“Do not love leisure. Waste not a minute. Be bold. Realize the Truth here and now!”

Swami Sivananda (1887-1963)

All you want is to be happy. All your desires, whatever they may be, are longing for happiness. Basically, you wish yourself well…desire by itself is not wrong. It is life itself, the urge to grow in knowledge and experience. It is the choices you make that are wrong. To imagine that some little thing—food, sex, power, fame—will make you happy is to deceive oneself. Only something as vast and deep as your real Self can make you truly and lastingly happy. Nisargadatta Maharaj (1897-1981), a guru of the Inchagiri Sampradaya

Seek the wisdom that will untie your knot. Seek the path that demands your whole being. Rumi (1207-1273), Sufi mystic and poet

We cannot live better than in seeking to become better. Socrates (469–399bce), Athenian philosopher

Desireless, wise, immortal, self-existent, full of bliss, lacking in nothing is the one who knows the wise, unaging, youthful soul within him. He fears not death! Atharva Veda X.8.446

The more deeply we perceive, the more striking becomes the evidence that a uniform plan links every form in manifold nature. Paramahansa Yogananda (1893-1952)

He who runs after good fortune runs away from peace. African proverb

This is a wonderful day, I have never seen this one before. Maya Angelou (1928-2014), American poet

The greatest error of a man is to think that he is weak by nature, evil by nature. Every man is divine and strong in his real nature. What are weak and evil are his habits, his desires and thoughts, but not himself. Ramana Maharshi (1879-1950)

I have learned you are never too small to make a difference. Greta Thunberg, Swedish environmental activist

He is light within you; to know how to reach Him is true path of becoming; if you know thus, you know contradiction none; that is path supreme, your goal’s end; they are but folks poor in spirit that know not merging. Tirumantiram 1547

The happiness of the world is transitory. The less you become attached to the world, the more you enjoy peace of mind. Sarada Devi (1853-1920)

There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting. Gautama Buddha (563-483bce)

Just as a lamp gets extinguished when the oil is exhausted, so the yogi extinguishes his former self when ego identification ceases to exist in perfect meditation. Sarvajnanottara Agama, Yoga Pada, v51

You have power over your mind, not outside events. Realize this and you will find strength. Marcus Aurelius (121-180), Roman emperor and Stoic philosopher

The quest after Truth and to be truthful is a human being’s duty. Do your utmost to become anchored in Truth and spend much time in the contemplation of the Lord in a quiet secluded place. Human beings have to be dwellers of the Inner Cave so that the Supreme Being who resides within may be revealed. Anandamayi Ma (1896-1982), yogini and mystic Bengali saint

Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the men of old; seek what they sought. Kukai (774-835), founder of Shingon Buddhism

When two great forces oppose each other, the victory will go to the one that knows how to yield. Lao Tzu (ca 600 bce), author of Tao Te Ching

Through giving to others and getting our mind more involved with other people, we become happier. Through being selfish and focusing on getting, happiness is always elusive. Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami, publisher of Hinduism Today

So great is the Sanatana Dharma that it defies all who doubt it—all who disdain it, all who disregard it, all who degrade it—with personal realization of its Truth. Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (1927-2001), founder of Hinduism Today


Vedic Influences in Japan

Statues of Benzaiten (Saraswati), Kangiten (Ganesha) and Bishamonten (Kubera) at the Daishoin temple in Hatsukaichi, Japan
Bishop of Miyata performs the fire ritual at Koyasan Temple (founded by Kukai) on Mount Koya

 With the gradual spread of Buddhism from ancient India to Tibet, China, South East Asia, Japan and elsewhere, it’s little wonder that other aspects of Indian culture and Hinduism traveled in tandem. Hindu Deities have long been found in Tibet’s Vedic-infused Vajrayana form of Buddhism, which long ago made its way into China and eventually to Korea and Japan. 

In 804 a Japanese monk scholar, known as Kukai, traveled to China by ship. He began study at Ximing monastery under the tutelage of Huiguo, a Buddhist master of the Vajrayana tradition. Huiguo had translated many important Sanskrit texts. Kukai also learned from Pranja, a senior monk who had studied at the famed Nalanda University near Pataliputra in India. Upon his arrival, Kukai was immediately initiated by Huiguo and became the lineage’s eighth successor, instructed to bring their teachings to Japan. 

Kukai returned to Japan in 806, having learned Sanskrit and Siddham script. He brought with him many Indian scriptures and would go on to found what is known today as Shingon Buddhism—the primary form of the Vajrayana tradition as it exists in Japan. You can now find many Shingon temple’s throughout Japan’s islands, their monks performing Vedic fire ceremonies and their shrines adorned with Vajrayana versions of Indian Deities.

There are now said to be over 250 Ganesha (Kangiten) temples in Japan, while other Hindu Gods such as Siva (Daikokuten), Lakshmi (Kichijoten), Sarasvati (Benzaitennyo) and Skanda (Ida-Ten), can be also found in shrines and temples throughout the country. 


What Is Sadhana?

A. Manivelu

 There are three dimensions to our being: physical, emotional/intellectual and spiritual. All three need attention for optimum health. Exercise strengthens our physical body. Learning and practicing self control expands and enhances our emotional/mental capacity. Through sadhana, spiritual practice, we exercise our spiritual nature by taking time to experience it. Most of the time we are so wrapped up in our outer nature that we are hardly aware of our deep, glorious inner reality. This can go on life after life, as many people only begin to think of greater realities when nearing the point of death. We give time to our spiritual nature by performing religious activities, ideally as a daily vigil or spiritual exercise. During this quiet time alone, we focus on life’s inner purpose, which is to make spiritual progress. Puja, japa, scriptural study, hatha yoga and meditation are all forms of sadhana.

Some sadhanas are yearly, such as going on pilgrimage. Some may be assigned by the guru as a one-time practice. A popular sadhana is chanting “AUM” 108 times each day. The ten-minute spiritual workout is becoming popular in today’s busy world. These times of quiet retreat from life’s hustle and bustle are underrated, their benefits overlooked. Sadhana builds willpower, faith and confidence in oneself and in God, Gods and guru. It harnesses our instinctive-intellectual nature, allowing unfoldment into the superconscious realizations and innate abilities of the soul. Gurudeva noted: “Through sadhana we learn to control the energies of the body and nerve system, and we experience that through the control of the breath the mind becomes peaceful. Sadhana is practiced in the home, in the forest, by a flowing river, under a favorite tree, in the temple, in gurukulas or wherever a pure, serene atmosphere can be found.”

Drawn from the teachings of
Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami