Om Namah Shivaya - Om Namo Venkatesaya  


The Song of God compiled by Venkatananda

without the preceptor's grace and blessing, no worldly undertaking or spiritual practice can ever bear fruit.

it is the mark of a wise man that he does not wound anyone's feelings and sentiments under any circumstance. he does not take undue advantage of even an opponents faults.

the good man has his faults. the evil one has his credit sublime thoughts and chivalrous actions, however rare they may be. both of them are subject to temptations. but the good man shakes off evil after a brief encounter. the wicked man similarly shies away from goodness just as fast.

the singular and unmistakable characteristic of the wicked man is vanity and belligerence, which seeks more and more destructive power.

the insulting and impudent behaviour of the wicked deserves only one treatment - indifference.

only deliberate cultivation of good habits and tendencies can effect a healthy conditioning of our heart which, even if it is not naturally bent god-ward, will turn to him the moment it is given shock.

the end of the night and the dawn of the day are unwelcome events to thieves and prostitutes.

only by the grace of god is it possible to curb this restless tendency of the mind.

the lord is ever ready to save his devotee.

the external situations or circumstances have but a neutral intrinsic value; it is one's own mind that attributes pleasure and pain, good and evil to them.

'a boy drowned' is news. 'my son was drowned' is a heart-breaking tragedy.

the mind is ultimately dependent on a correct attitude to life.

between escapism and renunciation there is this vital difference - the inner attitude.

it demands unwinking vigilance to prevent insincerity and unwisdom from veiling true insight.

all animate and inanimate creatures in the world are god's creations; but relationship is our creation, and the source of grief.

mere aversion to worldly pleasures is valueless without devotion to god.

one man's vanity shields another's transgression with a seemingly lofty rationalisation.

just as an unruffled mind and a loving heart guide the surgeon's skilled hand to remove a malignant growth, the wise and chivalrous ruler must be guided by a clear vision of dharma, and by a deep love for all his people, in order to deal firmly with wickedness.

though all are equal socially, politically, economically, and in the eyes of god, this does not mean that interracial or inter-caste marriage is the only or even the best way in which to demonstrate this equality.

when knowledgeable persons in a society are either killed in war or lured away to other countries or avocations, the 'spirit' of the customs, traditions, and rites is lost.

whereas, in ancient times, even the events in a war were predictable, today our daily life, even in peace-time, is unpredictable.

when the motive is physical attraction or material consideration, marriage between people of different cultural backgrounds, intellectual equipment and spiritual values, or even tastes and temperaments, sooner or later leads to unhappiness. if some of these families appear to be happy, it is only because they have no idea at all of real domestic harmony.

our peace of mind, our happiness, our vitality, and the tranquillity of our inner being, are the fundamental characteristics of yoga.

virtue, created and maintained by a wrong motive or egoistical attitude, is prison.

what is needed is virtue as a fortress. but the difference is this: the key of the fortress is in your keeping; the key of the prison-house is in another's.

it is good to know that confusion is a stage higher than ignorance.

do not proffer advice, unless you are asked to.

the duty has to be discharged, not for the sake of heaven or of earth, nor for the fear of hell, but because it is god's will.

we often complain of lack of opportunities. we blame our fate and curse our neighbours. we are displeased with everyone else, men and gods! but we fail to realize that not they but our own spiritual ignorance and delusion are our real enemies.

we continue to be the slaves of the tyrant known as egoism, weeping and wailing, unwilling to give up the source of our sorrow, and unable to endure its torment.

when an event is past, do not keep it and cherish it in your mind. cremate it, and forget it; otherwise it will decompose in the mind and stink.

only the present is; it is a present - gift from god.

when the hairs turn grey, be happy you have hair. when they fall out, be happy you have the head. when death threatens you, be happy your soul is immortal.

there is no death for the soul. childhood, youth and old age are commas, whereas the phenomenon of 'death' is a semicolon in the soul's perennial song.

'the more you are able to identify yourself with the immortal, all-pervading self, the less will you be affected by the pairs of opposites.' - swami sivananda.

life itself is a long dream. we are unable to realise the illusoriness of the external objects because the dream is still on. we resist the awakening influence - like the dreamer of a pleasant dream - and pull the blanket of ignorance over our faces.

identification of the self with the passing phantom gives rise to insecurity and grief.

we suffer again and again, only because we do not go to the root of the problem, but remain satisfied with make-shift solutions.

it is the narrowness of our focus that generates worries.

you cannot prosecute a man for killing another in a dream! nor can he ignore a wall because he did not see it in his sleep.

this is the extremely delicate art of living: to play our part in this world as though it were a reality, and yet never to forget the ultimate reality which appears, through mistaken perception, as the world.

it also reminds us that the body is only a garment bound to deteriorate and become useless. we should keep it clean and healthy, but not forget the self, which is the enduring reality.

life is continuous. only the dress is replaced by new ones every now and then.

perversion of truth will only make self-realization more remote.

'god, grant me the serenity to accept the things i cannot change; the courage to change the things i can; and wisdom to know the difference.'

we can accept the inevitable with wisdom and courage, only if we are firmly rooted in the truth or the permanent reality, which is totally unaffected by these passing phenomena.

we forget that what happens now has had a cause in the unknown past and will in turn have an effect in the unknown future.

just as planks unite and separate in the river, just as pilgrims unite and separate in a public inn, so also fathers, mothers, sons, and brothers, unite, and separate in this world.

when the house is on fire, the first requirement is not a fruitless research into its cause, but to put it out.

life cannot be destroyed.

now, no war - hot, cold or lukewarm - is righteous, because there is no battlefield and there is indiscriminate destruction of all everywhere, without any restraint by proper rules of conduct.

all wars should be banished - hot war with guns and bombs, cold war in the field of propaganda and commerce, and lukewarm war over a conference table.

an undisciplined man cannot promote social discipline.

social discipline should not lead you to take upon yourself the burden of reforming society and maintaining what you consider to be law and order in the whole world.

equanimity and a balanced mind which regards pain and pleasure alike are the indispensable prerequisites to the performance of one's own dharma and, hence, to the attainment of salvation.

our own welfare and our salvation depend upon our inner motives and attitude.

the knowledge and confidence that we are on the right path itself frees us from all fear.

one-pointed attention ultimately yields us the rich harvest of spiritual experiences and self-realization.

man has intelligence and also free will. if the former is overwhelmed by desire, he is left with mere free will goaded by base instincts.

if you abandon all care concerning acquisition and preservation and material welfare to god - and if you are totally devoted to him, he takes care of you.

the joy of doing what we can and should is itself the greatest and immediate reward.

duty discharged is success.

man, in his eagerness for the desired results of actions, is intensely attached to the actions themselves. 'i do' and why? because 'i expect this to happen'. if this happens, it is success and 'i am happy'. if that happens, it is failure and 'i am unhappy'. even if it is success, and even if i am happy for the moment, it is in the shadow of a terribly oppressive fear that it may not last.

to do ... to put your whole heart and soul into the doing itself ... yet, to be free from selfish motive ... to do one's duty knowing it is the will of god.

a mule may convey great learning by carrying a huge load of the best literature, but no-one will confer a doctorate on it!

yoga is balanced state of mind; yoga is skill in action; yoga is renunciation of the fruits of action; yoga is uniting the buddhi with god.

the yogi must be discriminative and wise. he must be calm and clever. he must be desireless and dexterous. he must be selfless and sensible. he must be a practical idealist. he must be a blend of the best of both the worlds.

the young girl buys a number of books on obstetrics; she has read a few, but a few are still on the shelf. in the meantime, she has a baby. she knows now. there is no need to read those books.

what is heard does not produce yoga, any more than removing the bandage from your eyes creates the sun in the sky.

studying the lives of saints, and studying scriptures, bear the same relation as eating sugar and eating paper with the word 'sugar' written on it;

only if you did your best, and did your duty well, and then remained unconcerned about the result, have you understood the spirit of the gita.

one should learn to distinguish between 'natural desires or urges' like hunger, and 'desires of the mind' like craving for chocolate.

the 'object' does not demand attachment, evoke fear or rouse us to anger. but our attitude generates these emotions.

be attached to god and a holy life; fear sinfulness, and be 'angry' with the veil of ignorance that hides the self.

the seed destroys itself to create the plant. the plant sacrifices itself to feed man. man voluntarily sacrifices his pleasure to promote others' welfare. the whole universe is constantly subjecting itself to this endless alternation of opposites, in order that the soul may be liberated from their thraldom.

happiness seeks him unsought. happiness, when sought, is a worthless prize - for it is its own prize.

we should withdraw the mind into a shell whenever the mind is not actually occupied in essential activity, so that the mind is never idle, and is therefore not vulnerable.

complacency is deceptive and often dangerous; for the taste is still lurking unperceived in the mind.

the mind will run after only that which it has been taught to value.

a small hole in the side of a very big dam can break the whole dam, however strong it is.

one-sided control is no control at all.

the trigger of self-destruction is within oneself.

'meditation' must be of god and this is possible if our stable value is god and only god. this implies the dropping away of every conditioning - for god is the unconditioned.

control is not suppression; it is inner alertness.

the objects outside have no value for you if you are not conscious of them.

striving for peace is disturbed by the very effort.

craving for pleasure drives pleasure or happiness away by creating a tension or stress. satisfying this craving only temporarily allays the tension by weakening it. but soon the tension is built up again - it is pain.

make an involuntary habit voluntary.

violent restraint is useless.

the sage 'does not understand' how the worldly man finds his pleasure in the objects of the world, in spite of the fact that the daily deep sleep experience teaches him that all happiness is within, and life teaches him that pleasure is inseparable from pain

desirelessness is peace.

desire for god is desire, 'for god' is an after-thought. desire and self come to an end when their source is investigated.

he who is free from the sense of want is the emperor of emperors.

eternal vigilance or ceaseless awareness is the path.

we are deluded into thinking that there is diversity here, feeling that some are good and others are evil, some friends and others enemies.

much of our misery is due to the fact that very often we are satisfied with superficial solutions which yield immediate satisfaction, though it may be temporary and unsatisfactory in the long run.

in the absence of true understanding, confusion is quite natural; it is inherent in the very nature of the mind. but the vain ego always tries to blame it on others!

a philosopher is no philosopher if he refuses to act on his philosophy - obviously he is not sure of it! a yogi is not a yogi if he does not know what he is doing!

refusal is an action, as firmly based on the false ego as the performance of action.

control is right expression - neither suppression nor licence.

if we stubbornly and ignorantly refuse to take part in the world's activity, we lose the best way to understand the nature and strength of the chain that binds us.

if sacrifice means 'offering', then we should offer all our actions to god as sacrifice. if sacrifice means 'to make sacred', then everything - all our actions, experiences, and even the ego - should be offered to god to be made sacred. self-sacrifice, selfless service, will not bind us, but liberate us.

we make one another's life miserable here only on account of selfish desires, greed and inferior motives.

gods are the subtle forces or powers that animate the whole of creation.

the man who is selfish, who grabs, is a thief. a society composed of such people can obviously not be prosperous. selfishness is the most deadly virus which is highly contagious. in no time one man's selfishness expands to epidemic proportions. it destroys one's vision. it perverts one's intelligence.

never for ourselves. we are 'the other' of others!

self-sacrifice is our religion. charity is our supreme duty. our prayer to the lord is that everyone should be happy. all beings should enjoy peace, happiness, and prosperity.

if there is one good man in the village, the entire village will be blessed with sufficient rain to ensure its prosperity.

the recognition of the truth - that all are indivisibly though not visibly one - is love. the expression of this love is service, charity and reciprocity.

charity will enable us to live well in society, grow and perpetuate the human race.

as long as you yourself are dependent on others, so long as your happiness and well-being are dependent on the services of others, serve and be good.

as long as you expect others to serve you and to promote your prosperity, as long as your own happiness depends on what others do to you, take a deep interest in the happiness of others too.

the world is not a hindrance. work is not a hindrance either. but attachment is a definite hindrance on our path to perfection.

my duty is your privilege and vice versa.

people blindly follow their leader. if the leader is even slightly negligent in his duties, the followers totally abandon theirs!

the worldly man is a slave of the senses. the ascetic holds them back. but they are both in contact with them. the sage is not.

'one should try to live for a hundred years, doing one's duty'. - isavasya upanisad.

deceiving others is waste of time.

proselytisation has always meant demoralisation.

faith it is the reflection of god in the heart of the godly.

if all of us feel and realize that we are the body of god, and carry out his will, there will be peace and prosperity in this world.

he whose mind is wayward, swayed by the storms of desires and cravings, and whose mind is, therefore, not centred in his own self, thinks that he thinks, he sees, he works and he speaks. his actions are egoistic. he arrogates to himself the power to do, not to do, and to undo. in fact he does not possess these powers.

thought ... and attention... and lastly awareness, seek the self, the centre, the subject. this is meditation.

self-knowledge or self-surrender - surrender to the divine - is common to all religions.

man's mind has suffered terrible pollution over thousands of years with what we call civilization and tradition. to be natural is to live as the image of god!

if the mind - through thought - registers a pleasant experience, for example, likes it, revives it as memory and hope, and desires a repetition, the chain-reaction towards self-destruction is set in motion.

the basic teaching of the bhagavad gita: all life is sacred - there is nothing high or low in life's activities - our actions should not be motivated by private desires.

even today, the amateur who is not really qualified to do a job and does something out of his way, gets a lot of publicity! this desire for name and fame, and perhaps the material benefits accruing from them, attracts people. it tempts them away from their own duty, into the provinces of others.

we shall know our duty truly only if our mind is tranquil and our intelligence united with god.

the way of unawareness encourages the pursuit of pleasure, and the formation of likes and dislikes

the effort to curb instincts and impulsiveness, and also to restore saner values, is meaningful only because the self is forever untouched by desire. this is wisdom.

when you are intently listening to a soft whisper of your beloved, you do not see the person standing in front of you.

we are not really slaves of the external world. all the beauty in the world is nothing to a blind man. the most delightful orchestra is silent pantomime for the deaf. the senses are superior to the objects.

truth gets perverted and lost on account of disuse and misuse.

the intellect is incapable of comprehending the spiritual truth which spiritual experience alone can approach.

god - as the saviours and prophets - comes to save us. we are bound by ignorance and maya. he play-acts as if bound, in order to liberate us.

extreme unrighteousness does a signal service of bringing god and divine power into manifestation.

it is not as though the children of light are god's, and the wicked ones are the creatures of some other creator. they are all god's children. there are periods in the cyclic world-process when one or the other of these creatures holds sway. that, too, is god's play.

the criterion that determines who is an avatara is not supernatural birth or deeds, not supernatural appearance or disappearance, but the power to establish righteousness.

it is equally important to remember that knowing the true nature of the avatara implies recognition of the essential divine nature of oneself, and the urgent need to shake off the dust that covers it. such recognition is an avatara, too!

it is absurd to say 'only my mother is a woman capable of giving birth to human children, yours cannot be.' we all have only one mother. but motherhood is not restricted to that woman - it is common to all women.

the good can never be harmed by anyone.

if one realizes that god is good, perfect, full of light, life and love, then he experiences these qualities in him and around him. god himself comes to him as such.

god has bestowed upon man intelligence. this intelligence is but a spark of god's consciousness. god has bestowed upon man free-will. this free will is the particularisation of god's omnipotence. man can use them for his own uplift or downfall. he is free within wide boundaries.

god-oriented performance of one's own duty is the direct road to perfection.

but the path should not be attributed to god. that is, it should not be regarded as the absolute. it is the individual's nature that determines or paves it. as this nature undergoes transmutation, the path might vanish in the destination.

glimpses of this freedom are seen in ourselves, during sleep and during deep meditation. during its unawakened states - known as waking and dream - the inner intelligence had foolishly bound itself to the body and the mind.

'the scriptures differ among themselves, and even the sages differ among themselves. truly, the secret of righteousness is hidden from mortal gaze. that path which the holy ones have trodden should be followed.'

yet, an action may be unrighteous from the standpoint of human law and righteous according to the divine law.

a wise man observes himself and the world around him. this self-awareness acts spontaneously and non-volitionally. hence true action is 'inaction'. self-awareness is total action.

the impulsive man's instinctual action and the action of the rationalist - selfish, clever, and calculated - are in truth inaction. both of them are reactions, the former to external stimuli, and the latter to circumstances.

fragmentation is conflict. wholeness - holiness - is peace.

he who regards the quiescent spirit as the doer of actions, paradoxically endeavours to restrain the form - body and mind - from their natural activity.

we strive, for that is our birthright. the expression of divine nature in us is out birthright, too.

corners and patches of a painting appear ugly or beautiful, dark or bright. when the whole painting is seen, they coalesce into a masterpiece of portraiture.

the dream-objects derive their power, intelligence, and individuality from the dreamer himself.

egoism creates isolation from the totality.

eternal vigilance is not different from instant enlightenment.

the highest wisdom is not attained overnight. man's consciousness is shadowed by ignorance and superstition, pride and prejudice, false notions and ideologies. it is not given to all to uproot this mighty tree of ignorance with a single axe-stroke of supreme wisdom. the path of the majority lies through the gradual evolution and sublimation.

like and dislike are the result of over-rating the objects of the world.

the wise man expects not even a word of thanks. the act is complete in itself.

austerity can either lead to the destruction of the sinful nature, or increase one's vanity - depending on the inner spirit.

whereas the so-called 'lower' orders of creation - the plants, and the animals to a great extent - instinctively live in this spirit, man, instead of consciously participating in god's will which this spirit inculcates, dares to flout it and arrogate the action to himself.

even the most spectacular action is reduced to a few lines in a book of history, and to one more tendency in the soul - if it is not accompanied by right knowledge.

