The model of adoration offered by Shri Shankaracharya himself

There is a short classic of Shri Shankaracharya called “Aparokshanubhuti”: “The Direct Experience”. Of what? Of nothing – just direct experience. If it is experience of anything it is not experience of God, because He is not anything; he is something, He is everything, but ultimately He is nothing you can conceive of adequately. Therefore, …

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To abide in the witness consciousness is a useful practice

Adhyatma Yoga cannot be taken as a hypothesis. The mind which is accustomed to working through the senses does not like to reflect, but if it is convinced of the importance and necessity of philosophical reflection, it adopts it easily. When the mind is thus fitted, learn to withdraw it from sense objects for a …

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Action should be calm, well-directed to a right objective, and efficient

‘Act, but do not re-act’, Dr. Shastri used to tell his pupils. He taught that action should be calm, well-directed to a right objective, and efficient. But it was not to be accompanied by reactions. Sometimes, in the very midst of an action, we find ourselves reacting to the situation: How am I doing?  Is …

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Christ, or Rama or Krishna were never ignorant of their divine descent

To understand the doctrine of the Bhagavad Gita, it is necessary to understand the doctrine of incarnation. Not re-incarnation, but incarnation, and when we have understood the doctrine of incarnation we shall also understand the true meaning of Christianity, Judaism and other great religions. On several occasions Shri Krishna mentions his incarnation. At one place …

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The cosmic mind helps the individual mind when the individual mind can establish a channel

The cosmic mind helps the individual mind when the individual mind can establish a channel with the cosmic mind. The cosmic mind is like a glacier and individual minds are like the small streams that flow from the glacier. If by concentration and discipline the mind can remember that its main source is the glacier …

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A Yogi’s field of action is prayer, meditation, study and the blessing of all

The world is a fable to the contemplative. As St. Thomas Aquinas has said: “The life of action should be something added to the life of prayer, not something taken away from it.” The pragmatic contention that the end of thought is action is not a spiritual axiom. Rama Tirtha in his last days came …

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Nothing except consciousness really exists

The Jivanmukta is neither self-conscious in the psychological sense nor super-conscious; but consciousness itself — no more, no less. Nothing except consciousness really exists. Existence (Sat) and consciousness (Chit) are the names of the same reality, which is all, in which the world exists as a ring in the coiled serpent. It is absurd to …

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The progress and order of the states of mind of the meditation Yoga

The progress and order of the states of mind of the meditation Yoga is as follows: 1 Agitation. The mind is moved by desires, by objective influences. Money, rest, sex-pleasures, name, lassitude, etc., enter the soul like the scorpions entering a cave. By prayer, by service of the Guru, by vigilance, by study, these influences …

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What is the scope of logical reasoning according to Shri Shankara

The only proof of the existence of Brahman is the Shruti. Then what is the scope of logical reasoning according to Shri Shankara? Do a little research work – “Brahma Sutra” Book 2, section 1, Sutra 11. In the commentary Shri Shankara comments on this problem Also Book 2, section 1, Sutra 6 and Book …

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Atman cannot be achieved by hearing, talking, or the intellect

The Shruti says: “Nayam Atma pravachanena labhyo, na medhaya, na bahuna shrutena. This Atman cannot be achieved by hearing nor by talking much about it, nor by exercise of the intellect.” (“Katha Upanishad” 1.2.23. “Mundaka Upanishad” 3.2.3.) Yet we are asked to do shravana and it appears like a contradiction that in one place the …

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The jnani is subject to the fruit of karma willingly, while the ignorant is so unwillingly

In the real sense, meditation means to withdraw the mind from the objects of the five senses and also from the internal commotion of ambitions, pride, egoity, etc., and to focus it on itself. The words are said to have a great force, but the meaning has a greater force even than the words. Words …

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Vritti has two purposes which are related to sansara, and spiritual realisation.

What is the purpose of vritti? Vritti has two purposes which are related to (1) sansara, and (2) spiritual realisation. In sansara, practical achievement is the purpose of vritti – for instance, education, learning, knowing grammar, travelling, acquiring legitimate pleasure and wealth; these are all results of vritti. In the spiritual world, vritti has a …

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What is that state which the worshippers of God aspire to

Those who have made a firm determination to know Brahman as their Atman and to end the cycle of birth and death have the following courses open to them: (1) They should worship the Absolute state of God, without any attributes, limitations, about which nothing positive can be said, and to identify that principle with …

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There are two aspects of Brahman, called Jnana-jneya and Upasya-jneya

There are two aspects of Brahman, called Jnana-jneya and Upasya-jneya, the aspect which can be realized by Jnana and the aspect which can be realized by Upasana. Jnana means the realization of Brahman sattyam jagan mithya jivo Brahmaiva na parah. Whenever the word Jnana is used in the philosophical sense in the holy literature, it …

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A great verse on reincarnation comes at the beginning of the teachings

As the wearer casts off worn-out clothes and puts on himself others which are new, Even so, casting off worn-out bodies, the body-wearer passes on to new ones. Bhagavad Gita II.22 This great verse on reincarnation comes at the beginning of the teachings, and it refers to the great Self which takes on itself the …

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The ignorance of the rope makes it appear as a snake

These are the words of Shri Shankara (“Five Couplets on the Atman” 2.): “The ignorance of the rope makes it appear as a snake. The erroneous knowledge of Atman makes  jivahood appear as an illusion in it.” Atman is Sacchidananda but Atman’s nature is erroneously known. You cannot say “not known” for it is ever-known. …

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The attributes of Atman are given in the Shvetashvatara Upanishad

The following four attributes are the attributes of Atman given in the Upanishad (“Shvetashvatara Upanishad” 6.11) (1) It is sakshi, witness (2) it is cheta, conscious (3) it is kevala, one only; there is nothing besides it (4) it is nirguna, without any. Neither Plato nor Aristotle knew Atman; they discoursed only on buddhi. We …

