with quotes from Realized Masters

If you have your sights set on attaining the highest goal humanly possible – Enlightenment – then daily, meditate, contemplate on the words of those who have been there and have returned with the knowledge that can set you free.

06/25/17 – Today’s Quote 

“I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies; for the hardest victory is over self.” – Aristotle



“Lord Shiva is seated deep in everyone’s heart. He is Nirguna (One who is without form or its attributes). He is Nirakaar (Has no shape or form), and He is the Para-Brahman (Supreme transcendental Consciousness) that is all pervading. Believe in this. This is Rudra Puja” – Sri Sri Ravi Shankar




“When I run after what I think I want, my days are a furnace of stress and anxiety; if I sit in my own place of patience, what I need flows to me, and without pain. From this I understand that what I want also wants me, is looking for me and attracting me. There is a great secret here for anyone who can grasp it.” – Rumi




“Old as I am in age, I have no feeling that I have ceased to grow inwardly or that my growth will stop at the dissolution of the flesh. What I am concerned with is my readiness to obey the call of Truth, my God, from moment to moment, no matter how inconsistent it may appear. My commitment is to Truth, not to consistency.” – Mahatma Gandhi




“We are in the world, within its orbit in every way. As the earth, sun, moon and other celestial bodies are held by Nature, we the denizens of earth are equally held by her. Where is the question of disregarding, denying or conflicting anything? So seek to live in harmony with Nature and world, and yet strive your way to the Supreme, which is just within yourself, in the very depths of the mind.” – Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha



“There is One unchanging indivisible Reality which, though unmanifest, reveals Itself in infinite multiplicity and diversity.’ – Anandamayi Ma



“What we call our destiny is truly our character and that character can be altered. The knowledge that we are responsible for our actions and attitudes does not need to be discouraging, because it also means that we are free to change this destiny. One is not in bondage to the past, which has shaped our feelings, to race, inheritance, background. All this can be altered if we have the courage to examine how it formed us. We can alter the chemistry provided we have the courage to dissect the elements.” – Anais Nin




“Through our eyes, the universe is perceiving itself. Through our ears, the universe is listening to its harmonies. We are the witnesses through which the universe becomes conscious of its glory, of its magnificence.” – Alan Watts




“Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.” – Albert Einstein



“There comes a time in the seeker’s life when he discovers that he is at once the lover and the beloved. The aspiring soul which he embodies is the lover in him. And the transcendental Self which he reveals from within is his Beloved.” – Sri Chinmoy



“The misconception which has haunted philosophic literature throughout the centuries is the notion of ‘independent existence.’ There is no such mode of existence; every entity is to be understood in terms of the way it is interwoven with the rest of the universe.” – Alfred North Whitehead



“The whole world yearns after freedom, yet each creature is in love with his chains; this is the first paradox and inextricable knot of our nature.” – Sri Aurobindo




“Your soul has a special mission. Your soul is supremely conscious of it. Maya, illusion or forgetfulness, makes you feel that you are finite, weak and helpless. This is not true. You are not the body. You are not the senses. You are not the mind. These are all limited. You are the soul, which is unlimited. Your soul is infinitely powerful. Your soul defies all time and space.” – Sri Chinmoy




“To remain as victims of desires is to be some horrid machines of activity, vomiting out into the world our inner poison of ego and egocentric passions.To sustain life only for the satisfaction of desires is unintelligent; for they have a knack of multiplying themselves as we go on satisfying them one after another. They are ‘hard to appease.’ Filled with insatiable desires, when a man uses his intelligence, abilities and knowledge, he naturally brings about an endless stream of disturbances in and around him.” – from Swami Chinmayananda’s commentary on the Gita (16.10)





“One who reads and speaks on sastras, but for gaining benefits leading to sensory gratification, like a worldly professional, but makes no effort to practise it, is a jnana-bandhu, spiritual imposter.

He whose knowledge is not reflected clearly in his activities, but is used just as worldly professionals do to gain a livelihood, is regarded as a jnana-bandhu.

Those who feel quite satisfied with the fruits of scriptural practices, because they fulfil the bodily needs, namely food and dress, are regarded as jnana-bandhus, spiritual professionals.” – Yoga Vasistha 6u.21.3-5



“A boat may stay in water, but water should not stay in boat. A spiritual aspirant may live in the world, but the world should not live within him.” – Ramakrishna




“A man cannot see his image in flowing water but sees it in water which is at rest. Only that which remains at rest can become the resting-place for all those who wish to seek rest.” – Chuang Tzu



“The will is not free – it is a phenomenon bound by cause and effect – but there is something behind the will which is free.” – Swami Vivekananda




“What men call knowledge, is the reasoned acceptance of false appearances. Wisdom looks behind the veil and sees.” – Sri Aurobindo



“The Self after bringing about the combination with the principles of Nature remains identical with the phenomenon that appears (the snake). The idea is, the snake (creation) appears, because the rope is behind and identical with it. For this reason the snake is called the Vivarta of the rope. They are not two, since creation (appearance) has no separate existence from Brahman, the rope. So the Self and the phenomenon (the Biological, psychological personalities, men, women and their karma etc.) are constantly identical; this is the idea conveyed. Thus the biological and psychological personalities being the outcome (appearances) of the rapid combination of Self with the principles of Prakriti appear to be real, but in truth they are the Vivarta of the Self. The Self alone is real and is constantly identical with the physical, biological and psychological personalities that appear as the snake. This idea is echoed in the Buddhist example of a lighted firebrand moved rapidly producing the impression of a circle or other figures, which do not really exist. The rapid movement of the firebrand is similar here to the rapid combination of the principles of Prakriti and the Self. The point of illumination (from the Buddhist example) is the unreality of unit perceptions, like a man, woman, a biological personality etc. which are comprised basically of the elements of Prakriti and their rapid combination with the Self. Thus by meditating on this aspect of the Truth of Vivarta, absorption in Brahman, the unchangeable, is possible by knowing the phenomenal as not something separate from It, but as identical with It.” – from Swami Bhaskareshwarananda’s Elucidation of Shankaracharya’s Commentary on the Svetasvatara Upanishad, 6.3 by Swami Vedananda