the 'knowers' of truth wait till the seeker approaches them in the attitude of discipleship.

the guru is god's helping hand. the guru is reaching out to the seeker. the seeker must surrender his vanity to the guru. he must prove his devotion by whole-souled service. the guru will then impart the highest knowledge to the disciple.

the self, hidden in the heart of man by the veil of ignorance with its heavy encrustation of sinful deeds birth after birth, is the truth. it is the veil that is affected by sin. the self - like space - is unaffected by whatever happens; it is unlimited and ever pure.

perfection is the direct experience that imperfection - self-limitation, sin, and sorrow - is but a dream.

no-one is barred from knowledge of god or self-realization. no-one is eternally damned here. all beings will gradually evolve into perfection. in due time, every living being - even a worm which you may tread on - will attain perfection in yoga, and find knowledge in the self. that is the purpose of creation. the world exists to provide schooling for the individual so that it may attain perfection.

questioning and doubting are two very different mental actions. questioning is a necessary step to the acquisition of knowledge; doubting is refusal to listen, refusal to think, refusal to look within, refusal to understand.

renouncing them would be like the beggar in south india renouncing his claims to the throne of england. the object does not exist! if a king enjoys his cup of wine, a mendicant might sip a cup of milk with equal pleasure.

real renunciation is renunciation of the only thing that 'belongs to me' viz., ignorance, the foolish ideas of 'i' - in relation to the body - and 'mine' - in relation to the objects of the world.

knowledge and action are two sides of the same coin. to be established well in one, is to practise both.

so long as valuation lasts, renunciation is of no value. for, the renunciation of pleasure is motivated by the desire for pleasure.

life offers countless opportunities of discovering the own hidden evils, of purifying the heart, of detecting the wiles of the cunning ego, of understanding the innumerable guises in which the own lower self might appear and leads astray, and of piercing the veil of maya.

the truth has to be discovered. the truth has not to be assumed and asserted.

'doing this' or 'refraining from this' is not the criterion. both may be born of 'attachment'.

the ego can spread a subtle net of self-importance, in which the yogi can be caught.

it is useless on his part to suffer the king's headaches.

the most vital organ in our body - the heart, which functions day and night, does not demand a reward.

egoism is a mysterious deluding power. individuation is inherent in the infinite as a potentiality all the time. creation is the actualisation of this potentiality.

how does one wake up? wake up!

one who has realization, need not intellectualise it, or verbalise it.

realization is not a question of faith or belief. it is a firm conviction, an unshakable one - like the conviction 'i am a human being' needing no proof.

sin is ignorance. in the dark, you see some animals moving in the backyard. you throw a stone and go to sleep satisfied that they have gone. they were but shadows! but the 'stone-throwing' created an impression in your mind. in our lives such actions give rise to tendencies that lead to sin and rebirth.

it does not demand spiritual heroism to demonstrate brave equanimity when life is smooth and fortune is smiling.

if you can truly be indifferent to misfortune, dishonour, failure and pain, you are a yogi.

the mind likes the momentary experience as 'pleasure'. it thus is made desirable, and is giving rise to a craving for repetition. a careful observation will reveal that, in truth, the so-called worldly pleasures are 'the mothers of pain'.

description is but a statement of fact, nor is description a preventive threat.

what is pleasant for one causes pain in another. someone's pleasure is always bought at the expense of another's.

if we refrain from desiring pleasure and hating pain, karma will work itself out, and we shall be liberated.

half-knowledge is like jumping half the width of an abyss.

intellectual understanding or theory is the starting point. but it is useless, unless translated into practice, leading to the realization that the theory vaguely suggests.

god is waiting to shower his grace on us.

caught in the snare of distinctions, we often tend to lose sight of the goal of both renunciation and yoga.

it is more sensible and wiser to cultivate the proper attitude, and to establish in oneself the correct scale of values.

everyone is given what we call 'some blessings' - some misfortune and some good fortune.

god has given every man the free will to adjust the mind in such a way as to bring the whole of it close to god, or to remain turned away from him.

the man who cannot distinguish gold from mud is a mad man. one who sees the difference but is not affected by it, is a sage.

to be of the same mind does not imply insensibility. it is easy for an idiot to bear insult and injury. one who suffers from the disease known as syringomyelia does not feel heat and cold.

we are asked to see the same self in all. but that should not lead us to the absurd position of trying to feed the goat with meat, and the tiger with grass.

the yogi knows the difference between a newspaper and a currency note, but the sight of the currency note does not produce in him the excitement that it does in a worldly man.

true solitude is psychological and inward - the knowledge that you and i are alone in this world.

seeing sights and hearing sounds are often subtler expressions of the waywardness of the mind.

when the mirror is cleaned, the face is seen. the cleaning did not 'create' the image. only the dirt, which hid the image, was removed.

violently subduing the mind and the senses will only result in making them more turbulent! a wind opposed by another will only make a whirlwind.

the body and mind are interrelated. if the body is agitated, the mind is not steady.

nirvana is completely stripping oneself. there are no coverings. all covering is ignorance.

only the yogi lives.

yoga is not a physical, mental, or psychic feat. it is life itself. yoga is not the kind of restless life, swinging constantly between the two extremes of exhilaration and depression, indulgence and denial, sensuousness and asceticism. yoga is the harmonious flow of the divine will along the wise middle path.

non-attachment is not mean vain, foolish and egoistic hatred of, or 'running away from' anything in this world, nor deluded cruelty inflicted on one's own body.

ignorance attributes pleasure and pain to the objects and experiences. consequently the mind reacts with attachment and aversion.

delight experienced in meditation, without any external prop, gives the lie to the old notion that happiness is outside.

independent happiness is the most intense. it is unshakable, because it is self-dependent. so long as our peace or happiness depends upon external agencies, we cannot be happy.

if you have a vision of truth, test it against this definition: established in that truth, can you withstand the greatest calamity and smile?

there can be no happiness greater than the bliss that is independent.

what we call our thoughts are not very different from imagination.

swinging between meditation and life is the way of intimating their unity. one without the other is imperfect and incomplete.

