- by Swami Vivekananda

bro_discpOur sole concern is to know the highest truth. Our goal is the loftiest. We have said big words to ourselves – absolute realization and all that. Let us measure up to the words. Let us worship the spirit in spirit, standing on the spirit. Let the foundation be spirit, the middle spirit, the culmination spirit. There will be no world anywhere. Let it go and whirl into space – who cares? Stand thou in the spirit! That is the goal.

We know we cannot reach it yet. Never mind. Do not despair, and do not drag the ideal down. The important thing is: how much less you think of the body, of yourself as matter – as dead, dull, insentient matter; how much more you think of yourself as shining immortal being. The more you think of yourself as shining immortal spirit, the more eager you will be to be absolutely free of matter, body and senses. This is the intense desire to be free. (CW 8:120)

 

The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, vol.5, pp. 245-56

sw.v-work is worship

The highest man cannot work, for there is no binding element, no attachment, no ignorance in him. A ship is said to have passed over a mountain of magnet ore, and all the bolts and bars were drawn out, and it went to pieces. It is in ignorance that struggle remains, because we are all really atheists.

Real theists cannot work. We are atheists more or less. We do not see God or believe in Him. He is G-O-D to us, and nothing more. There are moments when we think He is near, but then we fall down again. When you see Him, who struggles for whom? Help the Lord! There is a proverb in our language, ‘Shall we teach the Architect of the universe how to build?’ So those are the highest of mankind who do no work.

The next time you see these silly phrases about the world and how we must all help God and do this or that for Him, remember this. Do not think such thoughts; they are too selfish. All the work you do subjective, is done for your own benefit. God has not fallen into a ditch for you and me to help Him out by building a hospital or some-thing of that sort. He allows you to work. He allows you to exercise your muscles in this great gymnasium, not in order to help yourself. Do you think even an ant will die for want of your help? Most arrant blasphemy! The world does not need you at all. The world goes on, you are like a drop in the ocean. A leaf does not move, the wind does not blow without Him. Blessed are we that we are given the privilege of working for Him, not of helping Him. Cut out this word ‘help’ from your mind. You cannot help; it is blaspheming. You are here yourself at His pleasure. Do you mean to say, you help Him? You worship.

When you give a morsel of food to the dog, you worship the dog as God. God is in that dog. He is the dog. He is all and in all. We are allowed to worship Him.

Stand in that reverent attitude to the whole universe, and then will come perfect non-attachment. This should be your duty. This is the proper attitude of work. This is the secret taught by Karma-Yoga.

 

Extract from “Living at the Source” (a compilation of Swami Vivekananda’s talks)

swamijiWe attend lectures and read books, argue and reason about God and soul, religion and salvation. These are not spirituality, because spirituality does not exist in books or in theories or in philosophies. It is not in learning or reasoning, but in actual inner growth.

Even parrots can learn things by heart and repeat them. Asses can carry whole libraries. So when real light will come, there will be no more of this learning from books – no book learning.

The man who cannot write even his own name can be perfectly religious, and the man with all the libraries of the world in his head may fail to be. Learning is not a condition of spiritual growth; scholarship is not a condition. The touch of the guru, the transmittal of spiritual energy, will quicken your heart. Then will begin the growth. That is the real baptism by fire. (CW 8:114)

How to love God …

 

Swami Prabhavananada* in an extract from “Realizing God – Lectures on Vedanta”

swami prabhavananda The question is. “How to love God?” Narada says: “Supreme love is attained by uninterrupted and constant worship of God, by hearing and singing the glory of the Lord even while engaged in the ordinary activities of life.” Of course this is a stage to be attained. You may think you can begin today and do that, but it is not possible. It is a stage of development.

Sri Ramakrishna gave the example of keeping your mind in God by the story of a village maiden carrying a jar of water on her head. Her mind is on that jar; otherwise it will fall. Her hands are free; she is balancing the jar and at the same time gossiping. He also gave the illustration of a chaste wife waiting for her husband to come home. Her mind is on the husband, even while she is busy cooking and nursing the baby.

