Hindu Quotations: Wisdom from India

Here you will find Hindu quotations and wisdom from India to meditate upon.

The following are gems of wisdom I have gathered over the many years of studying Hindu spirituality, especially those of Vedanta (the cream of the Vedas). India is a land most dear to my heart. This will be an on-going page as I will continue to add more Hindu quotations. I will also add commentary to them to add my perspective that hopefully will add some more insight.


Not Knowing is Knowing

If you think that you know well in truth of Brahman, know that you know little. What you think to be Brahman in your self, or what you think to be Brahman in the gods--that is not Brahman. What is indeed the truth of Brahman you must therefore learn.

I cannot say that I know Brahman fully. Nor can I say that I know him not. He among us knows him best who understand the spirit of the words: "Nor do I know that I know not."

He truly knows Brahman who knows him as beyond knowledge; he who thinks that he knows knows not. The ignorant think that Brahman is known, but the wise know him to be beyond knowledge.

He who realizes the existence of Brahman behind every activity of his being--whether sensing, perceiving, or thinking--he alone gains immortality.

Through knowledge of Brahman comes power. Through knowledge of Brahman comes victory over death. Blessed is the man who while he yet lives realizes Brahman. The man who realizes him not suffers his greatest loss.

When they depart this life, the wise, who have realized Brahman as the Self in all beings, become immortal.

--Kena Upanishad:

Commentary: Brahman is another word for what you might call The Godhead, Great Spirit, That Which Is. Brahman is the divine Essence that permeates all forms and which all forms exist in. It is the Ineffable that we vainly try to describe. If one meditated on these words and then truly followed them, one could not be a fundamentalist of any religion. Because then one would be free of defending one's beliefs. As Socrates said: "I know nothing but the fact of my ignorance." How freeing is that! When one realized that then one has gone beyond the limitations of the mind and rests gently in the Presence of Brahman or in one's Divine Nature or Atman (the Self).

Truth is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect....Truth, being limitless, unconditioned, unapproachable by any path whatsoever, cannot be organized; nor should any organization be formed to lead or coerce people along any particular path. . . .A belief is purely an individual matter, and you cannot and must not organize it. If you do, it becomes dead, crystallized; it becomes a creed, a sect, a religion, to impose on others.

--Krishnamurti

Commentary: No matter how beautiful every religion is to me I cannot marry anyone of them. I have my trysts with each of them, but soon I feel confined, like I am wearing a suit and tie. And the sun of Consciousness shines down upon met and I just have to shed my clothes and go run in the fields and splash in the waves and climb the next hill that beckons me. I feel for those who, in their fear, have to defend their belief structures. What do I know. I know nothing. How wonderful is that freedom!


Ramana and Shiva as One.

God, Guru and Self

A person begins with dissatisfaction. Not content with the world he seeks satisfaction of desires by prayers to God; his mind is purified; he longs to know God more than to satisfy his carnal desires. Then God's Grace begins to manifest. God takes the form of a Guru and appears to the devotee; teaches him the Truth; purifies the mind by his teachings and contact; the mind gains strength, is able to turn inward; with meditation it is purified yet further, and eventually remains still without the least ripple.

That stillness is the Self.

The Guru is both exterior and interior. From the exterior he gives a push to the mind to turn inward; from the interior he pulls the mind towards the Self and helps the mind to achieve quietness. That is Grace.

Hence there is no difference between God, Guru and Self.

--Ramana Maharshi

Commentary: In the Hindu tradition, and many traditions, including Christianity, a teacher is seen as essential to help one proceed on the spiritual path and eventually realize one's Divine Nature, one's Self. I would not be where I am today without the powerful assistance of my teachers. I say teachers in the plural, but in truth, there is only one teacher who comes with many faces to present various lessons at various times. The sign of a good teacher is one who will not allow dependence to form on a particular form. Ramana stressed repeatedly that he was not his body so don't be attached to it. God and Self is beyond all forms. At some point you have to kill the Buddha on the side of the road and move beyond all forms.

Yet, especially in the earlier stages, the seeker wants a divine form to focus on, since he himself believes he is a body. So he meditates on some divine image of God or upon the Master. But eventually God or the Master will draw the seeker's attention inward where God and the Master await as the very essence of the seeker. And the Three become One.