even as a child that has strayed away from its mother is filled with dread, weeps, and is unable to enjoy the carnival, the mind of the worldly man who has lost his contact with god, is filled with worries, and he is unable to enjoy the omnipresence of god.

i exist, but not as 'i' or 'me' or 'mine'.

when we come into contact with the objects and personalities in this world, the mind immediately reacts in the customary way furnishing them with names, forms and assumed attributes - good and evil, ugly and beautiful, pleasant and unpleasant.

language is a screen. we use words to cover up what we do not want to see. we indulge in this name-calling, because we do not know the truth. do not care to know the truth.

without exercises we shall get nowhere. but if we get stuck in them, we shall get nowhere either.

the power of delusion, of ignorance, of animal desires and instincts, is so strong that any attempt at controlling the mind is seriously resented by it.

the restless 'monkey' - the mind - is invincible, wise, and heroic. it is able to work wonders, once it is made to serve the lord.

if two slices of bread do not appease our hunger, we ask for more, but if two hours' meditation is not enough to still our mind, we do not prolong and intensify it, but abandon meditation altogether.

if we are strongly attached to the pleasures of the senses while 'practicing' to free ourselves from them, we labor aimlessly and vainly, like drunken men who row a boat the whole night without first loosening the chain that binds it to the shore. we might develop our muscles but we will not reach our destination.

faith in the electric kettle alone will not boil the water.

we abandon worldly pleasures, but have no inner strength to reach supreme bliss. we have leapt off one cliff of the ravine, but have not been able to reach the opposite side, or so it seems.

he who has rightly understood that pleasure is a creature of thought, and is thus free of it, is also free of pain.

at some time or other in life everyone is overwhelmed by the doubt: 'what is the use of doing good in this world of injustice with its perverted scale of values?'

he who vigilantly strives to discover perfection lives in the eternal now.

man is now what he had made of himself in the past birth. he carries with him the subtle residue of the sum-total of all his actions, good and evil.

no one is perfect in the world. the incarnating soul is certainly not so.

'blind faith' is blindness, not faith. faith implies a glimpse and a longing for a vision.

'eternal damnation' is a childish idea. how can the good god damn us forever, having created us in his image?

the teacher and the teaching act as catalysts - their purpose is unknown. they are necessary, but not to be dependent upon.

he who has truly surrendered does not know it.

even the ego is part of the nature. it is ignorance and misconception to regard it as independent.

the sun shines without intending to shine. that is god's very nature.

in ignorance of the unity of god, we assume that he created the world as a man creates a piece of pottery.

wonderment gives rise to quest, enquiry. without enquiry the wonderment may degenerate into sensuality, emotional exhibitionism or materialism. enquiry is discovery.

we ought to be grateful to god that his divine power is gently leading even the most atheistic and materialistic of scientists of today towards this penultimate step of sheer wonderment.

krisna does not let us abandon this quest of truth at any wayside station. we must not be satisfied merely with labels and names.

if there were no desire at all, life would come to a standstill.

god is like the crystal which reflects the colour of a nearby object. it is ignorance that attributes to the crystal itself the colour of the object.

however, sooner or later man asks the right question.

'arise, awake, resort to the master and learn. the path is like the razor's edge, difficult to perceive and to tread.'

the fact that people are different and that stupidity, dynamism or piety prevail in this universe, is divine nature manifesting in a particular form.

in fact, one of the purposes of poverty and sickness is to turn man to god. unconsciously the poor and sick recognise this if they are virtuous. that recognition or awareness comes by god's grace.

a hot pan will burn your finger, whether you touch it knowingly or unknowingly. even so, the fire of god's power will devour desire and ignorance whether you touch it deliberately or accidentally.

'how do you know that all of us have not already been striving for many lifetimes, and this is the last one?'

seldom we realize that the man of god has not attained this state by chance or even by magic or miracle, but by many lifetimes of persistent and intense endeavour to reach the pinnacle of god-consciousness.

the world would be a much happier place for everyone to live in if all were left to worship god in their own way.

no-one is condemned forever. whatever be one's concept of god, faith redeems him. for, while the form remains as such, god is made manifest in the heart.

the reality is one, sages designate it variously.

what is obvious to one is not obvious to all beings. it is your own mental projection or point of view - a maya.

can you see that all points of view are narrow and limited? do you refuse to have a point of view of your own? if you must have one, know that even it is only a point of view. then you are totally free.

it is life that reveals the depth of our understanding. it is the depth of understanding that flavours life.

if the 'i' sits in the judgment seat, trying to determine whether someone is good, bad or indifferent, one cannot understand god.

there is no effort, even, to abandon sinfulness. such effort would likely become the seed of future sin - arrogance. sinfulness has to drop away.

it is not possible to acquire virtue, to abandon wickedness or to grow in humility. when the right vision is acquired, these happen automatically.

atman is that which is left after all the personal limiting adjuncts have been negated, by the process of: 'i' is not this body, 'i' is not this vital sheath, 'i' is not this mind, 'i' is not this intellect and 'i' is not this causal ignorance.

'to define brahman is to deny brahman'.

self-knowledge is a re-attainment of something which the personality has lost.

yajna is a certain type of knowledge which enables you to give and take, to engage yourself in appropriate action, and to understand that all creatures in this universe have the same needs as you have.

do not read this with your eyes, mind or intellect. read it with the eyes of your heart.

'antakale' is the last hour. this occurs not only at the time of what is called death, but every night when one goes to sleep.

'where will i go from here?' will depend entirely upon the state of your inner being - that is what bhava means - at the time the soul leaves the body.

ever vigilant, yet uninvolved never drawn towards the objects, though move amidst them doing every duty flawlessly and efficiently

one who is absorbed in watching the drama projected on the screen is unaware of the screen on which it is projected.

desire and karma, which together constitute the 'state of inner being', called 'bhava', determine the next incarnation.

pain and suffering exist in this world in order to remind us of a state of being in which these shall not be, and to lead us to that state.

every moment, the past moment is dead. each moment dies an instant after it is born. death is co-existent with life.

the sage of self-realization thus becomes god himself. when, as in the case of specially chosen masters, the personality is 'returned' to the world, it is no longer a limited, egoistic, imperfect personality, but a gift from god of a part of himself. that is why we regard the guru as god.

meditation on the magnitude of the universe will save you from the worries of the moment.

at the beginning of creation, the creator re-creates what was during the previous 'day of the creator.' no one can ever visualize a 'creation from nothing.'

