Qualities to be cultivated by a seeker of Knowledge

Bhagavad Gita Chapter XVI Passion-Struggle The chapter begins with a list of things innate in those in whom the impulse towards liberation is becoming strong: they are said to be of divine nature. Those who fear it, cling to their own individuality and hate competing individualities, are of demoniac nature. The chart below sets out the …

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Old people have a significant role to play, and some of them find it.

The problem for old people in the West is not that they are regarded as junk, but they regard themselves as junk. In many countries of the East, there are not so many old people, but those there are, are often better off, not materially but in quality of life. They have a significant role …

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Constant remembrance of God transforms the heart and awakens longing to possess spiritual truth

There was a king who caught and held prisoner a parrot. It was a sweet speaking parrot but it had only one theme, the beauty and perfection of its former mistress, Princess Padmani. Day after day the king listened to the paean of praise from the parrot. Slowly his imagination was fired. He became obsessed …

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The perfectly real is beyond all change and so beyond action

Advaita Vedantais the doctrine contained in a certain body of treatises which follow a particular line of explanation and defence of the main teachings of the Upanishads. On the theoretical side, its main principle is that only the Absolute exists, known variously as the Self, as Brahman or as the supreme Lord (Parameshwara). The apparent …

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Mohammed himself associated prayer with every aspect of his daily life

Spirituality is at the core of our being, and men have felt the pull of it at all times and in all countries. Freud perverted the truth when he claimed that religion was a private form of neurosis; a far truer diagnosis is that neurosis is a private, incomplete and distorted form of the religious …

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The main problem of man is how to free himself by having supreme experience

Everything has three aspects. One aspect is extemporary, fleeting, unimportant. The second is the aspect of activity and life, which animates objects. The third is its position or relationship with the great Spirit behind all. Let us look upon man as an object in nature. The first aspect, which is the physical, is too well …

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Rare is the true Teacher and rarer still is the true pupil

Dr. Shastri’s free translation of the 16th chapter of the Bhagavad Gita says : “OM. Those who disregard the spiritual experience of the Sages of the past and act according to their own impulses, thinking they can follow Yoga and meditation independently, fail to obtain happiness, perfection or the supreme goal. Personal guidance is essential …

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To be ruled by instinctive preferences and aversions is what the Yogis call bondage

A common view of the ordinary materialistic man of the world today is that life is a competitive game which is to be played in order to win. There are two versions of this view: the nicer version is that the game is to be played according to certain rules, with decency and sportsmanship. This …

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Mohammed Shah

Some thirty years after the death of the great Mogul Emperor Aurangzeb in 1707, the throne of Delhi was occupied by one of his descendants named Mohammed Shah. He was a man who loved luxury and took delight in sense-pleasures and allowed the administration to vegetate. The country grew in disorder. Corruption, jealousy, plunder, ruled …

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The aim of life is to reveal this divine principle

It is very seldom that anyone can teach himself satisfactorily. One may acquire a certain proficiency, but there comes a time when you must receive not only instruction, but protection and encouragement from others. The search for knowledge calls for partnership between the one who knows and the one who desires to know. It is …

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Buddhi is the basis of all knowing, willing and feeling

In Western philosophical writings the functions of the conscious mind are commonly divided into Knowing, Willing and Feeling. The Vedanta usually adopts a different classification, and there is a risk of confusion unless this is clearly recognised. Suppose that someone asks you to describe London and you do so by splitting it up into postal …

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The teaching of the Bhagavad Gita is wonderfully apposite to modern problems

The teaching of the Bhagavad Gita, although it was written several thousand years ago, is wonderfully apposite to modern problems. This is not so extraordinary when it is seen that without including a dogmatic system in its teaching, it reached out to the deepest needs and aspirations of mankind, which have after all not changed …

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Meditation, self-discipline, enlightened action and worship are preparatory aids to the attainment of knowledge.

TO those who know little or nothing about Yoga, the idea of Yoga as a means to knowledge may appear a little provocative, for the spirit of the age has little sympathy with mysticism or with any means of knowing other than sense experience and reasoning. Yet it is as a means to knowledge that …

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Existence is unchanging, imperishable, immortal and the All.

Nothing can exist without Existence. The existent is phenomenal, changing, subject to birth and death, but Existence, upon which all stands phenomenally, is unchanging, imperishable, immortal and the All. Existence is common to God, matter and all modifications of matter such as grass, trees, etc., and all is what it is by virtue of Sat, …

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As in war, no one is defeated unless he acknowledges defeat

Often when the pressure of external circumstances is strong, and the goal hidden in thick mists, the heart cries in agony, “I have failed in this life, I have achieved nothing worthwhile.” As in war, no one is defeated unless he acknowledges defeat and asks for an armistice, so in life no one is defeated …

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If death means absence of survival, then there is no such thing as death.

