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Happy Ramnavami! ૐ

“SALUTATIONS to Lord Rama, an Incarnation of Lord Vishnu, who is measureless, who is of the nature of pure Consciousness and bliss, who is the consort of Sita, Master of Sri Hanuman, and the Lord of the three worlds, who took His birth at His own will in order to establish righteousness, destroy the wicked and protect His devotees.

Ramnavami or the birthday of Lord Rama falls on the 9th day of the bright fortnight of the month of Chaitra (March-April).

Rama was the Lord Hari Himself, incarnate on earth for the destruction of Ravana. He was well accomplished, beautiful and endowed with royal marks. His glory and prowess were unlimited. He was peerless on earth. He was free from malice. He was gentle. He was the protector of all His people. He always addressed them in gentle words. He never used any harsh words even when somebody provoked Him. He held sway over the whole world.

Let Sri Rama be your ideal. Ideals are remembered and adored for the purpose of adopting them in your own life. The Ramnavmi celebration or the Vasanta Navaratri every year is an opportune period for us to saturate ourselves with the spirit of Lord Rama. We love and adore our ideals because we express thereby our yearning to unite with them. In our worship of God it is implied that we should be virtuous, good and perfect even as God is. Hence the wise instruction: “One should become divine in order to be able to worship God”. One cannot be a real worshipper of Lord Rama unless one makes an honest attempt to grow in the virtues that the Lord represents. On the other hand, worship of Lord Rama is itself the surest means to develop such virtues.

One who approaches Sri Rama with love and worshipfulness becomes large-hearted, pure in spirit, good-natured and dispassionate in thought, word and deed. A true devotee of Lord Rama is His representative, with His power and His knowledge.

Lord Rama was the prince of the Ikshvaku race. He was virtuous and of manly strength. He was the Lord of the mind and the senses. Brave and valiant, He was yet gentle and modest. He was a sage in counsel, kind and sweet in speech, and most courteous and handsome in appearance. He was the master of all the divine weapons, and a great warrior. Ever devoted to the good and prosperity of His kingdom and His subjects, He was a defender of the weak and the protector of the righteous. Endowed with numerous wondrous powers of the mind, He was well versed in all sciences—in military science as well as the science of the Self.

Deep and unfathomed like the ocean, firm and steadfast like the Himalayan mountains, valiant like Lord Vishnu, He was the joy of Kaushalya. Though fierce like fire on the battlefield, He was calm like the cool breeze of the Mandara Hills, patient like Mother Earth, bounteous like the god of wealth and righteous like the lord of justice himself. In the pains and the griefs of His people, His heart swiftly sympathized with the sufferers. In the festive scenes which held them in joy, He like a father, shared their joys. By His honour and heroism, as well as by His gentleness and love for His subjects, He greatly endeared Himself to the hearts of His people. Such a great person was the Lord Rama!

Lord Rama was the best of men with a sterling character. He was the very image of love. He was an ideal son, an ideal brother, an ideal husband, an ideal friend and an ideal king. He can be taken to embody all the highest ideals of man. He led the ideal life of a householder to teach the tenets of righteousness to humanity. He ruled His people so well that it came to be known as Ram-Rajya, which meant the rule of righteousness, the rule which bestows happiness and prosperity on all.

The noblest lesson embodied in the Ramayana is the supreme importance of righteousness in the life of every human being. Righteousness is the spiritual spark of life. Cultivation of righteousness is the process of unfoldment of the latent divinity in man. The glorious incarnation of the Supreme Being in the form of Lord Rama has exemplified the path of righteousness. Let mankind follow His footsteps and practice the ideals cherished by Him, for it is only thus that there can be everlasting peace, prosperity and welfare in this world.

None but the righteous can be truly happy. None but he who has the correct sense of duty and the will for its implementation can be said to live worthily. One must be imbued with a definite conviction about the supremacy of moral principles, ethical values and spiritual ideals. These ought to guide one’s day-to-day actions and serve as powerful means for the culture of the human personality. That is the purpose of life. That is the way to Self-realization. That is the message and the mission of Lord Rama’s fife on earth.

To a devotee, Sri Rama is not simply a good and a great person, but God Himself. Rama was the son of King Dasaratha of Ayodhya, but He is also the divine omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient God. The destruction of the ten-headed Ravana signifies the annihilation of the mind or the ten senses. Worship of Lord Rama is worship of the all-pervading Godhead Himself. Read the prayers offered by Mandothari and Brahma in the Yuddha Kanda of the Ramayana. They refer to Rama as the one Creator of the universe, the God of all, the Ruler of the universe.

Devotion to God is not a simple emotion. It is the result of intense dispassion and purity of heart and attitude. You should strive your utmost to possess the good qualities that are extolled in the Ramayana and exemplified in the life of Lord Rama. Otherwise, emotion may rise up in you temporarily to a kind of ecstasy, but you will not experience divine consciousness thereby. Devotion is a fruit which ripens gradually through the processes of self-restraint and virtue. Without intense dispassion there can be no real Sadhana for Self-realization. Only after detachment from the world of things, is it possible to attain the Supreme Godhead. Remember this.