“Meditation is not an escape. Meditation is the acceptance of life in its totality, with a view to transforming it for the highest manifestation of the divine Truth here on earth.” – Sri Chinmoy



“Our history will be what we make of it. If we go on as we are, then history will take its revenge and retribution will not limp in catching up with us. So, just once in a while let us exhault the importance of ideas and information.” – Edward R. Murrow


“I am open to the guidance of synchronicity, and do not let expectations hinder my path.” – Dalai Lama



“When I run after what I think I want, my days are a furnace of stress and anxiety; if I sit in my own place of patience, what I need flows to me, and without pain. From this I understand that what I want also wants me, is looking for me and attracting me. There is a great secret here for anyone who can grasp it.” – Rumi



“A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider god-fearing and pious. On the other hand, they do less easily move against him, believing that he has the gods on his side.” – Aristotle



“How much greater joy beyond our conception to know that that which is now in human form may undergo countless transitions, with only the infinite to look forward to? Therefore it is that the Sage rejoices in that which can never be lost, but endures always.” –  Chuang Tzu



“Do not be misled by what you see around you, or be influenced by what you see. You live in a world which is a playground of illusion, full of false paths, false values and false ideals. But you are not part of that world.” – Sai Baba of Shridi




“When everything is in abundance, dispassion happens. And when dispassion is there, everything comes in abundance.” – Sri Sri Ravi Shankar



“The story of the redemption will not stand examination. That man should redeem himself from the sin of eating an apple by committing a murder on Jesus Christ, is the strangest system of religion ever set up.” – Thomas Paine



“Whatever a man has in superabundance is owed, of natural right, to the poor for their sustenance. So Ambrosius says, and it is also to be found in the Decretum Gratiani: The bread which you withhold belongs to the hungry: the clothing you shut away, to the naked: and the money you bury in the earth is the redemption and freedom of the penniless.” – Thomas Aquinas



“To lead the mind to quietude is the first step. Thereupon, it should be led to nirvana, redemption. At no time does the true content of the mind undergo any change. None of the mind’s functions has any power to change its essence. The mind will have to realize its real character, essence and potential. Then that knowledge will bring full redemption.” – Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha



“Nirvano bhava! Be nirvana embodied! Tranquil at heart,
taking to whatever comes to you from time to time.
Let existence and its extinction be equal to you,
O gentle soul, like whatever is made of crystal or
appears in quartz.” Sage Vasistha (Yoga Vasistha 6u.27.1)





“You have to grow from the inside out. None can teach you, none can make you spiritual. There is no other teacher but your own soul.” – Swami Vivekananda



“The efforts which we make to escape from our destiny only serve to lead us into it.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson



“Listen to the Exhortation of the Dawn! Look to this Day! For it is Life, the very Life of Life. In its brief course lie all the Verities and Realities of your Existence. The Bliss of Growth, The Glory of Action, The Splendor of Beauty; For Yesterday is but a Dream, And To-morrow is only a Vision; But To-day well lived makes Every Yesterday a Dream of Happiness, And every Tomorrow a Vision of Hope. Look well therefore to this Day! Such is the Salutation of the Dawn!” – Kalidasa



“The gunas of prakriti perform all karma. With the understanding clouded by egotism, man thinks ‘I am the doer’.” The Bhagavad Gita (III.27)



“Men believe themselves to be free, because they are conscious of their own actions and are ignorant of the causes by which they are determined.” (Spinoza. Ethics III)




“There is only one cause of unhappiness: the false beliefs you have in your head, beliefs so widespread, so commonly held, that it never occurs to you to question them.” – Anthony de Mello, S.J.



“Through intense deep meditation you reach a state that is beyond thought, beyond change, beyond imagination, beyond differences and duality. Once you can stay in that state for a while and come out of it without losing any of it, then the inner divine love will begin to pour through you. You will not see people as different, separate individuals. You will see your own Self in everyone around you. Then the flow of love from within you will be constant and unbroken.” – Swami Muktananda




“No knowledge comes from outside; it is all inside. What we say a man “knows”, should, in strict psychological language, be what he “discovers” or “unveils”; what a man “learns” is really what he “discovers”, by taking the cover off his own soul, which is a mine of infinite knowledge.” – Swami Vivekananda



In Chapter 2 of the Tao de Ching, Lao Tse writes:
“The Sage acts, but does not appropriate;
Accomplishes, but claims no credit.
It is because he lays claim to no credit
That the credit cannot be taken away from him.”



