Sri Anandamayi ma     141 posts


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One is known as Mahamaya, and the other is delusion of the senses – experience of sense objects. You are a traveler towards immortality; you will encounter difficulties if you do not progress towards Him. Do not get entangled in the vibhutis (supernatural powers). This is merely a state. The ultimate and the absolute (goal) will not be attained through vibhuti. The power attained should not be exhausted. Try for the revelation of the self, otherwise you will face difficulties and fall (from the state attained).

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Ever since there is God so also is Maya. When God is not? That is why Maya is also beginning less. One should try to realize oneself either in the form of a servant of God or in the form of the Atma.

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If the asana is firm and the focus is fixed and japa be taken as the support, then only is there hope of feeling the taste.

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Try to pour out the mind and spirit in japa and meditation to the best of your capability. Try to keep yourself in divine surroundings and spiritual engagement as long as possible. The speed of the journey to the spiritual goal of a traveler should be accelerated. May it be of liking or not, japa, meditation and remembrance should be carried on.

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327-Conversation with Ma.

Q-For the last thirty years I have kept satsang, yet my mind is not at peace. Like an ox that turns the wheel of an oil-mill I revolve and revolve. How can I find peace?
Ma-You have indeed kept satsang, but you have not reflected upon what you have been told. You have listened to words of wisdom, yet have not acted according to the injunctions of the wise; you have not thought deeply, not contemplated as advised. How will you win the Guru's grace?
Q-Why should the wise not let me have a share of what they have earned?
Ma-So you wish to enjoy the fruit of another's labour? So long as you do not meditate and act upon what you have been told, how can the path open out for you? If you practise whatever sadhana that suits your temperament and is within your capacity, your inner power will develop and increase. God is the Life of life, the Self. There is only one Life, one Self. In order to realise, to know it, you must resort to the spiritual exercise that appeals to you from deep within you. What have you done to find Him? How much work you do for worldly ends, how much trouble you take. But you sit down idly over the fact that you have forgotten your true nature--that you are the Atma, that you yourself are Peace. Have you made a sustained effort to realize this? Start right now some spiritual exercise for the purpose of this revelation. God has given you so much capacity to work. Dedicate at least a little more time to Him! And all the work you do in the world, lay as an offering at His feet. Regard yourself as His manager, don't feel that you are the boss. As the Lord's manager, serve Him in every human being. In your home there are the Goddess Lakshmi, Kumari Devi and Balgopal. Do service to them, do not neglect them, and you will be at peace. And whatever time you can spare, morning and evening, sit in solitude in your shrine-room and contemplate God's divine form, meditate on Him, worship Him. Start today, do not waste any more precious time!

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MA IN HER WORDS

On Dhyan

168. To be Without thought is the ultimate meditation.

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MA IN HER WORDS


By recitation of Gayatri, offering of oblations (in Yagna), japa and meditation and other appropriate actions, the state of impurities of previous births, present birth and whatever accumulated karmas are there, should be washed and wiped out. The aim, to unveil and open up the innate lamp within which is vigorously blazing by itself, should be served.

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Q-Do ceremonies performed for the dead actually benefit them? If so for how long?

Ma-Yes, they do benefit them, and for always, for even if the departed person were reborn, these prayers, being spiritual in nature, would not fail to uplift the soul, which after all, never dies, but remains the same from life to life, continually progressing in its onward march towards God, till it finally merges in Him and thus attains its liberation--Mukti, which is Supreme, Everlasting Bliss.
Then knowing the history of the grief-stricken couple who had put the question, She related anecdotes of bereavements which resembled the one they had suffered, and told how in one case the departed child was seen by his pining mother in a dream extremely happy in the company of thousands of other children, and how the deep yearnings of the mother caused the soul of her dead child to take birth again in her womb very soon afterwards, which disturbed his rest and retarded his progress. Grief is thus shown to be most harmful to the beloved ones whose loss we mourn.
The other case She related was that of the death of an only son. The mother, seeing the father unconcernedly smoking his hukka in a corner, piteously wailed and, with abundant tears accused him of hard-heartedness, to which he replied: "Do not think me to be indifferent to my son's death, but just now I am puzzling which son's death of all the dozen's of sons I have had in the last eighteen lives I should mourn." This gave great comfort to the couple concerned, which made them look upon Ma as a saviour-mother in whose lap they could always take shelter from the stormy blasts of life.

