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Alexander the Great in India.

From six volumes on ' Ancient India ( Calcutta, 1879 )

" The most admirable feature of Alexander's unsuccessful invasion was the deep interest he displayed in Hindu philosophy and in the yogis and holy men whom he encountered from time to time and whose society he eagerly sought. Shortly after the Greek warrior had arrived in Taxila in northern India, he sent a messenger, Onesikritos, a disciple of the Hellenic school of Diogenes, to fetch an Indian teacher, Dandamis, a great sannyasi of Texila."

" Hail to thee, O teacher of Brahmins! Onesikritos said after seeking out Dandamis in his forest retreat. " The son of the mighty God Zeus, being Alexander who is the Sovereign Lord of all men, asks you to go to him, and if you comply, he will reward you with great gifts, but if you refuse, he will cut off your head!"

The yogi received this fairly compulsive invitation calmly, and "did not so much as to lift up his head from his couch of leaves."

" I also am a son of Zeus, If Alexander be such," he commented. " I want nothing that is Alexander's, for I am content with what I have, while I see that he wanders with his men over sea and land for no advantage, and is never coming to an end of his wanderings.
" Go and tell Alexander that God the Supreme King is never the Author of insolent wrong, but is the Creator of light, of peace, of life, of water, of the body of man and of souls; He receives all men when death sets them free, being in no way subject to evil disease. He alone is the God of my homage, who abhors slaughter and instigates no wars.
" Alexander is no god, since he must taste of death," continued the sage in quiet scorn. " How can such as he be the world's master, when he has not yet seated himself on a throne of inner universal dominion? Neither as yet has he entered living into Hades, nor does he know the course of the sun through the central regions of the earth, while the nations on its boundaries have not so much as heard his name!"

After this chastisement, surely the most caustic ever sent to assault the ears of the "Lord of the World," the sage added ironically, " If Alexander's present dominions be not capacious enough for his desires, let him cross the Ganges River; there he will find a region able to sustain all his men, if the country on this side be too narrow to hold him.

" Know this, however, that what Alexander offers and the gifts he promises are things to me utterly useless; the things I prize and find of real use and worth are these leaves which are my house, these blooming plants which supply me with daily food, and the water which is my drink; while all other possessions which are amassed with anxious care are wont to prove ruinous to those who gather them, and cause only sorrow and vexation, with which every poor mortal is fully fraught. As for me, I lie upon the forest leaves, and having nothing which requires guarding, close my eyes in tranquil slumber; whereas had I anything to guard, that would banish sleep. The earth supplies me with everything, even as a mother her child with milk. I go wherever I please, and there are no cares with which I am enforced to cumber myself.

" Should Alexander cut off my head, he cannot also destroy my soul. My head alone, then silent, will remain, leaving the body like a thorn garment upon the earth, whence also it was taken. I then, becoming Spirit, shall ascend to my God, who enclosed us all in flesh and left us upon earth to prove whether, when here below, we shall live obedient to His ordinances and who also will require of us all, when we depart hence to His presence, an account of our life, since He is Judge of all proud wrongdoing; for the groans of the oppressed become the punishment of the oppressor.
"Let Alexander then terrify with these threats those who wish for wealth and who dread death, for against us these weapons are both alike powerless; the Brahmins neither love gold not fear death. Go then and tell Alexander this: Dandamis has no need of aught that is yours, and therefore will not go to you, and if you want anything from Dandamis, come you to him."

With close attention Alexander received through Onesikritos the messege from the yogi, and "felt a a stronger desire than ever to see Dandamis who, through old and naked, was the only antagonist in whom he, the conqueror of many nations, had met more than his match. "

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Question: Amma, I have heard and read many things about angels. Can you tell me about them?
Amma: For Amma, all of you are my angels.
There is an angel in everyone. In Amma’s view, when we do good actions for the welfare of others—that is what gives birth to, or invokes, an angel. The good actions we perform transform us into a vessel capable of receiving God’s grace. So, you can say these actions come back to us as angels. Or you can say, these good actions are like a friend, or an umbrella, that protects us as we walk through life. This is my perspective. When we look into a mirror and smile, the mirror smiles back—doesn’t it? When we scowl into a mirror, that anger reflects back at us as well. Remember, whatever we do in life comes back to us.
(The above dialogue took place between Amma and a visitor in Amritapuri during a seashore meditation and question-and-answer session on December 15, 2014)

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In sutras it is said that Essence-of – mind knows neither rising nor ceasing, birth nor death; that it is beyond categories of being and non-being.

Before awakening to Essence-of-mind, such statements are the experience of others, not your own. Putting aside concepts such as "Mind is Buddha, Buddha, Nirvana," inquire

"What is this that sees and hears?”

Essence-of-mind has no particular shape or color. It is not yellow, white, red or brown; it is not oblong, round, or in the form of a pyramid.

It cannot be traded, has no set location, is not a physical object. Putting aside any view of Essence-of-mind being a material dharma or large or small, investigate

"What is this that sees and hears?"

- Zen master Kusan Sunim

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O Lord, I, a beggar, ask of thee
More than what a thousand kings may ask of thee.
Each one has something he needs to ask of thee;
I have come to ask thee to give me thyself.