“Unawareness of one’s feet is the mark of a pair of shoes that fit; unawareness of the waist is the sign of a belt that fits; unawareness of right and wrong is the mark of a mind that is at ease. It does not change inside and is not affected by external events, and one feels at ease in all circumstances and situations. Once at ease, it is never again not at ease. That is to be at ease through unawareness of being at ease.” – Chuang tzu



“He (Brahman) who rules VIDYA (correct knowledge or clarity) and AVIDYA (ignorance) is different from them. Why again is Vidya or intuition to be transcended? Because that which rules Vidya and Avidya is different (ANYAH) from them. It is the witness beyond both, but in lila appears as Vidya and Avidya. One has to first feel Vidya and Avidya as distinct from Brahman, and then illumine them as the lila of that very Brahman. Otherwise the tremendous joy or Ananda in Vidya, will not allow the sadhaka to proceed to truth which is different from it. Vidya, Avidya and Brahman are not three different things, it is all the lila of the one reality, Brahman.” – Swami Bhaskareshwarananda’s Elucidation of Shankaracharya’s Commentary on the Svetasvatara Upanishad (5.1)




“As long as you think that the cause of your problem is “out there”—as long as you think that anyone or anything is responsible for your suffering—the situation is hopeless. It means that you are forever in the role of victim, that you’re suffering in paradise.” – Byron Katie




“Willpower should be understood to be the strength of the mind, which makes it capable of meeting success or failure with equanimity. It is not synonymous with certain success. Why should one’s attempts always be attended by success? Success breeds arrogance and man’s spiritual progress is thus arrested. Failure, on the other hand, is beneficial, inasmuch as it opens his eyes to his limitations and prepares him to surrender himself. Self surrender is synonymous with eternal happiness.” – Ramana Maharshi



“Now you see what Karma-Yoga means; even at the point of death to help any one, without asking questions. Be cheated millions of times and never ask a question, and never think of what you are doing. Never vaunt of your gifts to the poor or expect their gratitude, but rather be grateful to them for giving you the occasion of practicing charity to them. Thus it is plain that to be an ideal householder is a much more difficult task than to be an ideal Sannyasin; the true life of work is indeed as hard as, if not harder than, the equally true life of renunciation.” – Swami Vivekananda

Photo courtesy of FoodRelief.org



“Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.” – Thomas Jefferson


“Those of us who have the privilege to serve this country have an obligation to do our job as best we can. We come from different parties, but we are Americans first. And that’s why disagreement cannot mean dysfunction. It can’t degenerate into hatred. The American people’s hopes and dreams are what matters, not ours. Our obligations are to them. Our regard for them compels us all, Democrats and Republicans, to cooperate, and compromise, and act in the best interests of our nation –- one nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.” – Barack Obama



“As soon as you look at the world through an ideology you are finished. No reality fits an ideology. Life is beyond that. … That is why people are always searching for a meaning to life… Meaning is only found when you go beyond meaning. Life only makes sense when you perceive it as mystery and it makes no sense to the conceptualizing mind.” – Anthony de Mello, S.J.




“This world is nothing. It is at best only a hideous caricature, a shadow of the Real. We must go to the Real. Renunciation will take us to It. Renunciation is the very basis of our true life; every moment of goodness and real life that we enjoy is when we do not think of ourselves.” – Swami Vivekananda



“Life is called Samsara – it is the result of the conflicting forces acting upon us. Materialism says, “The voice of freedom is a delusion.” Idealism says, “The voice that tells of bondage is but a dream.” Vedanta says, “We are free and not free at the same time.” That means that we are never free on the earthly plane, but ever free on the spiritual side. The Self is beyond both freedom and bondage. We are Brahman, we are immortal knowledge beyond the senses, we are Bliss Absolute.” – Swami Vivekananda



“The greed of gain has no time or limit to its capaciousness. Its one object is to produce and consume. It has pity neither for beautiful nature nor for living human beings. It is ruthlessly ready without a moment’s hesitation to crush beauty and life.” – Rabindranath Tagore



“Yada yada dharmasaya glinirbhavati bharata
Abhyutthanam-adharmasya tadatmanam srjamyaham” – Gita 4.7
Lord Krishna (an avatar of Vishnu) says: “Whenever there is a decline in dharma and an increase in adharma, He incarnates to protect the world.” (Bhaja Govinda!)



“The same thing can be both good and bad. Whenever you speak of good, bad is also present. The world is a mixture of both. There is not good without bad. They are both sides of the same coin. Both are necessary. We have been given free will and discriminating capacity to select what is beneficial to us and to avoid what is detrimental to us. Even Cobra poison can be used as medicine.” – Swami Satchidananda


“Oftentimes, one strips oneself of passion (desire)
In order to see the Secret of Life:
Oftentimes, one regards life with passion,
In order to see its manifest forms.
These two, the Secret and its manifestations
Are (in their nature) the same;
They are given different names
When they become manifest”
– Lao Tzu





“All the manifested world of things and beings are projected by imagination upon the substratum which is the Eternal All pervading Vishnu , whose nature is Existence- Intelligence ; just as the different ornaments are all made out of the same gold.” ~ Adi Shankara



“Bear in mind, my children, that only cowards and those who are weak commit sin and tell lies. The brave are always moral. Try to be moral, try to be brave, try to be sympathising.” – Swami Vivekananda



“A genuine smile distributes the cosmic current, Prana to every body cell.The happy man is less subject to disease, for happiness actually attracts into the body a greater supply of the Universal life energy.” – Paramahansa Yogananda




“To be free from bondage the wise person must practise discrimination between One-Self and the ego-self.  By that alone you will become full of joy, recognising Self as Pure Being, Consciousness and Bliss.” – Adi Shankara


“The first peace, which is the most important,
is that which comes within the souls of people
when they realize their relationship,
their oneness with the universe and all its powers,
and when they realize that at the center of the universe
dwells the Great Spirit,
and that this center is really everywhere,
it is within each of us.”
Black Elk




“The Vedanta recognizes no sin it only recognizes error. And the greatest error, says the Vedanta is to say that you are weak, that you are a sinner, a miserable creature, and that you have no power and you cannot do this and that.” – Swami Vivekananda



“The master is within; meditation is meant to remove the ignorant idea that he is only outside. If he is a stranger whom you await, he is bound to disappear also. What is the use of a transient being like that? But so long as you think you are separate or that you are the body, an external master is also necessary and he will appear to have a body. When the wrong identification of oneself with the body ceases, the master will be found to be none other than the Self.” – Ramana Maharshi