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Q-For the last thirty years I have kept satsang, yet my mind is not at peace. Like an ox that turns the wheel of an oil-mill I revolve and revolve. How can I find peace?

Ma-You have indeed kept satsang, but you have not reflected upon what you have been told. You have listened to words of wisdom, yet have not acted according to the injunctions of the wise; you have not thought deeply, not contemplated as advised. How will you win the Guru's grace?

Q-Why should the wise not let me have a share of what they have earned?

Ma-So you wish to enjoy the fruit of another's labour? So long as you do not meditate and act upon what you have been told, how can the path open out for you? If you practise whatever sadhana that suits your temperament and is within your capacity, your inner power will develop and increase. God is the Life of life, the Self. There is only one Life, one Self. In order to realise, to know it, you must resort to the spiritual exercise that appeals to you from deep within you. What have you done to find Him? How much work you do for worldly ends, how much trouble you take. But you sit down idly over the fact that you have forgotten your true nature--that you are the Atma, that you yourself are Peace. Have you made a sustained effort to realize this? Start right now some spiritual exercise for the purpose of this revelation. God has given you so much capacity to work. Dedicate at least a little more time to Him! And all the work you do in the world, lay as an offering at His feet. Regard yourself as His manager, don't feel that you are the boss. As the Lord's manager, serve Him in every human being. In your home there are the Goddess Lakshmi, Kumari Devi and Balgopal. Do service to them, do not neglect them, and you will be at peace. And whatever time you can spare, morning and evening, sit in solitude in your shrine-room and contemplate God's divine form, meditate on Him, worship Him. Start today, do not waste any more precious time!

Q-Ma, will I have the vision of God by virtue of the sadhana I am practising?

Ma-He does not reject or refuse anything. Whatever you offer to Him He will accept. In whatever way you approach Him, He will respond. All sadhanas are different paths that prepare you for the realization of Him.

Q-Man's life is conditioned by his prarabdha karma. Where does free will (purushartha), come in?

Ma-You must use your free will to find the Supreme. The practice (kriya) by which you advance towards Him (Purushottama) that exactly is called purushartha (free will or the power to decide for oneself). By God's grace even your destiny may be modified. If a devotee has firm faith that his prarabdha karma can be changed by God's grace, then this may become possible. There certainly are laws in God's creation, yet nothing is impossible for Him. If you think that God's grace is also within destiny, this is so for you. If on the other hand you are convinced that God is more powerful than destiny, then He may do anything at all for you. He provides for the worldly as well as the spiritual needs of His devotees.

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Q-Some live in the Ashram and some outside; are they all of the Great Mother's kith and kin or are some closely related and others more distantly?

Ma-Mother Kali is here ( this was Ranchi ashram where there is Kali temple.) in front of you. Does She belittle anyone? Why do all come to the Great Mother? Because all are alike to Her, all are Her kith and kin. But Her children ought to be aware of this!

Q-I always feel that everything in this world is fruitless and senseless--like in the workshop of a ghost. How can one escape from the grip of that ghost?

Ma-Who is the ghost? What is the work of man in the world? The ghost exists only because you think it does. Otherwise every man (jiva) is Siva, every woman Gauri. When you are yearning to do sadhana, you cannot remain without it. Even within the workshop of that 'ghost' you will very well be able to enter the current of sadhana. Depending on your interest, you will give preference to some work or other. On the spiritual path one has to fulfill one's duty. The Lord of Men comes in the guise of every human being to accept services from you. The housewife should regard her husband as an embodiment of the Lord and serve him with this attitude of mind. The small daughters of the family ought to be cared for as incarnations of the Virgin Mother and the sons as so many little Gopals who are in need of your love and affection. Why do you call this "the workshop of a ghost?" Carry out all work as God's service and there will be no such thing as a "workshop of a ghost."

Ma-The Ashram of the householder is a field of service and every service should be performed as the worship of God. Let the husband adore his wife as Lakshmi, the Goddess who presides over the home. Then you will see how full of happiness and joy life becomes.
To be able to keep up this attitude of serving God in all your actions, you must at fixed times of the day retire to your shrine-room for meditation, prayer, japa, the reading of scriptures and so forth, just as a clock has to be wound regularly. In this manner you will gradually come to do all your work as a divine service.