~ from Khwaja Abdullah Ansari's (1006 - 1088) 'Invocations',

translated from Persian by Sardar Sir Jogendra Singh

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Can anything be achieved without spiritual discipline?
Do you not see what severe disciplines even Avataras had to perform?
Be self-reliant.
Effort is indispensable to success in spiritual life.
Follow some discipline for at least four years.
Then, if you don't make any tangible progress come back and slap my face.

- Swami Brahmananda,
the Spiritual Son of Sri Ramakrishna

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Sri Dhammananda, who before his death in 2006 was the foremost Theravada Buddhist monk in Malaysia and Singapore, wrote: “No one can attain Nibbana [nirvana] or salvation without developing the mind through meditation. Meditation is a gentle way of conquering the defilements which pollute the mind.”

"The practice of meditation has been abused by people. They want immediate and quick results, just as they expect quick returns for everything they do in daily life . . . the mind must be brought under control in slow degrees and one should not try to reach for the higher states without proper training. We have heard of over-enthusiastic young men and women literally going out of their minds because they adopted the wrong attitudes towards meditation."

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Padma Puran :

It is said in Padma Purana that Dharma proceeds from

continence,
truthfulness,
austerity,
charity,
self-control,
forbearance,
purity,
non-violence,
serenity and
non-thieving
and that one should recognize Dharma by these ten factors.

According to this Purana,

bestowing gifts on deserving persons,
fixing one‘s thoughts on Lord Krishna,
adoration of one‘s parents,
offering a portion of the daily meal to all creatures and
giving a morsel of food to a cow are the characteristics of Dharma.

Matsya Puran :

According to Matsya Puran,

freedom from malice,
absence of covetousness,
control of the senses,
austerity,
celibacy,
compassion,
truthfulness,
forbearance and
fortitude
constitute the fundamentals of Sanatana Dharma.

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Fundamentals Of Dharma :

The Bhagavad Gita :

The Gita enumerates the following virtues as Daivi-Sampat or divine qualities:

fearlessness,
purity of heart,
steadfastness in the Gyaan Yoga,
alms-giving,
self-restraint,
sacrifice,
study of the scriptures,
austerity,
straightforwardness,
harmlessness,
truth,
absence of wrath,
renunciation,
peacefulness,
absence of crookedness,
compassion to living beings,
non-covetousness,
mildness,
modesty,
absence of fickleness,
vigour,
forgiveness,
purity and
absence of envy and pride.

All these virtues are manifestations of the four fundamental virtues:

1.Non-violence,
2.Truth,
3.Purity,
4.Self-control

The Mahabharata :

The Mahabharata enumerates as the fundamentals of Dharma:

1.The performance of Sraddha or offering oblations to the forefathers,
2.Religious austerity,
3.Truth,
4.Restraint of anger,
5.Satisfaction with one‘s wife,
6.purity,
7.Learning,
8.Absence of envy,
9.Knowledge of the Self and
10.Forbearance

Maharshi Patanjali :

Patanjali Maharshi, the exponent of Yoga Sutras recommends that ten virtues should be practised by all men. The first five are:

Ahimsa (non-violence),
Satya (truthfulness),
Brahmacharya (celibacy in thought, word and deed),
Asteya (non-stealing) and
Aparigraha (non-covetousness).
These constitute Yama or self-restraint.
The other five virtues are:
Saucha (internal and external purity),
Santosha (contentment),
Tapas (austerity),
Svadhyaya (study of scriptures or recitation of Mantra) and
Isvarpranidhana (consecration of the fruits of all works to the Lord).

These constitute Niyama or religious observance.

Vishnu Samhita :

The Vishnu Samhita enumerates

forgiveness,
truthfulness,
control of the mind,
purity,
practice of charity,
control of the senses,
non-violence,
service of the Guru,
visiting places of pilgrimage,
compassion,
simplicity,
absence of greed,
worship of the gods and the Brahmanas, and
absence of malice as the ingredients of Samanya Dharma, the general law for all men.

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Dharma is the means of preserving one‘s self. If you transgress it, it will kill you. If you protect it, it will protect you. It is the duty of everyone to protect dharma.
Manu says

dharmaevahatohantidharmorakshatirakshitah |
tasmaddharmonahantavyo ma no dharmohato.avadhit ||

....Manusmriti 8.15

"Dharma, being violated, destroys; justice, being preserved, preserves: therefore Dharma must not be violated, lest violated Dharma destroy us."

Valmiki Ramayan :

The same idea of above is expressed in Valmiki Ramayana wherein Kausalya tells Rama before he leaves for the forest:

यं पालयसि धर्मं त्वं धृत्या च नियमेन च।
स वै राघवशार्दूल धर्मस्त्वामभिरक्षतु॥

"O Raghava! Dharma which you uphold with steadfastness and discipline protect you from all sides".