'i see this paper'. when 'i' and 'paper' are both vibrations of energy, what makes 'i,' 'i', and 'paper,' 'paper?'

god-love tears the veil of illusion. god-love removes the distinction between the seeker and the sought.

intellect is but a creature of the cosmic dream. hence, it can only lead us either farther from god or, at best, to his threshold - if we make it sub-serve faith. devotion is the key that unlocks the gates of eternal truth.

balance your mind in pain and joy

it must be understood not with the head, but with the heart. when that happens, it becomes a living truth.

only one thing exists in the universe - vibrant energy - which, when it is comparatively at rest, appears to be mass.

who is this beholder? the man - he, too, shares the same fate as the universe which to him appears outside.

yet, if no-one said anything, no-one could learn - except the rarest few to whom silence is meaningful.

you are space, my friend, mere space. that space is filled with the divine presence whose nature is chit-shakti - not blind energy, but energy which is full of consciousness. this consciousness somehow becomes aware of a world and of an infinite variety of creatures.

thought involves both imagining and guessing in response to sensory stimuli.

are our own friend or foe. no-one can irritate us. we irritate ourselves. no-one can insult us - beyond expressing their opinions about us. we interpret their opinions as insults. this affection is caused by attachment. attachment itself is born of ignorant identification of the self with the body and mind.

when we realize directly, not merely intellectually or intuitively, that whatever experience we may have is just our experience, and even so there are countless other experiences, that what we see is just one point of view, and even so there are countless points of view, then instantly we will be loving, humble, and enlightened.

you have the privilege of keeping this insight open - observing, enquiring, seeking constantly for this reality concerning yourself, all your relationships and what exists. you also have the privilege of shutting your eyes and creating your own reality.

ignorance is undivine.

the two commandments of lord jesus - 'love thy lord' and 'love thy neighbour as thine own self' - are symbolised in the holy cross. the vertical beam representing the former, the horizontal beam representing the latter. the intersection indicates their identity.

the human soul is endowed with the intelligence to discriminate and to make choices.

one sacrifices to the other - the seed sacrificing itself gives rise to the tree, the tree sacrifices itself to produce the fruit - food.

meditate upon abstract concepts. but remember that they are pointers and guideposts, not the destination.

the path of holiness and the path of diabolical beings are not different. life is the same. but the insight of the holy ones shines brightly, whilst the eyesight of the insight of diabolical beings is closed.

rituals, forms and scriptural injunctions are useful only so long as we do not forget the real, ultimate goal. the goal is realization of the absolute. rituals, forms and scriptural injunctions do not take us to the destination. they are only pointers without which it may be difficult to find the way. however, they should never be regarded as the goal or a substitute for the goal.

if god only protects those who constantly think of him, who protects the others? god alone. to him all are equal.

if you have the courage and the intelligence to investigate life, you find that all that you needed at a certain moment, had already been created years ago. the wheat for the bread that you had this morning grew specifically for you three years ago.

ignorance cannot face wisdom. darkness cannot face light. the ego cannot face god.

'ignorance knocked, wisdom opened and ignorance ceased to be.'

some people think that, unless they give in a big way, they should not think of giving at all. it is a great loss. so give what you can, but give with love, feeling that you are worshipping the indwelling presence thereby.

it is not so much what we do that matters, but with what feeling we do it.

all needles stand an equal chance of being attracted by the magnet. but the clean needle enjoys that privilege, while the rusty one does not.

if you turn and move towards the light, it is possible that for every two steps forward, you are pulled back one and a half. never mind, you are still moving forward!

in the bhagavatam there is a lovely verse which says that people have attained god by fearing him, loving him, hating him, fighting with him or befriending him.

when thus visited by the conventionally misunderstood pain, misery and dishonour, the devotee sees them as proper signs of the true nature of the world in which he is born - impermanent and frustrating.

when we take refuge in god. we offer ourselves to him and become his property. it then becomes his responsibility to preserve that property. god will not let us go.

the process of meditation is not like dropping a stone into a cup of water. meditation is like dropping a lump of sugar into water - when the mind is thus fixed on god and becomes saturated with him, its very nature is changed! that is the meaning, purpose and fruit of meditation.

how can i know god? can the finite measure the infinite? at best, the 'i' can disappear and dissolve in god.

there is something in the master which is in direct communion with god. this omnipresence which is the unveiled divinity in the master is also in every being, but as the veiled divinity.

shall we, then, compare god to a despotic ruler who whimsically controls the destinies of people without getting involved in their miseries in any way? oh, no! that would leave no room for his great compassion and love, which virtually 'compel' him to serve those who are devoted to him. he is very intimately conscious of the problems and strivings of mankind. therefore, whenever the balance of right-and-wrong is greatly upset, he incarnates himself.

god is the bed of the river, and all experiences are its waters which flow on and on from immemorial past to unforeseeable future. in the light of this truth the shadow called the ego vanishes.

whilst the dream is in progress, no-one can convince the dreamer that he is dreaming! all seems so real. it is only on awakening that the dream is realized to have been a dream.

t is not the lips that utter the words. it is not the brain that thinks these thoughts. it is the entire being which expresses the truth.

god-realization is his gift.

we cannot demand, except in the sense of yearning. who demands? the ego!

side-track the doubting intellect, with its insatiable 'appetite' to destroy knowledge aimlessly ...

the mind has the power to fall back on itself and thus, in a mysterious way, experience - and infer - that which is the essence of the objects and of itself - not, however, as an object of thought. this process can be called intuition.

a remarkable attitude, until it becomes a realization

we are monists, believing that one alone exists, and that ultimately even the distinction between god, world and man ought to be resolved into the transcendental self-realization of non-duality.