Q-I am aware of the fact that I am unable to attend to my duty. Is this a sign of spiritual progress?
Ma-Do you feel that you are unable to attend to it or have you not the power to overcome the obstacles that are in the way? The sense of want or insufficiency is salutary, for it awakens the remembrance of God and therefore helps one to advance.

Q-If I commit anything wrong, this is, according to the Shastras, due to some evil mental dispositions (sanskaras). Now the question arises: from where did the first evil disposition come?

Ma-All sadhanas are practised in order to discover this. Start meditating and invoking God's holy name and you will find that one day the reply to your question will come to you of itself.

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Varanasi, a rainy evening in August, 1949. Ma was seated in her usual place in the hall with only a few ashramites on either side of her. Nobody had ventured out into the pouring rain. Exactly opposite to Ma at the West end of the hall an emaciated old lady was lying on her bedding that had been spread on the floor. She was very ill and had shifted to the ashram a few weeks ago, as she wished to die in Ma's presence and in sight of the Ganges. Her last hour had obviously come. Her son had been called and was sitting close by her, chanting holy texts, while her daughter was attending to her. The dying woman had a rosary in her hand. She was hardly breathing but evidently fully conscious. Her blouse had been loosened and one could see every one of her protruding ribs, in fact she looked already like a skeleton. Ma was watching her intently. Off and on she would shout loudly: 'Mother, are you doing japa?' The old lady could respond only by almost imperceptible gestures. Her daughter confirmed: 'Yes, she was doing japa and listening to her son's chanting.' Ma suggested sprinkling Ganges water on her chest, and a few drops of the sacred liquid were instilled into her mouth with a piece of cottonwool as she was too weak to drink. Not for a moment did Ma let Her eyes off her. Suddenly Ma got up and walked straight to the dying woman. With great motherly affection She gazed at her, placed a garland on her chest and then with a swift and determined gesture passed both Her hands over the shrivelled body from head to foot. The end had come. It was an unforgettable, most impressive moment.
"Call the girls to sing kirtan!" said Ma. The brahmacharinis of the Kanyapeeth (the Girl's school of the Ashram) came and sang, some of the children were nine or ten. What a beautiful idea to make children witness death in this atmosphere of peace and serenity! Everyone felt moved, but there was no weeping, no lamenting, no regret, on the contrary, a hush, a sense of quiet joy, of fulfilment pervaded the atmosphere. "Death means changing one's garments," one can often hear Ma say.
The kirtan continued for some time, then the body was taken down to the ghat. Some Ganges water was poured over the spot where the old lady had breathed her last and an oil-lamp placed there. Everyone left the hall. Fortunate is he who ends his days in this manner.

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On Death

In reply to a question, Ma stressed the importance of what one thinks at the moment of death. For, just as the leech does not leave its place without hooking on to something else, so the soul at the time of leaving the body hooks on to some kind of new existence according to the state of mind of the dying person. But at that moment one has no control over one's thought. It will automatically dwell where it usually dwells. This is why one has to practice the Presence of God while one is well and fit so that the thought of God may come spontaneously when one is ill and weak.
Ma narrated two stories to illustrate this fact...
An old woman who had spent many years of her life selling oil, was about to die. Her relatives had assembled round her and were urging her to repeat 'Rama' or 'Krishna.' But the dying woman was only half conscious and her power of hearing was impaired. To the shouting of her children and grand-children; "Repeat God's name," she kept on replying what she had been used to say to beggars who came to her shop begging for oil; "Not a drop will I give, not a drop." Saying this, she passed away.

Ma-This incident occured in Varanasi ashram. The aged mother of one of the ashramites had come to spend the end of her life in the ashram. She used to attend to her puja and japa with great regularity from early morning until nearly midday, without eating or even drinking water. She would then cook and eat her food and scrub the vessels. Towards evening she got busy again with her sadhana. After some time she fell ill and was confined to bed, but continued with her japa without interruption. Whenever some food or drink was brought to her, she would indicate by signs that she had not finished her japa and could therefore not take anything. Finally she breathed her last, with her fingers in the correct position for doing japa according to the prescribed rules. Those who took her body to the burning ghat related that, when it had burnt to ashes and only the bones were left over, even then the skeleton remained in the same position until at last the arms crossed over the breast. The people present declared that they had never before witnessed anything of the sort.

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319-Ma talks on various kinds of death, (by Atmananda )

Q-The other day I read in the newspaper that someone was found dead. He had left a letter to say that since the woman he loved had passed away, he had gone to join her, for he could not live without her. Can one by committing suicide really be united with a deceased person?