Swamiji said: “Day and night think of God, and as far as possible think of nothing else. The daily necessary thoughts can all be thought through God. Eat to him, drink to him, sleep to him, see him in all. Try to see that same Lord in every being. Talk of God to others, this is most beneficial. When the whole soul pours in a continuous current to God, when there is no time to seek money and name or fame, no time to think of anything but God, then will come into your heart that infinite wonderful bliss of love. All desires are but beads of glass. True love of God increases ever moment and is ever new. It is to be known by feeling it. Love is the easiest of disciplines. It waits for no logic. It is natural. We need no demonstrations, no proof. Reasoning is limiting something by our own minds. We throw a net and catch something, and then say that we have demonstrated it. But never, never can we catch God in a net.”

*Swami Prabhavananda was initiated by Swami Brahmananda, a direct disciple of Sri Ramakrishna. He he founded the Vedanta Society of Southern California, and has contributed a great deal to the understanding of Vedanta in the West.

 

64ddf236-4e26-4e68-8a95-132b89d1f04aSwami Shivananda in an extract from “For Seekers of God – spiritual talks by Swami Shivananda”

Shankaracharya has said: “Three things, namely a human birth, a longing for liberation, and the blessings of a great soul, are rare indeed, and can be had by the grace of God alone.” They are, indeed, difficult to obtain, and can be had by divine dispensation alone. By your good luck, you have got all the three treasures; now get merged in the ocean of God’s love, and you will become immortal.

In the Viaishnava scriptures, they have a beautiful saying: “One has the grace of all the three – the guru, Krishna, and the Viashnavas; and yet, in the absence of the mercy of one alone (one’s own self), one goes to rack and ruin.” One may have the grace of God, the mercy of a guru, and the benign help of a great devotee who has known Vishnu; yet everything comes to nought without the favour of one, that is, one’s own sincere effort; and so the poor creature cannot get liberation.

In your life also, you are lucky to have all these factors. Now, with the help of what you have received, be absorbed in your spiritual practices, attain immortality–become immortal yourself. You will then be free for ever from this endless circle of birth and death.

 

BrahmananadaMetal48733fExtract from “Eternal Companion”, a book by Swami Prabhavananda, with many great stories of his guru.
Varanasi, 27 February 1913: Conversation with Swami Brahmananda

“Do you perform prayer and meditation nowadays?
- No, Maharaj, not at all.

It is better to do at least a little every day. That will give you peace of mind and steadiness. I am sure you have a family guru. Why have you not taken initiation from him? You had better receive it from him soon. Every day you should perform a little Japa and meditation. Purchase a rosary of Rudraksha beads. Dip it in the holy waters of the Ganga and touch the sacred Feed of Lord Viswanath with it. Then perform Japa with that a hundred and eight or a thousand times daily. If you are inclined to do more, you can do so, and you should.

- What shall I repeat?

The blessed name of God! The name of that form of His which inspires the greatest faith and devotion in you – that is the name you should choose for your Japa.

- Without a form, meditation is not possible. What form shall I meditate upon, and where?

You must meditate upon that form of His you like best. You can place Him in the heart or outside. A wise guru, however, will understand the particular form of God that calls forth the greatest faith and regard from the disciple, and will instruct him to mediate on that.

Then there is mental worship. As you do external worship with offerings of flowers, sandal paste, burning of camphor etc. exactly so is the worship in the mind. In the mind you have to picture the form of the Deity you choose, in the mind you are to offer all the holy things used in worship and in the mind, again, you have to adore Him with all the reverence and devotion of your heart in humble supplication.

You have heard enough, Now do something and show your worthiness. No more waste of time. Begin from this day, this very evening. For the present, do these two things – Japa and meditation, every morning and evening without fail. Continue this habit for a couple of years at least. Then you will find great joy, and will know more and more of spiritual mysteries.

 

Sw_Gitananda77bdfbSrimat Swami Gitanandaji Maharaj, a Vice-president of Ramakrishna Math and Mission, passed away on 14th March 2014.

