigilance. One who realizes that a certain action is foolish and causes unhappiness will not do it. He is vigilant. Therefore a person who is eternally vigilant is happy now.
Wisdom lies in understanding the totality of life, the truth concerning life, and in not being distracted by one or the other events that are also part of life. This is the beauty - and this is the difficulty.
We fall down because we attempt to excel. Why do I want to excel? Because I want to have control over you, to dominate you, to mould you. It is here that we have gone wrong. The rose by just being the rose attracts everybody. We have a beehive at the ashram. I don't even tell the bees where the roses are blossoming, they know. That flower, by just being what it is, has such tremendous power over all those bees.
All our experiences and expressions contain an element of truth and an element of falsity. The false is our own opinion, our ideology and our concepts. The truth is 'what is'. This is eternal and infinite and therefore beyond the reach of the intellect.
Clairvoyance means, in French, "clear sight". That is all. My sight is clear, it is not confused, and therefore I am able to look within, see the mind clearly. It becomes transparent. There one discovers what one is.
Can you, without a shirt, feel the centre of your back? It's very difficult. But let one small ant crawl there and you can pinpoint that spot on your back. You become aware of it. In the same way sorrow is there in order that we may be able to look within and see that where it hurts, what hurts.
Remember that crucifixion must precede resurrection. Resurrection is a divine act, not a human achievement.
Life is for living. Idleness is for the dead. But there should be a time and place for work, for worship, for play and to pray.
There is another word with ear right in the middle - heart. You hear with your heart. So if you really want to learn, the ear with which you learn is in the heart, and that heart should wear a transparent lens.
But it might also be that the very act of turning to find what this 'I' is, is capable of steadying the mind and purifying the heart.
Life is an experiment (which is the use of freewill in the play), but gambling is forbidden!
We must learn to distinguish between being active and restless. Work and worry are also two different things. God created work, man created worry.
And all the theories that man has invented are meant only to lead us there, to the discovery that 'I' is not. When we realise that simple truth, confusion disappears.
We are not worried if we are fools. We are not worried even if others know we are fools. But we are upset when we are aware that others know we are fools.
To fail is not failure. It is a pointer to the area of weakness which needs to be strengthened. The search itself is success. The intelligence is awakened. This is immeasurable success. This is religious instruction of the future: to hear the truth, and having heard the truth, to examine oneself in its light.
If you scratch my back, I purr, and if you squeeze my tail, I jump on you. It doesn't seem to make any sense at all. One who is intent on discovering his identity does not react, and the problem does not arise in his heart: "Must I conform or must I non-conform?"
Every wall you and I have erected, sooner or later becomes a dividing wall.
It seems that God, having created all beings in the universe, suddenly finds himself homeless. It seems that God said, "I have created man. He is my own child, so I must not be too far away from him, but he must not grab me - unless his heart is pure. So, what must I do? Where must I dwell?" "I will dwell in his heart, very close to him, and yet he will never look into his own heart - unless it is pure."
Why must I feel that it is too late to change now? Why must I be shy - ashamed of confessing that I have been wrong, that I have messed up my own and other people's lives? If that is true, let us face it. Whatever be my chronological age, if I have not started on the quest of self-discovery, I am an unborn baby. If I don't know what I am, how do I know I exist?
If you look at the world with love, it reflects happiness towards you, if you look at the world with hate, it reflects unhappiness towards you.
Spiritual life should result in our expressing our essential, divine, spiritual nature, in all our thoughts, words and deeds. This demands keen discrimination, intelligent dispassion and firm determination. This demands an ability to make sacrifices, a daring spirit of adventure, and a willingness to make the necessary psycho-spiritual experiments, which might cost us not only the pleasures of this worldly life, but our life itself.
As long as life lasts, the swinging between balance and imbalance, tension and non-tension, light and darkness, go on; but in the light of this inner intelligence that shadow play is not seen. One who understands this is instantly freed from doubt and also from intention, attachment to action (or the feeling: 'I do this') and from longing for the results of the action. His is the natural life.
Gurudev Swami Sivananda constantly warned that without desirelessness, egolessness and (on the positive side), seeing God in all, mere activity is but labor, so much energy wasted.
