Quotes & Quips

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The greatest service one can do for
people is to help them experience God

Swami Omkarananda (1930-2000), founder of Omkarananda Ashram, Rishikesh

Association with sages should be made because thoughts are so persistent. The sage has already overcome the mind and remains in peace. Being in his proximity helps to bring about this condition in others, otherwise there is no meaning in seeking his company. The guru provides the needed strength for this, unseen by others. Ramana Maharshi (1879-1950)

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Disciple: O wise and all-knowing one, take me to the realm of perfect peace.

Master: If I take you to that realm, it will no longer be peaceful. Anonymous What a piece of work is a man, how noble in reason, how infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and admirable, in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god! William Shakespeare (1564-1616), English poet, playwright and actor

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Do not look upon yoga as something beyond you or as calling for any extraordinary efforts. You can remain in your station of life, carry on your work and at the same time embark on the yogic path. Do japa, prayer, kirtan, meditation and asanas regularly. Swami Sivanada (1887-1963), founder of Divine Life Society He does not live in vain who employs his wealth, his thought, and his speech to advance the good of others. Anonymous

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On the terrace of a monastery high in the mountains, an old Zen Buddhist monk stood next to a much younger monk while they both contemplated the unspeakable void of misty space above. After a silence, the old monk gently declared: “Ah, my son, one day all this void will be yours.”

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Where seekest thou? That freedom, friend, this world nor that can give. In books and temples, vain thy search. Thine only is the hand that holds the rope that drags thee on. Then cease lament. Let go thy hold, sannyasin bold! Say “Om Tat Sat, Om!” Swami Vivekananda (1863–1902), Song of the Sannyasin

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The suffering that ignorant men inflict upon themselves can hardly be contrived by their enemies. Tirukural, 843

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What you seek is seeking you. Rumi (1207-1273), poet

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A man trying to understand the nature of God asked him: “God, how long is a million years to you?” God answered, “A million years is like a minute.” Then the man asked, “God, how much is a million dollars to you?” And God replied, “A million dollars is like a penny.” Finally the man asked, “God, could you give me a penny?” And God said, “In a minute!”

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Openness has no location in particular. It contains everything. It contains thoughts and the absence of thoughts. It contains feelings and no feelings, sights and no sights, sounds and silence. Within openness, everything is invited and Everything is accepted. There is no way to be open because there is no difference between being open and being. Wu Hsin, (403-221 bce?), Taoist philosopher

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Be humble, for you are made of the earth; be noble, for you are made of the stars. Serbian saying

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They know not the evil fruits karma brings. They choose not to find jnana for liberation from karma. “Renounce karma and be liberated”—this Vedic teaching they know not. They who wallow in karma will never the rich harvest reap. Tirumantiram, verse 2557

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It is fitting to describe the Self as awareness dissolving into itself, as when you come out of it, there is no experience to remember, only a new perspective, a total perspective from which you then view the mind. Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami, publisher of HINDUISM TODAY

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MEGHA VISHWANATH

The Self is so simple, so uncomplicated, that the ramified external mind overlooks it. From birth to death and back to birth, we live in the ocean of being and see only the fishes of objective perception. We neglect to notice that these swim in the ocean of being. Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (1927-2001), founder of HINDUISM TODAY

DID YOU KNOW?

The Beloved Saint Andal

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INDRA SHARMA

EACH HINDU SECT HAS ITS OWN SAINTS, sages and gurus. For Vaishnavites, the twelve Tamil poet-saints called Alvars were devoted to Vishnu and His avatars. Among them was Andal, the 9th-century poet-saint who was in love with Krishna.

As a baby, Andal was left at a temple in Villiputtur, near Madurai. A devotee of Vishnu found her, believed the child to be a sign of God’s grace and raised her as his own. She was named Godai or “gift of Mother Earth.”

Godai was renamed Andal after her father had a dream of Krishna demanding that His garlands be gifted to devotees only after Godai had worn them. Thenceforth she was known as Andal, the girl who ruled over the Lord.

Andal is credited with two literary works, the Tiruppavai and Nachiar Tirumozhi, both rich in philosophical, religious and aesthetic content. These works form an important part of the daily religious life of Vaishnavites in South India. Daily services in most Srivaishnava temples and households include singing portions of the Tiruppavai with great religious fervor by women, men and children of all ages, especially in Tamil Nadu.

Andal’s works, particularly the Thiruppavai, have been studied extensively by scholars and translated into a number of languages over the centuries. Andal’s life and legacy forms an important part of the Bhakti movement. Historical records suggest that by the 12th century she had become a major inspiration to Hindu women in South India and elsewhere.

From the Thirupavvai: “Worldlings, listen to what we shall do to observe these sacred days. We shall sing the feet of the Supreme One; lying on the milky sea, bathe betimes.

No ghee, no milk;

No shade for eyes;

No flowers for hair.

Avoid all sins;

Spread no scandal;

Give alms, make offerings, all we can, and joyfully seek our savior.”

BASICS

Daily Yoga Practices

DEVOUT HINDUS PERFORM DAILY vigil, called sandhya upasana, usually before dawn. This sacred period of puja, japa, chanting, singing, haṭha yoga, meditation and scriptural study is the foundation of personal life.

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S. RAJAM

Each day hundreds of millions of Hindus awaken for the last fifth of the night, bathe, don fresh clothing, apply sectarian marks, called tilaka, and sit in a clean, quiet place for religious disciplines. Facing east or north, the devotional puja rites of bhakti yoga are performed. Hatha yoga, hymn singing, japa and chanting are often included. Then follows scriptural study and meditation, listening to the sound current and contemplating the moon-like inner light during brahma muhurta, the auspicious hour-and-a-half period before dawn.

The duly initiated practice advanced yogas, such as those revealed in Merging with Siva—but only as directed by their guru, knowing that unless firmly harnessed, the kundalini can manifest uncontrollable desires. Through the day, karma yoga, selfless religious service, is performed at every opportunity. Besides these yogas of doing, Hindus practice the central yoga of being—living a joyful, positive, harmonious life.

The Vedas declare, “The mind, indeed, is this fleeting world. Therefore, it should be purified with great effort. One becomes like that which is in one’s mind—this is the everlasting secret.”

From Dancing with Siva by Sivaya Subramuniyaswami

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