Devotion has absolutely nothing to do with age, caste, creed, position or sex. Generally, the worldly-minded people say: “We will practice meditation and devotion when we retire from service.” This is a serious mistake. How can you do serious Sadhana after squeezing out all your energy in working? How will you be able to practice the strict Yogic discipline in your old age? Is there any certainty in life? No, the spiritual seeds of discipline and devotion must be sown in you while you are young, while your heart is tender and untainted. Then only will it strike a deep root, blossom forth and bear fruit when you become old and retire. Only then can you bravely face the god of death and meet him with a smile!

I shall tell you the means of attaining the final release from the great cycle of births and deaths. Devotion to Lord Rama is a great purifier of the heart. From devotion arises knowledge. From knowledge comes the realization of the pure Self. Knowing this perfectly, one goes to the Supreme Abode and merges in the Supreme Self.

Without first developing devotion to Rama who is the Self, who lives in the hearts of all beings, who is all bliss and who is peerless, how can man cross the ocean of worldly life which has sorrow, pain and misery for its waves?

Do thou therefore worship Lord Rama who is Vishnu and the consort of Sita who is Lakshmi. Abandon all foolishness and enmity. Take to the service of Lord Rama.

The Lord is extremely fond of those who have surrendered themselves to Him. He has given this promise in the Ramayana: “To anyone who once takes shelter under Me and solicits ‘I am Thine’, I bestow fearlessness from all beings. This is My vow”.

Even a great sinner who is full of evil qualities and who is fond of other people’s wealth, is freed from all kinds of faults that pertain to worldly life if only he remembers the Lord always. He attains purity and goes to the supreme abode of the Lord.

The Name of Lord Rama is the greatest purifier of the heart. It wipes away all one’s sins. Not only this, but it wipes away the sinful tendencies as well. The Name is sweeter than the sweetest of objects. It is the haven of peace. It is the very life of pure souls. It is the purifier of all purifying agencies. It quenches the consuming fire of worldly desires. It awakens the knowledge of God. It bathes the aspirant in the, ocean of divine bliss. Glory to Sri Rama and His Name!

O Devotee! recite His Name, sing His glory and serve His Lotus Feet. Enthrone in your heart Lord Rama of dark hue, whose image is reflected in the heart of Lord Shiva. Blessed is the pious soul who uninterruptedly drinks the nectar of Sri Rama’s Name which has been churned out of the ocean of the Vedas, which removes the impurities of the Kali Yuga or the iron age, which lives constantly on the lips of Lord Shiva, which is a sovereign remedy or unfailing specific to cure the disease of worldly existence and which is the life of Mother Sita.

Ram-Nam burns ignorance, passion and sin. With or without knowledge, correctly or incorrectly, when the word “Rama” is pronounced it showers a rain of good upon the devotee. Sri Rama is Brahman who takes one across the ocean of worldly existence. Rama is one in across whom the Yogis sport, that is, the Self within.

Lord Shiva tells His consort Parvati: “This Ram-Nam is equal to the Lord’s thousand Names, or repetition of the Mantra a thousand times”.

I call this the anti-gossip tonic. When you find that you are wasting your time in gossip, repeat His Name several times. You can make up for the time lost, and the mind will be slowly weaned away from the habit of gossiping.

Sri Rama is also a wish-fulfilling tree. He will bestow upon you whatever you want! Just read what Lord Shiva further says:

“The seat of all good things, the destroyer of all impurities of this age of darkness, purer than purity itself, the food for the journey of aspirants on the path to salvation, their only resting place, the very life-breath of virtuous men, is the Divine Name of Sri Rama. So say the sages”.

On the auspicious Ramnavmi day take a firm resolve that you will repeat Ram-Nam with every breath and that you will endeavor to lead a righteous life.

Ramnavmi is one of the most important festivals of the Vaishnava sect of the Hindus. However, even those who adore Lord Shiva celebrate the occasion. Some observe a strict fast on the day. Temples are decorated and the image of Lord Rama is richly adorned. The holy Ramayana is read in the temples. At Ayodhya, the birthplace of Sri Rama, a big fair is held on this day.

O beloved seekers! time is fleeting. Know the value of time. Time is most precious. Utilise every second profitably. Do not procrastinate. Abandon all idle gossiping. Forget the past. Live every moment of your life for the realisation of the divine ideal and goal. Unfold your latent faculties. Grow, evolve and become a superhuman or a dynamic Yogi. Struggle hard and reach the goal of life.

May you all attain the final beatitude of life through intense devotion towards Lord Rama! May you live immersed in the ecstasy of divine love! May Sri Rama who is as effulgent as a million suns and who is adored by the gods and devotees, protect you all! May the blessings of Lord Rama be upon you all!”

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A jnani has fixed the mind in
his own Self. He has calmed the
mind through mental discipline
and mental control. He rejoices
in his own Self. He doesn't expect
any pleasure from external objects.
He is swimming in the ocean of
bliss. He feels no wants, because
all his desires are perfectly
satisfied. He has the
inexhaustible, imperishable,
supreme wealth of
the Atman.