Again,you have the idea that only certain people hold the key to the Kingdom of Happiness. No one holds it. No one has the authority to hold that key. That key is your own self, and in the development and the purification and in the incorruptibility of that self alone is the Kingdom of Eternity. --Krishnamurti

Commentary: When Krishnamurti dissolved the Order of the Star and renounced his role as the World Teacher that Leadbeater, Besant and the Theosophists were grooming him for, he set himself free of the binds of being part of an organization and became an embodiment of what this age we are living in is about--that each one of us must ultimately find the Truth within. He is like Hesse's Siddartha who did not take up following the Buddha because he knew he would become a follower, a Buddhist, a label to wrap himself up in teachings and dogmas. He would not be free.

Early upon my journey I had a dream with Jesus and he and I stood in front of the masses in Constantinople. He spoke and then I, and I told the people that they did not need anyone to tell them what is true. They said, "Yes, be our new bishop." I pleaded with them that was not what was needed but they didn't listen and I awoke in tears.

A guru can only point the way--they are not the way.


Self Realization

Space being the supporter of all and immanent in all, becomes manifest if only the attention is diverted from the panorama. In the same way, consciousness is the supporter of all and is immanent in all and always remains perfect like space pervading the mind also. Diversion of attention from other items is all that is necessary for Self-Realization.

Realization of Self requires absolute purity only and so no concentration of mind. For this reason, the Self is said to be unknowable (meaning not objectively knowable).

Therefore it was also said that the sole necessity for Self-Realization is purity of mind. The only impurity of the mind is thought. To make it thought-free is to keep it pure. --Tripura Rahasya,translated by Swami Sri Ramananda Saraswathi

Commentary: As an artist I have learned to value the negative space as much as the positive space, but it takes practice to perceive what is not there. We are not taught to value "nothing" but are taught to get that "something" that will make you happy or better. We are consumers who are always after that thing, whether it is material or even subtle, such as ideas or "truths." So when we are experiencing space or no thoughts, which happens all the time, we do not recognize it because we do not value it. For meditators that space is sought after because it is valued, and is thus recognized. Now if people want to have supernatural experiences, visions, hearing of noises, flashes of light, etc., to feel spiritual in their meditations, then the emptiness of space is not valued and thus will not be recognized as one's Infinite Self.

If you find that a man's desire for sense-enjoyments is growing less and less and his love is extending over all beings, then you may know that he is progressing towards God.--Swami Turiyananda

Commentary: When one is filled with the love of God, things of the world begin to pale in comparison. Just as a soldier who has been on the front lines fighting alongside his companions, thinking of nothing but helping his companions survive, and then comes back into a society and is expected to act as though all those things that people chase after are really important. Of course those things of the world mean little now because he has faced death and knows life in its rawest. Loving God is the rawest thing to do because nothing is accrued upon it. The love of God is a timeless experience while everything of the world is moving inexorably to its demise. And then when one is filled with that love it is so expansive that no one is excluded from it. A saint doesn't try to love others. they have no choice; for if they don't, they will explode.


Change Yourself First

Change yourself and you have done your part in changing the world. Every individual must change his own life if he wants to live in a peaceful world.

The world cannot become peaceful unless and until you yourself begin to work toward peace.

It is only by removing hate from our hearts that we can live a Christlike life.

--Paramahansa Yogananda

Commentary: It is so easy to try to fix others and even the world and not bother to work on one's self. If one does not know one's self, then one is in ignorance. And if one is in ignorance then how can one act with wisdom? Acting in ignorance only produces more ignorance. The Master, who sees only the perfection of God, of the Self, sees nothing wrong. There is only Love and the Master responds only with Love. The ignorant responds fearfully because the ignorant believe he and everybody else is a body. This is why no politician or leader has ever fixed the world--one problem fixed just leads to another problem. Trying to fix the problems of the world is like trying to untie the Gordian Knot. Just like Alexander did, the only solution is to cut the knot with the sword. And that sword is the sword of Self Knowledge.

Seek within first and find the perfection within and you will see the perfection without.

Now you are going down and down, because you do not know the real nature of the world. First know it and then be in it and you won't get bound. Is the world really an evil? The root of all trouble is the you don't know its nature.--Swami Turiyananda

Commentary:

The world is great swamp that sucks everyone down in the end, unless their footfalls are so light they leave no mark. And the only way to do that is to know your divine Self. When you know your Self you can only see the Self in all beings and things. There is no longer any separation between the viewer and the viewed. When you know God within God looks back from everywhere.




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