A brief life-sketch:

Srimat Swami Gitanandaji Maharaj, was the senior most Vice-president of Ramakrishna Math and Mission. He was born in Arial village of Dhaka district (now in Bangladesh) on 17th April 1924.

His pre-monastic name was Vasudev Mukhopadhaya. He was an initiated disciple of Swami Virajanandaji Maharaj, the 6th President of the Ramakrishna Order and a direct disciple of Sri Sri Maa.

He joined the Order at Chennai Math in 1946 under Swami Kailashanandaji Maharaj, a direct disciple of Swami Shivanandaji Maharaj. He had his Brahmacharya diksha from Swami Shankaranandaji on 19th January 1952 and had his name ‘Ameyachaitanya’. On 14th March 1956 He had his Sanyasa from Swami Shankaranandaji Maharaj, the 7th President of the Ramakrishna Order.

Besides his joining centre, He served at the Headquarters and Kanpur centre as an assistant and Ranchi Sanatorium, Varanasi Home of Service and Ramakrishna Math (Yogodyan) Kankurgachi centres as Head. He also served Swami Virajanandaji Maharaj as a personal attendant, and was a Secretary to Revered Shankaranandaji Maharaj for some time.

In April 1973, He was appointed a Trustee of Ramakrishna Math and Mission and a Member of the Governing Body of Ramakrishna Mission. In June 1974, He was elected Treasurer of the Math and Mission. In 1985, He was re-elected an Assistant Secretary in which capacity he served for a decade. He was elected a Vice-President of the Ramakrishna Order in April 2003, which He held till His last.

Revered Maharaj stayed at ‘Udbodhan – Mayer Bari’ from 22nd April 2003 till 29th May 2005. Revered Maharaj started gracing devotees by giving initiation on 5th May 2003 (Holy Akshaya Trithiya Day) at Jayrambati Matri Mandir. During His spiritual ministry, He blessed 45,488 devotees with holy mantra diksha or spiritual initiation in different parts if the country.

He has two Bengali books to his credit: Bhagavat Katha published from Udbodhan Kariyalaya in the year 1998 on 29th May, the day of Holy Mother’s first visit into the Mother’s House and Sri Ramer Anudhyan published from Udbodhan Kariyalaya in the year 2002 on 26th December, the day of Holy Mother’s tithi puja. Apart from these twin books, He wrote several other articles on Sri Sri Thakur, Maa and on other religious topics published in different books and magazines among which ‘Sri Ramakrishna: Ishwarkoti Sannyasi Sishya Bhaktoder Drishtite’ published in the Bengali book ‘Bishwachetonaya Sri Ramakrishna’ from Udbodhan Kariyalaya in the year 1987 to mark Sri Sri Thakur’s 150th Birth Centenary and ‘Sri Maa Sarada Devi: Ek Aloukik Bhektitto’ published in the Bengali book ‘Satorupe Sarada’ in the year 1985 from Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, Golpark, deserves a special mention and had been much appraised.

Revered Maharaj moved to Kankurgachi Ramakrishna Math Yogodyan on 30th May 2005 and stayed there till his last. He held the office of ‘Adhyakshya’ at Yogodyan till 30th August 2009 and for this period played the dual role of the Centre head and the Vice-President of the order successfully.

Swami Gitanandaji blessed the devotees by initiating them for the last time on 20th February 2010 at Yogodyan Math. Revered Maharaj had been suffering from old-age-related ailments for the past few years. He was 90. On 8th February 2014 He was admitted to Ramakrishna Mission Seva Pratisthan (Sishu Mangal Hospital) with fever and chest infection which was diagnosed as pneumonia. He was kept in ICU under expert medical care. On 16th February, his condition became critical and despite best available medical treatment, his life could not be saved.

Despite all possible measures, on 14th March, 2014, Friday at about 9.10 in the morning most Revered Maharaja’s divine soul merged into the lotus feet of Bhagwan Sri Ramakrishna.

Source: Swami Gitananda facebook page