Ma-Never! One who commits suicide enters a deep darkness from which it is most difficult to be released, unless someone who wields great supernatural power takes pity and liberates him from it. In that condition of dense darkness one cannot meet anyone. Suicide is a most heinous crime. Man is born in order to reap the consequences of his actions of former births. To try and escape from this by suicide is extremely foolish, it only prolongs the agony indefinitely. No one who is in his senses can possibly take his life; at the moment of doing so a person is invariably disturbed in his reason. Suicide does not solve any problem, on the contrary it creates endless complications and prevents one from paying off one's karmic debts.

Q-What about murder?

Ma-Well, the murderer will no doubt have to suffer for his crime.

Q-And the murdered?

Ma-It is unfortunate indeed to be murdered. But it has to be borne in mind that this is due to some evil karma. It is an inauspicious death.

Q-What about sati?

Ma-That is a different matter altogether. A real sati has to be completely steady in mind and body. If entering the fire she suffers, she cannot be called a sati.
Once Ma related the story of one of Her ancestors. After circumambulating seven times around her husband's funeral pyre, she put one of her fingers into the flame of a candle to make sure whether she would be able to bear being burnt alive. The finger did not move. She then told her relatives that since one of her little toes had once inadvertently touched the pillow of her husband (which is considered a sin), that toe would in order to expiate this sin, feel the flame and therefore riggle, but nobody should be alarmed at this. She then entered her husband's pyre and at once her body became completely still, just like a corpse. She obviously did not feel any pain whatsoever, she was perfectly steady.

Ma then referred to a story of sati, which She had heard from Bholanathji. That particular woman did not even have the chance to leap into the fire. While doing pranam before entering her husband's pyre, life ebbed away from her and her dead body was consumed by the flames together with her husbands'.

After the terrible disaster at the Kumbha Mela in Allahabad in 1954, when hundreds were trampled to death, Ma was questioned as to the fate of the victims. According to the Shastras 'Apamrityu' (untimely death by accident) causes the departed to undergo a restless, ghostly existence. In some cases the deceased is tied to the place of the accident, unable to proceed to higher states of consciousness.

Ma-What the shastras declare, holds good in the ordinary course of events. In special cases it is different. On this occasion, just consider: The constellation of the Kumbha, the sacredness of the Triveni, the atmosphere created by a vast gathering of sadhus and sannyasis with their spirit of complete renunciation. Death occurred at that auspicious moment; this ought certainly to mean the opening out of a path to higher planes of consciousness. Just as there is such a thing as 'apamrityu', there are other possibilities as well.

Later Ma asked Dr. Gopinath Kaviraj about his opinion. He replied: "The condition of man after he leaves his physical body depends on his state of mind at the instant of death. On that auspicious day and when at the crucial moment everyone was deeply concentrated I cannot believe that this could have been a case of apamrityu. It is of course true that the time, place and manner of death are the result of one's past actions; but since it happened during the constellation of the Maha Kumbha, at the Triveni, in the holy month of Magh and in the presence of so many saints and sages, I feel as good as certain that there can have been no question of apamrityu. On the contrary, the departed must have had the rare good fortune of being raised up into higher states of existence."
Later again Dr. G. Kaviraj said: "I know of a similar occurence where, by some special Divine Grace the dying in their subtle bodies were severed from their physical just an instant before death took place and were lifted into higher states of consciousness. I have a strong feeling that here also, due to the intervention of some special Divine Mercy the dying were blessed with the capacity to ascend straight away into loftier states of being."

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The Narmada river in Gujarat is said to be the place where practically every stone has the shape of a linga. It is therefore customary to procure Shiva lingas from there. While Ma was in Vrindavan, three lingas were brought from the Narmada for the Rajgir Temple. However, the pandits of Vrindavan for some reason did not approve of those lingas. When Ma enquired what to do with them, the pandits said they should be put into the Ganges. Since the Ganges is not anywhere near Vrindavan, someone suggested that the Jamuna would serve the purpose. The day on which the lingas were let down into the river Ma felt extremely cold, in fact She was so stiff that She could not get up, She had the sensation as if Shiva was being drowned. She thus sent for the pandits and asked them to locate those lingas and have them taken out of the water. The pandits succeeded and the lingas were subsequently sent to Varanasi and later to Rajgir. Ma remarked that there was a natural connection between Shiva and the Ganga. The three lingas in question, however, had by their immersion in the Jamuna carried the love of Krishna to Rajgir. - 1965