in all diverse phenomena, the truth is only one. yet the truth has no specific form. but the truth is not condemned to formlessness.

it is not from which genes we were born. it is what we are that matters; in all of us there is the highest divinity. it is waiting to be revealed.

if the goodness of the good is god's manifestation, even so is the gambling of the cheat. this does not mean that krisna sanctions gambling or that we should become expert gamblers before we can know god!

the search is bound, eventually, to lead us to the feet of god, provided, of course, that at the right moment we allow thought with its concepts and images, as also reason with its thesis and antithesis, to drop away, yielding place to pure wonderment.

we try to grasp these truths with our puny little mind and senses, and all we can clasp is a pebble.

in order to be interested or to listen, you must be 'on the same wave-length'. the words must be meaningful

de meest wijze benadering tot elke lering is: ontvang, en analyseer dan in het licht van je eigen intelligentie. je hebt dat recht. je hoeft dat recht niet op te geven. betwijfel noch veroordeel niets. aanvaard wat voor jou aanvaardbaar schijnt, en laat de rest wegvallen. alleen zoveel was goed voor jou in dat stadium van je evolutie. misschien waren de andere factoren voor anderen bedoeld. deze waren misschien voor hen aantrekkelijk.

when you mistake a theory for the truth, you are caught and so thoroughly confused that it is impossible to find the truth. yet, we have to admit the use of the theory - the half-truth - as a stepping-stone to truth.

when the theory is used as an aid only, the truth is suddenly discovered to be extremely simple. intellect, logic, or rationalisation, is the catalyst. it should reduce dogmas, superstitions, bias, prejudice and ignorance to the pure ash of direct self-realization.

the world is only the projection of our - past and present - wishful thinking.

god does not exist, he is eternal.

you can have every treasure - only if you are awake! then the whole day - the greatest treasure - is yours. early rising will give you good health and avert sickness, too. then you can meditate and avert your misfortunes.

it is best to surrender to the ocean, and there to swim in bliss and peace.

the moth entering the fire finds its destruction - not in the sense of annihilation, but in the sense of non-fulfilment.

unless we are free of conditioning, and we look afresh, we do not see the truth.

'i have given you enough intelligence, discrimination and free-will to see that you are all one and to live in such unity. if life cannot unite you, then death will!'

light hurts the owl's eyes.

bow down to the inevitable.

the situation outside is the same, but we react in the way that our own inner condition demands.

we should learn to admire and to adore both the front - glory - of god and the back - the dark or so-called evil side - of god.

suffering evokes compassion in us. sickness in one offers another the opportunity to serve. one man's poverty is another's occasion for charity. even national calamities like famine, earthquake, flood, and the worst of all - war - bring out great hidden, divine qualities in many.

the highest spiritual realization is the gift of god. though this should not lead to the absurd conclusion that the lord is whimsical, and though we should not forget that we have no business to desire god-realization without first deserving it, we should remember that only god can realize himself, and that our only task is to sacrifice our little ego at his feet. this sacrifice is not an act of the ego. this sacrifice is the dawn of the light of truth in which the shadow of the ego dissolves.

strange are god's ways and the power of his maya - delusion. he alone veils. he alone unveils the truth. inscrutable are his ways.

when one desires god, it is in fact a desire to free oneself from the known conditions of limitation, fragmentation, and consequent ignorance and sorrow.

on the spiritual path, haste is disastrous.

only a wise man knows what makes a man wise; the barren woman is not aware of labour pains

guesses are children of ignorance.

performance or non-performance of any action - both involving egoistic notions - do not lead to liberation.

how does man wake up, then? wake up! when the time comes, the lord will awaken you, provided you are ready to wake up. 'time', here, is not used in the traditional sense, but in the sense of 'maturity' - thinning out of the selfishness.

dirt on the body is removed by soap. but the soap itself should then be washed away.

austerity, charity, and self-sacrifice, are indeed most essential, not for self-realization, but for self-purification.

in the delicate art of loving all and yet not becoming attached to them - loving them, of loving god in them, and yet not regarding 'them' as different from god lies the secret of self-realization.

non-attachment has one peril. it may lead you to a life of isolation, a dread of people and of living with them and serving them. it may even make you feel that the world and its peoples are your enemies, who will lead you astray, so that you should avoid them like poison. if you entertain this idea, you will be throwing the child away with the bathwater. you will be shutting the omnipresent god out of your heart.

much can be said for and against opposite points of view.

in the heat of controversy, we often forget the real issue.

there is some truth in all viewpoints.

the defect to the truth, if any, belongs to human imperfection - which is universal, isn't it? it is only a fool who considers that his viewpoint alone is correct. a wise man knows that if another's argument appears defective to him, his argument may similarly appear defective to the other. accepting this premise, if we look for the common factors, we shall find them in plenty.

to remove a thorn with another thorn is easy. to blow it away with an electric fan may be possible, but more difficult.

the devotee is ever active. yet, he never forgets god.

never make a method an end in itself.

darkness cannot co-exist with light.

life is governed by our scale of values. this scale of values in turn creates an inner world.

each step is the goal itself.

more than one's own best is not expected of anyone. sincerity is the only criterion.

do not reject all rewards. but do not lean on the rewards.

god is not a worldly ruler with friends and enemies.

the devotee is not a revolutionary or a reactionary. he does not indulge in disputations and proselytising missions.

when the tilt in the scale of values is corrected, the inner balance is restored. it is then that one is able to see the situation outside as it is, not as it appeared to be through the coloured glass of personal desires, egoism and conditioning.

wood remains wood, but every human generation fashions some new gadget out of it, putting it to different uses. initially, man made houses, bridges and boats with wood. when iron and concrete super-ceded wood in construction, it was used for paper. now man makes various garments from wood. all these have two factors in common: wood and service to man.

the field - body - is like a sports-field or swimming pool, in which the soul exercises itself to grow stronger, purer and to attain perfection. one must not run away from it or sink, but swim. without the body, the soul cannot evolve. by getting attached to it, the soul cannot evolve either! hence, a knowledge of both the body and the soul is essential.