There is such a thing as death if it means a temporary change in the medium which expresses life. If it means annihilation of life, or absence of survival, then there is no such thing as death. Biology has taught us that, practically speaking, there is no such thing as death to the single-celled unit …

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Suffering, in the spiritual philosophy, means a condition of growth

Why do I suffer? Why also does virtue suffer? These are both common questions. Suffering, in the spiritual philosophy, means a condition of growth, and also a purification antecedent to spiritual evolution, and is not without a deep significance and purpo.se. Each new growth means the death of the preceding conditions. The seed “dies” to …

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God, Love, Freedom, and much else cannot be defined in terms of logic

Truth is limitless and is not the monopoly of any individual, nation or race. Do not think that what comes from a great man, or a learned man, or a high mystic is always Truth. Newton has made mistakes; Plato has been wrong, in many instances; the geography put into the mouth of Gautama Buddha …

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Peace does not mean sloth or inactivity and does not mean shirking the daily duties

What is that peace to which we aspire?    The Teacher once  gave  the  following  description  of Shanti  or  Spiritual  Peace,  which  is the  same  as found in the experience of other God-realised men. Peace does not mean sloth or inactivity; it does not mean shirking the daily duties and responsibilities; it does not mean silence …

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Spiritual help and protection will be given to one who makes sincere and persistent efforts.

The goal must be that serenity of mind in which fear is unknown, and which, once realised, abides for ever, and enriches life with the gifts of love consequent on detachment (vairagya) and the knowledge that all is One. The desire to render unselfish service will follow. Spiritual help and protection will be given to …

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Do not try to run away from the post your karma has assigned you

Having had a call to the higher life, and realising to some extent the hollowness of the external phenomena and the internal emotions, the pupil faces a feeling of dissatisfaction and negation, and he asks, “Granted that the world and its pleasures are unreal, and that there is Reality within me, what shall I do? …

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Our principles are those of other-worldliness

That we do not create visionaries who are themselves cut off from the hard practical life of the world, only contemplating God, or Truth. The test of successful meditation is its application to daily life. In this respect the system of Adhyatma Yoga is different from systems which teach only “other-worldliness,” and ignore the social …

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How to know exactly what the Bhagavad Gita text says

The Gita is a book of practical mystical instruction. Though there are descriptions of the world-scheme, it is not an argued metaphysical treatise. The text is in beautiful but simple Sanskrit verse, easy to memorize, and arousing devotion, energy, intuition, and finally peace, in the memorizer. To know exactly what the Gita text says, read …

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To allow duality in the doctrine of Avatar is wrong

August 18th is the birthday of Shri Krishna. It is a most auspicious day. The Brahmacharis and Yogis divide themselves into small groups and devote their time to reading and listening to Shrimat Bhagawat, Vishnu Purana, Brahmavaivarta Purana and the works of such holy poets as Surdas, Shri Jaideva and others; they meditate on Shri …

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The Ramayana of Valmiki translated by Hari Prasad Shastri

Western culture is only just beginning to look beyond the Roman and Greek civilizations for new inspiration. Even so, it is a little surprising that, although the mighty epics of the Iliad and the Odyssey are widely known and loved, only a few scholars have studied their Hindu counterparts known as the Ramayana and the …

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The Gopis of Braj represent the greatest example of the spiritual ideal

The wild, restless inner instrument of the mind of man, no matter who it belongs to, can be easily transformed into an intensely concentrated state, in which, it is almost impossible for anyone else to divert the attention of the mind from its one and only chosen object. That state is the state of deep …

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Spiritual aspirants will acquire defects of character even in their sojourn in forests.

Till the depths of the mind have been partially pacified, attempts to force them to be calm, by a more or less complete long isolation, will energize them, as Saint Anthony found. Humankind is naturally gregarious; Dr. Shastri said that one who likes to live alone is either a superman or less than human. The …

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The Self must be freed from the world and its attractions, pleasures and illusion

The Self is felt to be entangled in the world; it is entangled because it does not know, vitally and consciously, that the world is illusion. The appearance of bondage is caused equally by attraction – belief that pleasure-in-restriction is real, and by repulsion – certainty that the restriction of pain is real. The entanglement …

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Live under a symbolic illusion, which will one day disappear

The whole world is gradually to be realized as an illusion, but it is not an illusion projected by the Cosmic Self, full of beauty and meaning. That Self is seen at first more clearly in certain forms. When meditated upon with devotion, and finally felt as the inner life, they become radiant, then gradually …

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Political freedom gives chances to express the soul of a people

Political freedom gives chances to express the soul of a people, but, as Dr. Shastri often pointed out, it has also the dangers of self-destruction, when quarrelling parties struggle for power. In such cases, rule by a foreigner can be an advantage, because the foreigner is impartial. For instance, the Italian city-states of the Middle …

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