Looking for answers

The quest to find answers to many deep and perplexing questions about life is gradually pulling me towards philosophy and spirituality. This subject is brand new to me. Coming from a background where discussions on spirituality were common, oddly I never delved into the subject. I heard the discussions and in a superficial way understood them, but never made a real effort to explore the subject or apply it in my life.  Probably there wasn’t a need for it then. A loving, warm family and a secure and happy life that mostly took the direction I wanted it to, was a blessing but it did not either motivate or force me to demystify life and its hidden laws.

Changes in the internal and external world have made me turned my attention to matters spiritual. I am trying to build on my frail foundation now.

Paramahansa_Yogananda_Standard_Pose

Sri Yogananda Paramahansa (Picture from Wikipedia)

I read the Autobiography of a Yogi by Sri Paramahansa Yogananda many years ago- I think when I was in college then. The book impacted me immensely and has been an all-time favourite since. I have gone back to reading the works of great ones, including Yoganadaji.

Some  popular quotes by Sri Paramahansa Yogananda are presented here.  I like his writing because he speaks with absolute conviction. I find that his powerful quotes offer guidance,assurance and  inspiration and when applied to life, vital answers.

Read a little. Meditate more. Think of God all the time.

 God is simple. Everything else is complex.

 He is the wisest who seeks God. He is the most successful who has found God.

 Forget the past. The vanished lives of all men are dark with many shames. Human conduct is ever unreliable until man is anchored in the Divine. Everything in future will improve if you are making a spiritual effort now.

 What is meditation?
Becoming one with the soul. It means banishing the consciousness of being related to the body and to human limitations, and trying to remember that one is a soul. Meditation brings proof of the existence of God

First practice the presence of God in daily life by making your meditation very deep. It is better to meditate a little bit with depth than to mediate long with the mind running here and there. If you do not make an effort to control the mind it will go on doing as it pleases, no matter how long you sit to meditate.

 First, free yourself from wrong thoughts and habits.
Second, establish good habits and perform good deeds.
If you keep on trying, you will improve.
A saint is a sinner who never gave up.

 Most of the world is like a mental hospital. Some persons are sick with jealousy, others with anger, hatred, passion. They are victims of their habits and emotions. But you can make your home a place of peace.

 Success is not rightly measured by the worldly standards of wealth, prestige and power.  None of these bestow happiness unless they are rightly used.  To use them rightly one must possess wisdom and love for God and man.

 You must not let your life run in the ordinary way; do something that nobody else has done, something that will dazzle the world. Show that God’s creative principle works in you.

 Every tomorrow is determined by every today. 

 Since you alone are responsible for your thoughts, only you can change them.

 Before embarking on important undertakings sit quietly calm your senses and thoughts and meditate deeply. You will then be guided by the great creative power of Spirit.

 Seeds of past karma cannot germinate if they are roasted in the fires of divine wisdom.

 Before you act, you have freedom, but after you act, the effect of that action will follow you whether you want it to or not. That is the law of karma.

 You alone are responsible for yourself. No one else may answer for your deeds when the final reckoning comes. You work in the world – in the sphere where your karma, your own past activity, has placed you – can be performed only by one person: yourself.

 Reincarnation means that you did not finish your schooling; you have yet to pass in all the grades of physical, mental, and spiritual unfoldment, which will earn for you a diploma of perfection and freedom.

 Your physical appearance, especially the eyes, shows more or less what you were like in previous lives, so deeply does the inner being impinge on the outer form. The eyes are one’s most significant physical feature

 Since all effects or seeds of our past actions, our karma, can be destroyed by roasting them in the fire of meditation, concentration, the light of superconsciousness, and right actions, there is no such thing as fate. You make your own destiny. God has given you independence, and you are free to shut out His power or let it in.

 Millions of people never analyze themselves. Mentally they are mechanical products of the factory of their environment, preoccupied with breakfast, lunch, and dinner, working and sleeping, and going here and there to be entertained. They don’t know what or why they are seeking, nor why they never realize complete happiness and lasting satisfaction. By evading self-analysis, people go on being robots, conditioned by their environment. True self-analysis is the greatest art of progress.

 I look forward optimistically to a healthy, happy world as soon as its children are taught the principles of simple and rational living. We must return to nature and nature’s God.

Karma yoga

I have a new found fascination with karma yoga.  I have been exposed to the concept earlier, but this time the interest is more with the perspective of understanding how it applies to me. Any knowledge that is gathered must be understood and applied to real life. Without that it has little relevance or impact.

In the Gita  the Lord recommends  karma without any desire for results. It’s quite ok to say one should act (karma) and not be attached to it or its results. That’s theory and I understand it. But how does that translate into practical life. How does one actually do it? Any ideas?

I read a few verses of Chapter 3 of the Gita today. A few verses that speak of karma yogs are mentioned below.

Gita1

Chapter 3, Verse 2
My intelligence is bewildered by Your equivocal instructions. Therefore, please tell me decisively what is most beneficial for me.

Chapter 3, Verse 3
The Blessed Lord said: O sinless Arjuna, I have already explained that there are two classes of men who realize the Self. Some are inclined to understand Him by empirical, philosophical speculation, and others are inclined to know Him by devotional work.

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Chapter 3, Verse 8
Perform your prescribed duty, for action is better than inaction. A man cannot even maintain his physical body without work.

Chapter 3, Verse 9
Work done as a sacrifice for Visnu has to be performed, otherwise work binds one to this material world. Therefore, O son of Kunti, perform your prescribed duties for His satisfaction, and in that way you will always remain unattached and free from bondage.

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Chapter 3, Verse 19
Therefore, without being attached to the fruits of activities, one should act as a matter of duty; for by working without attachment, one attains the Supreme.

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Chapter 3, Verse 30
Therefore, O Arjuna, surrendering all your works unto Me, with mind intent on Me, and without desire for gain and free from egoism and lethargy, fight.

Read the entire chapter here.

Picture credit:www.religion-spirituality.org