If God is treated as some kind of an external object or person, the desire for God is as good or as bad as a desire for a car. But if God is understood as the very self of oneself, as the reality of one's being, then the whole position changes. Then desire for God only means a keen aspiration to understand oneself. This Self-knowledge does not arise if the mind is distracted and the heart disturbed by discontent and desire. Again, if one is able to observe oneself in the midst of distraction and desire, to find out the content and reality of such distraction and desire, the discontent ceases and tranquility prevails. One is able to see clearly the difference between desire for an external object (which is accompanied by restlessness of the mind) and the desire or aspiration for Self-knowledge (which tranquilises the mind and leads to clearer perception).
Consider that you are only the trustee of the wealth that has been entrusted to you by God. You are certainly not going to take it away with you when you leave this world, so why make yourself and others miserable by hoarding it? Put yourself in the other man's position, sincerely and truly. What would you expect? Compassion? Be compassionate. Turn accursed wealth into a great blessing. Share with all.
Perhaps mind is only a word, yet it creates - not sorrow, but the thought of sorrow. This sorrow is merely a thought, yet having projected it, the mind feeds on it becoming more and more unhappy. This is the most undignified way for a human being to live.
Ordinary human beings weep with the sorrowful, and laugh with the joyous. But the yogi knows that whether those experiences seem to be pleasant or unpleasant, the content of those experiences is the same pure experiencing that arises in the one undivided, indivisible intelligence. The yogi behaves in exactly the same way as you and I do, seeing, touching, hearing, smelling, tasting etc. But he knows that all these actions or expressions of his own senses, of the mind, of the intellect, arise in that intelligence,
If you realise that this world is one of incessant and unending misery, then living in this world you are not miserable - you have understood that this is indeed the nature of the world, so why be unhappy about it? Once you know this you do not expect anything other than that - which means that all your unhappiness springs from expectation of something that is not. Why does the mind expect to gain something that the world does not possess?
There are many methods of meditation, but the one unalterable law is that, if we are sincere in our approach to our practice, we must arrive at the truth that the God, who dwells in our hearts, dwells in all.
Fear leaves you if there is no hope. Hope does not arise if there is no fear (they go together).
Basically, the philosophy of yoga does not indulge in injunction and prohibition, but promotes awareness. That is the key word. Awareness.
Eternal vigilance, in the beginning, looks like a discipline. But, once you have found the key to this whole spiritual movement, eternal vigilance is natural. Until this freedom from the tyranny of the mind becomes natural, one needs company of saints and holy ones, which is regarded as supreme blessing.
Harmonizing our relationship with one another is also yoga. Harmonizing our relationship with cosmic forces is also yoga, bhakti yoga.
The densest darkness has no power to challenge the light of a small candle!
If I am devoted to God, if I repeat his name with every breath, if I am good and do good, how can witchcraft touch me at all? If I am devoted to God in this manner, then the harm that someone may direct towards me will only rebound on that someone.
Can you justify your foul temper, saying it is natural to you? No. If it is your nature, then you will be so twenty-four hours of the day, even during your sleep!
I say I am worried, but if I try to find out who "I" is, what this "worry'' is, the problem is gone.
You are so busy doing, that there is no time, energy or inclination to wonder "Why am I doing all this?" Mere blind action is labour. According to the Bhagavatam, if you go on doing the most wonderful, glorious, religious or social action without devotion to God, your life is a real waste.
In fact everything you wish to have comes along with everything you wish to avoid. You cannot possibly break up these pairs and have them singly.
Basically and fundamentally, nature is in a state of balance. It does not allow any disturbance to get out of hand. That power that is released to restore the balance is divine.
All preconceived notions of what is right and wrong, good and evil, righteous and unrighteous, all these dualities are the creation of the ego, which is the creation of Maya. These may be approved by society - you have a sort of stupid satisfaction, because your conduct is approved by people and you are respected by them. When you look within yourself, you must be able to see this vanity. You must see the uselessness of this kind of life. It is then that you arrive at the precipice - this is all you can get to, the only point you can reach.
The animal and the tree always do what they have to do, what nature meant them to do. But the human being tries to do what he wants to do. There is a desire motivation here. Very soon he discovers that he cannot always do that and immediately there is conflict, because he does not know whether he should do something or whether he should even wish to do it, wish not to do it, or wish to do something else. So he chooses between the path of wisdom and that of non-wisdom. That is where the problem lies. In animal existence there is no choice, but in human existence there is an illusion that there is choice. It is the ego that thinks it has the choice and that it has to make choices.
