Without a guru, your progress will be very slow and uncertain.

Sri Chinmoy (1931-2007), renowned spiritual leader, author, poet, artist, musician and athlete

Utterly fearless and uninhibited, it is this consciousness that brings into manifestation and sustains the infinite variety of beings, from the creator to the blade of grass. It is ever dynamic and active, yet it is more inactive than a rock and is more unaffected by such activity than space. Yoga Vashishta 5:23


Be a lamp, or a lifeboat, or a ladder. Help someone’s soul heal. Walk out of your house like a shepherd. Rumi (1207 1273), Sufi mystic and poet


Cosmos is a Greek word for the order of the universe. It is, in a way, the opposite of chaos. It implies the deep interconnectedness of all things. It conveys awe for the intricate and subtle way in which the universe is put together. Carl Sagan (1934-1996), American astrophysicist


People need to become aware that prophesizing eternal hell was a strategy to frighten followers into submission and to justify using force to either convert or wipe out those who “insult the Supreme Power and don’t accept the only truth.” Maria Wirth, German writer and blogger


Life should be chiefly service. Without that ideal, the intelligence that God has given you is not reaching out toward its goal. When in service you forget the little self, you will feel the big Self of Spirit. Paramahamsa Yogananda (1893-1952)


To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself. If you crave acceptance and recognition and try to change yourself to fit what other people want you to be, you will suffer all your life. True happiness and true power lie in understanding yourself, accepting yourself, having confidence in yourself. Thích Nhat Hanh, Vietnamese Buddhist monk, teacher, author, poet and peace activist


Renouncing all, I inwardly entered and beheld the Light within. My heart trembled. I prostrated low, but Him I never forgot. And the Lord of Celestials, freeing me from the whirl of births immortal, made me, here. Tirumantiram verse 2585


One man may read the Bhagavad Gita by the light of a lamp, and another may commit a forgery by that very light; but the lamp is unaffected. The sun sheds its light on the wicked as well as on the virtuous. Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa (1836-1886)


The Hindu marriage may be described as the union of two families. In this union, there is no room for petty ambitions and personal ego-trips. What is involved is love for the entire family that one is marrying into. Dada J.P. Vaswani, spiritual head of Sadhu Vaswani Mission


When we think a change might only take 6 months, it is unrealistic and will actually take 6 years. That’s why one must be ready for ‘years of unrewarding sadhana.’ If we end up externalized or confused we can look to the group of spiritual people around us and they will stabilize us. You must maintain the overall perspective when going through those states. Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami, publisher of HINDUISM TODAY


Generous, selfless giving is among dharma’s central fulfillments. Hospitality, charity and support of God’s work on Earth arises from the belief that the underlying purpose of life is spiritual, not material. Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (1927-2001), founder of HINDUISM TODAY



AROUND 570,000 YEARS AGO, A Meteor hurling through the atmosphere at 90,000 km/h crashed near what is now the small town of Lonar in the Buldhana district of Maharashtra, India.

The impact created a crater 1.8 kilometers in diameter and 137 meters deep, that bears a lake that is mentioned in the ancient Skanda Purana.

Crater Lake is one of Earth’s rare and scientifically puzzling “soda” lakes, containing alkaline water in some areas and saline water in other areas. This quality enables it to support micro-organisms rarely found anywhere else. It is also known for the unusual salts that form along the shore when the water recedes during the dry season.

Ancient temples surround the lake, some in ruins, some active and one partially submerged—the Shankar Ganesha Temple, noteworthy for its rectangular Siva murti. The Ram Gaya Temple is named for Lord Rama’s departure; the Kamalja Devi temple comes to life during Navaratri. Gomukh Temple, also known as Dhara or Sita Nahani (because Sita is said to have bathed here) is accessible only by an arduous climb. This temple houses a step-well into which flows one of the perennial fresh-water spring that feed the lake below. The most significant temple is in the town. The Daitya Sudan temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, known here as the slayer of the demon Lonasura, after whom the town is named.

Civic activities to protect the lake are ongoing. Threats include excessive tourism, use of fertilizers and pesticides on the surrounding agricultural land and illegal deforestation.



FROM TIME IMMEMORIAL, INDIA’S sages and philosophers have pondered the nature of reality. Out of their speculations have blossomed hundreds of schools of thought, all evolving from the rich soil of village Hinduism.

At one end of Hinduism’s complex spectrum is monism, advaita, which perceives a unity of God, soul and world, as in Sankara’s acosmic pantheism and Kashmir Saiva monism. At the other end is dualism, dvaita—exemplified by Madhva and the early Pasupatas—which teaches two or more separate realities.

In between are views describing reality as one and yet not one, dvaita-advaita, such as Ramanuja’s Vaishnava Vedanta and Srikantha’s Saiva Visishtadvaita. Hindu philosophy consists of many schools of Vedic and Agamic thought, including the six classical darshanas—Nyaya, Vaiseshika, Sankhya, Yoga, Mimamsa and Vedanta.

Each theology expresses the quest for God and is influenced by the myth, mystery and cultural syncretism of contemporary, tribal, shamanic Hinduism alive in every village in every age. India also produced views, called nastika, that reject the Vedas and are thus not part of Hinduism, such as Jainism, Sikhism, Buddhism and Charvaka, materialistic atheism.

The Vedas state, “Theologians ask: What is the cause? Is it Brahma? Whence are we born? Whereby do we live? And on what are we established?”

From Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami’s Dancing with Siva, Lesson 141