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“Devotion to the Lord dawns in the heart of a man who has done virtuous actions in his previous births without expectation of fruits and egoism or the idea of agency. Devotion leads to knowledge of the Self (Jnana) and through Jnana, he attains Moksha or the final emancipation.
In days of yore, Virasindhu was the king of Kalinga country. He did severe Tapas, meditation and Yoga in his previous birth, but did not attain Moksha. He became a Yoga-Bhrashta as he had to enjoy the fruits of some residual Karmas in this last birth of a King. He took his birth as the son of a king. When he attained the proper age, he was crowned as the king of Kalinga. He ruled the kingdom for a period of ten years.
Owing to the force of previous spiritual Samskaras, and the grace of the Lord, discrimination and dispassion dawned in his heart. He reflected within himself: “I am doing the same acts of eating, drinking and sleeping. My several forefathers who ruled the country, had been reduced to dust. I have no peace of mind despite my wealth and dominion. I should get a Guru and obtain initiation from him to get knowledge of the Atman and reach the abode of immortality and eternal bliss.
King Virasindhu sent invitation to all Pandits, Sannyasins, Sadhus and Mahatmas. He wrote in the letter thus: “I will give half of my dominion to that supreme Guru who will give me the right initiation and make me realise the Self. If he fails to do so he will be put in the prison.”
Many Pandits and Sadhus saw the king. One gave him Taraka Mantra, another gave Panchakshara, a third gave him Ashtakshara, but no one was able to satisfy the king. He put them all in the prison. He had initiation into these Mantras in his previous births.
King Virasindhu became very restless as he did not obtain his Guru. Lord Siva assumed the form of an ordinary coolie. He had a very black complexion. He wore some rags and appeared before the king. The king went in advance to receive him. Through the grace of the Lord, he came to know that this coolie was none other than the Lord. The coolie raised his hand towards the king and said “stop”, and vanished immediately. The king understood that the Guru has commanded him to stop the mind and control its movements. The king closed his eyes, while he was standing, and did not allow the mind to think of the sensual objects. He controlled all the modifications of the mind. It was easy for him as he had practised Yoga and meditation in his previous birth. He entered into Nirvikalpa Samadhi and became like a statue. He did not open his eyes.
The ministers were waiting in the Durbar Hall for hours together. King Virasindhu did not open his eyes for days together. Then the ministers reflected: The king is in Samadhi now. We do not know when he will return from the Samadhi. We will have to manage the affairs of the State.” They removed the ring from his finger and used it for putting the seal in the papers of the State. The king opened his eyes after six years, and asked the ministers: “Where is my Guru?” The ministers replied: “O venerable king! The Guru said a word to your majesty and vanished at once. You are standing here like a statue for the last six years. We are conducting the affairs of the state with the aid of your ring. Here is the seal of your ring in all the registers and papers.”
The king was struck with awe and wonder. He thought within himself: “Six years have passed like a second. I enjoyed supreme bliss. I have no desire to rule the State after tasting the supreme bliss.” He left the palace and entered the forest and sat in Samadhi.
The force of Yogic Samskaras of the king that was generated by the practice of Yoga in his previous birth, helped him in the attainment of the beatitude in this birth. Those who have not much piety and religious inclination in this birth should do Japa, Kirtan, meditation, and study of religious books. They should live in the company of sages. They will develop good religious Samskaras. This will be a valuable asset for them in the next birth. They will start the practice of Yoga in the next birth in the early age.
It is difficult to say in what form the Guru or the Lord will appear before you to initiate you. He may come in the form of a leper as Sri Hanuman did, or in the form of an untouchable as Lord Krishna did, or in the form of a groom as Lord Siva did. The aspirants must be very careful and vigilant to detect the Lord in the various forms which He assumes.”

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' Blissful Experience '

Samadhi or blissful divine experience arises when the ego and the mind are dissolved. It is a state to be attained by one's own effort. It is limitless, divisionless and infinite, an experience of being and of pure consciousness. When this experience is realised, the mind, desires, actions and feelings of joy and sorrow vanish into a void.

The ultimate Truth or Brahman or the Absolute can be experienced by all persons by regular practice of meditation with a pure heart. Mere abstract reasoning and study of books will not do. What is wanted is direct experience. The direct experience is the source for higher intuitional knowledge or divine wisdom. This experience is superconscious or transcendental. There is neither the play of the senses nor the intellect here. This is not an emotional experience. The senses, mind and intellect are at perfect rest. They do not function a bit. This experience is not an imaginary experience of a visionary dreamer. It is not a reverie. It is not a hypnotic trance. It is a solid living Truth like the Amalaka fruit on the palm of your hand. The third eye or the eye of wisdom (Jnana Chakshus) is opened in the experiencer. The extraordinary experience comes from cognition through the spiritual eye or the eye of intuition. This eye of wisdom can be opened when the senses, mind and intellect cease functioning. The Jnana Chakshus can only be opened by eradicating completely all desires, wrath, greed, pride, egoism and hatred.

There is neither darkness nor void in this experience. It is all light. There is neither sound nor touch nor form here. It is a magnanimous experience of unity or oneness. There is neither time nor causation here. You become omniscient and omnipotent. You become a Sarvavit or all-knower. You know everything in detail. You know the whole mystery of creation. You get immortality, higher knowledge and eternal bliss.