Only that mind can be still which has arrived at its own conclusion. It has committed suicide as it were. Just as the ocean can become absolutely calm, without any waves at all, and yet still be there, only its modification as waves and currents having ceased, even so intelligence will be there without the modifications known as thoughts, ideas, concepts and actions.
If you have taken a walk in the bush you might begin to wonder, why are there such a variety of leaves? Who is interested in that variety, that diversity? This is merely the work of infinite consciousness expressing itself infinitely without desire.
If I am able to face the truth that there is no security in this changing world, from that springs all the virtues. I do not assume that people are the same today as they were yesterday, so I approach them humbly.
Awareness, becoming aware of itself, creates an apparent division within itself. The division is not real, because it is apparently created within itself when consciousness becomes aware of itself. That is the world. Since it is not your consciousness that has created this, or since you do not have any consciousness independent of the totality, you cannot create a world. You can only dream up something and become involved in that dream. You think you are - 'I am'. And that 'I am', being repeated again and again, seems to be the truth.
What is the purpose of life? Is there any purpose or do we merely exist until we die? What is my relation with you? What is the meaning of "pleasure and pain"? Often these questions do not arise in man's mind until he is rudely shaken by shock, failure or calamity. The normal man is far too busy with the struggle for existence to find time for such thoughts about life. He is content to exist; he hardly ever lives. Even miseries fail to waken him; he only changes his tactics, blaming his neighbors and sometimes himself, and endeavors to find happiness by other methods. There is total darkness around him, and even the way out is completely forgotten. At such times the Almighty Lord grants us great spiritual awakeners, who come and live with us.
Sooner or later, the 'truth' of the teaching is brought home - life has its own magic cure (pain!) for the blindness of stupidity.
If we try to reach out to the infinite with finite instruments, we have trouble, mess, confusion, sin and headaches. It is here that we are caught.
Freedom is 'being'. Freedom is inherent not only in the human being, but in every being. To be free, therefore, is everyone's inalienable right.
Food outside the body decays, but the same food eaten, digested and assimilated, becomes body, becomes "me", becomes living substance.
The need for self-realization is in the battle of life. I am the creator of this battle. I am the battle.
When you see that life is timeless, consciousness is timeless - life flows in consciousness, that is sufficient unto itself. You are once and for all free from haunting memories, hopes and fears.
Saint Francis looked at this man and said, "If you have not learned so far, I cannot teach you any more. If you have not had the power of observation, then saying a few words is not going to be of any use to you."
We have to come to the end of the tether, we have to experience despair, we have to go right down to the edge of the precipice, ready to be knocked over. Then you know what danger is, then you know what grace is, then you know what lies beyond what is called life.
The yogi is not an unusual, super-natural, super-normal being. Everyone has knowingly or unknowingly experienced the state of yoga some time or other. In the case of most of us this state of yoga happens and we do not taste it, we do not enjoy it, and therefore we are not established in it. The yogi consciously and deliberately moves towards it. One must be very careful here. You cannot consciously and deliberately bring on the state of yoga, it has to happen; but you can consciously and deliberately move towards it, so that you have an indirect experience of it, in the penultimate state, and in the state afterwards, when you return to what is called normal consciousness. In other words, when you want to fall asleep, you arrange the pillows properly, you switch off the lights, you lie down and you observe yourself falling asleep. As long as you are observing, you are not going to sleep. When you have fallen asleep, you stop observing; a couple of minutes before you are destined to sleep, the observation is switched off. But having deliberately moved towards that sleep, you remember, "This is what I wanted." And when you wake up in the morning, you say, "Oh, that was beautiful." So, if you have learned to enjoy that state of sleep, to enjoy that state of yoga, then you cherish it, you value it, and then it is possible for you to be established in it.
All objects are projections of a subject or parts of a belief system - ideas, opinions, fragmentation of some sort of knowledge.