‘Like water which can clearly mirror the sky and the trees only so long as its surface is undisturbed, the mind can only reflect the true image of the Self when it is tranquil and wholly relaxed.” – Indra Devi


“A huge tiger called ‘mind’ prowls in the thick jungles of sense-pleasures. Let not those virtuous people who have a deep aspiration for liberation ever wander therein.” – Adi Shankara (Vivekachudamani v. 176)


“As long as a man keeps forming relationships which please his mind, so long will his heart be pierced with nails of sorrow.” – Visnu Purana




“My place is the Placeless, my trace is the Traceless ; ‘Tis neither body nor soul, for I belong to the soul of the Beloved. I have put duality away, I have seen that the two worlds are one; One I seek, One I know, One I see, One I call.” – Rumi





“Who can depart from his pain and aloneness without regret? Too many fragments of the spirit have I scattered in these streets, and too many are the children of my longing that walk naked among these hills, and I cannot withdraw from them without a burden and an ache. It is not a garment I cast off this day, bit a skin that I tear with my own hands… Yet I cannot tarry longer.” – Khalil Gibran



“Loud speech, profusion of words, and possessing skillfulness in expounding scriptures are merely for the enjoyment of the learned. They do not lead to liberation.” – Adi Shankara




“Meditation is not the pursuit of pleasure and the search for happiness. Meditation, on the contrary, is a state of mind in which there is no concept or formula, and therefore total freedom. It is only to such a mind that this bliss comes unsought and uninvited. Once it is there, though you may live in the world with all its noise, pleasure and brutality, they will not touch that mind.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti




“When a minute portion of energy travels along a nerve fibre and causes reaction from centres, the perception is either dream or imagination. But when by the power of long internal meditation the vast mass of energy stored up travels along the Sushumna, and strikes the centres, the reaction is tremendous, immensely superior to the reaction of dream or imagination, immensely more intense than the reaction of sense-perception. It is super-sensuous perception. And when it reaches the metropolis of all sensations, the brain, the whole brain, as it were, reacts, and the result is the full blaze of illumination, the perception of the Self.” – Swami Vivekananda




“The most beautiful emotion we can experience is the mystical. It is the power of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead. To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty, which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their most primitive forms – this knowledge, this feeling, is at the center of true religiousness. In this sense, and in this sense only, I belong to the rank of devoutly religious men.” – Albert Einstein




“The greed of gain has no time or limit to its capaciousness. Its one object is to produce and consume. It has pity neither for beautiful nature nor for living human beings. It is ruthlessly ready without a moment’s hesitation to crush beauty and life.” – Rabindranath Tagore




“The spiritual journey does not consist of arriving at a new destination where a person gains what he did not have, or becomes what he is not. It consists in the dissipation of one’s own ignorance concerning oneself and life, and the gradual growth of that understanding which begins the spiritual awakening. The finding of God is a coming to one?s self.” – Aldous Huxley




“It is all a matter of knowing. We are all indeed already perfect, but until we know it, we had better deal with our ignorance, and that can’t be done just by listening to words. It requires sadhana, trying, doing what we do not wish to do. It means long, hard self-effacing work. The heart of Ashtavakra’s advice is not to give up our practice, but to abandon our strenuous indolence. Striving is the root of sorrow, he says. But who understands this? – Thomas Byron (from his Introduction to “Heart of Awareness”)




“Behold the self by the self through pure enquiry, even as the cool moon perceives the entire space. One is tossed around over the waters of this illusory world-appearance like a piece of straw only as long as one does not get into the secure boat of self-enquiry.” – Yoga Vashistha



“The Purusha, when it identifies itself with nature, forgets that it is pure and infinite. The Purusha does not love, it is love itself. It does not exist, it is existence itself. The Soul does not know, It is knowledge itself. It is a mistake to say the Soul loves, exists, or knows. Love, existence, and knowledge are not the qualities of the Purusha, but its essence. When they get reflected upon something, you may call them the qualities of that something. They are not the qualities but the essence of the Purusha, the great Atman, the Infinite Being, without birth or death, established in its own glory.” – Swami Vivekananada (from his commentary on the Patanjali Yoga Aphorisms)




“There is one way of breathing that is shameful and constricted. Then, there’s another way: a breath of love that takes you all the way to infinity.” – Rumi


“The first and the most important thing is to know that life is one and immortal. Only the forms, countless in number, are transient and brittle. The life everlasting is independent of any form but manifests itself in all forms. Life then does not die… but the forms are dissolved.” – Sri Aurobindo


“That’s what every uncomfortable feeling is for-that’s what pain is for, what money is for, what everything in the world is for: your self-realization.” – Byron Katie


“The mystic and the physicist arrive at the same conclusion; one starting from the inner realm, the other from the outer world. The harmony between their views confirms the ancient Indian wisdom that Brahman, the ultimate reality without, is identical to Atman, the reality within.” – Fritjof Capra


“When you succeed in awakening the Kundalini, so that it starts to move out of its mere potentiality, you necessarily start a world which is totally different from our world. It is the world of eternity.” – Carl Jung


“Let this world-appearance be real or unreal, let it arise or set: but do not let its merits and demerits disturb your equanimity. For, at no time do you have a real relationship with this world-appearance: it is only because of your ignorance that such a relationship has appeared in you.” – Yoga Vasistha v.11 (the Story of King Janaka)


“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” – Albert Einstein


“He, who claims to have attained liberation, (but at the same time) fosters possessiveness towards his body, is neither a Knower nor a Yogi; misery alone is his lot.” – Astavakra Samhita 16.10


