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The Essays of Brother Anonymous
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Contents

Acceptance
Action – See Karma Yoga
Ahimsa – See Harmlessness (Ahimsa)
Alcohol
Ambition - See Nothing - No ambition
Ananda - See Bliss
Angels - Intimations of the evolution of consciousness through ranks of beings – See also Design of Life – God’s Plan is spiritual evolution and Enlightenment – Enlightenment or the purpose of life can be seen as the fulfillment of spiritual evolution
Angels - Hints that humans become angels
Angels - Discussions of the ranks among angels
Angels - The true form of angels cannot be described
Angels - Angels are the Lord's servants and messengers
Angels - Angels created the heavens and the earth, and all that are in it
Angels - Angels ordained life and death
Angels - Reincarnation is part of the plan
Angels - Angels record all deeds in the Book of Life
Angels - Angels direct human destiny and mentor nations
Angels - Angels give scripture and law
Angels - Angels punish the wicked
Angels - Angels test the worthy
Angels - Angels guide the seeker
Angels - Reward the aspirant with glimpses of glory
Angels - Angels enlighten, or participate in the enlightenment of, humans
Angels - Angels protect and minister to saints, prophets, and the Messiah
Angels - Angels announce the advent of the Messiah
Angels - Angels interpret visions
Angels - Angels welcome the virtuous or carry them off to heaven
Angels - What angels and humans share
Angels - Enlightenment makes us like unto angels
Anger
Anger – Causes
Anger – Results
Anger – Counsel
Anger - The anger of an enlightened being is intended to instruct or reform the devotee
Anger – Contrasting view
Animals
Ascension to heaven - See Angels - Angels welcome the virtuous or carry them off to heaven and also Death - Instances of ascension to heaven
Ascetism
Asceticism – Bodily Mortification
Ashramas – See also Asceticism
Asleep
Aspirants – Everyone wants to be a guru, but no one wants to be a disciple
Aspirants – Qualities Needed for Enlightenment
Aspirants - Devotees
Aspirants - Devotees – All are females before God
Aspirants – God’s devotees have nothing to fear - See Surrender – God fulfills the needs of and protects the earnest seeker
Aspirants - Final birth
Aspirants - Fate of those who fail to reach God
Aspirants - Classes of seekers
Aspirants – Classes of seekers - Differences exist in taste and fitness
Aspirants – Classes of seekers – People may be classified according to inclination
Aspirants – Classes of seekers – Seekers may be classified according to attainment
Aspirants - Classes of seekers – Inferior, mediocre, and superior
Aspirants - Classes of seekers –The superior type
Aspirants – Classes of seekers - Ripe vs. unripe
Aspirants – Classes of seekers - Monkeys vs. kittens
Aspirants – Classes of seekers - Tamasic, rajasic, and sattvic
Aspirants – Classes of seekers - Tamasic
Aspirants – Classes of seekers - Rajasic
Aspirants – Classes of seekers - Sattvic
Aspirants – Classes of seekers – Classes of sages
Aspirants – Classes of seekers - The Kripasiddha
Aspirants – Classes of seekers – The Ishwarakotis (The Everfree)
Association with the good and holy (Satsang) - See Satsang with sages
Atma-Vichara – See Discriminate betwen the Unreal and the Real - Self-Enquiry and also Wisdom
Atman - See Self
Attachment - See Desire - How attachment works
Attention
Austerity (Tapas)
Authority, Sources of
Avatars (Incarnations of God, Embodiments of the Divine, God-men/God-women)
Avatars – It is God the Father who incarnates
Avatars – It is Sakti, the Divine Mother, who incarnates
Avatars – Declarations of Avatarhood
Avatars – They choose to behave as and experience what humans do
Avatars – They attract others irresistibly
Avatars - Why they come - To restore dharma
Avatars - Why they come – To set an example for others of how to attain bliss
Avatars - Why they come - To re-state the ancient truths and reveal the nature of Reality
Avatars - Why they come - To rouse and inspire the devotee by their presence
Avatars – Why they come – They are here for the devotees, not for the jnanis
Avatars - Why they come – They bless and enlighten the worthy
Avatars - Why they come – They bless and enlighten the worthy – Sri Ramakrishna promises enlightenment to his devotees
Avatars – Seeing, touching, and talking with (darshan, sparshan and sambhashan) the Avatar are all necessary
Avatars – Their mere touch can alter the devotee’s condition
Avatars – There are partial and full manifestations of God
Avatars – They are not here to be liberated
Avatars – They survive Brahmajnana to bless the world
Avatars – States of consciousness
Avatars – They possess siddhis or supernatural powers
Avatars – They accept the help of maya to fulfill their mission
Avatars – The Mother of the Universe supplies them with all knowledge and speaks through their lips
Avatars – They bring their circle of devotees
Avatars –The example of Sri Krishna
Avatars – The example of Sri Ramakrishna
Avatars – The ordinary person could not tolerate a fraction of their experience
Avatars - Most people do not recognize them
Avatars - Those who fully recognize them are liberated
Avatars - Examples of devotees who realized the nature of the Avatar
Avatars - It is not necessary to go to them
Avatars – To love an Incarnation is enough
Avatars – Saluting one brings liberation
Avatars - It is not necessary to give over one's chosen form and worship them
Avatars - The phenomenon of immaculate birth
Avatars – Pain is unavoidable when a body has been assumed
Avatars – They predict their future return and the spread of their teachings
Aversion (One of the Three Poisons) - See also the Three Poisons (Craving, Aversion, and Ignorance), Craving, and Ignorance
Awakening – The first step is to realize you are asleep
Awareness - Awareness is God, the Buddha, your original Self
Awareness - It will carry you to enlightenment
Awareness - It leads to Self-knowledge
Awareness - God-Realization or unified awareness will swallow up everyday awareness
Awareness - Be aware at the deepest levels
Awareness - Passive awareness - See also The Self - It is the eternal witness, Discriminate betwen the Unreal and the Real – Abide as the Self
Awareness – Is not a someone
Awareness - Stillness of awareness is all there is
Awareness – Awareness is it
Awareness - It is only in the now
Awareness - It does not depend on the mind
Awareness - It does not depend on thinking
Awareness - It does not depend on naming
Awareness - Examples of the discriminating/differentiating mind falling quiet but remaining aware



Acceptance

Those who wish to embody the Tao should embrace all things.

To embrace all things means first that one holds no anger or resistance toward any idea or thing, living or dead, formed or formless.
Acceptance is the very essence of the Tao.

To embrace all things means also that one rids oneself of any concept of separation: male and female, self and other, life and death.
Division is contrary to the nature of the Tao.

Foregoing antagonism and separation, one enters into the harmonious oneness of all things. (Lao Tzu, HHC, 5.)

You will not be able to rise above your present vibration level to stay until you love the way you are now. (Thaddeus Golas, LMGE, 18-9.)

That is all we need to do: Give full, permissive, loving attention to absolutely anything that we see in our minds, in our bodies, in our environment, in other people. (Thaddeus Golas, LMGE, 18.)

Action – See Karma Yoga

Ahimsa – See Harmlessness (Ahimsa)

Alcohol

Why should you drink wine as wine? Offer it to Kali, and then take it as Her prasad, as consecrated drink. But see that you don’t become intoxicated; you must not reel and your thoughts must not wander. At first you will feel ordinary excitement, but soon you will experience spiritual exaltation. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna to Suresh Mitra, known as Surendra, in GSR, 49.)

Ambition - See Nothing - No ambition

Ananda - See Bliss

Angels - Intimations of the evolution of consciousness through ranks of beings – See also Design of Life – God’s Plan is spiritual evolution and Enlightenment – Enlightenment or the purpose of life can be seen as the fulfillment of spiritual evolution

For ever and everlasting [the God-realized one] eternally remains in all glory with the Spiritual Angels. (Zarathustra in GZ, 136.)

Fix no limits for your growth. It has no limits, except those you create by your own willing and thinking: therefore think only of growing, and never of being full grown. (Anon., SAO, 35.)

I died as mineral and became a plant.
I died as plant and rose to animal.
I died as animal and I was man. …
Yet once more I shall die as man, to soar
With angels blest; but even from angelhood
I must pass on: all except God doth perish.
When I have sacrificed my angel soul,
I shall become what no mind e’er conceived.
Oh, let me not exist! For Non-existence
Proclaims in organ tones, ‘To Him we shall return.’ (Rumi, ILWL, 58.)

Inquire of the inmost, the One, of its final secret, which it holds for you through the ages. ... When the time of learning this seventeenth rule is reached, man is on the threshold of becoming more than man. (Ascended Master, probably the Master Hilarion, channelling through Mabel Collins, LOP, 29-30.)

When after ages of struggle and many victories the final battle is won (1), the final secret demanded, then you are prepared for a further path. When the final secret of this great lesson is told, in it is opened the mystery of the new way -- a path which leads out of all human experience, and which is utterly beyond human perception or imagination. At each of these points it is needful to pause long and consider well. At each of these points it is necessary to be sure that the way is chosen for its own sake. The way (2) and the truth (3) come first, then follows the life. (4) (Ascended Master, probably the Master Hilarion, channelling through Mabel Collins, LOP, 11-2.)

(1) Sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi.
(2) Sadhana or spiritual practice.
(3) The first enlightenment, called spiritual awakening or seeing the Light.
(4) Sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi -- and with it immortality and the elimination of the need to be physically reborn.

Beyond [the sage's attainment], whatever it may be, there lie further mysteries awaiting his resolution. In other words, We find no conceivable end to evolution. (Franklin Merrell-Woolf, PTS, 43.)

A certain Sage..., speaking of unfolded Conscousness above the level of the highest human Adepts, said: "We attain glimpses of Consciousness so Transcendent, rising level upon level, that the senses fairly reel before the awe-inspiring Grandeur."
Here, certainly, is space for evolution far beyond the highest possibility of man as man. (Franklin Merrell-Woolf, PTS, 17.)

Even the gods and angels are under the influence of the gunas. The gods or superhuman beings show a preponderance of sattva; men, of rajas; and sub-human beings of tamas. Brahman, alone untouched by maya, is beyond the gunas. (1) (Nikhilananda, "Introduction" to Shankara, SK, 67-8.)

(1) The “gunas” are the three cosmic forces of balance, activity, and torpor.

Angels - Hints that humans become angels

For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, (1)

Saying, Fear not, Paul: thou must be brought before Caesar. (Acts 27:23-4.)

(1) Suggestion that Jesus has joined the ranks of angels.

I do not need to remind you ... of the fact that because of [Jesus'] generous work for salvation he himself entered the order of revealers and is called the "angel of great counsel." Indeed, when he announced what he knew of the Father, was it not as an angel? (Pseudo-Dionysius in CWPD, 159.)

When I have sacrificed my angel soul,
I shall become what no mind e’er conceived.
Oh, let me not exist! For Non-existence
Proclaims in organ tones, ‘To Him we shall return.’ (Rumi, ILWL, 58.)

When in the crucible of abstinence [man] is purged from carnal passions he attains to the highest, and in place of being a slave to lust and anger becomes endued [sic] with angelic qualities. Attaining that state, he finds his heaven in the contemplation of Eternal Beauty, and no longer in fleshly delights. (Al-Ghazzali, AH, 17.)

By means of the "alchemy of happiness," (1) [man] rises from the rank of beasts to that of angels. (Al-Ghazzali, AH, 32.)

(1) The transformation wrought in the being through illumination or liberation, together with the spiritual practices which wrought that transformation.

We think that man is on the highest rung of the evolutionary ladder, but evolution is without end. Just as there are beings that exist below man, there are Beings that exist above man as well. These Beings evolved from the universes of the past. (Beinsa Douno, “Culture of the Angels,” WOG, n.p.)

Angels - Discussions of the ranks among angels

For even I, though I am bound (for Christ) (1) and am able to understand heavenly things, the angelic orders, and the different sorts of angels and hosts, the distinction between powers and dominions, and the diversities between thrones and authorities, the mightiness of the aeons, and the pre-eminence of the cherubim and seraphim, (2) the sublimity of the Spirit, the kingdom of the Lord, and above all the incomparable majesty of Almighty God -- though I am acquainted with all these things, yet am I not therefore by any means perfect, nor am I such a disciple as Paul or Peter. (Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, in ESO, 49.)

(1) I.e., though upon my death I will join Christ and be united with God.
(2) If the term “hosts” equates with “archangels,” then Ignatius has named the entire nine orders of angels.

For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, (1) nor things present, nor things to come ... shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus. (St. Paul in Romans 8:38-9.)

(1) Paul names three of the nine orders of angels.

For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in the earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: (1) all things were created by him, and for him. (St. Paul in Colossians 1:13 and 16.)

(1) St. Paul names four orders of angels.
We know from our study, and many of us from our experience also, that many intermediate stages exist between the human and the Divine. The old belief in angels and archangels (1) is justified by the facts, for just as there are various kingdoms below humanity, so there are also kingdoms above it in evolution. We find next above us, holding much the same position with regard to us that we in turn hold to the animal kingdom, the great kingdom of devas or angels, and above them again an evolution which has been called that of the Dhyan Chohans, or archangels (though the names given to these orders matter little), and so onward and upward to the very feet of Divinity. All is one graduated life, from God Himself to the very dust beneath our feet — one long ladder, of which humanity occupies only one of the steps. (Charles Leadbeater, LAD, 49-50.)

Leadbeater names two of the nine orders of angels.

On this … morning he [that is, HSU] had sat down after praying for a short period of rest. His external senses receded and he was in the presence of many divine mysteries. Among them he was somehow enlightened as to how God separated the angels according to their form and how he gave to each its own particular characteristic according to its special difference in the orders, (1) but he cannot put it into words. (Blessed Henry Suso, HSU, 136.)

(1) HSU acknowledges that there are orders of angels but does not name them.

Christianity recognizes the existence of the higher classes of Intelligences under the general name of Angels, and teaches that they are "ministering spirits, sent forth to minister"; but what is their ministry, what the nature of their work, what their relationship to human beings, all that was part of the instruction given in the Lesser Mysteries, as the actual communication with them was enjoyed in the Greater; but in modern days these truths have sunk into the background, except the little that is taught in the Greek and Roman communions. For the Protestant, "the ministry of angels" is little more than a phrase. (Annie Besant, ESO, 191-2.)

On the mental plane, (1) in both its great divisions, exist numberless Intelligences, whose lowest bodies are formed of the luminous matter and elemental essence of the plane -- Shining Ones who guide the processes of the natural order, overlooking the hosts of lower entities before spoken of, and yielding submission in their several hierarchies to their great Overlords of the seven Elements. (2) They are, as may readily be imagined, Beings of vast knowledge, of great power, and most splendid in appearance, radiant, flashing creatures, myriad-hued, like rainbows of changing supernal colours, of stateliest imperial mien, calm energy incarnate, embodiments of resistless strength. The description of the great Christian Seer leaps to the mind, when he wrote of a mighty angel: "A rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire." (3) "As the sound of many waters" are their voices, as echoes from the music of the spheres. They guide natural order, and rule the vast companies of the elements of the astral world, so that their cohorts carry on ceaselessly the processes of Nature with undeviating regularity and accuracy. (Annie Besant, AW, 126-7.)

(1) Besant has made an error here. Angels do not reside on the Mental Plane. They reside a large number of planes beyond it. They rule over the Mental Plane from afar.
(2) Besant's footnote: "These are the Arupa and Rupa Devas of the Hindus and Buddhists, the "Lords of the heavenly and the earthly," of the Zoroastrians, the Archangels and Angels of the Christians and Mohammedans." The “great Overloards of the seven Elements” are the Dharmarajas. (Besant, AW, 126fn.)
(3) Revelation 10:1.

It is only the lower fringe of this august body that need be mentioned in connection with our subject of the astral plane. Their three lower great divisions (beginning from the bottom) are generally called Kamadevas, Rupadevas, and Arupadevas respectively.  Just as our ordinary body here – the lowest body possible for us – is the physical, so the ordinary body of a Kamadeva is the astral; (1) so that he stands in somewhat the same position as humanity will do when it reaches planet F, and he, living ordinarily in an astral body, goes out of it to higher spheres in a mental vehicle (2) just as we do in an astral body, while to enter the causal body is to him (when sufficiently developed) no greater effort than to use a mind body is to us.

In the same way the Rupadeva's ordinary body is the mental, since his habitat is on the four lower or rupa levels of that plane; (3) while the Arupadeva belongs to the three higher levels, and owns no nearer approach to a body than the causal. But for Rupa and Arupa devas to manifest on the astral plane is an occurrence at least as rare as it is for astral entities to materialize on this physical plane, so we need do no more than mention them now.

As regards the lowest division – the Kamadevas – it would be a mistake to think of all of them as immeasurably superior to ourselves, since some have entered their ranks from humanity in some respects less advanced than our own. The general average among them is much higher than among us, for all that is actively or willfully evil has long been weeded out from their ranks; but they differ widely in disposition, and a really noble, unselfish, spiritually-minded man may well stand higher in the scale of evolution than some of them. (Charles Leadbeater, AP, 119-21.)

(1) No angel lives on the Astral Plane.
(2) Angels do not have mental bodies in their natural habitation.
(3) No angels live on the Mental Plane.

Above the Arupadevas there are four other great divisions. (Charles Leadbeater, AP, 121.)

Angels - The true form of angels cannot be described

Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man.
And every one had four faces, and every one had four wings.
And their feet were straight feet; and the sole of their feet was like the sole of a calf's foot: and they sparkled like the colour of burnished brass.
And they had the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides; and they four had their faces and their wings.
Their wings were joined one to another; they turned not when they went; they went every one straight forward.
As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle. (Ezekiel 1:5-10.)

I heard also the noise of the wings of the living creatures that touched one another, and the noise of the wheels over against them, and a noise of a great rushing. (Ezekiel 3:13.)

The source of spiritual perfection provided us with perceptible images of these heavenly minds. He did so out of concern for us and because he wanted us to be made godlike. (Pseudo-Dionysius in CWPD, 147.)

We cannot, as mad people do, profanely visualize these heavenly and godlike intelligences as actually having numerous feet and faces. They are not shaped to resemble the brutishness of oxen or to display the wildness of lions. They do not have the curved beak of the eagle or the wings and feathers of birds. We must not have pictures of flaming wheels whirling in the skies, of material thrones made ready to provide a reception for the Deity, of multicolored horses, or of spear-carrying lieutenants, or any of those shapes handed on to us amid all the variety of the revealing symbols of scripture. The Word of God makes use of poetic imagery when discussing these formless intelligences, but as I have already said, it does so not for the sake of art, but as a concession to the nature of our own mind. It uses scriptural passages in an uplifting fashion as a way, provided for us from the first, to uplift our mind in a manner suitable to our nature. (Pseudo-Dionysius in CWPD, 147-8.)

These pictures have to do with beings so simple that we can neither know nor contemplate them. ... Indeed, it could be argued that if the theologians wanted to give corporeal form to what is purely incorporeal, they could have ... begun with what we would hold to be noblest, immaterial and transcendent beings, instead of drawing upon a multiplicity of the earthiest forms and applying these to godlike realities which are utterly simple and heavenly. Now perhaps this intends to lift us upward and not lead the celestial appearances down into incongruous dissimilarities. But in fact it illicitly defies the divine powers and also misleads our mind, entangling it in profane compositions. One would likely then imagine that the heavens beyond really are filled with bands of lions and horses, that the divine praises are, in effect, great moos, that flocks of birds take wing there or that there are other kinds of creatures about or even more dishonorable material things. (Pseudo-Dionysius in CWPD, 148.)