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Manu also says:

धृतिः क्षमा शमोऽस्तेयं शौचमिन्द्रियनिग्रहः।
धीर्विद्या सत्यमक्रोधो दशकं धर्मलक्षणम् ॥

‘Steadfastness or determination (धृतिः), patience (क्षमा), control of the mind (शमः), non-stealing (अस्तेयं), purity of mind, body and speech (शौचं), control of the senses (इन्द्रियनिग्रहः), an inquiring intellect (धीः), knowledge which leads to liberation (विद्या), truth in thought, word and deed (सत्यं) and controlling anger (अक्रोधः) – these ten are the marks of Dharma’

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An popular verse in Sanskrit says:

आहारनिद्राभयमैथुनानि सामान्यमेतत्पशुभिर्नराणाम् ।
धर्मो हि तेषामधिको विशेषो धर्मेण हीनाः पशुभिस्समानाः ॥

" Eating, sleeping, fearing and mating – human beings have these in common with animals. What distinguishes them from animals is Dharma. Those devoid of Dharma are no better than animals."

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" The mind is naturally one-pointed and pure, but up until now we have allowed it to be occupied by many negative emotions. For this reason, it has become difficult to make the mind concentrated during meditation. These thoughts and emotions are like bad tenants. We have given them a small piece of our land on which to build a hut. Now, not only do they pay no attention when we ask them to leave, they rush forward to pick a fight with us. We have to work hard to kick them out. We might have to even take them to court. Likewise, to kick out the tenants of the mind, we have to file a case in God’s court. It is a constant fight. We must continue fighting until we become victorious." - Amma

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"The real mistake humanity has committed lies in the inability to differentiate between requirements and luxuries." - Amma

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"You can understand the secret of bliss when you think of the nature of the Self. The waves of the mind will subside. Everything is there in you already. If there is faith, you can find it. The happiness that we get from the objects of the world is only an infinitesimal fraction of the bliss that we get from within." - Amma

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"If you do the work, you will get the wages. God will not simply give something to someone without their working for it. Self-effort and grace are interdependent. If spiritual practices are performed sincerely, you will see God’s grace flowing to you. Sitting behind closed doors and saying, “The sun is not giving me any light” is silly. Open the door and the light will come in. Likewise, open the doors of your heart by removing egotistical thoughts and by developing qualities such as love and humility. That takes effort. God’s grace flows in a neverending stream.You have to prepare your mind to become a suitable instrument and then receive it." -Amma

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"Life and love are not two, they are one. To love means to see and feel life in everything." - Amma

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"It is the nature of the human mind to vacillate. Like the pendulum of a clock, the mind is always moving from one thing to another. The movement is constant. The mind is always in a state of flux; at one moment it loves, the next moment it hates. The mind will like something in one moment, but in the next moment it will dislike the same thing. The pendulum of the mind sometimes moves towards anger, and then it moves towards desire. It cannot stop. It cannot be still. Because of the constant movement of the mind, the stable, unmoving, underlying ground of existence, which is the real nature of everything, cannot be seen." - Amma

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"Perform your work as an offering. Then your actions will become beautiful and beneficial to others." -Amma

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Yogananda always said: "Environment is more powerful than will power." Please choose your environment carefully, where you live, how you live, with whom you live, etc. The world has no mercy, and if don't kick yourself in the ass somehow, you will suffer, and finally that will bring you back to looking within your own Self for answers. You can choose that sooner or later. Only you can decide how you want to live, what your inner voice tells you.

~ Amma

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Live in the world as long as it is essentially necessary, but it must be with Him. Call everything His touch; see in everything His infinite manifestation.

~ SWAMI AKHANDANANDA

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Once a devotee questioned Sri Chandrasekhara Bharati Mahaswami about this apparent disparity in Mahaswamiji’s response to different devotees. For this, Sri Chandrasekhara Bharati Mahaswami gave a beautiful explanation.

He said, “Why do we get diseases in our life? They appear to affect us on their own. But that is not true. It is only our sins that attack us in the form of diseases. Atonement for these should be done according to the sin. When we suggest such atonement to others we should remember one thing clearly. Some diseases can be completely be cured by strictly following the instructions for atonement. The problem will not return either. In the case of some other diseases, we can reduce the suffering to a certain extent but cannot do anything more.

However, for some others, no amount of atonement can reduce or remove the sin. Only by actually undergoing the suffering can one nullify it!” ’

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The vagaries of life
though painful
teach us
not to cling
to this floating world.

~ Ikkyu ~

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God doesn't need anything from us , He is a giver, He gives like the sun.
The sun doesn't need light from the candle.
God is the subjective experience that is beyond the intellect , It is pure experience. God is pure experience. It is just like electricity , you can not see electricity but you can feel it.

~ AMMA

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Look at the lake in front of the gate.
When the sun shines,
it radiates light and brightness.
When the wind comes,
there arise ripples and waves.
There is a time for peaceful contemplation;
there is a time for dynamic action;
and all the time the lake remains itself.

~ Yongming Yanshou

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My heart is open to all winds
It is a pasture for gazelles
And a home for Christian monks,
A temple for idols
The Black Stone of the Mecca pilgrim,
The table of the Torah
And the book of the Koran.
Wherever God's caravans turn,
The religion of love shall be my religion
And my faith.

~ Ibn Arabi

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