“Don’t seek happiness. If you seek it, you won’t find it, because seeking is the antithesis of happiness. Happiness is ever elusive, but freedom from unhappiness is attainable now, by facing what is rather than making up stories about it.” – Eckhart Tolle




“There is nothing in the world more shameful than establishing one’s self on lies and fables.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


“I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country… corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.” – Abraham Lincoln


“I regard that man as lost, who has lost his sense of shame.” – Plautus


“Always remember deep in your heart that all is well and everything is unfolding as it should. There are no mistakes anywhere, at any time. What appears to be wrong is simply your own false imagination. That’s all. But we live in a universe of Brahman, of Absolute Reality, self -contained Consciousness, where there’s perfection, perfect life, perfect bliss, perfect being. That perfection knows nothing about wrong and right, good and bad, happy and sad. It knows only itself as Perfection. And you are That.” – Robert Adams


“The Perennial Philosophy is expressed most succinctly in the Sanskrit formula, tat tvam asi (‘That art thou’); the Atman, or immanent eternal Self, is one with Brahman, the Absolute Principle of all existence; and the last end of every human being, is to discover the fact for himself, to find out who he really is.” – Aldous Huxley


“It is the duty of all to support and side with Dharma. All must fight and support Dharma regardless of their personality, background, status.” – Swami Vivekananda


“Strength, strength is what the Upanishads speak to me from every page. This is the one great thing to remember, it has been the one great lesson I have been taught in my life; strength, it says, strength, O man, be not weak. Are there no human weaknesses? – says man. There are, say the Upanishads, but will more weakness heal them, would you try to wash dirt with dirt? Will sin cure sin, weakness cure weakness? Strength, O man, strength, say the Upanishads, stand up and be strong.” – Swami Vivekananda


“If you have true gratitude, it will express itself automatically. It will be visible in your eyes, around your being, in your aura. It is like the fragrance of a flower. In most cases if there is a beautiful flower, the fragrance will be there naturally. The flower and its fragrance cannot be separated.” – Sri Chinmoy


“There is a beautiful expression of this in the Chandogya Upanishad: ‘There is this City of Brahman, (that is the body), and in this city there is a shrine, and in that shrine there is a small lotus, and in that lotus there is a small space, (akasa). Now what exists within that small space, that is to be sought, that is to be understood.’ This is the great discovery of the Upanishads, this inner shrine, this guha, or cave of the heart, where the inner meaning of life, of all human existence, is to be found.” – Father Bede Griffiths (Swami Dayananda)


“It is from the numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal or acts to improve the lot of others or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.” – Robert Kennedy


“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” – Abraham Lincoln


“Dangerous consequences will follow when politicians and rulers forget moral principles. Whether we believe in God or karma, ethics is the foundation of every religion.” – Dalai Lama


“Humility means that one should not be anxious to have the satisfaction of being honored by others.” – A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada


“Listen to the Exhortation of the Dawn! Look to this Day! For it is Life, the very Life of Life. In its brief course lie all the Verities and Realities of your Existence. The Bliss of Growth, The Glory of Action, The Splendor of Beauty; For Yesterday is but a Dream, And To-morrow is only a Vision; But To-day well lived makes Every Yesterday a Dream of Happiness, And every Tomorrow a Vision of Hope. Look well therefore to this Day! Such is the Salutation of the Dawn!” – Kalidasa


“Some people live as though they are already dead. There are people moving around us who are consumed by their past, terrified of their future, and stuck in their anger and jealousy. They are not alive; they are just walking corpses.” – Thich Nhat Hanh


“You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” – Abraham Lincoln


“This is the gist of all worship: to be pure and to do good to others. He who sees Shiva in the poor, in the weak, and in the diseased, really worships Shiva. And if he sees Shiva only in the image, his worship is but preliminary. He who has served and helped one poor man seeing Shiva in him, without thinking of his caste or creed or race or anything, with him Shiva is more pleased than with the man who sees Him only in temples.” – Swami Vivekananda


“The moment you have faith, there is the experience. The moment you have trust, there is realization, there is enlightenment. Then this world no longer exists as the world. The world exists as the Self. It exists as God. And then, with our physical eyes, we can see the light of God everywhere and in everything.’ – Gurumayi Chidvilasananda


“Any kind of expectation creates a problem. We should accept, but not expect. Whatever comes, accept it. Whatever goes, accept it. The immediate benefit is that your mind is always peaceful.” – Swami Satchidananda


“Do not look at anybody in terms of friend or foe, brother or cousin; do not fritter away your mental energies in thoughts of friendship or enmity. Seeking the Self everywhere, be amiable and equal-minded towards all, treating all alike.” – Adi Shankara



“What man needs is not philosophy or religion in the academic or formalistic sense of the term, but ability to think rightly. The malady of the age is not absence of philosophy or even irreligion but wrong thinking and a vanity which passes for knowledge.” – Krishnananda Saraswati





“The love we experience through other people is just a shadow of the love of the inner self. There is a sublime place inside us where love dwells. The love that pulses in the cave of the heart does not depend on anything outside. It does not expect anything. It is completely independent.” – Swami Muktananda



“Yoga believes in transforming the individual before transforming the world. Whatever change we want to happen outside should happen within. If you walk in peace and express that peace in your very life, others will see you and learn something.” – Swami Satchidananda





“The first and the most important thing is to know that life is one and immortal. Only the forms, countless in number, are transient and brittle. The life everlasting is independent of any form but manifests itself in all forms. Life then does not die… but the forms are dissolved.” – Sri Aurobindo



“The whole world yearns after freedom, yet each creature is in love with his chains; this is the first paradox and inextricable knot of our nature.” – Sri Aurobindo


“A narrow vision is divisive, a broad vision expansive. But a divine vision is all-inclusive.” – Swami Tejomayananda


“Be more humble than a blade of grass, more tolerant than a tree, always offering respect onto others and never expecting any in return.” – Chaitanya Mahaprabhu


“Men of low moral character and false education, generally, would try to fulfil their pernicious ambitions with the help of the wretched vengeful scum of society, who, though physically alive, are dead to all sweetness and goodness in life.” – Chinmayananda Saraswati, commentary on the Bhagavad Gita, 17.4.