There are two reasons for creating types for the typeless, for giving shape to what is actually without shape. First, we lack the ability to be directly raised up to conceptual contemplations. We need our own upliftings that come naturally to us and which can raise before us the permitted forms of the marvellous unformed sights. Second, it is most fitting to the mysterious passages of scripture that the sacred and hidden truth about the celestial intelligences be concealed through the inexpressible and the sacred and be inaccessible to the hoi polloi. Not everyone is sacred, and, as scripture says, knowledge is not for everyone. (Pseudo-Dionysius in CWPD, 149.)

We sent to [Mary] Our spirit in the semblance of a full-grown man. (Koran, 33.)

Angels - Angels are the Lord's servants and messengers

And [Jacob] dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.
And behold, the Lord stood above it.... (Genesis 28:12-3.)

Therefore now go, lead the people unto the place of which I have spoken unto thee: behold, mine Angel shall go before thee. (Exodus 32:34.)

And the Lord said unto Moses, Depart, and go up hence, thou and the people which thou hast brought up out of the land of Egypt, unto the land which I sware unto Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, Unto thy seed will I give it.

And I will send an angel before thee … unto a land flowing with milk and honey. (Exodus 33: 1-3.)

And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew these glad tidings. (Luke 1:19.)

And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands. (Revelation 5:11.)

Those who bear the Throne and those who stand around it give glory to their Lord and believe in Him. (Koran, 159.)

We do not descend from Heaven save at the bidding of your Lord. To Him belongs what is before us and behind us, and all that lies between. (Koran, 36.)

Numerous are the angels in the heavens; yet their intercession shall avail nothing until Allah gives leave to whom He accepts and chooses. (Koran, 113.)

The thunder sounds His praises, and the angels, too, for awe of Him. (Koran, 140.)

Allah ... sends forth the angels as His messengers, with two, three or four pairs of wings. (Koran, 174.)

It is not vouchsafed to any mortal that Allah should speak to him except by revelation, or from behind a veil, through a messenger sent and authorized by Him to make known His will. (Koran, 154.)

Allah ... is the Lord of the Ladders, by which the angels and the Spirit will ascend to Him one day: a day whose space is fifty thousand years. (Koran, 57.)

God has a great angel who has numberless hairs on his head. According to this comparison all the angels and everything else talked about [are] just like one pearl on the hair of a person. Had God given this angel the order he would have swallowed up the whole of existence as one morsel and would not have even noticed that something had passed his throat. The name of this angel is Spirit. (1) (Ibn Arabi, KK, 15-6.)

(1) Very likely the Holy Spirit.

Angels - Angels created the heavens and the earth, and all that are in it

It was not in sport that We created the heavens and the earth and all that lies between them. We created them to reveal the truth. But of this most men have no knowledge. (Koran, 145.)

We have made all things according to a fixed decree. We command but once: Our will is done in the twinkling of an eye.

We built the heaven with Our might, giving it a vast expanse, and stretched the earth beneath it. (Koran, 118.)

We spread out the earth and set upon it immovable mountains. We brought forth in it all kinds of delectable plants. (Koran, 119.)

We created man. We know the promptings of his soul, and are closer to him than the vein of his neck. (Koran, 119.)

We have created man from the union of the two sexes so that We may put him to the proof. (Koran, 17.)

We molded man into a most noble image and in the end We shall reduce him to the lowest of the low: except the believers who do good works, for theirs shall be a boundless recompense. (Koran, 23.)

We created you: will you not believe then in Our power? ...

Consider the seeds you sow. Is it you that give them growth or We? If We pleased We could turn your harvest into chaff, so that, filled with wonderment, you would exclaim: 'We are laden with debts! Surely we have been robbed!' ...

Therefore seek Allah. I come from Him to warn you plainly. Set up no other god besides Allah. (Koran, 118.)

How many nations have We destroyed which once flourished in wanton ease! Their dwellings are but rarely inhabited; We were their only heirs.

Nor did your Lord destroy them until He had sent apostles to their capital cities proclaiming to them Our revelations. We destroyed them only because they have sinned. (Koran, 78.)

We have destroyed many a nation like yourselves. Will you not take any warning? (Koran, 112.)

Were We worn out from the first creation? Yet they are in doubt about a new creation. (Koran, 119.)

Praise then the name of Your Lord, the Supreme One. (Koran, 109.)

They guide natural order, and rule the vast companies of the elements of the astral world, so that their cohorts carry on ceaselessly the processes of Nature with undeviating regularity and accuracy. (Annie Besant, AW, 127.)

Angels - Angels ordained life and death

It is We who ordain life and death. To Us all shall return. (Koran, 120.)

It was We that ordained death among you. Nothing can hinder Us from replacing you by others like yourselves or transforming you into beings you know nothing of. (Koran, 109.)

We are nearer to [the dying man] than you, although you cannot see Us. (Koran, 109.)

Say: 'The angel of death, who has been given charge of you, will carry off your souls. Then to your Lord you shall all return.' (Koran, 183.)

Angels - Reincarnation is part of the plan

It is Allah who has created you and given you your daily bread. He will cause you to die hereafter and will then bring you back to life. (Koran, 190.)

Allah has brought you forth from the earth like a plant, and to the earth He will restore you. Then He will bring you back afresh. (Koran, 22.)

It is We who will bring back the dead to life. (Koran, 170.)

Angels - Angels record all deeds in the Book of Life

At that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: (1) ... and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. (Daniel 12:1.)

blockquote>(1) Cf: “Michael presides over the government of the Jewish people.” (Pseudo-Dionysius in CWPD, 172.)

We hold a book in which all things are written. (Koran, 118.)

We record the deeds of men and the marks they leave behind: We note all things in a glorious book. (Koran, 170.)

Do they think We cannot hear their secret talk and private converse? Yes! Our angels, who are at their side, record it all. (Koran, 149.)

All their deeds are in Our books; every action, small or great, is noted down. The righteous shall dwell in gardens where rivers flow, honourably seated in the presence of a Mighty King. (Koran, 112.)

This book of Ours speaks with truth against you. We have recorded all your actions. (Koran, 129.)

For every soul there is a guardian watching over it. (Koran, 38.)

It is alike whether you whisper or speak aloud, whether you hide behind the cloak of night or walk about in broad day. Each has his guardian angels before him and behind him, who watch him by Allah's command. (Koran, 140.)

Yes, you deny the Last Judgement. Yet there are guardians watching over you, noble recorders who know all your actions.

The righteous shall surely dwell in bliss. But the wicked shall burn in Hell-fire upon the Judgement-day: they shall not escape. (Koran, 16.)

We will record [the unbeliever's] words and make his punishment long and terrible. All he speaks of he shall leave behind and come before us all alone. (Koran, 37.)

On the day when he gathers them all together, He will say to the angels: 'Was it you that these men worshipped?'

'Allah forbid!' they will answer. 'Defend us from them! They worshipped jinn, and it was in jinn that most of them believed.' (Koran, 181.)

For him that gives in charity and guards himself against evil and believes in goodness, We shall smooth the path of salvation; but for him that neither gives nor takes and disbelieves in goodness, We shall smooth the path of affliction. When he breathes his last, his riches will not avail him. (Koran, 24.)

Angels - Angels direct human destiny and mentor nations

It is praiseworthy for a man to spend his worldly wealth for his spiritual welfare, for in the eyes of the Angels and Archangels the poor (man) who is innocent and wise is better than a King or rich (man) who is ignorant. (Zarathustra in GZ, 112.)

So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just. (Jesus in Matthew 13:49.)

The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;

And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. (Jesus in Matthew 13:41-2.)

The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,

In flaming fire taking vengeance on them, that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. (II Thessalonians 1:7-8.)

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first.

Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, so to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (I Thessalonians 4:16-7.)

The angels ... deal out blessing to all men. (Koran, 116.)

It is for Us to give guidance. Ours is the life of this world, Ours the life to come. (Koran, 24.)

We have absolute power over them. (Koran, 148.)

Whether We let you witness the punishment with which We threaten them, or cause you to die before it is fulfilled, your mission is only to give warning: it is for Us (1) to do the reckoning. (Koran, 143.)

(1) When Gabriel speaks in the singular he is delivering the message of God (angel = messenger). When he speaks in the plural, he is referring to himself and the other angels who have the Earth's administration in their charge.

As for those who say: 'Our God is Allah,' and take the right path to Him, the angels will descend to them, saying: 'Let nothing alarm or grieve you. Rejoice in the Paradise you have been promised. We are your guardians in this world and in the next. You shall find there all that your souls desire and all that you can ask for: a rich provision from a benignant and a merciful God.' (Koran, 157.)

They shall enter the Gardens of Eden, together with the righteous among their fathers, their wives, and their descendants. From every gate the angels will come to them, saying: 'Peace be to you for all that you have steadfastly endured. Blessed is the reward of Paradise.' (Koran, 141.)

The unbelievers ask: 'Why has no sign been given him by his Lord?' But your mission is only to give warning. Every nation has its mentor. (Koran, 140.)

Our messengers came to Abraham with good news [of the promise of a child]. ... And when he had heard the good news he was no longer frightened. (Koran, 135.)

Abraham pleaded with Us for the people of Lot. (Koran, 135.)

We said: "Abraham, plead no more. Your Lord's decree must be fulfilled. Irrevocable is the scourge which shall smite them.' (Koran, 136.)

When Our judgement came to pass, We laid their town [Sodom] in ruin, and let loose upon it a shower of brick-stones bearing the tokens of your Lord. (Koran, 136.)

We sent forth Moses with Our signs to Pharaoh and his nobles. (Koran, 148.)

We bestowed knowledge on David and Solomon. They said: 'Praise be to Allah, who has exalted us above many of his believing servants.' (Koran, 82.)

Angels - Angels give scripture and law

Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye ... have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it. (St. Stephen in Acts 7:51 and 53.)

We have sent forth other apostles before you.... Every age has its scripture. (Koran, 143.)

We gave the Scriptures to the Israelites and bestowed on them wisdom and prophethood. We provided them with good things and exalted them above the nations. ... And now we have set you on the right path. (Koran, 128.)

We swear by the Glorious Book that We revealed the Koran on a blessed night. We revealed it to warn mankind, on a night when every precept was made plain as a commandment from Ourself. (Koran, 143.)

I swear by all that you can see, and all that is hidden from your view, that this is the utterance of a noble messenger. It is no poet's speech: scant is your faith! It is no soothsayer's divination: how little you reflect! It is a revelation from the Lord of all creatures.

Had he invented lies concerning Us, We would have seized him by the right hand and cut off his heart's vein: not one of you could have protected him! (Koran, 61.)

By the declining, star, your compatriot is not in error, nor is he deceived!

He does not speak out of his own fancy. This is an inspired revelation. He is taught by one who is powerful and mighty.

He stood on the uppermost horizon; then, drawing near, he came down within two bows' length or even closer, and revealed to his servant that which he revealed.

His own heart did not deny his vision. How can you, then, question what he sees?

He beheld him once again at the sidrah-tree, beyond which no one may pass. (Near it is the Garden of Repose.)

(Koran, 112.)

We revealed the Koran on the Night of Qadr. (1)

Would that you knew what the Night of Qadr is like!

Better is the night of Qadr than a thousand months.

On that night the angels and the Spirit by their Lord's leave come down with His decrees.

That night is peace, till break of day. (Koran, 27.)

(1) The night of glory; that is, on the night of your enlightenment.

This is a mighty scripture. ... It is a revelation from a wise and glorious God. (Koran, 157.)

Yet before it the Book of Moses was revealed, a guide and a blessing to all men. This Book confirms it. It is revealed in the Arabic tongue to forewarn the wrongdoers and to give good news to the righteous. (Koran, 125.)

We have revealed the Koran in the Arabic tongue that you may grasp its meaning. It is a transcript of Our eternal book, sublime, and full of wisdom. (Koran, 145.)

We have made the Koran easy to remember: but will any take heed? (Koran, 111.)

I swear by the turning planets and by the stars that rise and set; by the fall of night and the first breath of morning; that this is the word of a gracious and mighty messenger, (1) held in honour by the Lord of the Throne, (2) obeyed in heaven, faithful to his trust.

No, your compatriot (3) is not mad. He saw him on the clear horizon. He does not grudge the secrets of the unseen; nor is this the utterance of an accursed devil. (Koran, 17.)

(1) Gabriel.
(2) This may refer to a being of the class of "thrones," to whom Gabriel is subservient.
(3) Mohammed.

According to Muslim tradition, one night in Ramadan about the year 610, as [Mohammed] was asleep or in a trance, the Angel Gabriel came to him and said: 'Recite!' He replied: 'What shall I recite?' The order was repeated three times, until the angel himself said:

'Recite in the name of your Lord, the Creator, who created man from clots of blood.

'Recite! Your Lord is the Most Bounteous One, who by the pen has taught mankind things they did not know.'

When he awoke, these words, we are told, seemed to be 'inscribed upon his heart'. (Dawood in Koran, 10.)

As Mohammed, in the silent watches of the night, lay wrapped in his mantle, he heard a voice calling upon him. Uncovering his head, a flood of light broke upon him of such intolerable splendor that he swooned. One regaining his senses he beheld an angel in a human form, which, approaching from a distance, displayed a silken cloth with written characters. "Read!" said the angel. "I know not how to read!" replied Mohammed. "Read!" repeated the angel, "in the name of the Lord, who has created all things; who created man from a clot of blood. Read, in the name of the Most High, who taught man the use of the pen; who sheds on his soul the ray of knowledge and teaches him what before he knew not."

Upon this Mohammed instantly felt his understanding illuminated with celestial light and read what was written on the cloth, which contained the decree of God, as afterwards promulgated in the Koran. When he had finished the perusal the heavenly messenger announced: "Oh, Mohammed, of a verity thou art the prophet of God. And I am his Angel Gabriel!" (Bucke, CC, 126.)

Angels - Angels punish the wicked

And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground;

And he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant's house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways. And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all night.

And he pressed upon them greatly; and they turned in unto him, and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat. (Genesis 19:1-3.)

But the men put forth their hand, and pulled Lot into the house to them, and shut to the door.

And they smote the men that were at the door of the house with blindness, both small and great: so that they wearied themselves to find the door.

And the men said unto Lot, Hast thou here any besides? son in law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out of this place:

For we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the Lord; and the Lord hath sent us to destroy it.

And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place; for the Lord will destroy this city. But he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons in law.

And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city.

And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the Lord being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city.

And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed. (Genesis 19:10-17.)

And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries?

And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the Lord am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant?

And the captain of the Lord's host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so. (Joshua 5:13-5.)

And God sent an angel unto Jerusalem to destroy it: and as he was destroying, the Lord beheld, and he repented him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed, It is enough, stay now thine hand. And the angel of the Lord stood by the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite.

And David lifted up his eyes, and saw the angel of the Lord stand between the earth and the heaven, having a drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem. Then David and the elders of Israel, who were clothed in sackcloth, fell upon their faces. (I Chronicles 21:15-6.)

We punish none save the ungrateful. (Koran, 179.)

We drown [unbelievers] if We will: none can help or rescue them, except through Our mercy and unless We please to prolong their lives awhile. (Koran, 171-2.)

We sent down no host from heaven against his people [of Antioch]: this We never do. One shout was heard -- and they dropped down lifeless. (Koran, 171.)

Lot, we are the messengers of your Lord. (Koran, 136.)

When Our messengers came to Lot, he grew anxious about their safety, for he could not protect them. (Koran, 193-4.)

When Our judgement came to pass, We laid their town [Sodom] in ruin, and let loose upon it a shower of brick-stones bearing the tokens of your Lord. (Koran, 136.)

Angels - Angels test the worthy

And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.

And the angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.

And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.

And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burn offering in the stead of his son.

And Abraham called the name of that place, Jehova-jireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen.

And the angel of the Lord called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time,

And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son:

That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;

And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice. (Genesis 22:10-18.)

And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.

... And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.

And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob.

And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name? And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there.

And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, for I have seen God face to face, and my life preserved. (Genesis 32:24 and 26-30.)

Going to town one day to sell some small articles, Abba Agathon met a cripple on the roadside, paralysed in his legs, who asked him where he was going. Abba Agathon replied, "To town, to sell some things." The other said, "Do me the favour of carrying me there." So he carried him to the town. The cripple said to him, "Put me down where you sell your wares." He did so. When he had sold an article, the cripple asked, "What did you sell it for?" and he told him the price. The other said, "Buy me a cake," and he bought it. When Abba Agathon had sold a second article, the sick man asked, "How much did you sell it for?" And he told him the price of it. Then the other said, "Buy me this," and he bought it. When Agathon, having sold all his wares, wanted to go, he said to him, "Are you going back!" and he replied, "Yes." Then said he, "Do me the favour of carrying me back to the place where you found me. Once more picking him up, he carried him back to that place. Then, the cripple said, "Agathon, you are filled with divine blessings, in heaven and on earth." Raising his eyes, Agathon saw no man; it was an angel of the Lord, come to try him. (SDF, 25.)

Angels - Angels guide the seeker

And [the angel of the Lord] said [to Elijah], Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind was an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake:

And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice ... [which] said, What doest thou here, Elijah? (I Kings 19:11-13.)

During this same period of his suffering, his greatest inner support was the eager help he received from the heavenly angels. (Blessed Henry Suso, HSU, 106.)

He [i.e., HSU himself] kept up this tortuous practice [of mortifying the flesh] for about sixteen years. Afterward, when his blood had been cooled and his nature crushed, there appeared to him in a vision one Pentecost a heavenly gathering that announced to him that God no longer wanted this of him. He put and end to it and threw everything [used in binding and burdening the limbs] into a river. (Blessed Henry Suso, HSU, 88.)

Once when the servant had turned to God very earnestly and begged that he teach him how to suffer, there appeared to him in a spiritual vision the likeness of the crucified Christ in the form of a seraph. The angelic seraph had six wings. With two wings it covered its head; with two it covered its feet; and two it used for flying. On the two bottom wings was written: "Receive suffering willingly." On the middle ones: "Bear suffering patiently." On the top ones: "Learn to suffer as Christ did." (Blessed Henry Suso, HSU, 168-9.)

Angels - Reward the aspirant with glimpses of glory

Once …it happened, as in a vision, as if he were somehow led into a different land. It seemed to him that his angel was standing very kindly in front of him to his right. The servant [i.e., HSU's name for himself] got up quickly and embraced the beloved angel, hugging him and pressing him to his soul as lovingly as he could. There seemed to be nothing at all separating them. From a full heart he began to speak with a lamenting voice and weeping eyes, "Alas, my angel, whom dear God has given me for consolation and protection, I beg you by the love you have for God not to abandon me." The angel answered and said, "Do you dare to mistrust God? Look, God has embraced you so lovingly in his eternity that he shall never leave you."

And once in the morning after a period of suffering it happened that he was surrounded by the heavenly hosts in a vision. He asked one of their shining heavenly princes to show him what the hidden dwelling place of God in his soul looked like. The angel said to him, "Look with joy into yourself and see how dear God plays his games of love with your affectionate soul." He quickly looked inside and saw that over his heart his body was as clear as crystal, and he saw in the middle of his heart eternal Wisdom sitting quietly with a pleasing appearance. Nearby the soul of the servant was sitting and longing for heaven. It was inclined in love at God's side, embraced by his arms, and pressed to his divine heart. There outside itself and immersed in love it lay in the arms of its beloved God. (Blessed Henry Suso, HSU, 72-3.)

Once … when it was nearly day, a young man came who acted as though he were a minstrel from heaven whom God had sent him. Along with him came I know not how many other fine young men with the same manner and bearing as the first, except that the first one had a certain preeminence, as though he were an angel prince. This same young man came up to him in a very pleasant manner and told him that they had been sent down from God to give him heavenly joys in his suffering. He should, he said, cast his sufferings out of his mind, join their company, and take part in their heavenly dancing. They took the servant by the hand for the dance and the young man began a cheerful little tune about the baby Jesus…. When the servant [HSU himself] heard the beloved name of Jesus so sweetly sung, he was so happy in heart and mind that all the sufferings he had ever endured disappeared. Now he looked on with joy as they leaped about gracefully and boldly. The lead singer knew how to make things go well. He sang first and they followed, singing and dancing with rejoicing hearts. … The dancing bore little resemblance to dancing on earth. It was somehow a heavenly flooding out from and an ebbing back into the untamed abyss of divine mystery. He experienced these and countless other kinds of heavenly consolation in the same years, especially at times when he was overwhelmed by great suffering, and these then became lighter to bear. (Blessed Henry Suso, HSU, 73-4.)

Once, … it seemed to him in a vision that the heavens were open and he saw clearly the bright forms of angels going back and forth in splendid garments,. He heard the most exquisite singing ever heard in the court of heaven by the joyous members of the court. It sounded so sweet that his soul dissolved in great pleasure. (Blessed Henry Suso, HSU, 142-3.)

Angels - Angels enlighten, or participate in the enlightenment of, humans

But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?

Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation? (1) (Hebrews 1:13-4.)

(1) “Heirs of salvation” refers to those deserving of and slated for enlightenment.

Moses

And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. (Exodus 3:2.)

Isaiah

In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple ... and one [seraphim] cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.

... Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.

Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar:

And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.

Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.

And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.

Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed. (Isaiah 6:1 + 5-10.)

Daniel

I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheel as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. (Daniel 7:9-10.)

Tobias

The angel ... told Tobias (1) that, after the third night had come to an end, he would be joined to his bride in the fear of the Lord. Now when the fear of God is perfect, love is also perfect, and love is perfect when the transformation of the soul in God is achieved. (St. John of the Cross, CWSJC, 75.)

(1) St. John's reference is to the Book of Tobias 6:18-22.
Caedmon

Caedmon was an illiterate herdsman, who did not even know the alphabet. One night he had a vision of an angel, and by that angel’s grace his poetic faculty came to life. Caedmon composed extemporaneously and even recited his hymns and poems in public. (Swami Chetanananda in TLWG, 373.)

Mohammed

I swear by all that you can see, and all that is hidden from your view, that this is the utterance of a noble messenger. It is no poet's speech: scant is your faith! It is no soothsayer's divination: how little you reflect! It is a revelation from the Lord of all creatures.

Had he invented lies concerning Us, We would have seized him by the right hand and cut off his heart's vein: not one of you could have protected him! (Koran, 61.)

By the declining, star, your compatriot is not in error, nor is he deceived!

He does not speak out of his own fancy. This is an inspired revelation. He is taught by one who is powerful and mighty.

He stood on the uppermost horizon; then, drawing near, he came down within two bows' length or even closer, and revealed to his servant that which he revealed.

His own heart did not deny his vision. How can you, then, question what he sees?

He beheld him once again at the sidrah-tree, beyond which no one may pass. (Near it is the Garden of Repose.)

(Koran, 112.)

We revealed the Koran on the Night of Qadr. (1)

Would that you knew what the Night of Qadr is like!

Better is the night of Qadr than a thousand months.

On that night the angels and the Spirit by their Lord's leave come down with His decrees.

That night is peace, till break of day. (Koran, 27.)

(1) The night of glory; that is, on the night of your enlightenment.

Alfred Lord Tennyson

I stood upon the Mountain which o'erlooks
The narrow seas....

A curve of whitening, flashing, ebbing light!
A rustling of white wings! the bright descent
Of a young Seraph! and he stood beside me
There on the [mountain] ridge, and look'd into my face
With his unutterable, shining orbs.
So that with hasty motion I did veil
My vision with both hands, and saw before me
Such colour'd spots as dance athwart the eyes
Of those, that gaze upon the noonday Sun....

I felt my soul grow mighty, and my spirit
With supernatural excitation bound
Within me, and my mental eye (1) grew large
With such a vast circumference of thought,
That in my vanity I seem'd to stand
Upon the outward verge and bound alone
Of full beatitude. Each failing sense,
As with a momentary flash of light
Grew thrillingly distinct and keen. I saw
The smallest grain that dappled the dark Earth,
The indistinctest atom in deep air,
The Moon's white cities, and the opal width
Of her small glowing lakes...

... The clear Galaxy
Shorn of its hoary lustre, wonderful,
Distinct and vivid with sharp points of light,
Blaze within blaze, an unimagin'd depth
And harmony of planet-girded suns
And moon-circled planets, wheel in wheel,
Arch'd the wan sapphire....

... my human brain
Stagger'd beneath the vision, and thick night
Came down upon my eyelids, and I fell.

With ministering hand he rais'd me up:
Then with a mournful and ineffable smile,
Which but to look on for a moment fill'd
My eyes with irresistible sweet tears...

"There is no mightier Spirit than I to sway
The heart of man: and teach him to attain
By shadowing forth the Unattainable...."
(Alfred Lord Tennyson in ECST, 401-2.)

(1) Third Eye

Angels - Angels protect and minister to saints, prophets, and the Messiah

But Abram said unto Sarai, Behold, they maid is in thy hand, do to her as it pleaseth thee. And when Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled from her face.

And the angel of the Lord found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur.

And he said, Hagar, Sarai's maid, whence camest thou? And she said, I flee from the face of my mistress Sarai.

And the angel of the Lord said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands.

And the angel of the Lord said unto her, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude.

And the angel of the Lord said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the Lord hath heard thy affliction.

And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren. (Genesis 16:6-12.)

[And Hagar] said, Let me not see the death of the child. And she sat over against him, and lifted up her voice, and wept.

And God heard the voice of the lad [Ishmael]; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is.

Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation.

And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink. (Genesis 21:16-18.)

The Lord God of heaven, which took me [Abraham] from my father's house, and from the land of my kindred, and which spake unto me, and that sware unto me, saying, Unto thy seed will I give this land; he shall send his angel before thee, and thou shalt take a wife unto my son from thence. (Genesis 24:7.)

The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, (1) bless the lads; and let my name be named on them. (Jacob in Genesis 48:16.)

(1) Probably the angel that wrestled with Jacob, who appears to have enlightened Jacob. Jacob’s name became “Israel”: Hence the children of Israel.

And the angel of the Lord appeared unto [Manoah's wife, mother-to-be of Samson], and said unto her, thou art barren, and barest not: but thou shalt conceive, and bear a son.

Now therefore beware, I pray thee, and drink not wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing:

For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hands of the Philistines.

Then the woman came and told her husband, saying, A man of God came unto me, and his countenance was like the countenance of an angel of God, very terrible: but I asked him not whence he was, neither told me his name. (Judges 13:3-6.)

And the word of the Lord came unto [Elijah the Tishbite], saying,

Get thee hence, ... and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan.

And it shall be that thou shalt drink of the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there.

And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook. (I Kings 17:2-6.)

As he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat.

And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruze of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again.

And the angel of the Lord came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee.

And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God. (I Kings 19:5-8.)

And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do?

And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.

And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.

And when they came down to him, Elisha prayed unto the Lord, and said, Smite this people, I pray thee, with blindness. And he smote them with blindness, according to the word of Elisha. (II Kings 6:15-8.)

My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions' mouths, and they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me. (Daniel 6: 6:22.)

And these three men, Shadrach, Meshak, and Abednego, fell down into the midst of the burning furnace.

Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, (1) and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors. Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered..., True, O king.

He ... said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.

.... Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, which hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him. (Daniel 3:23-5 and 28.)

(1) Astonished.

For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.

They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. (Psalm 91: 11-12.)

And immediately the spirit driveth him into the wilderness.

And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him. (Mark 1:12-3.)

Behold, angels came and ministered unto him. (Of Jesus in Matthew 4:11.)

And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. (Luke 22:43.)

Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish by the sword.

Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? (Matthew 26: 52-3.)

An old man came to Abba John's cell and found him asleep, with an angel standing above him, fanning him. Seeing this, he withdrew. When Abba John got up, he said to his disciple, “Did anyone come in while I was asleep?" He said, "Yes, an old man." Then Abba John knew that this old man was his equal, and that he had seen the angel. (Abba John the Dwarf, SDF, 92.)

[HSU] became very much afraid of the menacing gathering of evil spirits and, as he often did in time of trial, he went up onto a mountain where a chapel stood dedicated to the glory of the holy angels. As was his custom, he walked around the chapel nine times, praying in honor of the nine choirs of heavenly hosts and begging them earnestly to be his helpers against all his enemies. When the dawn came, he was led in a spiritual vision onto a beautiful field. He saw around him a very great gathering of angelic young knights, who wanted to help him. They consoled him and said, "God is with you and will never forsake you in any of your afflictions. And so do not cease drawing worldly hearts to the love of God!" (Blessed Henry Suso, HSU, 146.)

Angels - Angels announce the advent of the Messiah

And there appeared unto [Zacharias] an angel of the lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense.

And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled and fear fell upon him.

But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. (Luke 1:11-3.)

And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings. (Luke 1:19.)

And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,

To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.

And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.

And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.

And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.

And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.

He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:

And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?

And the angel answered, and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. (Luke 1:26-28 and 31-35.)

Behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. (Matthew 1:20.)

We sent to [Mary] Our spirit in the semblance of a full-grown man. And when she saw him she said: 'May the Merciful defend me from you! If you fear the Lord, leave me and go your way.'

'I am the messenger of your Lord,' he replied, ' and have come to give you a holy son.'

'How shall I bear a child,' she answered, 'when I am a virgin, untouched by man?'

'Such is the will of the Lord,' he replied. 'That is no difficult thing for Him. "He shall be a sign to mankind," says the Lord, "and a blessing from Ourself. That is Our decree."' (Koran, 33.)

Angels - Angels interpret visions

Upon the four and twentieth day of the eleventh month ... came the word of the Lord unto Zechariah..., saying....

Then said I, O my Lord, what are these? And the angel that talked with me said unto me, I will shew thee what these be. (Zechariah 1:7 and 9.)

I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, and all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed. (Daniel 7:13-4.)

And it came to pass, when I, even I Daniel, had seen the vision, and sought for the meaning, then, behold, there stood before me as the appearance of a man.

And I heard a man's voice between the banks of Ulai, which called, and said, Gabriel, make this man to understand the vision.

So he came near where I stood: and when he came, I was afraid, and fell upon my face: but he said unto me, Understand, O son of man: for at the time of the end shall be the vision.

Now as he was speaking with me, I was in a deep sleep on my face toward the ground: but he touched me, and set me upright. (Daniel 8:15-18.)

Behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. (Matthew 2:13.)

But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt,

Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into he land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child's life. (Matthew 2:19-20.)

It is not vouchsafed to any mortal that Allah should speak to him except by revelation, or from behind a veil, through a messenger sent and authorized by Him to make known His will. (Koran, 154.)

Angels - Angels welcome the virtuous or carry them off to heaven

For ever and everlasting [the God-realized one] eternally remains in all glory with the Spiritual Angels. (Zarathushtra in GZ, 136.)

And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. (II Kings 2:11.)

And [Jesus] led them out as far as Bethany, and he lifted up his hands and blessed them.

And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them and carried up into heaven. (Luke 24:50-1.)

At the last moment, we were seated around [Balaram Bose], while his wife, stricken with unspeakable grief, was in the inner apartment with Golap-ma, Yogin-ma, and others. Just then she noticed something like a piece of black cloud in the sky, which became denser by stages and began to descend. Soon it assumed the shape of a chariot and alighted on the roof of Balaram Babu's house. The Master came out of that chariot and proceeded towards the room where Balaram Babu lay. Soon after, he issued forth, taking Balaram Babu by the hand, and entered the chariot again, which then ascended and vanished in the sky. This vision raised [Balaram's wife's] mind to a very high plane where there could be no touch of grief or sorrow. When she returned to normal she related this to Golap-ma, who came to apprise us of the fact. Balaram Babu had passed away just a little while before. (Swami Shivananda in TLWG, 133.)

In the nunnery ruled over by the blessed Radegund there died a girl called Disciola, who was the niece of Salvius, the saintly Bishop of Albi. The circumstances of her death were as follows. When she began to feel ill, the other nuns nursed her with great care. The day came when she was on the point of death. At about nine o'clock, she said to the nuns: "I seem to be lighter in body than I was. My pain has gone. Please do not worry about me any more, or nurse me with such great care. Perhaps you will leave me now, so that I can manage to sleep for a while." When the other nuns heard this, they left her cell. Later on they returned and stood there at her bedside, wondering if she would have the strength to speak to them. She spread her hands wide and seemed to be asking a benediction of someone. "Give me your blessing, holy messenger from God on high," she whispered. "This is the third time today that you have taken the trouble to visit me. Why, holy one, do you take such pains for a poor, feeble woman?" The nuns asked her whom she was speaking to, but she did not answer. Some time passed and then she laughed aloud. Just as she did so, she died. [A man possessed of a devil said:] "The Archangel Michael has just received that sister's soul," said he, "and he is even now carrying it off to heaven. My own master, he whom you call the Devil, has no share in her at all!" Those who washed Disciola's body said that it shone with a snow-white purity, and that the Abbess could not find in her cupboard a winding-sheet which was whiter than she was. They wrapped her in clean linen and committed her to the grave. (Gregory of Tours, HF, 356.)

It was said of Abba Sisoes that when he was at the point of death, while the fathers were sitting beside him, his face shone like the sun. He said to them, "Look, Abba Anthony has come." A little later he said, "Look, the choir of prophets is coming." Again his countenance shone with brightness and he said, "Look, the choir of apostles is coming." His countenance increased in brightness and lo, he spoke with someone. Then the old men asked him, "With whom are you speaking, Father?" He said, "Look, the angels are coming to fetch me, and I am begging them to let me do a little penance." The old men said to him, "You have no need to do penance, Father." But the old man said to them, "Truly, I do not think I have even made a beginning yet." Now they all knew that he was perfect. Once more his countenance suddenly became like the sun and they were all filled with fear. He said to them, "Look, the Lord is coming and he's saying, 'Bring me the vessel from the desert.'" Then there was a flash of lightning and all the house was filled with a sweet odour. (SDF, 215.)

Angels - What angels and humans share

All rational beings, angels and men, possess two faculties, the power of knowing and the power of loving. To the first, to the intellect, God who made them is forever unknowable, but to the second, to love, he is completely knowable, and that by every separate individual. So much so that one loving soul by itself, through its love, may know for itself him who is incomparably more than sufficient to fill all souls that exist. This is the everlasting miracle of love. ... To know it for oneself is endless bliss; its contrary is endless pain. (Anon., CU, 55.)

Angels - Enlightenment makes us like unto angels

In time to come, when we are incorruptible and immortal, when we have come at last to the blessed inheritance of being like Christ, then, as scripture (1) says, "we shall always be with the Lord." (2) In most holy contemplation we shall be ever filled with the sight of God shining gloriously around us as once it shone for the disciples at the divine transfiguration. And there we shall be, our minds away from passion and from earth, and we shall have a conceptual gift of light from him and, somehow, in a way we cannot know, we shall be united with him (3) and, our understanding carried away, (4) blessedly happy, we shall be struck by his blazing light. (5) Marvellously, our minds will be like those in the heavens above. We shall be "equal to angels and sons of God, being sons of the resurrection." (6) (Pseudo-Dionysius in CWPD, 52-3.)

(1) Humbly, and perhaps by policy, Pseudo-Dionysius ascribes his assertions to scripture. But he himself could well speak on his own authority.
(2) I Thessalonians 4:17.
(3) What follows are three ways of saying God-realization. (1) Spiritual union.
(4) Samadhi.
(5) Enlightenment.
(6) Luke 20:36.

Anger

A man who is angry, even if he were to raise the dead, is not acceptable to God. (Abba Agathon in SDF, 23.)

I have spent fourteen years … asking God day and night to grant me the victory over anger. (Abba Ammonas in SDF, 26.)

Those who wish to embody the Tao should embrace all things.

To embrace all things means first that one holds no anger or resistance toward any idea or thing, living or dead, formed or formless.
Acceptance is the very essence of the Tao.

To embrace all things means also that one rids oneself of any concept of separation: male and female, self and other, life and death.
Division is contrary to the nature of the Tao.

Foregoing antagonism and separation, one enters into the harmonious oneness of all things. (Lao Tzu, HHC, 5.)

The three realms are greed, anger and delusion. To leave the three realms means to go from greed, anger and delusion back to morality, meditation and wisdom. Greed, anger and delusion have no nature of their own. They depend on mortals. And anyone capable of reflection is bound to see that the nature of greed, anger and delusion is the buddha-nature. Beyond greed, anger and delusion is the buddha-nature. Beyond greed, anger and delusion there is no other buddha-nature. The sutras say, "Buddhas have only become buddhas while living with the three poisons and nourishing themselves on the pure Dharma." The three poisons are greed, anger and delusion. (Bodhidharma, ZTB, 23.)

Do you want to know what the threefold world is? It is nothing other than the mind-ground that you ... are standing on. When you have a moment of greed in your mind, that is the world of desire. When you have a moment of anger in your mind, that is the world of form. When you have a moment of ignorance in your mind, that is the world of formlessness. These are the pieces of furniture in your house. (Lin-Chi, ZTML, 54.)

It is not lust alone that one should be afraid of in the life of the world. There is also anger. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 247.)

Anger is horrible! I can’t touch an angry person, and I can’t even bear his presence. The scriptures say that next to lust, anger is the greatest enemy of man. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in TLWG, 103.)

Anger is a deadly sin. … You ought never to let it carry you away. The seeming anger of a good man is something different. It’s no more than a mark made on water. It vanishes as soon as it’s made. As for those mean-minded people who talked against me, they weren’t even worth getting into a quarrel with – you could waste your whole life in such quarrelling. Think of them as being no more than insects. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna to Niranjan in GLWT, 247.)

God created anger, passion, and other troubles in order to mould great souls. (Mahendranath Gupta in TLWG, 205.)

Over the years, equanimity seemed to develop. One found that anger, annoyance and aversion began to fade out. And when your mind no longer inclines towards dwelling in aversion, you begin to have some joy and peace of mind. (Ajahn Sumedo, CIT, 63.)

Anger – Causes

Anger originates from rajas. (1) (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in TLWG, 103.)

(1) But see below.

[A] characteristic of tamas is anger. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 861.)

Anger arises when obstacles are placed in the way of desire. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 247.)

Anger – Results

Thinking about sense-objects
Will attach you to sense-objects;
Grow attached, and you become addicted;
Thwart your addiction, it turns to anger;
Be angry, and you confuse your mind;
Confuse your mind, you forget the lesson of experience;
Forget experience, you lose discrimination;
Lose discrimination, and you miss life's only purpose.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 41.)

To go from mortal to buddha, you have to put an end to karma, nurture your awareness and accept what life brings. If you're always getting angry, you'll turn your nature against the Way. There's no advantage in deceiving yourself. (Bodhidharma in ZTB, 17.)

Through anger one loses one's wits and cannot distinguish between right and wrong. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 861.)

You cannot be in the heart if you are worried or angry. (Paul Ferrini, SOH, 9.)

Anger – Counsel

He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city. (Proverbs 16:32.)

A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. (Proverbs 15:1.)

Once you know that the nature of anger and joy is empty, and you let them go, you free yourself from karma. (Bodhidharma, ZTB, 22.)

Anger - The anger of an enlightened being is intended to instruct or reform the devotee

The anger and lust of a man who has realized God are only appearances. They are like a burnt string. It looks like a string, but a mere puff blows it away. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 178.)

According to Hindu scriptures, it is a blessing to be the recipient of the Lord’s anger. If an unmotivated, all-loving, all-compassionate God shows displeasure towards anyone, it is for his own good. If a loving mother disciplines her unruly child by force, it does not mean that she is cruel. Caring for her child and thinking of his future, she chastises him, even though it pains her to do so. At the time, the immature, rebellious child may resent his mother, but later, as an adult, he can only be grateful to her. (Swami Chetanananda in TLWG, 331.)

There’s no such thing as never getting angry. Enlightenment can and does use all the available emotions. Otherwise, we would have to discount Jesus for getting pissed off in the temple and kicking over the table. The idea that enlightenment means sitting around with a beatific smile on our faces is just an illusion.   At a human level, enlightenment means that you are no longer divided within yourself, and that you no longer experience a division between yourself and others. Without any inner division, you stop experiencing most of the usual forms of reactivity. (Adyashanti, TE.)

Anger – Contrasting view

There’s no such thing as never getting angry. Enlightenment can and does use all the available emotions. Otherwise, we would have to discount Jesus for getting pissed off in the temple and kicking over the table. The idea that enlightenment means sitting around with a beatific smile on our faces is just an illusion.  

At a human level, enlightenment means that you are no longer divided within yourself, and that you no longer experience a division between yourself and others. Without any inner division, you stop experiencing most of the usual forms of reactivity. (Adyashanti, TE.)

Animals

Sri [Ramana] Maharshi [would not] allow any of the inmates of the Asramam to treat the animals roughly. “We do not know what soul may be tenanting those bodies,” he would say to his devotees, “and for fulfilling what portion of their unfinished karma they seek out our company.” (Subbaraya Karnath, SMSLS, 29.)

Ascension to heaven - See Angels - Angels welcome the virtuous or carry them off to heaven and also Death - Instances of ascension to heaven

Asceticism

The effort that is made to get rid of attachment to one's body is really towards abiding in the Self. Maturity of thought and enquiry alone removes attachment to the body, not the stations of life (asramas), such as student (brahmachari), etc. For the attachment is in the mind while the stations pertain to the body. How can bodily stations remove the attachment in the mind? As maturity of thought and enquiry pertain to the mind these alone can, by enquiry on the part of the same mind, remove the attachments which have crept into it through thoughtlessness. But, as the discipline of asceticism (sanyasasrama) is the means for attaining dispassion (vairagya), and as dispassion is the means for enquiry, joining an order of ascetics may be regarded, in a way, as a means of enquiry through dispassion. Instead of wasting one's life by entering the order of ascetics before one is fit for it, it is better to live the householder's life. In order to fix the mind in the Self which is its true nature it is necessary to separate it from the family of fancies (samkalpas) and doubts (vikalpas), that is to renounce the family (samsara) in the mind. This is the real asceticism. (Ramana Maharshi, SI, Chapter 2, Question 22.)

The real Sage is anything but ascetic, however much he may appear to be so to the sensual man. … The Sage in his withdrawn life is not imposing hardship on himself. Actually He faces more hardship moving in public places, administering large affairs, attending the ordinary amusements of men, etc., for in all this there is a distraction that makes the deeper enjoyment difficult and, for many, practically impossible. It is entirely natural for me to prefer gold to base metal, and He who has Realized the Spiritual Gold enjoys more, not less. (Franklin Merrell-Wolff, PTS, 21.)

Asceticism – Bodily Mortification

All bodily mortifications and other exercises are useless, except as they serve to arrive at the union with God by love; … he had well considered this, and found it the shortest route to go straight to Him by a continual exercise of love and doing all things for His sake.

… All possible kinds of mortification, if they were void of the love of God, could not efface a single sin. (Attributed to Brother Lawrence, PPG, 14.)

Ashramas – See also Asceticism

One who has realized his Self does not distinguish between the various orders of life. Therefore no order of life either helps or hinders him. (Ramana Maharshi, SI, Chapter 2, Question 29.)

Asleep

The first step to waking up is the realization that you have been asleep. Everything after that realization is the next step. (Adyashanti, Downloaded from http://www.thedailyinspiration.com/cgi/daily.php?id=574, 12 March 2006.)

Aspirants – Everyone wants to be a guru, but no one wants to be a disciple

All want to be the guru, but very few want to be the disciple. But you know, the rain-water doesn’t collect on a high mound; it collects in low land, in a hollow. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 1017.)

Everyone wants to be a teacher, but a disciple is hard to find. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 794.)

Aspirants – Qualities Needed for Enlightenment

The secret of immortality is to be found in purification of the heart, in meditation, in realization of the identification of the Self within and Brahman without. For immortality is union with God. (UPAN, 13.)

The man who has a sound understanding for charioteer, a controlled mind for reins -- he it is that reaches the end of the journey, the supreme abode of Vishnu, the all-pervading. (UPAN, 19.)

The pure world of Brahman is attainable by those only who are neither deceitful, nor wicked, nor false. (UPAN, 36.)

This Brahman, this Self, deep-hidden in all beings, is not revealed to all; but to the seers, pure in heart, concentrated in mind -- to them is he revealed. (UPAN, 20.)

By learning, a man cannot know him, if he desist not from evil, if he control not his senses, if he quiet not his mind, and practice not meditation. (UPAN, 19.)

Those alone attain the world of Brahman who are steadfast in continence, meditation, and truthfulness. (UPAN, 36.)

This Effulgent Self is to be realized within the lotus of the heart by continence, by steadfastness in truth, by meditation, and by superconscious vision. (UPAN, 47.)

The ancient, effulgent being, in-dwelling Spirit, (1) subtle, deep-hidden in the lotus of the heart, is hard to know. But the wise man, following the path of meditation, knows himself and is freed alike from pleasure and from pain. ... When a man is free from desire, his mind and senses purified, he beholds the glory of the Self and is without sorrow. (UPAN, 17-8.)

(1) The Father, the Transcendental or Universal Self, or Paramatman.

When [your intellect] can rest, steady and undistracted, in contemplation of the Atman, then you will reach union with the Atman. (UPAN, 41.)

To love is to know me,
My innermost nature,
The truth that I am:
Through this knowledge he enters
At once to my Being.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 128.)

He whose intellect is not agitated by desires, and whose sense organs are controlled; he who is gentle, pure, without possessions, not covetous, not greedy for food, serene, and steadfast; he who has taken refuge in the Self -- he alone is a sage. ... The sage is vigilant, profound, and steady, and has conquered the mind and the senses. He is humble and gives honour to all. He is well mannered, friendly, compassionate, and farsighted. (Dattatreya, AG, 125.)

Yoga is not for the man who overeats, or for him who fasts excessively, or for the keeper of excessive vigils. Let a man be moderate in his eating and his recreation, moderately active, moderate in sleep and in wakefulness. (Sri Krishna in BG, 65.)

A man who is born with tendencies toward the Divine, is fearless and pure in heart. He perseveres in that path to union with Brahman which the scriptures and his teacher have taught him. He is charitable. He can control his passions. He studies the scriptures regularly, and obeys their directions. He practises spiritual disciplines. He is straightforward, truthful, and of an even temper. He harms no one. He renounces the things of the world. He has a tranquil mind and an unmalicious tongue. He is compassionate toward all. He is not greedy. He is gentle and modest. He abstains from useless activity. He has faith in the strength of his higher nature. (Sri Krishna in BG, 114.)

A man should not hate any living creature. Let him be friendly and compassionate to all. He must free himself from the delusion of 'I' and 'mine.' He must accept pleasure and pain with equal tranquillity. He must be forgiving, ever-contented, self-controlled, united constantly with me in his meditation. His resolve must be unshakable. He must be dedicated to me in intellect and in mind. Such a devotee is dear to me. (Sri Krishna in BG, 99.)

Learn from me now,
O son of Kunti,
How man made perfect
Is one with Brahman,
The goal of wisdom.
When the mind and the heart
Are freed from delusion,
United with Brahman,
When steady will
Has subdued the senses,
When sight and taste
And sound are abandoned
Without regretting,
Without aversion;
When man seeks solitude,
Eats but little,
Curbing his speech,
His mind and his body
Ever engaged
In his meditation
In Brahman the truth,
And full of compassion;
When he casts from him
Vanity, violence,
Pride, lust, anger
And all his possessions,
Totally free
From the sense of ego
And tranquil of heart:
That man is ready
For oneness with Brahman.
And he who dwells
United with Brahman,
Calm in mind,
Not grieving, not craving,
Regarding all men
With equal acceptance:
He loves me most dearly.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 127-8.)

Therefore I tell you:
Be humble, be harmless,
Have no pretension,
Be upright, forbearing,
Serve your teacher
In true obedience,
Keeping the mind
And the body in cleanness,
Tranquil, steadfast,
Master of ego,
Standing apart
From the things of the senses,
Free from self;
Aware of the weakness
In mortal nature,
In bondage to birth,
Age, suffering, dying;
To nothing be slave,
Nor desire possession
Of man-child or wife,
Of home or of household;
Calmly encounter
The painful, the pleasant;
Adore me only
With heart undistracted;
Turn all your thought
Toward solitude, spurning
The noise of the crowd,
Its fruitless commotion;
Strive without ceasing
To know the Atman.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 101-2.)

So with his heart serene and fearless,
Firm in his vow of renunciation,
Holding the mind from its restless roaming,
Now let him struggle to reach my oneness,
Ever-absorbed, his eyes on me always,
His prize, his purpose.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 65.)


Cut free from desire,
Curbing the heart
And knowing the Atman,
Man finds Nirvana
That is in Brahman,
Here and hereafter.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 61.)

Reverence for the devas, the seers, the teachers and the sages; straightforwardness, harmlessness, physical cleanliness and sexual purity; these are the virtues whose practice is called austerity of the body. To speak without ever causing pain to another, to be truthful, to say always what is kind and beneficial, and to study the scriptures regularly: this practice is called austerity of speech. The practice of serenity, sympathy, meditation upon the Atman, withdrawal of the mind from sense-objects, and integrity of motive, is called austerity of the mind. When men practise this threefold austerity devotedly, with enlightened faith and no desire for reward, it is said to have the nature of sattwa. (1) (Sri Krishna in BG, 118.)

(1) Purity.

Can you govern your animal soul, (1) hold to the One and never depart from it? (2)
Can you throttle your breath, down to the softness of breath in a child? (3)
Can you purify your mystic vision and wash it until it is spotless? (4)
Can you love all your people, (5) rule over the land without being known? (6)
Can you be like a female, and passively open and shut heaven's gates? (7)
Can you keep clear in your mind the four quarters of earth (8) and not interfere? (9)
(Lao Tzu, WOL, 62.)

(1) Are you self-controlled? Are you unaffected by your animal appetites?
(2) Are you constant, steadfast, and true to God the Father?
(3) Cf. Paramahansa Yogananda: "When the profound ecstacy of God falls over you, the body becomes absolutely still, the breath ceases to flow, and the thoughts are quiet -- banished every one, by the magic command of the soul. Then you drink of God's bliss and experience an intoxication of joy that not a thousand draughts of wine could give you." (Paramahansa Yogananda, MEQ, 161.)

Again: "When the divine joy comes, immediately my breath is still and I am lifted into the Spirit. I feel the bliss of a thousand sleeps rolled into one, and yet I don't lose my ordinary awareness. This is universally the experience of those who go into the superconscious state." (Paramahansa Yogananda, MEQ, 161.)
(4) Probably the awakened Third Eye.
(5) Can you look upon all equally, same-sightedly, with love?
(6) Are you beyond the desire for fame?
(7) Possibly, the energy centers of the body; possibly the Third Eye and the Heart (hridayam).
(8) Through superconsciousness or "mystic vision."
(9) be dispassionate to gain or loss; remain equanimous whatever events arise.

A bikshu (1) who delights in earnestness, who looks with fear on thoughtlessness, moves about like fire, burning all his fetters, small or large ... is close to Nirvana. (Buddha in TCB, 55.)

(1) Monk.

He who does not rouse himself when it is time to rise, who, though young and strong, is full of sloth, whose will and thoughts are weak, that lazy and idle man will never find the way to enlightenment. (The Buddha in BB, 4.)

He whose life is pure, whose thought is good,
Whose subject senses own him sovereign lord,
Whose heart and mind no attachment hampers,
Whose head and heart love and gladness fill,
Who remorseless ignorance has killed,
Who pride of egoism has slain,
Who, from all defilements purged and free,
Combines truth and valour and resource
With foresight, kindness and fixed resolve:
He has all fetters utterly destroyed
And made the Conquest glorious and true.
(The Buddha in BB, 10.)

These wise people, meditative, steady, always exerting strong powers, attain to Nirvana, the highest happiness. (The Buddha in TCB, 54.)

Earnest among the thoughtless, awake among the sleepers, the wise man advances like a racer, leaving behind the hack. (The Buddha in TCB, 54.)

If a man's thoughts are not scattered, if his mind is not perplexed, if he has ceased to think of good and evil, then there is no fear for him while he is watchful. (The Buddha in TCB, 55.)

Not to commit any sin, to do good, and to purify one's mind, that is the teaching of all the Awakened. (The Buddha in TCB, 61.)

He shall cry unto me, Thou art my father, my God, and the rock of my salvation. ... I will make him my first-born, (1) higher than the kings of the earth. (Psalm 90:26-7.)

(1) I will unite him with the Self; the birth referred to here is Liberation; thus, "he" shall become a realized Child of God. This experience is richer than any experience open to mere earthly kings.

Because he hath set his love upon me, I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. (1) He shall call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.

With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation. (2) (Psalm 91:14.)

(1) Chanted or repeated my name in meditation. See “Nama Japa.”
(2) "Shew him my salvation" – Liberate him from the round of birth and death by showing him a vision of my Transcendent Self.

Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. (Psalm 24:3-5.)

And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,
Blessed are the poor in spirit: (1) for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. (2)
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. (3)
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. (4)
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. (5)
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. (6)
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil falsely, for my sake.
Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven. (Jesus in Matthew 5:1-12.)

(1) Those who have divested themselves of all worldly desires, without aversion.
(2) The Comforter is the Holy Spirit: hence, you will be enlightened. As to “mourn,” they mourn for God, from whom they feel separated. Cf. St. Paul: “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.” (II Corinthians 7:10.)
(3) Being meek, they are fit to rule.
(4) Filled with the Holy Ghost; hence, enlightened.
(5) They will see God reflected in the purified mind.
(6) Again, the enlightened are especially worthy of being called the children of God, having been born a second time into the Kingdom of Heaven.

If one is a born lover with an innate philosophical bent, one will get there. Such a one labors to realize beauty. To the beauty of the soul he turns his attention -- to virtue, knowledge, noble deeds, law. He then goes higher still to the source of this loveliness of the soul and to what is beyond it, the uttermost limit, Beauty itself. At this point, and not before, all sufferings cease. (Plotinus in EP, 47.)

"How can one see the beauty of a good soul?" Withdraw into yourself and look. If you do not as yet see beauty within you, do as does the sculptor of a statue that is to be beautified: he cuts away here, he smooths it there, he makes this line lighter, the other one purer, until he disengages beautiful lineaments in the marble. Do you this, too. Cut away all that is excessive, straighten all that is crooked, bring light to all that is overcast, labor to make all one radiance of beauty. Never cease "working at the statue" until there shines out upon you from it the divine sheen of virtue, until you see perfect "goodness firmly established in stainless shrine." Have you become like this? Do you see yourself, abiding within yourself, in pure solitude? Does nothing now remain to shatter that interior, nor anything external cling to your authentic self? Are you entirely that sole true light which is not contained in space, not confined to any circumscribed form, not diffused as something without term, but ever immeasurable as something greater than all measure and something more than all quantity. Do you see yourself in this state? Be of good heart. Remaining here you have ascended aloft. Strain and see. (Plotinus in EP, 42-3.)

Hour by hour resolve firmly ... to do what comes to hand with correct and natural dignity, and with humanity, independence, and justice. Allow your mind freedom from all other considerations. This you can do if you will approach each action as though it were your last, dismissing the wayward thought, the emotional recoil from the commands of reason, the desire to create an impression, the admiration of self, the discontent with your lot. (Marcus Aurelius, MED, 46.)

The whole world dies and is born in a long night of error and darkness. The gate of sentiment is closed tight, the lock of consciousness is hard to open. Those who can shatter them with a blow, those who can throw back their shoulders and advance alone, cannot easily succeed unless they are bold and brave and possessed of world-transcending capacities. (Ch’an Master Hanshan in ZIBO, 4.)

He expected, after the pleasant days God had given him, he should have his turn of pain and suffering; but ... he was not uneasy about it, knowing very well that as he could do nothing of himself, God would not fail to give him the strength to bear it. (Attributed to Brother Lawrence in PPG, 10.)

Living in solitude now and then, repeating God's name and singing His glories, and discriminating between the Real and the unreal -- these are the means to employ to see Him. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 129.)

As the tiger devours other animals, so does the 'tiger of zeal for the Lord' eat up lust, anger, and the other passions. Once this zeal grows in the heart, lust and the other passions disappear. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 206.)

You cannot be with the Lord just by thinking you are divinely enlightened. You must improve yourself -- you must perfect yourself. ... You can never know Him except through humbleness, wisdom, and devotion. The humble man is the one who will know God. (Paramahansa Yogananda, MEQ, 162-3.)

We change our soul's wickedness by calmness, and meditation, and constant spiritual vigilance. (Paramahansa Yogananda, SCC, 1, 3.)

The candidate for this knowledge should be endowed with humility, self-control, and inner serenity. (Nikhilananda, SK, 13.)

You must be completely denuded, without the weight of the past or the enticement of a hopeful future -- which does not mean despair. If you are in despair, there is not emptiness, no nakedness. You cannot 'do' anything. You can and must be still, without any hope, longing, or desire; but you cannot determine to be still, suppressing all noise, for in that very effort there is noise. Silence is not the opposite of noise. (Krishnamurti in COL, 2, 115.)

Aspirants - Devotees

Who, then, is a devotee? He whose mind dwells on God. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 111.)

The whole thing is to love God and taste His sweetness. He is sweetness and the devotee is the enjoyer. The devotee drinks the sweet Bliss of God. Further, God is the lotus and the devotee the bee. The devotee sips the honey of the lotus.

As a devotee cannot live without God, so also God cannot live without His devotee. Then the devotee becomes the sweetness, and God its enjoyer. The devotee becomes the lotus, and God the bee. It is the Godhead that has become these two in order to enjoy Its bliss. That is the significance of the episode of Radha and Krishna. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 305.)

How else will a man established in samadhi occupy his mind in the phenomenal world, after coming down from samadhi? That is why he seeks the company of devotees endowed with Sattva. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 320.)

Bless me that I may serve God with my body, mind and tongue; that I may behold His devotees with these eyes, that I may meditate on Him with this mind, and that I may chant His name and glories with this tongue. (Yasoda quoted by PR in GSR, 380.)

Do you know the nature of devotees? When one devotee meets another, he says, “Let me speak and you listen; and when you speak I shall listen.” (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 219.)

Don’t you know that the nature of devotees is like that of hemp-smokers? One hemp-smoker says to another, “Please take a puff for yourself and give me one.” (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 1009.)

There are signs by which you can know a true devotee of God. His mind becomes quiet as he listens to his teacher's instructions, just as the poisonous snake is quieted by the music of the charmer. ... There is another sign. A real devotee develops the power of assimilating instruction. An image cannot be impressed on bare glass, but only on glass stained with a black solution, as in photography. The black solution is devotion to God. There is a third sign of a true devotee. The true devotee has controlled his senses. He has subdued his lust. The gopis were free from lust. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 244.)

Aspirants - Devotees – All are females before God

In that state [i.e,. of perfection] a devotee looks on himself as a woman. He does not regard himself as a man. Sanatana Goswami refused to see Mirabei because she was a woman. Mira informed him that at Vrindavan the only man was Krishna and that all others were His handmaids. “Was it right of Sanatana to think of himself as a man?” Mira inquired. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 377.)

Chidatma and Chitsakti. The Purusha is Chidatma and Prakriti is Chitsakti. Sri Krishna is the Chidatma and Sri Radha is the Chitsakti. The devotees are so many forms of the Chitsakti. They should think of themselves as handmaids of the Chitsakti, Sri Radha. This is the whole gist of the thing. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 381.)

Aspirants – God’s devotees have nothing to fear - See Surrender – God fulfills the needs of and protects the earnest seeker

Aspirants - Final birth

When a man has performed many good actions in his previous births, in the final birth he becomes guileless. In the final birth he acts something like a madcap. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 783.)

Aspirants - Fate of those who fail to reach God

No one who seeks Brahman (1) ever comes to an evil end.

Even if a man falls away from the practice of yoga, he will still win the heaven of the doers of good deeds, and dwell there many long years. After that, he will be reborn into the home of pure and prosperous parents. He may even be born into a family of illumined yogis. But such a birth in this world is more difficult to obtain.

He will then regain that spiritual discernment which he acquired in his former body; and so will strive harder than ever for perfection. Because of his practices in the previous life, he will be driven on toward union with Brahman, even in spite of himself. For the man who has once asked the way to Brahman goes further than the mere fulfiller of the Vedic rituals. By struggling hard, that yogi will move gradually toward perfection through many births, and reach the highest goal at last. (Sri Krishna, BG, 69.)

(1) God.

It is said in the Gita that those who fall from the path of yoga are born in their next birth as devotees of God in rich families. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 343.)

Aspirants - Classes of seekers

To many it is not given to hear of the Self. Many, though they hear of it, do not understand it. Wonderful is he who speaks of it. Intelligent is he who learns of it. Blessed is he who, taught by a good teacher, is able to understand it. (UPAN, 17.)

You must remember that there is not an equal manifestation of God’s Power in all things. … God exists in all beings as the All-Pervasive Power, but the manifestations of His Power are different in different beings. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 211.)

The power of an elephant and that of an ant are not the same. As Spirit they are one, but as power they are different. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in RAWSH, 238.)

As the all-pervading Spirit He exists in all beings, even in the ant. But the manifestations of His Power are different in different beings; otherwise, how can one person put ten to flight, while another can't face even one? (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 104.)

If that were not so, how is it that one man may be stronger than fifty? If that were not the case again, how is it that we have all come here to see you? (Paramahansa Ramakrishna to Vidyasagar, in GSR, 319-20.)

In one place there is more manifestation of His Power, in another less. The sun’s light is better reflected by water than by earth, and still better by a mirror. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 265.)

Some people reveal more of God than others. Earth reflects the sun’s rays in one way, a tree in another way, and a mirror in still another way. You see a better reflection in a mirror than in other objects. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 909.)

In some places there is a manifestation of the power of Knowledge; in others, of the power of ignorance. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 287.)

There is a special manifestation of God's power in a man who has any outstanding gift, such as proficiency in music. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 111.)

The soul through which God sports is endowed with His special power. The landlord may reside in any part of his estate, but he is generally to be found in a particular drawing-room. The devotee is God’s drawing-room. God loves to sport in the heart of His devotee. It is there that His special power is manifest.

What is the sign of such a devotee? When you see a man doing great works, you may know that God’s special power is manifested through him. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 320.)

Sri Ramakrishna ... taught that ... scriptural statements which appear to the cursory view as contradictory, are meant for different grades of aspirants and are arranged in the order of evolution. (Swami Vivekananda in BTE, 9.)

I Recognize, in ever increasing numbers, signs of the Supreme Light. While there are Few for Whom the Sun has risen in Its full Glory, the number who have known the Twilight before the Sun appears above the horizon, or have perhaps glimpsed the Sun as Its rays barely surmount the barrier, is much greater than I had thought, There is also another and more mysterious class of which the members were born with the Sun above the horizon, but the Rays were obscured by a cloud-filled sky. For These, the Sun first rose in other lives, but for one reason or another They have taken incarnation under obscuration. The clouds may or may not break for Them during the current life-time. It depends primarily upon the original purpose. It is sometimes necessary to drive through from below in order to force new Doors and, in such cases, the Pioneer is very apt to be one who first broke through in some other life. Sometimes the obscuration may serve the purpose of rest, for the Inner Life, if the Final Rest is refused, is considerably more intense than life within the egoistic consciousness. (Franklin Merrell-Woolf in PTS, 79.)

Aspirants – Classes of seekers - Differences exist in taste and fitness

Don’t you know what difference in taste is? Some enjoy fish curry; some, fried fish; some, pickled fish; and again, some, the rich dish of fish pilau. Then too, there is difference in fitness. I ask people to learn to shoot at a banana tree first, then at the wick of a lamp, and then at a flying bird. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 910-11.)

Aspirants – Classes of seekers – People may be classified according to inclination

Three types of people are generally found in this world. The first type is mainly interested in worldly enjoyment; the second type enjoys the world but also keeps his mind on God; and the third type is totally devoted to spiritual pursuits. God created human beings with different temperaments and tendencies so that he could play with them in different ways. (Swami Chetanananda in TWLG, 155.)

Men may be divided into four classes: those bound by the fetters of the world, the seekers after liberation, the liberated, and the ever-free.

Among the ever-free we may count sages like Narada. They live in the world for the good of others, to teach men spiritual truth.

Those in bondage are sunk in worldliness and forgetful of God. Not even by mistake do they think of God.

The seekers after liberation want to free themselves from attachment to the world. Some of them succeed and others do not.

The liberated souls, such as the sadhus and mahatmas, are not entangled in the world, in “woman and gold.” Their minds are free from worldliness. Besides, they always meditate on the Lotus Feet of God. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 86.)

The bound souls are tied to the world by the fetters of “woman and gold.” They are bound hand and foot. Thinking that “woman and gold” will make them happy and give them security, they do not realize that it will lead them to annihilation. When a man thus bound to the world is about to die, his wife asks, “You are about to go; but what have you done for me?” Again, such is his attachment to the things of the world that, when he sees the lamp burning brightly, he says: “Dim the light. Too much oil is being used.” And he is on his death-bed.

The bound souls never think of God. If they get any leisure they indulge in idle gossip and foolish talk, or they engage in fruitless work. If you ask one of them the reason, he answers, “Oh, I cannot keep still; so I am making a hedge.” When time hangs heavy on their hands they perhaps start playing cards. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 87.)

All men are by no means on the same level. It is said that there are four classes of men: the bound, the struggling, the liberated, and the ever-free. It is also not a fact that all men have to practice spiritual discipline. There are the ever-free and those who achieve perfection through spiritual discipline. Some realize God after much spiritual austerity, and some are perfect from their very birth. … They have realized the fruit, God-vision, even before their spiritual practice. They are like gourds and pumpkins, which grow fruit first and then flowers. …

Even though an eternally perfect soul is born in a low family, still he retains his innate perfection. He cannot do anything else. A pea germinating in a heap of cow dung still grows into a pea plant.

God has given to some greater power than to others. In one man you see it as the light of a lamp, in another, as the light of a torch. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 249.)

Aspirants – Classes of seekers – Seekers may be classified according to attainment

According to the Vaishnavas (1) the aspirants and seers of God may be divided into different groups. These are the pravartaka, the sadhaka, the siddha, and the siddha of the siddha. He who has just set foot on the path may be called a pravartaka. He may be called a sadhaka who has for some time been practising spiritual disciplines, such as worship, japa, meditation, and the chanting of God's name and glories. He may be called a siddha who has known from his inner experience that God exists. ... There is another type, known as the siddha of the siddha, the 'supremely perfect.' It is quite a different thing when one talks to the master intimately, when one knows God very intimately through love and devotion. A siddha has undoubtedly attained God, but the 'supremely perfect' has known God very intimately. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 114-5.)

(1) Devotees of Lord Vishnu and his avatars, Sri Krishna and Sri Chaitanya.

There are two classes of perfect souls: those who attain perfection through spiritual practice, and those who attain it through the grace of God. ... One must practise spiritual discipline laboriously, in order to avoid the clutches of maya. Those who attain liberation through the grace of God do not have to labour. But they are few indeed. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 206.)

Aspirants - Classes of seekers – Inferior, mediocre, and superior

There are different levels among the devotees of God: superior, mediocre, and inferior. All this has been described in the Gita. … The inferior devotee says, “God exists, but he is very far off, up there in heaven.” The mediocre devotee says, “God exists in all beings as life and consciousness.” The superior devotee say, “It is God Himself who has become everything; whatever I see is only a form of God. It is He alone who has become maya, the universe, and all living beings. Nothing exists but God.” (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 265.)

There are three kinds of devotees: superior, mediocre, and inferior. The inferior devotee says, “God is out there.” According to him God is different from His creation. The mediocre devotee says, “God is the Antaryami, the Inner Guide. God dwells in everyone’s heart.” The mediocre devotee sees God in the heart. But the superior devotee sees that God alone has become everything; He alone has become the twenty-four cosmic principles. He finds that everything, above and below, is filled with God. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 909-10.)

When peasants go to market to buy bullocks for their ploughs, they can easily tell the good from the bad by touching their tails. One being touched there, some meekly lie down on the ground. The peasants recognize that they are without mettle and so reject them. They select only bullocks that frisk about and show spirit when their tails are touched. Narendra is like a bullock of this latter class. He is full of spirit within. … There are some people who have no grit whatever. They are like flattened rice soaked in milk – soft and mushy. No inner strength! (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 91-2.)

Aspirants - Classes of seekers –The superior type

The fact is, all men may look alike from the outside, but some of them have fillings of “condensed milk.” Cakes may have fillings of condensed milk or powdered black grams, but they all look alike from the outside. The desire to know God, ecstatic love for Him, and such other spiritual qualities are the “condensed milk.” (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 232.)

The Divine Mother revealed to me in a flash that it is She Herself who has become man. But She manifests Herself most clearly through a pure soul. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 231.)

God is directly present in the man who has the pure heart of a child and who laughs and cries and dances and sings in divine ecstasy. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 208.)

Don’t you see that these devotees here are not on the same level with Prahlada and others of his kind? Prahlada’s whole heart and soul were dedicated to God. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 909.)

Aspirants – Classes of seekers - Ripe vs. unripe

You see, as long as a man is under maya’s spell, he is like a green coconut. When you scoop out the soft kernel from a green coconut, you cannot help scraping a little of the shell at the same time. But in the case of a ripe and dry coconut, the shell and kernel are separated from each other. When you shake the fruit you can feel the kernel rattling inside. The man who is freed from maya is like a ripe and dry coconut. He feels the soul to be separated from the body. They are no longer connected with each other. (Letter from Aswini Kumar Dutta to “M,” with reminiscences of PR in GSR, 1022.)

Another day, probably in 1883, I visited the Master with a few young men from Serampore. Looking at them he asked, “Why have they come here?”

Myself: “To see you.”

Master: What’s there to see in me? Why don’t they look at the buildings and temples?”

Myself: “Sir, they haven’t come to see those things. They have come to see you.”

Master: “Ah! Then they must be flints. There is fire in them. You may keep a flint under water a thousand years, but the moment you strike it, sparks come out. They must be of that type. But it will be useless to strike fire out of me!”

At this last remark we all laughed. (Letter from Aswini Kumar Dutta to “M,” with reminiscences of PR in GSR, 1023.)

Aspirants – Classes of seekers - Monkeys vs. kittens

There are two kinds of aspirants. The nature of the one kind is like that of the young monkey, and the nature of the other kind is like that of the kitten. The young monkey, with great exertion, somehow clings to its mother. Likewise, there are some aspirants who think that in order to realize God they must repeat His name a certain number of times, meditate on Him for a certain period, and practise a certain amount of austerity. An aspirant of this kind makes his own efforts to catch hold of God. But the kitten, of itself, cannot cling to its mother. It lies on the ground and cries, “Mew, mew!” It leaves everything to its mother. The mother cat sometimes puts it on a bed, sometimes on the roof behind a pile of wood. She carries the kitten in her mouth hither and thither. The kitten doesn’t know how to cling to the mother. Likewise, there are some aspirants who cannot practise spiritual discipline by calculating about japa or the period of meditation. All that they do is cry to God with yearning hearts. God hears their cry and cannot keep Himself away. He reveals Himself to them. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 369.)

The young monkey sometimes misses its grip, falls on the ground and gets hurt. But the kitten has no such fear, for its mother carries it safely. Here lies the difference between self-effort and reliance on God. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in FMSR, 152.)

Aspirants – Classes of seekers - Tamasic, rajasic, and sattvic

All men look alike, to be sure, but they have different natures. Some have an excess of sattva, others an excess of rajas, and still others an excess of tamas. You must have noticed that the cakes known as puli all look alike. But their contents are very different. Some contain condensed milk, some coconut kernel, and others mere boiled kalai pulse. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 141.)

Aspirants – Classes of seekers - Tamasic

Egotism, sleep, gluttony, lust, anger, and the like, are the traits of people with tamas. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 630.)

Egotism is of the nature of tamas. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 630.)

One looks on God exactly according to his own inner feeling. Take, for instance, a devotee with an excess of tamas. He thinks that the Divine Mother eats goat. So he slaughters one for Her. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 322.)

Why does [Hazra] live here? This has a meaning too. The play is enlivened by the presence of trouble-makers like Jatila and Kutila. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 270.)

Aspirants – Classes of seekers - Rajasic

Rajas ... binds a man to the world and entangles him in a variety of activities. Rajas makes him forget God. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 219.)

Rajas ... stimulates the desire to “lecture” and to show off one's scholarship. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 413.)

The devotee endowed with rajas cooks rice and various other dishes for the Mother. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 322.)

Aspirants endowed with rajas exhibit outward pomp -- a string of beads around the neck, a mark on the forehead, an ochre robe, a silk cloth, a rosary with a gold bead, and so on. They are like stall-keepers advertising their wares with signboards. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 306.)

It is the very nature of rajas to involve a man in many worldly activities. That is why rajas degenerates into tamas. If a man is entangled in too many activities he surely forgets God. He becomes more and more attached to [the objects of lust and greed]. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 452.)

Men with rajas entangle themselves in many activities. Such a man has clothes all spick and span. His house is immaculately clean. A portrait of the Queen hangs on a wall in his drawing-room. When he worships God he wears a silk cloth. He has a string of rudraksha beads around his neck, and in between he puts a few gold ones. ... When he gives in charity he makes a show of it. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 630.)

Aspirants endowed with rajas exhibit outward pomp -- a string of beads around the neck, a mark on the forehead, an ochre robe, a silk cloth, a rosary with a gold bead, and so on. They are like stall-keepers advertising their wares with signboards. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 306.)

Aspirants – Classes of seekers - Sattvic

Among men God manifests Himself more clearly in those devotees who are Sattvic, in those who have no desire whatever to enjoy “women” and “gold.” (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 321 and FMSR, 116.)

God can be realized when a man acquires sattva. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 379.)

Sattva makes one introspective. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 413.)

[Sattva] makes one hide one's virtues. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 413.)

A man living on the plane of sattva cannot bear noise and uproar. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 711.)

The sattvic devotee doesn’t make any outer show of his worship. People don’t even know he is worshipping. If he has no flowers, he worships God with mere Ganges water and the leaves of the bel-tree. His food offering to the Deity consists of sweetened puffed rice or a few candies. Occasionally he cooks a little rice pudding for the Deity. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 322.)

Sattva alone shows the way to God. It produces virtues like compassion, righteousness, and devotion. Again, sattva is like the last step of the stairs. Next to it is the roof. The Supreme Brahman is man’s own abode. One cannot attain the Knowledge of Brahman unless one transcends the three gunas. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 219.)

A man endowed with sattva is quiet and peaceful. So far as dress is concerned, anything will do. He earns enough money to give his stomach the simplest of food; he never flatters men to get money. ... He does not hanker for name and fame. His worship, charity, and meditation are all done in secret; people do not know about them at all. ... Sattva is the last step of the stairs; next is the roof. As soon as sattva is acquired there is no further delay in attaining God. One step forward and God is realized. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 630.)

In his last birth a man is endowed with sattva. His mind is directed to God. He longs for God. He withdraws the mind from worldly things. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 605.)

Aspirants – Classes of seekers – Classes of sages

There are different classes of sages: the brahmarshi, the devarshi, and the rajarshi. Sukadeva is an example of the brahmarshi. He didn’t keep even one book with him. An example of the devarshi is Narada. Janaka was a rajarshi, devoted to selfless work. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 362.)

There are two classes of yogis: the vahudakas and the kutichakas. The vahudakas roam about visiting various holy places and have not yet found peace of mind. But the kutichakas, having visited all the sacred places, have quieted their minds. Feeling serene and peaceful, they settle down in one place and no longer move about. In that one place they are happy; they don’t feel the need of going to any sacred place. If one of them ever visits a place of pilgrimage, it is only for the purpose of new inspiration. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 128.)

Aspirants – Classes of seekers - The Kripasiddha

There is another class of devotees, known as krippasiddha, that is to say, those on whom the grace of God descends all of a sudden and who at once attain His vision and knowledge (1). Such people may be likened to a room that has been dark a thousand years, which, when a lamp is brought into it, becomes light immediately, not little by little. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 182-3.)

(1) Sri Ramana Maharshi is an example.
There are also those who have attained perfection all of a sudden; it is like a man’s unexpectedly coming into a great fortune. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 702.)