as long as diversity is visible to our eyes and as long as the mind thinks in terms of diversity, it will be impossible for it to conceive of another reality.

it is the ego's ignorant identification of the knower with the field that gives rise to karma, sin and rebirth.

if, in being or doing good, there is an intention or motivation, it is not goodness, but something else.

there is really no 'attachment' anywhere in creation.

the capacity to live with or to part from one another is non-attachment. this process is as simple as life entering and leaving the body.

knowledge is twofold: paroksa - indirect and intellectual - and aparoksa - direct and intuitive. the former is knowledge by contact, via a medium - e.g., scripture, guru. the latter is knowledge by identity. it is immediate knowledge, without a medium. it arises from direct experience. such knowledge is real knowledge. it puts an end to all doubt and uncertainty.

god is all-pervading, the soul of everything, he is not attached to anybody or anything. the apparent diversity is nothing but the manifestation of god's power and glory. with that vision, the world and life are transformed into something very beautiful - you do not manipulate the world or try to revolutionise your life - yet everything flows.

the mathematics teacher in a primary school is sure that a point is a point, and a straight line is a straight line. if he told his little students that a point is only a concept, and cannot be described on paper, and that a straight line will curve when drawn long enough, their confusion would make it impossible to teach them mathematics.

all teaching is a pointer. the guru's role, too, is to be a living pointer. they remind us that there is some kind of mist hiding the truth within.

without love, knowledge is hypocrisy, for true knowledge brings complete understanding, and understanding engenders love.

our experiences of 'pleasant' and 'unpleasant' are merely subjective.

a clear understanding of this indivi(sible)duality frees us from confusion, likes and dislikes, craving and aversion the 'ought to be' and the 'ought not to be'.

because of the fact that we enjoy the material phenomena, we may come to feel that they are indispensable for our happiness.

leave evverone alone. moreover, we must awaken ourselves, save ourselves. no-one else can do it for you. we must find and go the own way.

there is variety in creation. the infinite can be viewed from infinite angles and approached in infinite ways. temperament and tradition are the main guiding - not deciding - factors here.

'i think, therefore, i am' is true. 'i am, therefore, i think' is equally true.

in fact, god exists because god is you.

although a group of trees is called a forest, each tree is a tree and nothing more - 'forest' only being an idea in the mind. the elements are thus only a mode of thought, the reality being the lord - and his nature, which is forever one with him.

suffering arises on account of isolation.

all self-isolation is sin, because it is inevitable that when you consider yourself an entity totally different from another, you must enter into some relationship. then you begin to love one, and hate another. out of that, sin and sorrow arise.

nothing that is of value, of sense or of importance in our lives is obvious.

you are a sinner only so long as your own grossness and ignorant limitation make you believe yourself to be. wake up!

the common man's vision is so gross that only the grossness of diversity is visible to him. he is sense-limited, sense-bound and mind-enslaved.

discover that you are not even part of the world, you are the world - if one point is removed from the circumference of a circle, there is no circle.

in the realm of transcendental wisdom, the intellect can only act as the bridesmaid. the heart is the bride.

'knowing' and 'happiness', though sattvika, are only bondage.

passing moods need not necessarily affect us; they do not belong to us. they are the triple streams of sattva, rajas, and tamas - part of the divine nature - which merely cast their shadows on us as they march past.

abandon the complacent attitude that once a human being, always a human being.

'all is well, i don't care' is an attitude that ignorance gives rise to.

the elevator in a building goes up and goes down. you will not, unless you sit in it!

it is only while one is crossing a stream that one tries to float along with the current or swim against it. once on the other bank it matters not whether the current stops, flows, or dries up.

to whom a clod of earth, stone and gold are alike has given rise to grotesque misinterpretations.

do your duty, but do not get attached. neither must you let detachment make you neglect your duty.

some attachment is all right as long as it is attachment to god.

when 'god' is given as the answer to our questions, the question is not answered, but the quest is intensified.

the verbal answer is but a word. truth eludes words.

good is divine. that which men call 'evil' is also divine - though god does not call it evil.

'knowledge of scriptures is not necessary, only personal realization is' - a pious sentiment.

wisdom and spiritual maturity consists in being alert, inwardly aware and watchful, so that at every step and in every circumstance the right choice is made.

to 'educate' is to 'bring out' the truth which is present in the other man. proselytisation destroys the faith, the vital spark in man. to reform is to give a new form to the old evil. thus, we should educate, not reform or proselytize.

very few people know what to do and what to refrain from.

there are thousands in the world today who are convinced that 'in this modern world, it is useless to be good,' and that 'one should move with the times, and nowadays untruth is the law.'

injustice is man's invention. god is just.

a person standing close to light but facing away from it with blindfolded eyes, is farthest from that light.

life teaches you, if you have faith.

if the person lacks character, it is not so much because his faith is weak, but because he has faith in his weakness.

self-understanding will promote self-culture and self-realization. one need not fit into another's jacket; one must be true to one's own self .

the child does not grow into an adult merely by throwing the doll away.

while the ancient villager distributed the surplus to poor people and animals, the modern housewife preserves food in the refrigerator.

if your speech is provocative, you share the guilt of the provoked.

silence and self-control are disciplines of the mind.

it is when i wish to assert that 'my' god is real and 'yours' unreal that i begin calling him names.

charity done with an eye to name and fame is only payment of advertisement charges.

semi-purification is not purification.

everyone's viewpoint is valid, but especially valid for himself. we should recognize the validity of others' viewpoints and ultimately the one that runs through all.

we should know what to do - our duty - and what not to do - useless tasks.

in order to reach our destination, we need three things: a light outside, the sense of sight within, and the spirit of perseverance.

we should not throw away life by valuing life itself more than the living of it.

wealth does not engender love

man has striven day and night to conquer nature. yet he has not succeeded in making the sun rise in the west nor in making the apple fall upwards.

sin is neither in god nor in nature. sin is hidden in the defiance and the desire.

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