“The tragedy of human history is decreasing happiness in the midst of increasing comforts.” – Chinmayananda Saraswati

02/24/17 – Mahashivratri

Mahashivratri – ‘The Great Night of Lord Shiva,’ on the 13th night and the 14th day of the lunar month Phalguna. A night that is solemn and marks a remembrance of “overcoming darkness and ignorance” in one’s life, one’s country and the world. May Lord Shiva, the Great Destroyer, destroy the darkness and ignorance that prevents us from being truly free. Om Namah Shivaya

“In Hinduism, Shiva the Cosmic Dancer, is perhaps the most perfect personification of the dynamic universe. Through his dance, Shiva sustains the manifold phenomena in the world, unifying all things by immersing them in his rhythm and making them participate in the dance – a magnificent image of the dynamic unity of the Universe.” – Fritjof Capra


“Laws just or unjust may govern men’s actions. Tyrannies may restrain or regulate their words. The machinery of propaganda may pack their minds with falsehood and deny them truth for many generations of time. But the soul of man thus held in trance or frozen in a long night can be awakened by a spark coming from God knows where and in a moment the whole structure of lies and oppression is on trial for its life.” – Winston Churchill


“I no longer listen to what people say, I just watch what they do. Behavior never lies.” – Winston Churchill


“I do not think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.” – Abraham Lincoln


“Do not be misled by what you see around you, or be influenced by what you see. You live in a world which is a playground of illusion, full of false paths, false values and false ideals. But you are not part of that world.” – Sai Baba


“The man who promises everything is sure to fulfil nothing, and everyone who promises too much is in danger of using evil means in order to carry out his promises, and is already on the road to perdition.” – Carl Jung


“Pity the nation whose statesman is a fox, whose philosopher is a juggler, and whose art is the art of patching and mimicking. Pity the nation that welcomes its new ruler with trumpetings, and farewells him with hootings, only to welcome another ruler with trumpetings again. Pity the nation whose sages are dumb with years and whose strong men are yet in the cradle. Pity the nation divided into fragments, each fragment deeming itself a nation.” – Khalil Gibran


“All action is prayer. All trees are desire-fulfilling. All water is the Ganga. All land is Varanasi. Love everything.” – Neem Karoli Baba


“The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.” – Isaac Asimov


“Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.” – John Milton

02/14/17 – Valentine’s Day

4 from the Heart for Valentine’s Day: May this day bring you Love and Clarity…

“Even if a person hurts you, give him love. The worst punishment is to throw someone out of your heart… You should love everyone as God, and love each other. If you cannot love each other, you cannot achieve your goal.” – Neem Karoli Baba

“Love the earth and sun and animals, Despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks, Stand up for the stupid and crazy, Devote your income and labor to others… And your very flesh shall be a great poem.” – Walt Whitman

“One of God’s Name is Love . He Himself resides within all , at every moment , everywhere.”
― Anandamayi Ma

“I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you simply, without problems or pride: I love you in this way because I do not know any other way of loving but this, in which there is no I or you, so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand, so intimate that when I fall asleep your eyes close.” – Pablo Neruda


“Go not to the temple to put flowers upon the feet of God, first fill your own house with the fragrance of love. Go not to the temple to light candles before the altar of God, first remove the darkness of sin from your heart. Go not to the temple to bow down your head in prayer, first learn to bow in humility before your fellow men. Go not to the temple to pray on bended knees, first bend down to lift someone who is down trodden. Go not to the temple to ask for forgiveness for your sins, first forgive from your heart those who have sinned against you.” – Rabindranath Tagore


My Dear Beloved Friends,

On this last day of the year, as I fly off to India, I leave you with Swami Sivananda’s admonition for the New Year and mine as well. What higher resolution or goal in life can one have than contemplation – the Key to Perfection. Read as you contemplate with Fiona Joy Hawkins’ “Contemplating.” “Key to Perfection” on My Facebook Page


My Dear Beloved Friends,

On this the next to last day of 2016, Swami Sivananda continues his discourse on the nature of a Jivanmukta (an enlightened being) by explaining how the enlightened one views the world and his/her place in it. “The Sage’s View of the World” is one that is brimming with love, seeing God everywhere. So, listen to Fiona Joy Hawkins’ “Love Forever,” as you read…“Sage’s View of the World” on My Facebook Page


My Dear Beloved Friends,

Now that I am traveling to India and will not be posting until mid-February, I wanted to leave you on these last three days of 2016 with three special readings from Swami Sivananda. In this the first, he explains the true nature a Jivanmukta (an enlightened being). Of course, one does not get to be enlightened without the influence of Divine Grace. So, listen to “Grace” with Fiona Joy Hawkins on piano while you read… “Jivanmukta” on My Facebook Page


“What good is it to me that Mary gave birth to the son of God fourteen hundred years ago, and I do not also give birth to the Son of God in my time and in my culture? We are all meant to be mothers of God. God is always needing to be born.” – Meister Eckhart


“Becoming is not a contradiction of being but the epiphany of being” – Ananda Coomaraswamy