Aspirants – Classes of seekers – The Ishwarakotis (The Everfree)

Then there is the class of the ever-perfect. They are born in each life with their spiritual consciousness already awakened. Think of a spring whose outlet is obstructed. While looking after various things in the garden, the plumber accidentally clears it and the water gushes out. Yet probably people are amazed to see the first manifestations of an ever-perfect soul’s zeal for God. They say, “Where was all this devotion and renunciation and love?” (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 206-7.)

An Incarnation of God or one born with some of the characteristics of an Incarnation of God is called an Isvarakoti. An ordinary man is called a jiva or jivakoti. By dint of sadhana a jivakoti can realize God; but after samadhi he cannot come back to the plane of relative consciousness.

The Isvarakoti is like the king's son. He has the keys to all the rooms of the seven-storey palace; he can climb to all the seven floors and come down at will. A jivakoti is like a petty officer. He can enter some of the rooms of the palace; that is his limit. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 750.)

Free souls are not under the control of [lust and greed]. There are some silk worms that cut through the cocoon they have made with such great care. But they are few and far between. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 206.)

The Isvarakotis, such as Incarnations of God, are above sin. Sri Chaitanya is an example. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 371.)

Even though an eternally perfect soul is born in a low family, still he retains his innate perfection. He cannot do anything else. A pea germinating in a heap of cow-dung still grows into a pea-plant. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 249.)

Those who are eternally free do not have to enter worldly life. Their desire of enjoyment has been satisfied with their very birth. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 386.)

There is also another class of devotees, those who are beyond the three gunas. They have the nature of a child. Their worship consists in chanting God’s name – just His name. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 322.)

Do you know what these youngsters are like? They are like certain plants that grow fruit first and then flowers. These devotees first of all have the vision of God; next they hear about His glories and attributes; and at last they are united with Him. I was always overwhelmed with divine ecstacy and I couldn't tell the passing of day and night. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 813.)

“Knowledge is always within the grip of Nityasiddhas in every birth. They are like fountains hidden under stone. As soon as some expert removes the obstacle water gushes out.”

Scarcely had the topic of discussion closed before Sri Ramakrishna came forward and touched [Latu] with his hand. The electric touch gave rise to a wonderful experience within [Latu]. A mighty and mysterious love of God invaded his heart, and he lost his outer consciousness. His body became motionless; suddenly his hair stood on end, and he began to sob with profuse tears of joy streaming down his cheeks. His lips began to tremble. … Under the pressure of a surprisingly sweet experience [Latu] continued shedding tears for more than an hour. … Sri Ramakrishna touched him again, and thereafter [Latu] could control himself to a certain extent. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in FMSR, 140.)

Narendra, Bhavanath, Rakhal, and devotees like them belong to the group of the nityasiddhas; they are eternally free. Religious practice on their part is superfluous. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 279.)

I know who you are, my Lord [Said Sri Ramakrishna speaking to Naren, later Swami Vivekananda]. You are Nara, the ancient sage, the incarnation of Narayana. You have come to earth to take away the sufferings and sorrows of mankind. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna to Narendra, later Swami Vivekananda in GLWT, 23.)

Look at Narendra. He doesn’t care about anyone. … He is independent even of me. He doesn’t tell all he knows, lest I should praise his scholarship before others. He is free from ignorance and delusion. He has no bonds. He is a great soul. … Narendra doesn’t come here very often. That is good, for I am overwhelmed by his presence. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 279.)

Narendra (1) and people of his type belong to the class of the ever-free. They are never entangled in the world. When they grow a little older they feel the awakening of inner consciousness and go directly towards God. They come to the world only to teach others. They never care for anything of the world. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 88.)

(1) Later Swami Vivekananda.

Youngsters like Narendra and Rakhal (1) are ever-perfect. Every time they are born they are devoted to God. An ordinary man acquires a little devotion after austerities and a hard struggle. But these boys have love of God from the very moment of their birth. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 196.)

(1) Later Swami Brahmananda,
Narendra belongs to a very high plane -- the realm of the Absolute. He has a manly nature. So many devotees come here, but there is not one like him.

Every now and then I take stock of the devotees. I find that some are like lotuses with ten petals, some like lotuses with sixteen petals, some like lotuses with a hundred petals. Narendra is a thousand-petalled one.

Other devotees may be like pots or pitchers; but Narendra is a huge water-barrel. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 810.)

Among fish, Narendra is a huge red-eyed carp; others are like minnows or smelts or sardines. Tarak of Belgharia (1) may be called a bass. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 811.)

(1) A young devotee of Sri Ramakrishna's.

Later Swami Vivekananda remarked, “If there is anyone amongst us who has conquererd lust in all respects, it is Jogin.” Sri Ramakrishna mentioned that six of his disciples, incluing Jogin, were ishwarakotis. (An ishwarakoti is a godlike soul who is eternally free from the bondage of karma, and who allows himself to be born simply to do good to humanity.)

The master also declared that Jogin had been Arjuna, the hero of the Mahabharata, in his previous life. (Swami Chetanananda in GLWT, 224.)

During these first visits, Ramakrishna recognized through his yogic vision that Baburam has been born as a part of Radha, the spiritual consort of Krishyna. On 20 June 1884 the Master said to M.: “I noticed the other day that Baburam [Swami Premananda] … has a feminine nature. In a vision I saw Baburam as a goddess with a necklace around her neck and with women companions about her. He has received something in a dream. His body is pure. Only a very little effort will awaken his spiritual consciousness.” On another occasion he described Baburam as a nityasiddha (ever-perfect soul) and an ishwarakoti (godlike soul). The master earmarked six of his disciples as ishwarakotis: Narendra, Rakhal, Baburam, Yogin, Niranjan, and Purna. (Swami Chenatanananda in GLWT, 184-5.)

Baburam was deemed a proper attendant for Sri Ramakrishna because of his absolute purity. He was one of those fortunate souls whose touch the Master could bear during samadhi, and many were the occasions when he was found supporting the Master in that state lest he should fall and be injured. (Swami Chenatanananda in GLWT, 185.)

Later Swami Vivekananda remarked, “If there is anyone amongst us who has conquererd lust in all respects, it is Jogin [later Swami Yogananda].” Sri Ramakrishna mentioned that six of his disciples, incluing Jogin, were ishwarakotis. (An ishwarakoti is a godlike soul who is eternally free from the bondage of karma, and who allows himself to be born simply to do good to humanity.)

The master also declared that Jogin had been Arjuna, the hero of the Mahabharata, in his previous life. (Swami Chetanananda in GLWT, 224.)

Once in a vision Ramakrishna saw the luminous form of Niranjan playing with a bow and arrows. Later he remarked that Niranjan had been born as a partial incarnation of Ramachandra. (Swami Chetananananda, 245.)

The Divine Mother used to reveal to me the nature of the devotees before their coming. In a vision I saw that Shashi (1) and Sharat (2) had been among the followers of Christ. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GLWT, 266.)

(1) Later Swami Ramakrishnananda.
(2) Later Swami Saradananda.

Shashi’s [Swami Ramakrishnananda’s] devotion was special. He was the very embodiment of service. He was convinced that service to the guru was the highest form of religion. He practiced no spiritual discipline, knew no other asceticism, traveled to no holy places. Forgetting his personal comfort, food, or rest, he was always ready to serve the Master. His life’s purpose was to alleviate the Master’s suffering. Indeed, he would have given his life if he thought that would cure him. Everyone marvellled at his indefatigable energy, his endurance, and his boundless love for the Master. (Swami Chetanananda, GLWT, 270-1.)

Nityagopal was always in an exalted spiritual mood. Tarak’s mind, too, was always indrawn; he seldom exchanged words with others. (Mahendanath Gupta in GSR, 294-5.)

Tarak of Belgharia was going home from Dakshineswar. I clearly noticed that a flame-like thing came out of this [meaning his body] and followed him. A few days later Tarak came back to Dakshineswar. In a state of samadhi He who dwells in this body placed His foot on Tarak's chest. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 798.)

Purna (1) was born with an element of Vishnu. I worshipped him mentally with bel-leaves; but the offering was not accepted. Then I worshipped him with tulsi-leaves and sandal-paste. That proved to be all right. God reveals Himself in many ways: sometimes as man, sometimes in other divine forms made of Spirit. One must believe in divine forms. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 797-8.)

(1) Purna Chandra Ghosh, another young devotee and the last to come to Sri Ramakrishna before his inner circle was complete.

[Purna] has inherited that knowledge [that the world is illusory] from his previous births. In his past lives he practised many disciplines. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 812-3.)

Purna belongs to the realm of the Personal God. He was born with an element of Vishnu. Ah, what yearning he has! (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 810.)

[Purna] has inherited that knowledge [that the world is illusory] from his previous births. In his past lives he practised many disciplines. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 812-3.)

[Purna] has inherited [his] knowledge from his previous births. In his past lives he practised many disciplines. It is the body alone that grows small or grows big, and not the Atman. Do you know what these youngsters are like? They are like certain plants that grow fruit first and then flowers. These devotees first of all have the vision of God; next they hear about his glories and attributes; and at last they are united with him. (Sri Ramakrishna in TLWG, 392.)

Purna is in such an exalted state that either he will very soon give up his body -- the body is useless after the realization of God -- or his inner nature will within a few days break forth.

He has a divine nature -- the traits of a god. ... If you put a garland round his neck, or smear his body with sandal-paste or burn incense before him, he will go into samadhi; for then he will known beyond the shadow of a doubt that Narayana Himself dwells in his body, that it is Narayana who has assumed the body. I have come to know about it.

... I want to see Purna once more. But how will it be possible for me? It seems he is a part. (1) How amazing! Not a mere particle, but a part. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 796-7.)

(1) A partial Divine Incarnation.

Purna Chandra Ghosh was one of the six direct disciples of Sri Ramakishna who were designated by the Master as Ishvarakotis, that is, great souls who are eternally free from the bonds of karma and who take birth of their own will to do good to mankind. The other five Ishvarakotis were Swami Vivekananda, Brahmananda, Premananda, Yogananda, and Niranjanananda. (Swami Chanananda in TLWG, 387.)

These disciples of Sri Ramakrishna were not ordinary human beings: some were ishawarakotis (godlike souls, born with a special spiritual message for humanity), some were nityamuktas (ever-free souls who have never been caught by maya), and according to Sri Ramairishna, some had been born as disciples of previous divine incarnations such as Rama, Krishna, and Christ. They were etranl companions of God, reborn to fulfill a divine mission. (Swami Chetanananda in GLWT, 9-10.)

Association with the good and holy (Satsang) - See Satsang with sages

Atma-Vichara – See Discriminate betwen the Unreal and the Real - Self-Enquiry and also Wisdom

Atman - See Self

Attachment - See Desire - How attachment works

Attention

Whatever you focus your energy on, you’ll get to be an expert at. (John Enright, Awareness Responsibility, Communication Seminar, January 20, 1979.)

Austerity (Tapas)

Please eat your meals regularly and then practice your japam and meditation. The Divine Mother is not a stranger. She is your very own. She will not be angry if you eat first and then call on her. In this Kali yuga the human body cannot bear excessive austerities, and it is hard to practice spiritual disciplines if one’s health is not good. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in TLWG, 164.)

It is not necessary for all to practise great austerity. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 331.)

If one watches whence this notion ‘I’ springs, the mind is absorbed into that. That is tapas. When a mantra is mentally articulated, if the attention is directed to the source whence the mantra-sound is produced within, the mind is absorbed in that. That is tapas. (Ramana Maharshi in SMSLS, 14.)

“Austerity is the source of strength and also the means to liberation,” says a Hindu scripture. . … Spiritual life and the practice of austerity always go together. (Swami Chetanananda quoting Mahanarayana Upanishad in TLWG, 139.)

Authority, Sources of

The words of the scriptures, your own power of reasoning and the teaching of your master should all help to convince you – but the only absolute proof is direct and immediate experience, within your own soul. (Shankara, CJD, 112.)

There are infinite possibilities of self-deception. To protect the aspirant from error and delusion the seers of Vedanta lay down three criteria of Truth. These are scriptural authority (Sruti), reasoning (yukti), and personal experience (anubhava). Any one of these, singly, may enable a man to realize partial truth, but when all three point to the same conclusion, the aspirant may be assured that he has realized the whole of Truth. The meaning of the scriptures, which contain the recorded experience of knowers of Truth of the past, must be explained by a competent teacher. In order to free reasoning from the pitfalls of rationalisation, rigorous mental disciplines are prescribed so that the aspirant may be grounded in detachment not only from the external world but also from his own pet ideas and exclusive loyalties. The aspirant must be able to view his own thinking objectively and submit it to a searching analysis. Ultimate values must be judged by the standard of eternity and not of time. Ultimate Truth, the basis of the universe, is self-evident, non-contradictory, and free from fear and friction. The seer perceives Truth everywhere and in everything, and thus becomes completely free from fear, sorrow, and expectation, which characterize the life of falsehood in the relative world. (Nikhilananda, "Introduction" to SK, 20-1.)

Avatars (Incarnations of God, Embodiments of the Divine, God-men/God-women)

God is born on earth as man in every age. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in TLWG, 253.)

Divine incarnations without number appear and disappear on the tree of the Absolute Brahman. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 128.)

God can be directly perceived in a man with a tangible form. Seeing an Incarnation of God is the same as seeing God himself. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in TLWG, 253.)

Like bubbles rising on an expanse of water, various divine forms are seen to rise out of the Great Akasa of Consciousness. The Incarnation of God is one of these forms. The primal Energy (1) sports, as it were, through the activities of a Divine Incarnation. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 180.)

(1) The Holy Spirit, Divine Mother, or Sakthi.

God has different forms, and He sports in different ways. He sports as Isvara, deva, man, and the universe. In every age He descends to earth in human form, as an Incarnation, to teach people love and devotion. There is the instance of Chaitanya. One can taste devotion and love of God only through His Incarnations. Infinite are the ways of God’s play, but what I need is love and devotion. I want only the milk. The milk comes through the udder of the cow. The Incarnation is the udder. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 257.)

In an Incarnation of God one sees at the same time, the sun of Knowledge and the moon of Love. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 351.)

A unique manifestation of the conditioned Brahman is the avatara, or incarnation of God. Divine incarnation is recognized by both Christianity and Hinduism -- with the important difference that according to Christianity the incarnation is limited to one historical personality, whereas Hinduism does not impose any limitation of time or place. God incarnates Himself to fulfill a cosmic need whenever such a need arises. But an incarnation is different from a saint in that he is endowed with the power of redemption. (Nikhilananda, HIN, 45.)

When God feels the necessity to incarnate Himself, He comes down (avatarana) to our level to be accessible to us and hence an incarnation is called Avatara. As long as He stays with us here, He conquers all the enemies of the good and right-minded people by the power of His irresistible personality and infinite wisdom, and establishes religion once again on the adamantine basis of truth. Before He leaves this earth and rises up to His own infinite glory, He imparts His illuminating Power to His disciples wherewith they become the true Gurus or Teachers of humanity. These Gurus again in their turn impart their guru-powers to their disciples who thus become the Gurus of humanity and this imparting of guru-power goes on from generation to generation until it becomes very much attenuated and is not able to cope with the rising power of irreligion on all sides. Then God again incarnates to establish religion, and this is going on throughout eternity. (Swami Ramakrishnananda, GDI, 20.)

The history of religion bears testimony to the fact that the avatar (Divine Incarnation) appears in every age, and holding the light of dharma (religion), he illumines the path for evildoers, hypocrites, and the poor in spirit. An avatar manifest power in two ways: With the help of his pure, eternal companions, he reestablishes religion which has become corrupt or has declined, and he destroys the wickedness of the wicked, and thereby demonstrates his redeeming power. (Swami Chetanananda in TWLG, 173.)

Avatars – It is God the Father who incarnates

God sports in the world as man. He incarnates Himself as man – as in the case of Krishna, Rama, and Chaitanya. … If you seek God, you must seek Him in the Incarnations. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 353.)

God can be directly perceived in a man with a tangible form. Seeing an Incarnation of God is the same as seeing God himself. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in TLWG, 253.)

The Incarnation is the play of the Absolute as man. Do you know how the Absolute plays as man? It is like the rushing down of water from a big roof through a pipe; the power of Satchidananda – nay, Satchidananda Itself – descends through the conduit of a human form as water descends through the pipe. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 359.)

Yes, God in man. The body is a mere covering. It is like a lantern with a light burning inside, or like a glass case in which one sees precious things. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna to Manilal Mallik in GSR, 365; TLWG, 87.)

Gauri once said that one attains true Knowledge when one realizes the identity of Kali and Gauranga. That which is Brahman is also Sakti, Kali. It is That, again, which, assuming human form, has become Gauranga. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 382.)

Avatars – It is Sakti, the Divine Mother, who incarnates

The Incarnation of God is part of the lila of Sakti. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 283.)

God’s play on earth as an Incarnation is the manifestation of the glory of the Chitsakti, the Divine Power. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 290.)

It is the Sakti, the Power of God, that is born as an Incarnation. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 726.)

The Full Brahman is the Witness, pervading all space and time, equally. It is his Energy (Shakti) that incarnates. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in BTE, 54.)

The Divine Mother of the Universe manifests Herself through this three-and-a-half cubit man. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 353.)

It is Sakti alone that becomes flesh as God Incarnate. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 272.)

What is beyond speech and mind is born in the flesh, assuming various forms and engaging in various activities. From that one Om have sprung “Om Siva,” “Om Kali,” and “Om Krishna.” (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 366.)

Avatars – Declarations of Avatarhood

I am Brahman (1)
Within this body,
Life immortal
That shall not perish:
I am the Truth
And the Joy for ever.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 110.)

(1) God the Father, by which I mean the transcendental, formless God.

Veiled in my Maya, I am not shown to many.
How shall this world, bewildered by delusion,
Recognize me, who am not born and change not?
(Sri Krishna in BG, 73.)

Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world. (Jesus in John 8:23.)

A couple of days before Ramakrishna’s passing away, when the Master was in excruciating pain, a thought flashed across Narendra’s (1) mind: “Well, now if you can declare that you are God, then only will I believe you are really God Himnelf.” Immediately the Master looked up towards Narendra and said distinctly: “O my Naren, are you still no6t convinced? He who in the past was born as Rama and Krishna (2) is now living in this very body as Ramakrishna – but not from the standpoint of your Vedanta, (3) but actually so.” (Paramahansa Ramakrishna shortly before his death to Swami Vivekananda in GSR, 72.)

(1) Later Swami Vivekananda.
(2) That is, the same Brahman that incarnated as Rama and Krishna has incarnated as Ramakrishna.
(3) Vedanta does not acknowledge God with form or saguna Brahman; only God without form or nirguna Brahman.. An avatar is by definition God with form. Thus: “An Incarnation of God is for the sake of the bhaktas [or devotees] and not of the jnanis [or truthseekers].” (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 789.)

I am seeing many forms of God. Among them I find this one also [meaning his own form]. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 941.)

You say that by mere sadhana one can attain a state of mind like mine. But it is not so. There is something special here (referring to himself). (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 830.)

I feel that it is the Divine Mother Herself (1) who dwells in this body and plays with the devotees. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 831.)