All dualities vanish here. There is neither subject nor object. There is neither Sakara nor Nirakara. There is neither meditation nor Samadhi. There is neither Dvaita nor Advaita. There is neither Vikshepa nor one-pointedness. There is neither meditator nor the meditated. There is neither gain nor loss. There is neither pleasure nor pain. There is neither East nor West. There is neither day nor night.

Samadhi is of various kinds. The Samadhi that is induced by the practice of Mudra and Pranayama (Kumbhaka) is Jada Samadhi. There is no awareness here. The Yogi can be buried for six months in a box beneath the earth. It is like deep sleep. The Yogi does not return with superintuitional knowledge. The Vasanas are not destroyed by this Samadhi. The Yogi will be born again. This Samadhi cannot give liberation.

Then there is the Chaitanya Samadhi. The Yogi has perfect awareness. He comes down with divine knowledge. He gives inspired talks and messages. The hearers are much elevated. The Vasanas are destroyed by this Samadhi. The Yogi attains Kaivalya or perfect freedom.

The Samadhi experienced by a Bhakta is Bhava Samadhi. The devotee attains the state through Bhava and Mahabhava. The Raja Yogi gets Nirodha Samadhi through destruction of Sankalpas (Chittavrittinirodha). The Vedantin attains Bhava Samadhi through negation of the illusory vehicles, or Upadhis such as body, mind, senses, intellect, etc. For him the world and body are unreal or Mithya. He passes through the stages of darkness, light, sleep, Moha and infinite space and eventually attain infinite consciousness.

Again there are two other varieties of Samadhi, viz., Savikalpa or Sabija or Samprajnata and Nirvikalpa or Nirbija or Asamprajnata Samadhi. In the first variety there is Triputi or the triad, viz., knower, knowledge, knowable or seer, sight and seen. The Samskaras are not destroyed. In the latter the Samskaras are totally fried or destroyed. There is no Triputi in Nirvikalpa. Savikalpa, Nirvichara, Saananda are varieties of Savikalpa Samadhi.

When you are established in the highest Nirvikalpa Samadhi you have nothing to see, nothing to hear, nothing to smell and nothing to feel. You have no body-consciousness. You have full Brahmic Consciousness only. There is nothing but the Self. It is a grand experience. You will be struck with awe and wonder.

A Bhakta who meditates on the form of Lord Krishna will see Krishna and Krishna only everywhere when he is established in Samadhi. All other forms will disappear. This is one kind of spiritual experience. He will see himself also as Krishna. Gopis of Brindavan, Gauranga and Ekanath had this experience. Those who meditate on the all-pervading Krishna will have another kind of cosmic experience. Arjuna had this kind of experience. He had consciousness of the whole Virat. He had cosmic consciousness.

If you meditate on Hiranyagarbha, you will become identical with Hiranyagarbha. You will have knowledge of Brahmaloka. You will also have cosmic consciousness. The experience of Savikalpa Samadhi of a devotee and Raja Yogi is the same.

The transcendental experience is also called by the name Turiya or the fourth state. The first three states are ‘waking,' ‘dreaming' and ‘dreamless sleep' and the fourth state is ‘Turiya.' The first three states are common to all. The fourth is latent in every human being. When you are established in the fourth state, when you experience the transcendental state of Brahmic consciousness, the Truth, which had been before but as an intellectual abstraction, becomes a living reality definitely experienced by you.

Various names such as Samyag Darshan, Sahaja Avastha, Nirvana, Turiyatita, Aparokshanubhava, Brahma- Sakshatkara, Nirvikalpa Samadhi, Asamprajnata Samadhi, are given to this transcendental state, but all of them unmistakably point to the same goal. Real spiritual life begins after one enters into this state of superconsciousness.

You will realise at all times and under all circumstances that you are identical with the invisible existence, knowledge and bliss; that you pervade all persons and objects; and that you are beyond all limitations. If you have the knowledge of the Self or Brahman at all times without any break, then you are established in the Self. This is a state to be experienced within but cannot be expressed in words. This is the final state of Peace, the goal of life. This experience will give you freedom from all forms of bondage.

Some aspirants mistake ‘deep sleep state' and the state of Tandri or ‘half sleep' state for Nirvikalpa Samadhi. This is a terrible mistake. If you experience Samadhi of any kind, you will have supersensual knowledge. If you do not possess any intuitional knowledge, be sure that you are far from Samadhi. You can experience Samadhi only when you are established in Yama, Niyama or Sadachara and when you have a very pure heart. How can the Lord be enthroned in an impure heart? Samadhi comes only after constant and protracted practice of meditation. Samadhi is not a commodity that can be obtained easily. Those who can really enter into Samadhi are very, very rare.

In Samadhi or Superconsciousness the Yogic practitioner gets himself merged in the Lord. The senses, the mind and the intellect cease functioning. Just as the river joins the ocean, the individual soul mixes with the Supreme Soul. All limitations and differences disappear. The Yogi attains the highest knowledge and eternal bliss. This state is beyond description. You will have to realise this yourself.

Taste the immortal sweetness of the beautiful life in the Self within. Live in Atman and attain the blessed immortal State. Meditate and reach the deeper depths of eternal life, the higher heights of divine glory and eventually attain the full glory of union with the Supreme Self. Now your long wearisome journey terminates. You have reached your destination, your sweet original home of everlasting peace, the Param Dham.

