The winds of grace are always blowing, but it is you who must raise your sails.
Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941), celebrated Bengali writer
God is one’s very own. It is the eternal relationship. He is everyone’s own. One realizes Him in proportion to the intensity of one’s feeling for Him. Sri Sarada Devi (1853-1920), renowned saint and mystic
All the paradoxes of quantum physics can be solved if we accept consciousness as the ground of being. Dr. Amit Goswami, theoretical nuclear physicist
That dark dweller is my only refuge. O my companion, worldly comfort is illusion; as soon you get it, it goes. I have chosen the indestructible for my refuge, Him whom the snake of death will not devour. My beloved dwells in my heart all day. I have actually seen that abode of joy. Meera’s lord is Hari, the indestructible. My lord, I have taken refuge with you. Your maidservant. Mira Bai (1500-1550), princess of Rajasthan, Northwest India, a saint celebrated for her lyrical poetry dedicated to Krishna
Indian music is oriented solely to the end of divine communication. If I have done something in this respect, it is due entirely to the grace of the Almighty who has chosen my humble self as a tool. M. S. Subbulakshmi (1916-2004), renowned Carnatic singer
India will teach us the tolerance and gentleness of the mature mind, the quiet content of the unacquisitive soul, the calm of the understanding spirit, and a unifying, pacifying love for all living things. Will Durant (1885-1981), American writer, historian and philosopher
To study the Way is to study the Self. To study the Self is to forget the Self. To forget the Self is to be enlightened by all things. Dogen Zenji (1200-1253), Japanese Zen Buddhist teacher and founder of the Soto school of Zen in Japan
Joys and sorrows are time-born and cannot last. Therefore, do not be perturbed by these. The greater the difficulties and obstructions, the more intense will be your endeavor to cling to His feet and the more will your prayer increase from within. And when the time is ripe, you will gain mastery over this power. Anandamayi Ma (1896-1982), God-intoxicated Bengali saint
Man should not simply live, but live well, with conduct governed by moderate virtue. This is regarded as difficult, as virtue denotes doing the right thing, to the right person, at the right time, to the proper extent, in the correct fashion, for the right reason. Aristotle (384-322bce), Greek philosopher, Plato’s disciple
Happiness is simply the knowing of our own being; the natural, effortless and innate condition of our Self, when it is no longer pulled into an imaginary past or projected into an imaginary future by resistance and seeking. Rupert Spira, English studio potter
A spiritual person should be a normal person, a sound person. In order to reach God, a spiritual person has to be divinely practical in his day-to-day activities. Sri Chinmoy (1931-2007), renowned spiritual leader and author
Be quiet in your mind, quiet in your senses and also quiet in your body. Then, when all these are quiet, don’t do anything. In that state, truth will reveal itself to you. Rumi (1207 1273), Sufi mystic and poet
It’s the recognition that we are not just material beings. Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post, when asked to define Indian spirituality.
Sunder your desires even unto the Lord. The more the desires, the more the sorrows, the more one gives up, the more bliss there shall be. Tirumantiram verse 2585
Everything in the universe has a rhythm, everything dances. Maya Angelou (1928-2014), US novelist and poet
We want to claim that which we already are. You are already the Self, you are just not aware of it. Do not put it off based upon some concept that we are not ready, we are not worthy, we need more of this or that. None of those principles apply when it comes to Self Realization. Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami, publisher of HINDUISM TODAY
You have to be an intellectual fool to be in front of the satguru. If you hear ordinary things from the guru, look closely at yourself. He is your closest mirror. He is only biding his time with you until the extraordinary ones come along to utilize his depths. Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (1927-2001), founder of HINDUISM TODAY
DID YOU KNOW?
Sindhur Applied at Weddings
THE KUMARI TANTRA TELLS US, “AT THE time of marriage, the bride’s hair should be parted down the center, or simanta. The right part of her hair represents yoga shakti, which brings fortune, wealth and other benefits for the family and secures its spiritual welfare. The left side of her hair represents kshema shakti, which preserves the benefits brought about by yoga shakti. To honor these two energies, vermillion powder should be applied at the simanta, and the two sides of the hair should be adorned with flowers” (translation by Dr. S. P. Sabharathnam Sivacharyar).
The tradition of placing vermillion on the simanta has been traced back to the Indus-Saraswati civilization which existed more than five thousand years ago, through ancient artifacts which depict the custom. Identical practices are followed by Hindus today. According to Sri Narayani Amma, head of the Sri Narayani Peedam in Thirumalaikodi, the red hairline mark is the home of Mahalakshmi, Goddess of Wealth.
Vermillion powder is called sindhur in the north of India and kumkuma in the south. Historically it was made from cinnabar—the ore from which mercury is derived. Most modern powders are made from turmeric and lime.
Adi Shankaracharya poetically glorifies the hairline mark in the Soundarya Lahari (verse 44): “O mother, let the line parting your hair—which looks like a canal through which the rushing waves of your beauty ebb, imprisoning your vermillion on both sides, and which is like a rising sun, by using your hair which is dark like the platoon of soldiers of the enemy—protect us and give us peace.”
Newlywed: The groom applies sindhur to the bride’s parted hair during their wedding
The Satguru’s Unique Function
TO TRANSCEND THE MIND AND REACH the ultimate goal, seekers need the guidance of a satguru, an enlightened master who has followed the path to its natural end and can lead them to the Divine within themselves. Satgurus are the masterful guides and mystical awakeners who bring us into the fullness of spiritual life.
The satguru is the devotee’s spiritual guide and preceptor, friend and companion on the path. Having become religion’s consummation, the satguru can see where others are and know what their next step should be. Nothing is more precious than the first soul-quickening, life-changing saktipata from a guru. Nothing is more central to spiritual awakening than the progressive dikshas, or initiations, he bestows. A satguru is needed because the mind is so cunning and the ego is a self-perpetuating mechanism. It is he who inspires, assists, guides and impels the sishya toward the Self of himself.
The satguru, perfected in his relationship with Siva, administrates the sadhana and tapas that slowly incinerate the seeds of sanchita karmas. It is his task to preside over the annihilation of the sishya’s ego and subconscious dross, all the while guiding the awakened kundalini force so that safe, steady progress can be made from stage to stage.
The Agamas affirm, “Individuals who become, by the grace of Siva, eager to extricate themselves from worldly fetters, obtain initiation from a competent preceptor into the path that leads to Sivasayujya” (from Dancing With Siva).