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Ma-The man who is fortunate, whose sanskaras are excellent, does not require a 'return ticket' any more. In order to change the rhythm of the breath one has to resort to sustained practice. One should begin by the repetition of any one of God's names that one prefers. By treading the path that the Guru points out, the breath will be altered and thereby also the bent of one's mind. The moment this is achieved the sushumna will become active in the twinkling of an eye, just as when air is suddenly pumped into a tyre (tube). So long as these things do not happen of themselves, one will have to go on striving. Everyone will understand what refers to the specific line of approach along which he proceeds. The type of meditation that suits a particular person may also reveal itself. So long as this does not occur there are difficulties, struggle, the impression that one is not getting anywhere, that one is incapable of achieving. The exact path one has to take is recognised when the time is ripe. Just as when water is poured out somewhere and finds the proper way to descend and join a stream. So long as the water does not mix with other water one will have to keep on pouring. If inbetween it dries up, no harm has been done. Who can tell at what moment a flood will burst forth? At some time or other one is bound to be blessed by a touch of one's true being. How union is achieved is full of mystery. The current that leads to it is fourfold. One part is unmanifest and three parts are manifest. By the action of pranayama and by dhyana the three manifest parts will have to be joined to the unmanifest. By one's own particular kriya, by the repetition of a name, by pranayama one will have to unite with that current. By selfless service done with the conviction that all are but manifestations of the One, man may also become united to Him. One has to proceed with great regularity and constancy. So long as that spontaneous revelation does not occur, one will have to apply oneself. There was One. He divided Himself in order to create the world. He has always been with you. What is in the microcosm is also in the macrocosm. Thus you have to exert yourself in order to realise your Self. The Lord is manifested in every creature. To find God means but to find one's own Self. Therefore one has to tread the path with steadfastness. All spiritual paths are right and open out towards liberation. HE is free and thus the road to Him leads to freedom. You have grasped, haven't you, that all are contained in the One and the One is present in all.

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311. Satsang with Ma.

Narayana Swami-Ma, today it was discussed with Sri Gopinath Kaviraj, how while the child is in its mother's womb it has knowledge of its true being, but the moment it sees the light of day, forgetfulness supervenes. How is it that at the moment of birth breathing becomes divided into four parts?
Ma-It is for you to know what your Shastras say. This body speaks in its own higgledy-piggledy way. When, the other day, I went for a drive, air was pumped into the tube of a wheel. When there was no air in it, the tube seemed shrunk, as if divided into bits, but when it was blown up again it became round and everywhere equally full of air. Similarly, by practicing God's name, kirtan, meditation and so forth, in the case of some aspirants, pranayama comes about of itself and the body suddenly trembles and becomes straightened; a divine power begins to have its play and yogic postures, etc, manifest spontaneously. When this condition becomes permanent, the breath is no longer divided into four parts, everything merges into one undisturbed bliss, and Knowledge is awakened.
Not only by hathayoga and similar kinds of tapasya can this be accomplished, but also by the practice of the name of Hari. The Name is itself God. One should give serious attention to God's name. By continuous kirtan of 'Hari bol' other mantras also are uttered spontaneously and one's manner of sitting changes. When this body played the play of sadhana, something like this happened. When bhakti arises, a purified body may--nay, does have a similar experience. If one proceeds exactly according to the rules, the body will certainly experience vibration and shivering. Thereupon follow other divine realizations. The subtle nadis of the body will not each be separate anymore, one force will flow through all of them. So as to break all bondage, the knots of the heart will open automatically, each in the way that is needed. No matter what line of sadhana you may have adopted, when the 'switch' is pressed at the muladhara, there will first of all be vibration and shivering and then visions of light may be seen and divine sounds of various kinds heard.