“In shallow men the fish of little thoughts cause much commotion. In oceanic minds the whales of inspiration make hardly a ruffle.” – Sri Yukteswar Giri


“Have a very Merry and Joyful Holiday, Everyone.” – Your host


“All action is prayer. All trees are desire-fulfilling. All water is the Ganga. All land is Varanasi. Love everything.” – Neem Karoli Baba


“The world is not a burden; we make it a burden by our desires. When the desires are removed, the world is as light as a feather on an elephant’s back.” – Baba Hari Dass


When by the flood of your tears, the inner and the outer have fused into One, you will find Her whom you sought with such anguish, nearer than the nearest, the very breath of life, the very core of every heart.” –Anandamayi Ma


Another quote from Sri Sarada Devi, the Holy Mother, (Sri Maa) in honor of her birthdate

“The whole world is a dream; even this (the waking state) is a dream … What you dreamt last night does not exist now.”


“Such is life, here today, gone tomorrow! Nothing goes with one, except one’s merit and demerit; good and evil deeds follow one even after death.” – Sri Sarada Devi, the Holy Mother (Sri Maa)


“Neither seek nor avoid; take what comes. It is liberty to be affected by nothing. Do not merely endure; be unattached.” – Swami Vivekananda


“A quiet mind does not mean that there will be no thoughts or mental movements at all, but that these will be on the surface, and you will feel your true being within, separate from them, observing but not carried away” – Sri Aurobindo



“Knowing that I am different from the body, I need not neglect the body. It is a vehicle that I use to transact with the world. It is the temple which houses the Pure Self within.” – Adi Shankara


“The question ‘Who am I?’ is not really meant to get an answer, the question ‘Who am I?’ is meant to dissolve the questioner” –  Ramana Maharshi


“The winds of grace are always blowing, but you have to raise the sail.” – Ramakrishna


“Therefore he who delights in understanding the material world is not a Sage.  He who has personal attachments is not humane. He who calculates the time of his  actions is not wise. He who does not know the interaction of benefit and harm is not a superior man. He  who pursues fame at the risk of losing his self is not a scholar. He who loses his life and is not true to himself  can never be a master of man.” – Chuang Tzu


“If you want money more than anything, you’ll be bought and sold your whole life.” – Rumi


“An arrogant man is a lonely creature in the world and his only companions are his own imagined self-importnace and dreams of his glories which none but he can see.” – H. H. Swami Chinmayananda




“There is a huge silence inside each of us that beckons us into itself, and the recovery of our own silence can begin to teach us the language of heaven.” – Meister Eckart


“Are you looking for me?
I am in the next seat.
My shoulder is against yours.
you will not find me in the stupas,
not in Indian shrine rooms,
nor in synagogues,
nor in cathedrals:
not in masses,
nor kirtans,
not in legs winding around your own neck,
nor in eating nothing but vegetables.
When you really look for me,
you will see me instantly —
you will find me in the tiniest house of time.
Kabir says: Student, tell me, what is God?
He is the breath inside the breath.”



“God is a comedian playing to an audience that is too afraid to laugh.” – Voltaire




“It is unwise to be too sure of one’s own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.”
― Mahatma Gandhi



“Trees are poems the earth writes upon the sky, We fell them down and turn them into paper,
That we may record our emptiness.”
Kahlil Gibran



“Any fool can know. The point is to understand” ― Albert Einstein



In the universe, there are things that are known, and things that are unknown, and in between, there are doors.” – William Blake



“Be content with what you have;
rejoice in the way things are.
When you realize there is nothing lacking,
the whole world belongs to you.”
Lao Tzu





“Just as a stone, a tree, a straw, grain, a mat, a cloth, a pot, and so on, when burned, are reduced to earth (from which they came), so the body and its sense organs, on being burned in the fire of Knowledge, become Knowledge and are absorbed in Brahman, like darkness in the light of the sun.” – Adi Shankaracharya




“A mind all logic is like a knife all blade. It makes the hand bleed that uses it.” – Tagore




“If science could get rid of consciousness, it would have disposed of the only stumbling block to its universal application.” – Brand Blanchard




“Men honor what lies within the sphere of their knowledge, but do not realize how dependent they are on what lies beyond it.” – Chuang Tzu




“Let your life lightly dance on the edges of Time like dew on the tip of a leaf.” – Tagore



At times we flow toward the Beloved
like a dancing stream.
At times we are still water
held in His pitcher.
At times we boil in a pot
turning to vapor –
that is the job of the Beloved.



“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.” – Joseph Campbell



business man with his head buried in the sand

“What is lost by ignorance is never really lost.  What is gained by knowledge was always there.” – Swami Sarvapriyananda


11/25/16 – Black Friday


“What is the difference between a discussion and an argument?  A discussion generates light; an Argument generates heat.” – H.H. Swami Chinmayananda


11/24/16 – (Thanksgiving Day)



“To see the world in a grain of sand, and to see heaven in a wild flower, hold infinity in the palm of your hands, and eternity in an hour.” – William Blake  

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!



“When the flower blooms
The bees come uninvited.”