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9. That supreme Brahman which is the immortal Self of all, which is the beginningless entity, which is immutable and infinite, which is beyond the reach of mind and speech...that Brahman art thou. Meditate on this. Realize this and be free.
You are Brahman which is Satya, Jnana, Ananta, Akhanda, Saswata, Amrita, Abhaya, Avangmanogochara, Ekarasa, Nitya, Suddha, Siddha, Buddha, Mukta, Prajnana-Ghana, Swayam-Prakasha, Adwaya, Nirguna, Nirakara, Paripurna - that Brahman you are! You are That Ekam Sat; Fear not! You are the most blessed Supreme Being! Realize this and be free.

THE MOKSHA GITA


(Chapter 11, Brahma Upadesha, verse 9)

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“The Vedas are the eternal truths revealed by God to the great Rishis of India. The word Rishi means a seer, from DRIS, to see. The Rishi is the Mantra-Drashta, a seer of Mantra or thought. The thought was not his own. The Rishis saw the truths or heard them. Therefore, the Vedas are what are heard (Sruti). The Rishi did not write. He did not create it out of his mind. He was the seer of thought which existed already. He was only the spiritual discoverer of the thought. He is not the inventor of the Veda.
The Vedas represent the spiritual experiences of the Rishi of yore. The Rishi is only a medium or an agent to transmit to people the intuitional experiences which he received. The truths of the Vedas are revelations. All the other religions of the world claim their authority as being delivered by special messengers of God to certain persons, but the Vedas do not owe their authority to any one. They are themselves the authority as they are eternal, as they are the Knowledge of the Lord.
Lord Brahma, the Creator, imparted the divine knowledge to the Rishis or seers. The Rishis disseminated the knowledge. The Vedic Rishis were great realized persons (souls) who had direct intuitive perception of Brahman or the Truth. They were inspired teachers. They built a simple, grand and perfect system of religion and philosophy from which the founders and teachers of all other religions have drawn their inspiration.
The Vedas are the oldest books in the library of man. The truths contained in all religions are derived from the Vedas and are ultimately traceable to the Vedas. The Vedas are the fountain-head of religion. The Vedas are the ultimate source to which all religious knowledge can be traced. Religion is of divine origin. It was revealed by God to man in the earliest times. It is embodied in the Vedas.
The Vedas are eternal. They are without beginning and end. An ignorant man may say how a book can be without beginning or end. By the Vedas, no books are meant. Vedas came out of the breath of the Lord. They are the words of God. The Vedas are not the utterances of persons. They are not the composition of any human mind. They were never written, never created. They are eternal and impersonal. The date of the Vedas has never been fixed. It can never be fixed. Vedas are eternal spiritual Truths. Vedas are an embodiment of divine knowledge. The books may be destroyed, but the knowledge cannot be destroyed. Knowledge is eternal. In that sense, the Vedas are eternal.”

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' KARMA YOGA '

Chapter 3

Lord Krishna said:

In this world there is a twofold path
The path of Knowledge and the path of Action;
No one can remain actionless even for a second
The qualities force everyone to do action.

Do daily sacrifice unto the Devas
They will in turn nourish you;
Perform your duty constantly
without attachment
You will reach the Supreme.

Janaka attained perfection by action
The great man should set an example;
Then only ordinary people will follow him
Mark ! I Myself perform action though perfect.

The egoistic man thinks: "I am the doer"
In reality Prakriti does everything;
The Sage knows the qualities
and their functions
And so he is neither attached nor bound.

Have victory over likes and dislikes
They are obstructions of the path;
Destroy like by dispassion
Kill dislike by love.

Better one's own duty though devoid of merit
Than the duty of another well discharged;
Preferable is death in doing one's duty
The duty of another is fraught with fear.

Arjuna said:

O Lord ! What forces a man to commit sin
Even when he is unwilling?
There is indeed some driving force
That impels him to do this.

Lord Krishna said:

It is desire, it is anger born of Rajas
That forces him to commit sins;
Desire is transmuted into anger
When it is not gratified.

Desire and anger are your real enemies
They are all-consuming and all-polluting;
Desire dwells in the sense and the mind
It envelops wisdom and bewilders you.

Greater than the body is the sense
Greater than the senses is the mind;
Greater than the mind is the intellect
Greater than the intellect is the Lord.

Control first the sense
Kill the enemy desire;
Restrain the self by the Self
Know Him who is superior to intellect.

- From ' Essence of Gita in poems '

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To define God is to deny God. You can give definition of a finite object only. How can you define the limitless or infinite being who is the source and ultimate cause for everything? If you define God you are limiting the limitless one, you are confining him within the concept of the mind. God is beyond the gross mind, but he can be realized through meditation with a pure, subtle and one-pointed mind.

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“Prema is intense, concentrated, pure love of the Lord. Prema brings the devotee face to face with the Lord. Bhakti culminates in PREMA. Prema is pure nectar. Prema destroys pains and sorrows. It makes one immortal and blissful and peaceful. It is very difficult to describe the nature of prema You will have to experience it yourself. Cultivate it through japa (repetition of God's name), kirtan (chanting), satsanga (holy company), service of devotees and study of the scriptures. Repetition of hymns and so on will instil in your heart peace, joy, bliss. Sing the praises of the Lord daily to obtain the Lord's grace and dwell in him always.