Ma-While the child is in its mother's womb, its inner power is united with that of his mother and thus there is knowledge of Reality. By the yogas of meditation or inquiry or by kriyayoga, and other yogas one must again reach the state of the child in its mother's womb. The sadhaka, the bhakta, the yogi must become the child-yogi in the womb of the Divine Mother. Then the breath will not be cut up anymore. All along there will be only one goal, one aspiration, one inner experience, one Realization.
No matter from what point the wrinkled tube may be filled, it will become straightened and equally full of air in all its parts. When by practicing pranayama, kirtan, meditation in the right manner the mind becomes one-pointed, body and life-force are steadied, or one may also put it the other way round and say, when the movement of the life-force is stilled, the mind becomes one-pointed. Then the life-force flows evenly through the sushumna nadi. At that moment remembrance is awakened, the state of Knowledge is achieved.
While in its mother's womb, the individual has no connection with the outer world; there is thus no impediment and the blood circulation is not conditioned by the functioning of the breath but evenly flows straight in and out of the mother's blood stream. By the sight of outer things and by breathing the outer air, man's concentration is destroyed and the remembrance of his true nature vanishes. It is necessary for the aspirant to hide himself from the obstacles of the outer world by entering the Divine Mother's womb in the cave of his own heart. Thereby lost remembrance will be restored. Then the Mother will take on Herself all his burdens.
Today rather much has been disclosed by this body, even though the secret has been merely hinted at in broad outlines. He who is ready for it will understand it rightly.

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313. Satsang with Ma.

Q-What is the advantage and the special result of meditating in a cave? Does a cave represent the mother's womb or the cave in the human heart?
Ma-Meditating in a cave enhances single-mindedness. The outer cave is a symbol for the inner cave. The home of the householder should be provided with a retreat like a shrine room to be used as a cave. In order to destroy the curtain of ignorance, a place that is curtained off to serve as a cave will have to be set apart in every home. Behind the curtain one should meditate and outside of the curtain perform service. Grihasta Ashram signifies a condition in which the householder is not aware of strain or toil. He must serve his family, regarding every member as a manifestation of the One. Work for your little daughter with the idea that she represents Kumari, the Virgin Mother of the Universe and for your son looking upon him as Gopal, the child Krishna. By taking care of his wife the husband serves but Lakshmi, the Goddess presiding over home and hearth; and the wife should worship the Lord of the world in her husband. One's parents are to be revered as spiritual preceptors, one's younger brothers as Gopalas, one's younger sisters as Gouris, the big brothers to be respected as fathers and one's elder sisters as mothers. If one is able to serve everyone with this attitude of mind, how can family life be an impediment to sadhana? Wherever you may find yourself, acts of service will help you to fulfil yourself, to attain to perfection. And in addition to engaging in service, a special place and time should be reserved for the worship and contemplation of God in solitude. All the rest of the day try to sustain the remembrance of His Name or of a mantra. Wherever you may be, the way to the revelation of God lies there itself. For the brahmachari and sannyasi it is most congenial to practice meditation in seclusion in a cave. Depending on one's capacity and stage, the place of practice, the sadhana and the state of achievement vary.

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314. Satsang with Ma.

Q-Are the Vanaprastha and Sannyas Ashrams appropriate under modern conditions?
Ma-One should try to live every Ashram (stage of life) according to the injunctions of the Shastras. The Vanaprastha and Sannyas Ashrams are difficult ones. Everyone should do as much as he can.
Q-The Shastras prescribe that a man should retire to the forest and adopt the Vanaprastha Ashram after he has completed 50. How can this rule be followed in our times?
Ma-When do people retire nowadays? At 55 or 58 or 60. Well, then at least at the age of 60 they should abandon their worldly life and, freeing themselves from their ties, live in an Ashram. Why be attached to what has been left behind? If at 55 the spirit of renunciation comes over you, retire and become a Vanaprastha.
Q-What is the path of a Rishi (Rishipanth)?
Ma-For the offspring of a Rishi--his sons and daughters--for them is the path of a Rishi. The wife of a Rishi is called Rishi patni and his son Rishi balak. What is meant by Rishi you can find out from the Shastras. You should study and perform the duties of a Rishi. The founder and ancestor of every family (gotra) was a Rishi. You are all descendants of Rishis. The Grihastashram should be lived in accordance with the rules of the path of a Rishi, in obedience to the Shastras and to Dharma. If a householder abides by the laws of conduct laid down in the Shastras, then by the grace of God he will automatically reach the goal of life. Where action is not spontaneous there is trouble and friction. Whatever action or event comes about without difficulty, should be understood as happening spontaneously. In this there is no toil or strain, no craving, it happens by God's Will.

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315. Satsang with Ma.