“That thing of hell and eternal punishment is the most absurd, as well as the most disagreeable thought that ever entered into the head of mortal man.” – George Berkeley




“Most men live like raisins in a cake of custom.” – Brand Blanchard



When the eyes and ears are open,
even the leaves on the trees teach like
pages from the scriptures. – Kabir




“You pray in your distress and in your need, would that you might pray also in the fullness of your joy and in your days of abundance.” – Kahlil Gibran




“He who binds to himself a joy Does the winged life destroy; But he who kisses the joy as it flies Lives in eternity’s sun rise.” – William Blake




“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.” – Tagore




“Permeating the earth, I nourish all living beings with my energy. I become the moon and thereby supply the soma, the juice of life, to all vegetation.” – Bhagavad Gita (15:13)




“Where can I find a man who has forgotten words so I can have a word with him?” – Chuang Tzu




“It’s the action, not the fruit of the action, that’s important. You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that there will be any fruit. But that doesn’t mean you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result.” – Mahatma Gandhi




“To see the universal and all-pervading Spirit of Truth face to face, one must be able to love the meanest of all creation as oneself.” Mahatma Gandhi



“The mind is its own place, and in itself, can make Heaven of Hell, and a Hell of Heaven” – John Milton

11/11/16 (Veterans Day) – In Appreciation


“I sought my God and my God I could not find. I sought my soul and my soul eluded me. I sought my brother to serve him in his need, and I found all three—my God, my soul, and thee.” – William Blake



“Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.” – Kahlil Gibran




‘If you are irritated by every rub, how will your mirror be polished?” – Rumi



“Death is not extinguishing the light; it is only putting out the lamp because the dawn has come.” – Tagore




“I enjoyed the natural beauty of that divine region, realizing His presence is everywhere, whether in the snow or the snow-mountain, in lakes or rivers, in stone or soil, in sunshine or wind, in pleasure or sorrow.” – Sri Swami Tapovanam Maharaj


“Be the Light or Reflect the Light. Do not remain in darkness.” – Swami Swaroopananda


“It is not the world but attachment to it which is the root of all misery.” – Swami Nityaswarupananda



If we could, and we must, establish a deep long abiding relationship with nature, with the actual trees, the bushes, the flowers, the grass and the fast moving clouds, then we would never slaughter another human being for any reason whatsoever. – Jiddu Krishnamurti



An old Cherokee was teaching his grandson about life. “I have a fight going on inside of me,” he said to the boy sternly.
The grandson gave him a quizzical look.
“It is a terrible fight, and it is between two wolves,” he told the boy.


“One is evil. He is anger, envy, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego.” He continued, “The other is good. He is joy, love, peace, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.” Then he looked at the boy and nodded. “The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”
The grandson thought about it for a moment and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”
The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”



“Only the hand that erases can write the true thing.” ― Meister Eckhart


“As exposure to sensory objects disturbs the mind with attractions and repulsions, spiritual wisdom and absorption in the Self fills the same mind with inspiration, strength and poise.” – Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha


“Spirit, conditioned by Matter, behaves like a reed upon the tumultuous surface of an ever-agitated mind.” – Swami Chinmayananda Saaraswati


“These pairs of opposites come and go, forbear them O Arjuna.” – Bhagavad Gita (2.4)


“Like a thief entering an empty house,bad thoughts cannot in any way harm an empty mind.”– Padmasanbhava



“We shape clay into a pot, but it is the emptiness inside that holds whatever we want.” – Lao Tzu


Finally out of reach – No bondage, no dependency.
How calm the ocean,
Towering the void. – Tessho


“There is no doubt whatsoever that the universe is the merest illusion.” – Ramana Maharshi


“As exposure to sensory objects disturbs the mind with attractions and repulsions, spiritual wisdom and absorption in the Self fills the same mind with inspiration, strength and poise.” – Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha


“If it is peace you want, seek to change yourself, not other people. It is easier to protect your feet with slippers than to carpet the whole of the earth.” – Anthony de Mello


“What we have is a gift from Him. What we do with what we have is our gift to him.” – H. H.  Swami Chinmayananda


“Faith is an oasis in the heart which will never be reached by the caravan of thinking.” – Khalil Gibran


“Illness begins with “I”, Wellness begins with “we.” – Swami Sivananda


“As the blazing fire reduces wood to ashes; similarly, the fire of Self-knowledge reduces all bonds of Karma to ashes” Bhagavad Gita 4:37 


“All trouble and botheration come to an end when the ‘I’ dies.” – Sri Ramakrishna


“Happiness is the abscence of striving for happiness.” – Zhuangzi


“The world, like a dream full of attachments and aversions, seems real until the awakening.” – Adi shankara


“It is very simple to be happy, but it is very difficult to be simple.” – Tagore


“The cultured give happiness wherever they go….The uncultured whenever they go.” – Swami Chinmayananda Saraswati


“When It is seen, everything is seen; when It is heard, everything is heard; when It is touched, everything is touched – for the world is because It is.” – The Meditation of Prahlada from Yoga Vasistha


“The fabled musk deer searches the world over for the source of the scent which comes from itself.”  – Sri Ramakrishna


“There is no need for temples, no need for complicated philosophies. My brain and my heart are my temples; my philosophy is kindness.” – Dalai Lama


“Why are you so enchanted by this world, when a mine of gold lies within you?” – Rumi


“Manifest plainness, Embrace simplicity, Reduce selfishness, Have few desires” – Lao Tzu


“It is every intelligent man’s experience that evildoing recoils on the doer sooner or later.” – Ramana Maharshi


“Lo! God Himself shines here as this mass of spotless snow, as lakes and springs, as these tall peaks and these powerful cold blasts and these crystalline streams. All I see is God. The Himalayas are God. The entire Earth is God. Everything exists in Him. Everything shines because of His brightness.  All beauty is His.” – Sri Swami Tapovanam Maharaj


“I meditate on that knowledge, lovingly given by my guru, to recognize that eternal, loving presence as the consciousness, which illumines, knows every thought of mine. Therefore, dhimahi (meditation). Dhimahi means, when I am devoted, when I am grateful, when I treasure that love, I keep that knowledge dear to me and what is dear to me I constantly remember, and that remembrance is meditation.”  – Swami Swaroopananda, Discourse on the Gayatri Mantra