Educate your eyes to see God in all faces, to behold the divine form in all beings. Educate your ears to hear the sweet melodious kirtans (hymns) of Lord Hari. Educate your tongue to sing his praises and to utter pleasant, loving and truthful words. Educate your hands to do charity and serve the poor. Educate the mind to be cheerful always, to think of him always and to be calm. This is the true path to develop PREMA.

The search for the highest truth, a little meditation on the Ishtam (one's own deity) in the early morning hours, a well-regulated life, a remembrance of the immortal nature of God, and an attempt to feel his presence in all forms, in your private and your public life, will give a balance and a rhythm to your life and inner spiritual strength and courage.

Have ceaseless devotion to truth. Be ready to sacrifice all for it. You will develop a strong will. You will become fearless. You will draw immense strength and courage from within, from him who is the indweller of all beings. You will attain God-realisation.

There is only one truth-God. And there is nothing else. The world is His manifestation. All activities, happenings, doings, are His. All is He. This world is ephemeral and a passing show, a phenomenon only for a time. There is no individual existence. The individuality is simply imaginary, an ignorant condition of the mind.

Love looks not with the eyes but with the heart. It is the crowning grace of humanity. Love is indeed heaven upon earth. It casts out fear. Love your neighbour as your own self. Love God with all your heart, mind and soul. Pure love is a divine flame, ever brilliant, never exhausted. It is the very essence of pure love to be willing to suffer for the good of others, to place its happiness in the happiness of others.

To define God is to deny God. You can give definition of a finite object only. How can you define the limitless or infinite being who is the source and ultimate cause for everything? If you define God you are limiting the limitless one, you are confining him within the concept of the mind. God is beyond the gross mind, but he can be realised through meditation with a pure, subtle and one-pointed mind.

Purity of food leads to purity of mind. This implies that all the objects which are grasped by the senses must be pure. The ears should hear the sublime utterances of Gita, Ramayana and the Bhagavatam, and the kirtans (hymns) of Lord Hari. Let your clothing be satvic (or pure). Let your speech be pure. Let your companions be satvic persons. Let the books you study be pure. Let the place you live in be satvic Let the meditation room be decorated with satvic pictures of the Lord. Then only you will soon attain God-consciousness. You will find in the Peace Chant these words: "O Gods! May we with our ears hear what is auspicious. O ye, fit to be worshipped, may we with our eyes see what is auspicious."

Without love a man's life is empty. Without love man lives in vain. Love is vital. Love is a great power. Give love and it shall be given unto you. Cultivate this love through service, japa (repetition of God's name , satsanga (holy company) and meditation. Strive ceaselessly to live in God, then only will you be able to conquer time or death.

God is always with you. He will protect and deliver you. Take refuge in him. His blessings will overflow in your life and will transform your mind and body. Develop your consciousness of spiritual things. Make a special effort daily to exercise control over your thoughts, words and actions. Feel his presence in your room. Pray daily. Meditate daily.

Friend! For a little while concentrate thy mind on the indweller of your heart. Abandon all worldly pleasure. Take to the path which is trodden by the righteous, Live on milk and fruits for a week. Endure cold and heat, hunger and thirst. Do not injure any creature to the slightest degree. Live a contented life. Regard applause and censure equally. Derive happiness from thy soul.”

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“God is love. Love is God. God is nectar. God is prem. Bhakti is supreme love towards God. Bhakti is the greatest power on earth. It gushes from one's pure heart. It redeems and saves. It purifies the heart. Devotion is the seed. Faith is the root. Service of the saints is the shower. Communion with the Lord is the fruit.

Bhakti is of two kinds-apara bhakti (a lower type of devotion) and para bhakti (supreme love). Ringing bells and waving lights is apara bhakti. A devotee who practices this has no expanded heart, is a sectarian and dislikes other kinds of bhaktas who worship other deities. In para bhakti, there is no ritualistic worship, the devotee is absorbed in God. In supreme love the devotee forgets himself entirely; he only thinks thoughts of God. Para bhakti and jnana are one. In the end the two become one.

Bhakti is sacred love. It is a higher emotion, with sublime sentiment, that unites the devotee with the Lord. It has to be experienced. Human love is hollow; it is mere animal attraction; it is passion; it is carnal love; it is selfish love. It is ever-changing. It is all show and hypocrisy.

When the husband is unemployed, the wife no longer cares for him; she frowns at him. The husband dislikes his wife when she loses her beauty on account of some chronic disease. You can find real, lasting love in God alone. His love knows no change.

Bhakti is the basis of all religious life. Bhakti destroys vasanas (psychological tendencies) and egoism. A life without bhakti, faith, love and devotion is a dreary waste. Bhakti softens the heart and removes jealousy, hatred, lust, anger, egoism, pride and arrogance. Bhakti infuses joy, divine ecstasy, bliss, peace and knowledge.

All cares, worries, anxieties, fears, mental torment and tribulations vanish entirely. Then the devotee is freed from the wheel of birth and death. He attains the immortal abode of everlasting peace, bliss and knowledge.