You cannot will yourself into the state of yoga. But in this repeated exercising and experiencing of the state of yoga - not in itself but just before and just after - something within tastes that peace, tastes that bliss. You value the inner peace more than anything else. Therefore you are asked to meditate in the morning, immediately after getting up from bed, coming out of sleep. It is so beautiful, so blissful. You have been sleeping for six or seven hours. The world went on without you, probably better without your meddling. Even the body was alive, functioning. So once again, just like the tortoise withdraws its limbs into its shell, you bring yourself back into it, and try to taste that peace. 'Taste' that peace this time. You spend half an hour or an hour in meditation, then you get up and come out, making sure every now and then that that peace is still there, that you have not dropped it anywhere. If I do not drop that which I have in my pocket, it's bound to be there. When in this fashion, you constantly repeat that taste, that experience of the inner peace, then you are established in it.
The art of 'awareness' is very much like the awareness of a thorn that has entered your foot and cannot be removed. You are extremely vigilant not to aggravate the trouble and while you do your work, you are ever careful not to let the thorn go deeper into the foot, to hurt you. For how long? For a whole life time!
It is when man aspires to rule another that conflict arises, and his own personality is split into numerous fragments. For such a person it is almost impossible to experience Holy Communion. To be holy one has to achieve "wholeness". To achieve wholeness means the resolution of all conflicts, all duality. In fact, this is communion - hence communion is holy.
Yet, what is truth? What, What, What? Let us keep asking "What?" and answering "What" till we find the Christ in our heart.
Unless we are good and we do good, and thus align ourselves with the world order, an expectation is arrogance and foolishness. When he comes again, may he not find us on the side of evil! Such should be our active prayer day and night, especially on this auspicious occasion, the Holy Christmas when we remember His incarnation.
Lord Jesus cautions: "But when thou art praying, go into thy inner room and shut the door upon thyself and so pray to thy Father in secret. When you are at prayer, do not use many phrases."
Life is not born; it does not undergo any change. The differences we see are assumed and not real, but they give rise to different attitudes, approaches, forms of behavior and different experiences, which we call good and evil, pleasure and pain, hell and heaven. Life is beyond all these. Life is God.
Of course, we pollute our love of God with our petitions, but He has His own ways of weaning us away from this weakness. We are made to realise that what we need has already been provided by Him, and that He does not always respond to our foolish prayers. This realisation frees prayer from the petitioning spirit. In pure, supreme love, we pray: "Thy will be done." A miracle takes place. When this 'supreme love of God' comes to dwell in our hearts, all contrary feelings are banished from it. Neither hate nor fear can dwell in the heart which is filled with supreme love of God. Unbeknown to ourselves we find ourselves in a position where we love all: there is no other emotion in our heart.
Karma yoga is the touchstone for the truth of meditation, and meditation will necessarily obliterate the distinctions that are created by the mind. Karma yoga is when meditation and life fuse into one.
Where are happiness and unhappiness? They are directly related to hope. As long as there is hope, there must be disappointment, suffering. As long as there is desire to be happy, there must be unhappiness. As one goes on seeing all these polarities, one realises one's freedom. When I have no hope, I have no despair; once I am free from the desire to be happy, there is no more unhappiness for me. As long as there is still duality: 'I' and 'another', this 'I' is subject to happiness, and its opposite.
Everything is bound to change; there is change from day to day. Once I see the truth there is no fear.
Something that nature wishes to prevent us from experiencing is naturally endowed with a sharp sensation. The pure reaction of the intelligence to this is hardly ever seen - except perhaps in a little baby. But, later on, thought invents its own code, overriding nature's message, and suggests that it is something of an obstacle to overcome and builds an image of heroism around this concept. The experience is still painful, but thought intervenes every time and hallows it - till it becomes a deadly habit.
Mortal life is a straw caught in a gale, and yet its immortal essence is the space unaffected by the gale. Mortal life is bounded by life and death, but the immortal is unborn and deathless. A glimpse of the immortal makes you fearless, and realization that all life is mortal makes you equally fearless.
Swami Sivananda often said, "When you get knocks and blows in the daily battle of life, then your mind is duly turned toward the spiritual path."
A rose is a rose, because it is a rose. It is unique in God's creation even as you are. A rose smells as sweet as a rose, because it does not want to become a lotus or jasmine.
This is the ABC of truth in relation to the body: This is A body. Let it B body. Then you C body - but not 'my' body.
A real and radical change will not happen in my life till I develop an inner sensibility to such an extent that the past habits really hurt, that every manifestation of selfishness or egoism hurts.
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