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There are two states that the mind undergoes and notices all the time

There are two states that the mind undergoes and notices all the time. The mind creates a dream, and in the dream it creates the dream-mind and observes and notices the dream. In every dream, the mind creates the personality of the dreamer which he sees acting in it; there is no dream without it. …

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To know the Self, Atman, as the essence and substratum of the universe

“Ashtavakra Gita”, Chapter 2 verses 1-16: To know the Self, Atman, as the essence and substratum of the universe, including the mind individual and cosmic, two methods are recommended as preliminary ones. The first is: Control the mind, and prevent it from going towards tamas and rajas. To control the mind means to prevent the …

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When the mind is active, it should rest on the personal God

When the mind is active, it should rest on the personal God, Saguna Brahman. It should meditate on Vishnu, Jesus, Krishna, Rama; these are highest conceptions by meditating on which the mind slowly begins to lose its activity. If you imagine Jesus teaching on the Mount of Olives in His divine glory, and rest your …

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Man should turn his back on sense-pleasures and apply himself to tranquillity and simplicity and purity.

Prakriti is constant becoming. It is an evolute. The mind also is becoming. Rajas is giving prakriti motion all the time. The mind also is active all the time. But the witness of the mind, the Self, is free from being and becoming. The Self is gunatita, beyond the three gunas. Then doing anything, let …

Read moreMan should turn his back on sense-pleasures and apply himself to tranquillity and simplicity and purity.

In Atman there is neither bondage nor deliverance

In Atman there is neither bondage nor deliverance, as in the sun there is neither night nor day. Atman is chaitanya, pure consciousness, but the dull-witted ones conceive the attributes of the intellect in Atman. Dull-witted ones. Why are they dull-witted and why are others not? Owing to their karma. Those who perform good deeds, …

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Pursuit of coarse pleasures, coarse food, drink makes the mind gross

Pursuit of coarse pleasures, coarse food, drink and suchlike things makes the mind gross, and beefeaters mind, whiskey drinkers mind, is not competent to solve the subtle spiritual problems. As long as the mind finds delight in the course pleasures, sex and food et cetera, it is not competent for meditation. The mind must be …

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When the mind is active, it should rest on the personal God, Saguna Brahman.

It should meditate on Vishnu, Jesus, Krishna, Rama; these are highest conceptions by meditating on which the mind slowly begins to lose its activity. If you imagine Jesus teaching on the Mount of Olives in His divine glory, and rest your mind on it and imagine that you are also one of the disciples, then …

Read moreWhen the mind is active, it should rest on the personal God, Saguna Brahman.

The Pure Consciousness, which witnesses both being and becoming, is real

These elephants , horses, youth, chariots, wealth, large houses and luxuries will not avail in the long run. They are liable to be lost in a moment. They are unreal like the figures in a passing cloud. O my mind, knowing this fact, leave them aside at a distance and, in order to obtain Self-realization …

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The ego seizes its opportunity and usurps the throne of Atman

If a person goes missing, and has not been seen by anybody for a sufficiently long time, they are pronounced legally to be “missing, believed dead”, although those who are real friends and loved them, still keep faith with them. They go on hoping and believing that they will eventually turn out to be alive …

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Shri Shankara says that the ignorant man is guilty of killing Atman in two different ways

Shri Shankara in his commentary on the thirteenth chapter of the Gita says: “There is a view (he says) which holds: ‘I am a sansarin subject to pleasure and pain. To bring about the cessation of sansara I should first acquire a discriminative knowledge of the field and the knower of the field. And then …

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Maya is the desire fulfilling heavenly cow which yields milk in the form of duality

Swami Vidyaranya points out forcefully, that we are all drunk on the intoxicating milk of Maya—the desire fulfilling, heavenly cow—which yields milk in the form of duality. “Maya is said to be the desire-fulfilling, heavenly cow. It has two calves, Jiva and Ishwara. It yields milk in the form of duality. Drink of it as …

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The body and the mind are instruments of the spirit

The body and the mind are instruments of the spirit, through which it expresses itself, to discover itself, its identity with the whole God -creating Beauty, expanding its range in the progressive discovery of Truth and defusing its light as goodness.  The body with its anatomical and physiological parts is a house; the mind is …

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The threefold method of realisation is: Shruti, reasoning and contemplation.

Ashtavakra Gita”, Chapter 2 verses 1-16: To know the Self, Atman, as the essence and substratum of the universe, including the mind individual and cosmic, two methods are recommended as preliminary ones. The first is: Control the mind, and prevent it from going towards tamas and rajas. To control the mind means to prevent the …

Read moreThe threefold method of realisation is: Shruti, reasoning and contemplation.

The Chandogya Upanishad speaks of the food we eat being divided threefold

Food may well seem to some people a topic too mundane to be harped upon in a spiritual classic, but the fact is that it is mentioned many times in the Upanishads, which are the oldest written works in the yogic tradition. As the old German proverb has it, from one point of view man …

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Those who take up spiritual Yoga have peace, poise and something to put against fear and adversity

There is considerable interest in the subject of Yoga today, but a great deal of misunderstanding about it, and the first thing to be understood is that there are many Yogas, in fact as many as there are aspects of Christian religion. The word ‘Yoga’ literally means ‘yoke’ and the idea fundamentally is the pursuit …

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Brahman defies all proofs and therefore also defies definition

There can be no svarupa-lakshana of Brahman, because Brahman defies all proofs and therefore also defies definition. You define a thing which is limited in some way, but Brahman is unlimited. It is from the root “Brih” which means “unlimited” majesty. Moreover, only those things are subject to definition which function in the realm of …

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