In sakamya (desire motivated) bhakti the bhakta worships God for the sake of getting riches, for getting a son, or for the removal of suffering from a disease. In vyabhicarini (insincere) bhakti the devotee worships God for some time-then he worships his wife, children and property for some time.

To love God and God alone is avyabhicarini (sincere bhakti. Lord Krishna say: "I am not in my control. I am in the complete control of my bhaktas (devotees). They have taken entire possession of my heart. How can I leave them when they have taken entire possession of my heart? How can I leave them when they have renounced everything for my sake? He who seeks me in all things, and all things in me, to him I am never lost, nor he to me."

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It is only for beginners: the instruction to meditate a little. You must meditate much. But you must increase the period gradually. Particularly retired people should meditate more. But, if I at once say, ‘Meditate more’. beginners will be frightened. Therefore, I say Meditate a little’ This is only to tempt people to meditate first of all.

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This world is your best teacher. There is a lesson in everything. There is a lesson in each experience. Learn it and become wise. Every failure is a stepping stone to success. Every difficulty or disappointment is a trial of your faith. Every unpleasant incident or temptation is a test of your inner strength. Therefore nil desperandum. March forward hero!

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By the purity of food, follows the purification of the inner nature.

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Joy is eternal it will never die: sorrow is illusory, it will never live.

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I live to serve you all. I live to make you all happy. I live to help you all in destroying ignorance and attaining the goal of life.

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SIVANANDA ON Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902)




This illustrious patriot-saint of modern India was born in Calcutta on 12 January, 1863. He was named Narendra. His father, Viswanath Datta, was a brilliant lawyer. He was highly respected for his intelligence and culture. His mother, Devi Bhuvaneshwari, was a devout woman with a great ability for training her children. As a boy, Narendra was very naughty and self-willed, and often had to be placed under a water tap to curb his mischief. Nevertheless, he was very generous, loving and devoted, with a strange attraction for wandering Sadhus. He enjoyed doing worship of Lord Rama and Lord Krishna with his mother.

After his matriculation, Narendra went to college. He was rarely absent from social parties. He was the "soul of social circles" and no gathering was deemed complete without his presence.

One day, his neighbour received a surprise visit from the saint of Dakshineshwar, Sri Ramakrishna. Narendra was also invited to sing devotional songs. As he sang, he sent thrill after thrill through Sri Ramakrishna until the saint fell into a state of ecstasy. When he became normal again, he made Narendra sit beside him and enquired lovingly of the boy. With time their friendship grew.

The death of his father forced Narendra to find work and support the family. During these years of great struggle, his sheet anchor was his Guru, Sri Ramakrishna. Narendra yearned intensely for God and began to plague the Master for realisation.

Narendra, now known as Swami Vivekananda, founded an Ashram near Calcutta, in order to organise better the Master's mission. This was the beginning of the Ramakrishna Mission.

From 1888 to 1890 Swami Vivekananda travelled widely. He went on a pilgrimage all over the country, studying the conditions of the people. Wherever he went, his magnetic personality created a great impression.

In 1893, Swami Vivekananda went to America to attend the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago. His powerful speech at the opening session of the Parliament brought him instant fame and acclaimed him as a great orator and the most ideal interpreter of India's wisdom. He instantly became very popular in America.

Swami Vivekananda's powerful personality and his passionate call of service of the poor, is still influencing people all over India and the world.

Swami Vivekananda arrived in America penniless and depending only on God's Grace. After the Parliament he began to receive the homage and hospitality of all America. He lectured at all the important centres. As a true Sannyasin he refused to sell religion for the sake of amassing money. He preached the gospel of unity of faiths and scattered the seeds of purity, knowledge and faith. After his stay of two years in America he toured England and Europe for three months.

The tremendous ovation he received on his return to India in no way took his mind away from his mission of bringing religion to the doors of the poorest. His aim was to awaken the masses by reviving Vedic religion, and to clean it of the dross and impurity that had clung to it for so many centuries.

In 1902 Swami Vivekananda entered Mahasamadhi. Six years of discipleship under Sri Ramakrishna had taken him to the realms of God-vision. Seven years of travelling in India had broadened his outlook on life. Nine years of a national and international career were all that were left for him; yet, how filled with glorious work those nine years were!

Swami Vivekananda's gospel was one of hope, faith and strength. He never succumbed to despair, for he knew that India was capable of expansion and growth. His clarion call to the nation was: "Awake, arise, and stop not till the goal is reached."

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SIVANANDA ON Sri Ramakrishna (1836-1886)


On 18 February, 1836, a child was born at Kamarpukur near Calcutta, in Bengal. This divine child was destined to return to Hinduism the glory it had enjoyed before the foreign conquest of India.

The child was named Gadadhar. He later grew to become Sri Ramakrishna, who was described by Romain Rolland as "the perfection of two thousand years of the spiritual life of three hundred million people".

As a child, Sri Ramakrishna showed wonderful qualities of purity and love. He loved the company of Sadhus. When he was nineteen, his elder brother, Ramkumar, appointed him priest of the Kali temple at Dakshineshwar. It was the duty of the young priest to dress and decorate the image of the Divine Mother, Kali. His love for the Mother began to grow beyond all bounds. To him, She alone was real and the world became a mere shadow. He poured his soul into his daily worship, and longed to obtain a vision of the Mother of the universe.