(1) Sri Ramakrishna sees no essential difference between the Divine Mother and the Heavenly Father, or Shakti and Brahman.

It is He alone who dwells here.... (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 825.)

It is God alone who exists in this [meaning his body]. That is why so many people are feeling more and more attracted to it. … This attraction, this pull, is the attraction of God and of none else. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in FMSR, 139.)

Once my father went to Gaya. There Raghuvir [Rama] said to him in a dream, “I shall be born as your son.” (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 359.)

I have become! I am here! (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 357.)

He who was Rama and Krishna is now, in this body, Ramakrishna – but not in your Vedantic sense. (PR, in answer to a thought in Narendra’s mind, shortly before his death, in GSR, 72.)

The Master asked [Purna], “What do you think of me?” Filled with devotion, Purna replied without hesitation, “You are God himself. Come to earth in flesh and blood.” Sri Ramakrishna was delighted with his answer. He blessed Purna wholeheartedly and gave him some secret spiritual instructions and a mantram. After returning to Dakshineswar, Sri Ramakrishna said to his disciples, “Well, Purna is a mere boy and his intellect has not yet matured. How then could he recognize me as an Incarnation of God? … It is definitely due to the good impressions accumulated during previous lives that the picture of untarnished truth spontaneously appears to their pure Sattvic minds.” (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in TLWG, 389.)

Avatars – They choose to behave as and experience what humans do

When the Divine sports as a human being, He behaves exactly like an ordinary man and experiences weal and woe and attains perfection by dint of personal effort, endeavour and austerity. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in SRGM, I, 93.)

The Master replied: "Oh, I am in great pain. I cannot eat anything, and there is an unbearable burning in my throat."

But Hari was not fooled. He saw that the Master was still confirming him in his devotion. For Hari knew that the Upanishads declare that the play of the Atman is all "as if" -- not actuality. The Atman never experiences any illness or suffering. A man of realization is always the same. And Hari's Master was such a man.

The more Sri Ramakrishna complained, the clearer it was to Hari that his teacher was teasing him. Finally, Hari could control himself no longer and burst out: "Sir, whatever you may say, I see you as an infinite ocean of bliss."

At this, Sri Ramakrishna said to himself with a smile: "This rascal has found me out!" (Swami Ritajananda in ST, 23.)

The following incident reveals how the Master protected his disciples: One evening Niranjan and a few other disciples decided to get juice from a date palm near the southern boundary of the garden. The Master knew nothing about this. When it was dark, Niranjan and others walked in the direction of the tree. In the meantime, Holy Mother saw the Master running down the steps and through the door. She wondered: “How is it possible? How can one who needs help even to change his position in bed (1) run like an arrow?” She could not believe her eyes, so she went to the Master’s room to see if he was there. Ramakrishna was not in his room. In great consternation she looked all around, but she could not find him. At last Holy Mother returned to her room, extremely confused and with much apprehension.

After a while Holy Mother saw the Master running swiftly back to his room. She then went to him and asked about what she had seen. He replied, “Oh, you noticed that. You see, the boys who have come here are all young. They were proceeding merrily to drink the juice of a date palm in the garden. I saw a black cobra there. It is so ferocious and it might have bitten them all. The boys did not know this. So I went there by a different route to drive it away. I told the snake, ‘Don’t enter here again.’” The Master asked her not to divulge this account to others. (Swami Chetanananda, GLWT, 250-1.)

Sri Ramakrishna was bedridden with cancer of the throat at the time. This incident and the bone that precedes it suggest that his behaviour as a person stricken with cancer may have been a lila or play.

Avatars – They attract others irresistibly

It is God alone who exists in this [meaning his body]. That is why so many people are feeling more and more attracted to it. … This attraction, this pull, is the attraction of God and of none else. (PR in FMSR, 139.)

From far-off villages people used to come [to see Sri Ramakrishna] and remain during the night also. It was there [at Shyambazar] I understood what divine attraction was like. In the Lord’s play on earth as an Incarnation the attraction is due to the influence of Yogamaya, the Lord’s inscrutable Power, which throws a charm over the hearts of all. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in LSR, 223.)

Avatars - Why they come - To restore dharma

When goodness grows weak,
When evil increases,
I make myself a body,
In every age I come back
To deliver the holy,
To destroy the sin of the sinner,
To establish righteousness.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 50.)

After people have practised religion for a long time, lust arises among them, discrimination and wisdom decline, and unrighteousness begins to outweigh righteousness. Then, when unrighteousness prevails in the world, the Lord, the First Creator, wishing to ensure the continuance of the universe, incarnates Himself, in part, as a man. He, the eternal possessor of knowledge, sovereignty, power, strength, energy, and vigour, brings under His control maya, the primordial nature characterized by the three gunas [illusory cosmic qualities]. And then, through that maya, He is seen as though born, as though endowed with a body, and as though showing compassion to men; for He is in reality unborn, unchanging, the Lord of all created beings, and by nature eternal, pure, illumined, and free. (Shankara in Nikhilananda, HIN, 45.)

Avatars - Why they come – To set an example for others of how to attain bliss

The purpose of the Divine Incarnation is to teach man ecstatic love for God. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 283.)

My experiences are for others to refer to. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 747.)

Everything I have earned in the shape of realizations is for the sake of you all. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna to Baburam, later Swami Premananda, in GSR, 60.)

Such a unique personality, such a synthesis of the utmost of Jnana, Yoga, Bhakti and Karma, has never before appeared among mankind. The life of Sri Ramakrishna proves that the greatest breadth, the highest catholicity and the utmost intensity can exist side by side in the same individual, and that society can also be constructed like that. (Swami Vivekananda in BTE, 10.)

His example and precepts deeply impressed on us the extreme insignificance of worldly joys before the ineffable bliss of God. He lived day and night in Divine ecstacy; and Samadhi, which is so rare and inaccessible, was perfectly natural to him. It is no wonder, therefore, that the idea of a God-intoxicated man being intimate with the details of everyday life and instructing people thereon, and yearning to remove the sorrows of men and women who approached him with tales of their worldly afflictions, should appear paradoxical and unnatural to those who had not witnessed his life. But we have seen innumerable such instances in his life; and there may be a few householders still living, who are feeling themselves blessed by remembering his infinite mercy and his eager attempts at relieving the sufferings of men. (Swami Shivananda in BTE, 12.)

Avatars - Why they come - To re-state the ancient truths and reveal the nature of Reality

Subtle spiritual truths are expressed through a God-man that they may be grasped by the average man of the world. The eternal voice -- to use an illustration given by Toynbee -- tunes itself to its present audience's receiving set; otherwise it cannot be picked up. (Nikhilananda, HIN, 45-6.)

Avatars - Why they come - To rouse and inspire the devotee by their presence

In every age [God] descends to earth in human form, as an Incarnation, to teach people love and devotion. ... One can taste devotion and love of God only through His Incarnations. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 257.)

The whole world will undoubtedly forget its fights and disputes and be united in a fraternal tie in religious and other matters as a consequence of these teachings. (Swami Vivekananda in BTE, 9.)

Avatars – Why they come – They are here for the devotees, not for the jnanis

According to the mental attitude of the spiritual aspirant, God manifests himself. A jnani experiences God as all-pervading, formless space, and a devotee perceives God with a particular form. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in TLWG, 97.)

According to the Vedanta, there is no Incarnation of God. The Vedantists say that Rama and Krishna are but two waves in the Ocean of Satchidananda. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 306.)

The followers of [jnana yoga] do not accept the Divine Incarnation. It is a very difficult path. The lovers of God should not hear much of such reasoning.

That is why God incarnates Himself as man and teaches people the path of devotion. He exhorts people to cultivate self-surrender to God. Following the path of devotion, one realizes everything through His grace - both Knowledge and Supreme Wisdom. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 355.)

The rishis followed the path of jnana. Therefore they sought to realize Brahman, the Indivisible Existence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute. But those who follow the path of devotion seek an Incarnation of God, to enjoy the sweetness of bhakti. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 189.)

An Incarnation of God is for the sake of the bhaktas (1) and not of the jnanis. (2) (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 789.)

(1) Followers of the path of devotion.
(2) Followers of the path of knowledge.
The Incarnation of God is accepted by those who follow the path of bhakti. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 308.)

God plays in the world as man for the sake of His devotees. They can love God only if they see Him in a human form: only then can they show their affection for Him as their Brother, Sister, Father, Mother, or Child.

It is just for this love of the devotees that God contracts Himself into a human form and descends on earth to play His lila. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 382.)

The Saguna Brahman (1) is meant for the bhaktas. In other words, a bhakta believes that God has attributes and reveals Himself to men as a Person, assuming forms. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 149.)

(1) Brahman-with-attributes -- the personal God, including Avatars or incarnations of God.
In order to bring people spiritual knowledge, an Incarnation of God lives in the world in the company of devotees, cherishing an attitude of love for God. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 272.)

A little of [my] mind is attached to the body. It wants to enjoy the love of God and the company of the devotees. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 391.)

It is like the sun at dawn. You can easily look at that sun. It doesn’t dazzle the eyes; rather it satisfies them. God becomes tender for the sake of His devotees. He appears before them, setting aside His powers. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 282.)

Bhagavan [Sri Ramana Maharshi] (quietly): “An Avatar is only a partial manifestation of God, whereas a Jnani is God Himself.”

Here lies the whole difference between Advaita and other philosophies. In Advaita all is nothing but the Self. There is no room for such special manifestations as Avatars. A person is either Self-realized or is not. There are no degrees. (Sadhu Arunachala [A.W. Chadwick] in SRRM, 61.)

Avatars - Why they come – They bless and enlighten the worthy

When God Himself is born as a man, as an Incarnation, [He holds] in His hand the key to others' liberation. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 237.)

He who liberates others is an Incarnation of God. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in TLWG, 293.)

The Incarnation is like the udder of the cow, the only place milk (1) is to be got. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 283.)

(1) Enlightenment, and, with it, bliss and immortality.

A unique manifestation of the conditioned Brahman is the avatara, or incarnation of God. Divine incarnation is recognized by both Christianity and Hinduism -- with the important difference that according to Christianity the incarnation is limited to one historical personality, whereas Hinduism does not impose any limitation of time or place. God incarnates Himself to fulfill a cosmic need whenever such a need arises. But an incarnation is different from a saint in that he is endowed with the power of redemption. (Nikhilananda, HIN, 45.)

[One] day Rakhal [later Swami Brahmananda] was meditating in the natmandir, and the Master arrived in an ecstatic mood. Addressing Rakhal, Sri Ramakrishna said: “Look, this is your mantram and there is your Chosen Deity.” Immediately Rakhal saw the luminous form of God in front of him and was overwhelmed. He was convinced that his guru had the power to show God to anyone. Filled with ecstatic devotion Rakhal fell at the feet of the Master and again became absorbed in meditation. (Swami Chetanananda in GLWT, 81.)

He who comes here for God-realization or to attain knowledge, his desire will be fulfilled. Let me say again: his desire will definitely be fulfilled. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in TLWG, 98.)

We asked the monk [Prabhudayal Mishra] to tell us the cause of his ecstacy. “Well,” he replied, “today I saw the one on whom I have meditated for so many years. I saw Lord Jesus in [Sri Ramakrishna].” (Manindra Krishna Gupta in TLWG, 383.)

What more shall I say? I bless you all. Be illumined! (Paramahansa Ramakrishna to his devotees on “Kalpataru Day,” 1 January 1886, in GSR, 70.)

Is there anything, however hard, that cannot be achieved through God’s grace? (1) His grace makes even the impossible possible. If a lamp is brought into a room that has been dark a thousand years, does it illuminate the room little by little? The room is lit all at once. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in TLWG, 102.)

(1) And Sri Ramakrishna is God Incarnate.

According to Akshay Kumar Sen, Padmalochan was blessed with a vision of his Chosen Deity, Mother Kali, in the person of Sri Ramakrishna. (Swami Prabhananda IN FMSR, 24.)

[The Bhairavi Brahmani] felt that there was no need of worshipping the stone symbol [of Raghuvira] any further, for she had been blessed with the vision of the living Raghuvira in the person of Sri Ramakrishna. (Swami Prabhananda in (Paramahansa Ramakrishna IN FMSR, 12.)

You will get results very soon. If you practise a little, then someone will come forward to help you. … The time is ripe for you. The mother bird does not break the shell of the egg until the right time arrives. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna to the meditating Mahendranath Gupta, in GSR, 331.)

While he was still on the verandah he noticed that the Master was coming out of his room. Sri Ramakrishna suddenly came up to Ram and asked, “Well, what do you want?” Ram was utterly amazed. He felt as if his whole body was charged with electricity. Although he realized that Sri Ramakrishna was standing in front of him like a kalpataru (wish-fulfilling tree), ready to grant any boon that he wanted, he was at a loss to know what to ask from the Master. … Finally, overwhelmed with emotion, Ram replied: “Lord, I don’t know what to ask for. You decide for me.” “Give me back the mantram I gave you in the dream,” said Sri Ramakrishna as he entered into samadhi. Immediately Ram prostrated himself before the Master and offered the mantram mentally at his feet like a flower. Sri Ramakrishna touched Ram’s head with his right foot and Ram also lost outward consciousness. He did not know how long they stayed in that state. Gradually the Master came back to the normal plane of consciousness and took his foot away. Ram stood up. “If you wish to see anything,” said the Master to Ram, “look at me.” Ram looked and saw that Sri Ramakrishna had taken the form of his Chosen Deity, the form of God that was dearest to his heart. Then Sri Ramakrishna told him: “You do not need to practise any more spiritual disciplines. Just come here and see me now and then, and bring with you a pice worth of something as a present.” (Paramahansa Ramakrishna of Ram Chandra Datta in TLWG, 85.)

Narendra, consumed with a terrific fever for realization, complained to the Master that all the others had attained peace and that he alone was dissatisfied. The Master asked what he wanted. Narendra begged for samadhi, so that he might altogether forget the world for three or four days at a time. "You are a fool," the Master rebuked him. "There is a state even higher than that. Isn't it you who sing, “All that exists art Thou'? (1) First of all settle your family affairs and then come to me. You will experience a state even higher than samadhi." (Nikhilananda, GSR, 70.)

(1) One seeing that God is all that exists is a vijnani, a level beyond a Brahmajnani. Vijnana is, in my opinion, identical to what Sri Ramana Maharshi called sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi and constitutes liberation from birth and death.

One day when Narendra was on the ground floor, meditating, the Master was lying awake in his bed upstairs. In the depths of his meditation Narendra felt as though a lamp were burning at the back of his head. Suddenly he lost consciousness. It was the yearned-for, all-effacing experience of nirvikalpa samadhi, when the embodied soul realizes its unity with the Absolute. ... After [a] long period Narendra regained full consciousness. Bathed in peace, he went to the Master, who said, "Now the Mother has shown you everything." (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 71-2.)

One day in the later part of her life, while repeating her mantram [Nistarini Ghosh] saw Lord Rama in front of her. As she was about to take the dust of his feet, she saw her beloved guru, Ramakrishna, in place of Ramachandra. Then the Master said to Her, smiling, “Now you know who I am.” (Swami Chetananda in TLWG, 249.)

Had this body been allowed to last a little longer, many more souls would have been illumined. … But Mother has ordained otherwise. She will take me away lest, finding me guileless and foolish, people should take advantage of me and persuade me to bestow on them the rare gifts of spirituality. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 71.)

During her last visit to Varanasi with Holy Mother, Golap-ma had said to the Mother: “I don’t want liberation. I want you.” Holy Mother had then replied: “You are foolish! Don’t you know that liberation is the Master’s real nature?” (Swami Chetanananda in TLWG, 365.)

An incarnation is different from a saint in that he is endowed with the power of redemption. (Nikhilananda, HIN, 45.)

Avatars - Why they come – They bless and enlighten the worthy – Sri Ramakrishna promises enlightenment to his devotees

Hold on to me. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in FMSR, 3.)

If you cannot remember God, think of me. That will do. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in RAWSH, 36; also in TLWG, 69.)

If you have devotion for “this,” everything will come to you automatically. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in NM, 49.)

If you love “this” [pointing to himself], everything will be all right. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna to Durga Charan Nag in TLWG, 217.)

Look, your Chosen Deity is in this place [pointing to his body]. If you think of me, that will bring recollectedness of your Chosen Deity. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna to Yogin-ma, in TLWG, 142.)

Inside this man (1) is the real Jewel. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna to Balaram Bose’s father in GSR, 308.)

(1) Was Sri Ramakrishna talking about all men or about himself as an Avatar? The context permits both interpretations.

You have seen me, fed me, and served me. What else do you need? Don’t worry. The thousand-petalled lotus of your seventh plane [sahasrara] will bloom at the time of your death. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna to Yogin-Ma, in TLWG, 147.)

Remember me once a day if you can do nothing else. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna to Navagopal Ghosh in TLWG, 241.)

Some way will be found for you to have peace of mind, if you have faith in me. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 903.)

The Master … said he would reveal himself to all that take refuge in him – reveal himself at least on their last day. He will draw all to himself. (Sri Sarada Devi in RAWSH, 29.)

At the devotees” last moment I shall have to appear before them. Otherwise, how will they get liberation? (Paramahansa Ramakrishna to Yogin-ma, in TLWG, 147.)

Avatars – Seeing, touching, and talking with (darshan, sparshan and sambhashan) the Avatar are all necessary

Bhavanath (smiling): Sir, … I saw you in the street the other day, so I didn’t come here.

Master: What do you mean? What can you gain by mere seeing? Touch and talk are also necessary. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 697.)

Avatars – Their mere touch can alter the devotee’s condition

“Sir, you know the bad condition of my mind.” He then wrote something on my tongue. Immediately I forgot my painful depression and was overwhelmed with an inexpressible joy. (Swami Brahmananda of Sri Ramakrishna in GLWT, 81.)

Niranjan was initiated by the Master with a mantram. He later described the experience:

I was then working in an office. One day I went to visit Sri Ramakrishna at Dakshineswar. He wrote a mantram on my tongue and asked me to repeat it. What an experience! After returning home, even when my eyes were closed, I began to see innumerable fireflies in my room. The mantram was vibrating in my head and in every limb of my body. I wanted to sleep but I could not stop the repetition of japam. I had previously been unaware of this phenomenon. I became scared and thought that I would go out of my mind. After three days I returned to Dakshineswar and said to the Master, :Sir, what have you done to me?” After listening to my story, he laughed and withdrew the power of the mantram. He then said, “It is called ajapa japam [the repetition of japam effortlessly and unceasingly].” (Swami Chetananananda, GLWT, 246.)

Avatars – There are partial and full manifestations of God

The greatest manifestation of God is through His Incarnations. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 355.)

The Bhakti scriptures admit that the manifestations of Power are different in different beings. It is Rama who has become everything, no doubt; but he manifests Himself more in some than in others. There is one kind of manifestation of Rama in the Incarnation of God, and another in men. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 243.)

There is no doubt that God exists in all things; but the manifestation of His Power is through an Incarnation. Again, in some Incarnations there is a complete manifestation of God's Power. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 726.)

There is a great accumulation of divinity in an Incarnation, like the accumulation of fish in a deep hollow in a lake. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 283.)