Q-What do you mean when you say, 'Ashram is a condition in which there is absence of strain or toil?'
Ma-Where restlessness, desire and trouble are, there is strain and toil. If the Ashram is lived in keeping with its innate rules, there will be none of these. The strenuous striving towards Self-realization is not felt as strain, it is tapasya. Strain implies the awareness of discomfort. Even if by tapasya the body is subjected to discomfort, mind and heart are full of enthusiasm and joy. To realize God means to realize one's Self. How can there be strain while engaging in the essential thing for oneself? The sadhana that is prescribed so that the Atma may be revealed will not be felt as strain or toil. To do tapasya is your self-expression; in order that this may become evident, the tapasya must be free from strain, must be easy and natural. If I work at the bidding of another, it may seem a drudgery to me, but if I do my own work, prompted by my own desire, how can this be wearisome? Self-realization, in other words, God-realization is one's own work, the endeavour to find one's Self is one's own natural endeavour. The states of a tapasvi, sadhaka or yogi are states of the effortless play of the Self.
Q-Can the action of the Sushumna be compared to pumping air into a tube?
Ma-You are referring to our talk about the tube the other day. According to the line along which a person practices sadhana will be his realization; by attending to the work of one's true nature one attains to eternal union. The man who becomes united with Him is styled a yogi. To prepare oneself for that Sublime Touch is the purpose of sadhana. By practicing or listening to the name of Hari or doing japa, the rhythm of one's breath is regulated, pranayama comes about spontaneously, there is repose, natural ease, no difficulty, no illness. The rhythm by which mundane work is achieved causes disease, sickness, worry; it does not bring about rest, ease and equilibrium. If you remain steeped in the current of worldly activity there will be physical creation, worldly knowledge and worldly interest. This is the current of constant wanting, not the current that leads to God-realization.

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Q: Are Kali, Durga, Chandi, Krishna distinct from one another or one? If they are one, why then have they different forms?

Ma: God is indeed one. Just as man is one but of different forms. Thus Kali, Krishna and so forth are one as the Brahman, but where outer manifestation (Shakti) comes in, they are different. Men vary in character and temperament and therefore manifest in different shapes. By His grace God shows you the particular form under which you will realize Him. But in essence God is one. There is only one Atma--with form and formless--both are but the Atma. With form (sakara) means He Himself as Form. Just as water and ice are eternally of one substance, even so God Himself appears in various shapes, yet He is one. On the plane of action He appears divided, as the Atma He is one without a second.

Q: If the Self is one, why then is the sorrow of one man not felt by the others?

Ma: Only while there is the sense of separation this is so. So long as there are others, experience is divided. But when there is no more question of difference, then the sorrow of all will be felt as one's own. When the distinction between knowledge, the object of knowledge and the knower has been obliterated, oneness is realized. Until then experience varies for each individual. What you receive depends on your attitude of mind. That which is in constant flux is called the world. And what is bound is called the individual. In the world of individuals one reaps as one sows. How wonderful is God's dispensation! He plays in an infinite variety of shapes and forms.

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At all times let forbearance be your norm. Say to yourself: "Lord, everything Thou doest is for the highest good!" Pray for the power of endurance. Nothing happens that is not an expression of God's grace; verily, all is His grace.

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Lose yourself altogether when bowing down to God with a single-minded devotion and you will obtain joy and power in proportion.
In this connection she added: “There are two kinds of pranamas : Offering to Him your whole body and mind with all thoughts, desires, sense-impressions, love, affection, devotion, just like emptying the contents of a full pitcher to its last drop. The other way is like scattering face-powder through the minute holes of a powder-box : the major portion of your thoughts and desires is kept back in a hidden chamber of your mind, and only a little dust is allowed to escape.

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Divine happiness, even the tiniest particle of a grain of it, never leaves one again; and when one attains to the essence of things and finds one's Self - this is supreme happiness. When it is found, nothing else remains to be found; the sense of want will not awaken anymore, and the heart's torment will be stilled forever.

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Single-minded devotion engenders deep thought, which expresses itself in action. The Lord’s Light descends on the devotee, His power awakens in him and as a result, profound inner inquiry blossoms forth.

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Just as there is a definite time-table for work at school, office or the shop, so should we set apart for divine contemplation a few minutes out of the twenty-four hours of every day, preferably in the morning and evening. One must make a fixed resolve that this little time shall be dedicated to God throughout life. During this period no worldly activity should be allowed to encroach upon the contemplation of God.

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With earnestness, love and goodwill carry out life’s everyday duties and try to elevate yourself step by step.

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