Sometimes, in agony he would rub his face against the ground and weep bitterly. Such was his longing to obtain Her vision. He reached a point when his agony was so great that life held no more meaning for him. It was then that he had his first vision of the Divine Mother. Thereafter, he would see the form of the Divine Mother often and get Her instructions and guidance.

Sri Ramakrishna was initiated into Vedantic meditation by Totapuri, a reputed monk who attained oneness with God after forty years of penance. Such was the devotion of Sri Ramakrishna that, to the amazement of his Guru, he attained in one day, what the Guru took forty years to achieve! In his very first sitting, he remained absorbed in the state of Samadhi or God-vision for three days!

Sri Ramakrishna was unique in every respect. He explored each of the world's great religions and found that he could have the vision of God by following any one of their paths. He could neither read nor write, yet he soon knew the basic teachings of all the sects of Hinduism.

When a Sufi taught him about Islam, Sri Ramakrishna lived the life of a devout Muslim and soon had the vision of Prophet Mohammed. Not long afterwards, he was attracted to the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. Soon he had the vision of Jesus also, and another of Mother Mary and the holy child. In the same manner he had a vision of Lord Buddha.

When Sri Ramakrishna was twenty-three, he selected as his bride, Sarada Devi, who was then five years old. But the couple never led a householder's life. The marvellous girl, who was herself a great soul, later became the Holy Mother, showering her Grace and blessings on the thousands who eagerly flocked to her for solace and comfort.

Sri Ramakrishna taught the world that God can be realised through all religions. This great truth came to him through his direct spiritual experience.

A great part of Sri Ramakrishna's life was spent in training his disciples, among whom Swami Vivekananda stood foremost. Swami Brahmananda, Swami Shivananda and Swami Saradananda were some of his other well-known disciples who expanded and spread his mission far and wide.

Sri Ramakrishna's teachings are given in a great work entitled, The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. It consists of his daily talks recorded by one of his very faithful disciples, Mahendra Nath Gupta. It is a marvellous book giving us the teachings of the great Master in a simple, lucid form.

Sri Ramakrishna left his physical body in the year 1886, after suffering for some time from throat cancer. His teachings, given by means of many stories and parables, are today read by almost every spiritual aspirant treading the path of Yoga. His spiritual impact on India and the world has been tremendous.

Mahatma Gandhiji said in a tribute to this great soul: "The story of Sri Ramakrishna's life is a story of religion in practice. His life enables us to see God face to face. Sri Ramakrishna was a living image of Godliness. His sayings are not those of a mere learned man but they are pages taken from the book of life."


http://www.dlshq.org/saints/ramakrishna.htm

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Sow love, reap peace:.... Sow meditation, reap wisdom

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ON YOGA VASHISHTHA

It is the crest-jewel of all the works on Vedanta. It is a masterpiece. A study of the book raises a man to the lofty heights of divine splendour and bliss. It is really a vast store of wisdom. Those who practise Atma Chintana or Brahma Abhyasa or Vedantic meditation will find a priceless treasure in this marvellous book. He who studies the book with great interest and one-pointedness of mind cannot go without attaining Self-realisation.

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Brahmacharya is meant both for men and women. Bhishma, Hanuman, Lakshmana, Jesus, Mirabai, Sulabha and Gargi were all celibates.

http://www.dlshq.org/teachings/brahmacharya.htm

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There cannot be any language without words. You cannot draw a picture without a canvas or a wall. You cannot write anything without paper. Even so, you cannot have health and spiritual life without celibacy.

An established celibate will not feel any difference in touching the opposite sex, a piece of paper, a block of wood, or a piece of stone. A true celibate only can cultivate Bhakti (devotion). A true celibate only can practice Yoga. A true celibate only can acquire jnana (wisdom).

Brahmacharya is meant both for men and women. Bhishma, Hanuman, Lakshmana, Jesus, Mirabai, Sulabha and Gargi were all celibates.

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Celibacy is to a Yogi what electricity is to an electric bulb. Without celibacy no spiritual progress is possible. It is a potent weapon and shield to wage war against the internal evil forces of lust, anger and greed. It serves as a gateway for the bliss beyond, and opens the door of liberation. It contributes perennial joy and uninterrupted bliss. It is the only key to open the Sushumna (the chief among astral tubes in the human body running inside the spinal column) and awaken the Kundalini (the primordial cosmic energy located in the individual).

http://www.dlshq.org/teachings/brahmacharya.htm

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In a narrow sense, Brahmacharya is celibacy. In a broad sense, it is absolute control of all the senses. The door of Nirvana (liberation) or perfection is complete Brahmacharya.

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THE IMPORTANCE OF RIGHT DIET

Diet plays a prominent part in keeping up celibacy. There are different compartments in the brain and each food produces its own effect on each compartment and of the general system. A confection of sparrow produces aphrodisiac effect. It directly stimulates the reproductive organs. Garlic, onions, meat, fish, and eggs stimulate passion.

Give proper attention to food. Have moderation in diet. Take Sattvic (pure) food such as milk, fruits, and wheat. Occasional fasting checks passion, calms the emotions, controls the Indriyas (senses), and helps in the practice of celibacy.

http://www.dlshq.org/teachings/brahmacharya.htm

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