The Full Brahman is the Witness, pervading all space and time, equally. It is his Energy (Shakti) that incarnates. Somewhere it is 10 phases (or parts of His Shakti) that are manifested, at others 12; more rarely at others 16 parts. He in whom 16 parts of the Divine Energy incarnate, is hailed as the Full Brahman. He is worshipped, for example, [in] Sri Krishna. In Rama, it is 12 parts. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in BTE, 54.)

Avatars – They are not here to be liberated

An avatar will never get liberation. As an executive officer of an estate rushes to a place where there is chaos or disturbance, so the avatar comes to relieve the sufferings of people whenever there is an unusual condition in the Divine Mother’s vast empire – that is, in the world. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in RAWSH, 169.)

Avatars – They survive Brahmajnana to bless the world

Those who retain their bodies, even after attaining Brahmajnana, … teach others. Divine Incarnations belong to this class. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 354.)

When God himself is born as a man, as an Incarnation, holding in his hand the key to others’ liberation, then for the welfare of humanity the Incarnation returns from samadhi to consciousness of the world. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in TLWG, 293.)

Avatars – States of consciousness

Chaitanya experienced three states of mind. First, the conscious state, when his mind dwelt on the gross and the subtle. Second, the semi-conscious state, when his mind entered the causal body and was absorbed in the bliss of divine intoxication. Third, the inmost state, when his mind merged with the Great Cause.

This agrees very well with the five koshas, of “sheaths,” described in the Vedanta. The gross body corresponds to the annamayakosha and the pranamayakosha, the subtle body to the manamayakosha and the vijnanamayakosha, and the causal body to the anandamayaksoha. The Mahakarana, the Great Cause, is beyond the five sheaths. When Chaitanya’s mind merged in That, he would go into … nirvikalpa or jada samadhi.

While conscious of the outer world, Chaitanya sang the name of God; while in the state of partial consciousness, he danced with the devotees; and while in the inmost state of consciousness, he remained absorbed in samadhi. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 330.)

An avatar’s love and compassion for all – the good, the bad, the pious, the sinful, the destitute, and the drunk – keeps his mind down from the absolute plane and turns it to the relative existence of the world. In this way he brings good to mankind, like the coming of spring. Without any selfish motive he helps people to cross the turbulent ocean of maya. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in TLWG, 293.)

Avatars – They possess siddhis or supernatural powers

Sri Ramakrishna ... could see into a man's innermost thoughts. (Mahendanath Gupta in GSR, 233.)

I know the nature of a man by a mere look. I know who is good and who is bad; who is of noble descent and who is not; who is a man of knowledge and who is one of devotion; who will realize God and who will not. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in FMSR, 96.)

While I was talking to Devendra [Devendranath Tagore], I suddenly got into that state of mind in which I can see a man as he really is. I was convulsed with laughter inside. In that state I regard scholars and the book-learned as mere straw. … I found that Devendra had combined both yoga and bhoga in his life. Though he was a Jnani, yet he was pre-occupied with worldly life. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in FMSR, 41.)

Yes, I can see inside him through his eyes as one can see objects in a room through the glass door. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 95.)

A man dresssed in an ochre robe entered the room and greeted the Master. Privately he was in the habit of criticizing Sri Ramakrishna; so at the sight of him Balaram laughed. Sri Ramakrishna could read a man's mind. He said to Balaram: "Never mind. Let him say I am a cheat." (Mahendranath Gupta in GSR, 799.)

Suresh went to Dakshineswar and noticed that the Master [Sri Ramakrishna] was talking to a young man. After a while, when the young man left the room, the Master said to Suresh: “This person does not believe in God. He regards monks and holy people as thieves and cheats, and he thinks I am a hypocrite and a fraud.” Presently the young man reentered the room. At once the Master smiled and talked to him in a friendly manner. When the man wanted to leave, Sri Ramakrishna said, “Please come another day.” Suresh was moved, watching the unselfish love of the Master. (Swami Chetanananda in TLWG, 234.)

After hearing [Sri Ramakrishna complain of the pain of his fractured wrist], Tarak [later Swami Shivananda] remarked, “Why don’t you cure yourself? You can certainly heal yourself if you so wish.” “Yes, so I can!” replied the Master, and then after keeping silent for a moment he added, “No, aches and pains of sickness are preferable. Sickness scares away worldly people visiting here with ulterior motives, and I am left alone.” (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in SGS, 14.)

Avatars – They accept the help of maya to fulfill their mission

The Incarnations of God accept the help of maya to fulfill their mission on earth. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in TLWG, 293.)

Everyone is under the authority of the Divine Mother, Mahamaya, the Primal Energy. Even the Incarnations of God accept the help of maya to fulfill their mission on earth. Therefore, they worship the Primal Energy. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 226.)

Once Sri Ramakrishna stood on the semi-circular verandah and called, “O maya, please come.” Gauri-ma was astonished and asked the Master why he was calling for maya. Then he explained that the natural tendency of his mind was to soar to a very high realm, and it was hard to bring it down. He was calling for maya so that his mind would stay in a lower plane, making it possible for him to help his disciples. (Swami Chetanananda in TLWG, 163-4.)

Even the Incarnations are conscious of the body. Embodiment is due to maya. Rama wept for Sita. But the Incarnation of God puts a bandage over His eyes by His own will, like children playing blind man's buff. The children stop playing when their mother calls them. It is quite different, however, with the ordinary man. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 243.)

Avatars – The Mother of the Universe supplies them with all knowledge and speaks through their lips

The Mother of the Universe speaks through my lips. … I am an illiterate man, but Mother pushes heaps of knowledge to me from behind. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in TLWG, 205.)

How can a man who has the grace of God lack knowledge? Look at me. I am a fool. I do not know anything. Then who is it that utters these words? The reservoir of the Knowledge of God is inexhaustible. ... No sooner are [my words] about to run short than the Divine Mother sends a new supply from Her inexhaustible storehouse of Knowledge. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 890.)

One day [the Sikh soldiers who guarded the magazine north of the Kali Temple] asked, “How should a person live in the world so that he may realize God?” I immediately saw before my eyes a picture of a husking machine. Paddy was being husked and one person was carefully pushing the paddy into the mortar where the pestle was falling. As soon as I saw it, I realized that the Mother was explaining to me that one should live in the world as cautiously as that. Just as the person who sits near the mortar and pushes the paddy is always careful that the pestle does not fall on his hand, so a person engaged in worldly activities should always take care that he does not get entangled in them, by being conscious that the worldly affairs are not his. It is only then that he can escape bondage without being hurt and lost. As soon as I saw the picture of the husking machine, Mother raised this idea in my mind, and I then told it to the soldiers. They were highly pleased to hear it. Such pictures come before me when I talk to people. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in RAWSH, 166.)

Avatars – They bring their circle of devotees

I came into this world secretly with a few close devotees. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in RAWSH, 55-6.)

When God assumes a human body for the sake of His devotees, many of his devotees accompany Him to this earth. Some of them belong to the inner circle, some to the outer circle, and some become the suppliers of His physical needs. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 933.)

A band of minstrels suddenly appears, dances, and sings, and it departs in the same manner. They come and they return, but none recognizes them. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 943.)

They are not just ordinary mortals; they are the companions of the Master. They come in every age with the avatar to play their respective parts in his divine drama. (Swami Shivananda of people like Nistarini Ghosh in TLWG, 249.)

[Nistarini Ghosh] is a great soul. She is a partial incarnation of one of the ten forms of the Divine Mother. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in TLWG, 241.)

Lakshmi (1) is a partial incarnation of Shitala, who is a spirited goddess, while the person who has married her is an ordinary human being. It is not possible for him to enjoy Lakshmi. Only if Lord Shiva would incarnate as a man then she could be his wife. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna of Lakshmi Devi in TLWG, 61.)

(1)Lakshmi Devi was a devotee of Paramahansa Ramakrishna.

[Sri Ramakrishna] once told Golap-ma about Holy Mother’s (1) nature: “She is Sarada. She is Saraswati [the goddess of wisdom]. She has assumed a human body to impart wisdom to people. But she has hidden her celestial beauty, lest men, by looking at her, should befoul their minds with sinful thoughts.” (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in TLWG, 358.)

(1) Referring to Sarada Devi, Sri Ramakrishna’s consort.

Most people do not realize how difficult it is for an avatar or for an illumined soul to hear or talk about mundane things. Some even experience a painful sensation in their bodies when they have to listen to worldly talk. Because of this, these great souls long for spiritually-minded companions with whom they can communicate and share their feelings and experiences. (Swami Chetanananda in TLWG, 387.)

Avatars –The example of Sri Krishna

I am Brahman (1)
Within this body,
Life immortal
That shall not perish:
I am the Truth
And the Joy for ever.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 110.)

(1) God the Father, the Transcendental.

Veiled in my Maya, I am not shown to many.
How shall this world, bewildered by delusion,
Recognize me, who am not born and change not?
(Sri Krishna in BG, 73.)

This entire universe is pervaded by me, in that eternal form of mine which is not manifest to the senses. Although I am not within any creature, all creatures exist within me. I do not mean that they exist within me physically. That is my divine mystery. You must try to understand its nature. My Being sustains all creatures and brings them to birth, but has no physical contact with them. (Sri Krishna in BG, 80.)

I am the cosmos revealed, (1) and its germ (2) that lies hidden. (Sri Krishna in BG, 82.)

(1) In the specific sense of manifest Nature or the natural world, but also in the more general sense of God the Mother, who created manifest Nature by the Father's Will.
(2) The Father is the the “parent” of the Mother. He is this world's sire (since He is actually the Mother) and its grandsire (as the inactive Father).

I am the birthless, the deathless,
Lord of all that breathes.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 50.)

I am the divine seed of all that lives. In this world, nothing animate or inanimate exists without me. (Sri Krishna in BG, 90.)

I am where all things began, the issuing-forth of the creatures,
Known to the wise in their love when they worship with hearts overflowing. (Sri Krishna in BG, 87.)

I am the birth of this cosmos;
Its dissolution also.
I am He who causes:
No other besides me.
Upon me these worlds are held
Like pearls strung on a thread.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 71.)

I am the essence of the waters,
The shining of the sun and the moon:
OM in all the Vedas,
The word that is God.
It is I who resound in the ether
And am potent in man.
I am the sacred smell of the earth,
The light of the fire,
Life of all lives.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 71.)

Avatars – The example of Sri Ramakrishna

In the twinkling of an eye Sri Ramakrishna goes into deep samadhi. An amazing transformation takes place in the Master before the very eyes of the devotees. His face shines with a heavenly light. His two hands are raised in the posture of granting boons and giving assurance to the devotees; it is the posture one sees in images of the Divine Mother. His body is motionless; he has no consciousness of the outer world. he sits facing the north. Is the Divine Mother of the Universe manifesting Herself through his person? Speechless with wonder, the devotees look intently at Sri Ramakrishna, who appears to them to be the embodiment of the Divine Mother Herself. (Mahendranath Gupta in GSR, 928.)

Suddenly the Master went into samadhi and sat thus for a long time. His body was transfixed, his eyes wide open and unwinking, his breathing hardly perceptible. After a long time he drew a deep breath, indicating his return to the world of sense. (Mahendranath Gupta in GSR, 175.)

Tears of joy flowed from the corners of his eyes. After a long time his mind came down to the ordinary plane of consciousness. He mumbled something, of which only a word now and then could be heard by the devotees in the room., He was saying: "Thou art I, and I am Thou -- Thou eatest -- Thou -- eat! ... What is this confusion Thou has created?" ... There was complete silence in the room. The eager and unsatiated eyes of the devotees were fixed on the Master, a God-man of infinite moods. (Mahendranath Gupta in GSR, 207-8.)

Suddenly Sri Ramakrishna went into a spiritual mood and said to Dr. Sarkar: "Mahindra Babu, what is this madness of yours about money? Why such attachment to wife? Why such longing for name and fame? Give up all these, now, and direct your mind to God with whole-souled devotion. Enjoy the Bliss of God." Dr. Sarkar sat still without uttering a word. The devotees also remained silent. (Mahendranath Gupta in GSR, 915.)

Spellbound, they looked on a great yogi, his face lighted with a divine smile, his countenance radiating love, his eyes sparkling with joy -- a man who had renounced all for God and who knew nothing but God. Unceasing words of wisdom flowed from his lips. (Mahendranath Gupta in GSR, 134.)

The devotees looked at his face in wonder. It did not show the slightest trace of his illness. The face shone with heavenly joy. (Mahendranath Gupta in GSR, 899.)

"There is no outsider here. (1) The other day, when Harish was with me, I saw Satchidananda (2) come out of this sheath. It said, 'I incarnate myself in every age.' I thought that I myself was saying these words out of mere fancy. I kept quiet and watched. Again Satchidananda Itself spoke, saying, 'Chaitanya, (3) too, worshipped Sakti.'" The devotees listened to these words in amazement. Some wondered whether God Himself was seated before them in the form of Sri Ramakrishna. The Master paused for a moment. Then he said, addressing M., "I saw that it is the fullest manifestation of Satchidananda; but this time the Divine Power is manifested through the glory of sattva." (Mahendranath Gupta in GSR, 720.)

(1) I.e., in this body. (2) Sat-Chit-Ananda or Being, Awareness, and Bliss Absolute; a designation of Brahman or God the Father.
(3) Like Ramakrishna, Sri Chaitanya was an Avatar or Incarnation of God who lived in the 16th Century north of Calcutta.

You say that by mere sadhana one can attain a state of mind like mine. But it is not so. There is something special here (referring to himself). (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 830.)

It is He alone who dwells here. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 825.)

There is Someone within me who does all these things through me. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 175.)

It is the Sakti, the Power of God, that is born as an Incarnation. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 726.)

I feel that it is the Divine Mother Herself (1) who dwells in this body and plays with the devotees. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 831.)

(1) Who is also Brahman.

There are two persons in this. One, the Divine Mother - ... Yes, one is She. And the other is Her devotee. It is the devotee who broke his arm, and it is the devotee who is now ill. Do you understand? (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 943.)

When I first had my exalted state of mind, my body would radiate light. My chest was always flushed. Then I said to the Divine Mother: 'Mother, do not reveal Thyself outwardly. Please go inside.' That is why my complexion is so dull now. If my body were still luminous, people would have tormented me; a crowd would always have thronged here. Now there is no outer manifestation. That keeps weeds away. Only genuine devotees will remain with me now. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 831-2.)

God talked to me. It was not merely His vision. Yes, He talked to me. Under the banyen-tree. I saw Him coming from the Ganges. Then we laughed so much! By way of playing with me He cracked my fingers. ...

For three days I wept continuously. And He revealed to me what is in the Vedas, the Puranas, the Tantras, and the other scriptures. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 830.)

I have known him to be a man of complete self-effacement, master of the highest renunciation, possessed of the supreme wisdom and ... the very incarnation of Love. (Swami Shivananda in BTE, 11.)

“One can write shelves of philosophical books based on a single teaching of Sri Ramakrishna],” said Swami Vivekananda.] … “All right,” Haramohan said, “please explain his story of the elephant-god and the mahout-god, which illustrated his instruction to see God in all beings.”

At once Swami Vivekananda launched into the controversial doctrines of free will versus predestination and self-effort versus the will of God – a perpetual, unresolved conflict among scholars of both the East and West. For three continuous days Swamiji explained to Haramohan in simple language that the Master’s story was a solution to that age-old controversy. (Swami Chetanananda in TLWG, 332.)

Avatars – The ordinary person could not tolerate a fraction of their experience

The ordinary man could not have borne a fraction of [the] tremendous fervour [I did during my sadhana], his body would have shattered by a quarter of that emotion. ... For six years these eyes remained wide open, not a wink of sleep visited them. I could not close the eyelids, however much I might try to do so. I had no idea of time, nor of the body. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in LSR, 82.)

An ordinary man couldn’t have borne a quarter of that tremendous fervour; it would have burnt him up. I had no sleep at all for six long years. My eyes lost the power of winking. I stood in front of a mirror and tried to close my eyelids with my finger – and I couldn’t! I got frightened and said to Mother: “Mother, is that what happens to those who call on you? I surrendered myself to you, and you gave me this terrible disease!” I used to shed tears – but then, suddenly, I’d be filled with ecstacy. I saw that my body didn’t matter – it was of no importance, a mere trifle. Mother appeared to me and comforted me and freed me from my fear. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in RAWSH, 14-15.)

The Master [Ramakrishna] used to say that when the powerful flood of divine moods comes into human life unexpectedly, it cannot be suppressed or concealed by any effort. That is not all; the gross, material body fails to contain the spirit that is stirred by the powerful onrush of divine emotions, and very often gets completely shattered. Many Sadhakas have met death that way. A fit body is necessary to contain the exuberant surge of emotions born of perfect knowledge or perfect devotion. It is only the bodies of great souls known as incarnations of God that have up till now been seen to bear its full force and continue to live in the world. This is why the devotional scriptures describe them again and again as possessed of bodies consisting of pure Sattva ... devoid of all contact with Rajas or Tamas. (Swami Saradananda, SRGM, 1, 171.)

Even the Incarnations are conscious of the body. Embodiment is due to maya. Rama wept for Sita. But the Incarnation of God puts a bandage over His eyes by His own will, like children playing blind man's buff. The children stop playing when their mother calls them. It is quite different, however, with the ordinary man. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 243.)

Avatars - Most people do not recognize them

Ordinary people do not recognize the advent of an Incarnation of God. He comes in secret. Only a few of His intimate disciples can recognize Him. That Rama was both Brahman Absolute and a perfect Incarnation of God in human form was known to only twelve rishis. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 189.)

Can all comprehend the Indivisible Satchidananda? Only twelve rishis could recognize Ramachandra. (1) All cannot recognize an Incarnation of God. Some take him for an ordinary man, some for a holy person, and only a few recognize him as an Incarnation. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 759.)

(1) Lord Rama.

Not all, by any means, can recognize an Incarnation of God. Assuming a human body, the Incarnation falls victim to disease, grief, hunger, thirst, and all such things, like ordinary mortals. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 355.)

God, incarnating Himself as man, behaves exactly like a man. That is why it is difficult to recognize an Incarnation. When God becomes man, … He has the same hunger, thirst, disease, grief, and sometimes even fear. … In the theatre, when an actor comes on the stage in the role of a holy man, he behaves like one, and not like the actor who is taking the part of the king. He plays his own role. … Likewise, when God becomes man He behaves exactly like a man. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 361.)

Only twelve sages, Bharadvaja and the others, recognized Rama as an Incarnation of God. Not everyone can recognize an Incarnation. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 359.)

One needs spiritual practice in order to know God and recognize Divine Incarnations. … There is oil in mustard seed, but one must press the seed to extract the oil. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 354.)

Sometimes a king visits his capital publicly with his convoy and trumpeters, but at other times, in order to observe the true conditions and activities of his subjects, he moves around in disguise. As soon as the people recognize him they whisper among themselves: “He is the king. He is visiting us disguised as an ordinary person.” Then the king immediately leaves that place. Similarly the avatar appears sometimes publicly and sometimes secretly. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in RAWSH, 169.)

No one can know Father if he doesn’t allow himself to be known. (Mathur Nath Biswas in TLWG, 30.)

Avatars - Those who fully recognize them are liberated

Whosoever knows [the Universal Person in physical being] obtains what he desires, and becomes the first among men. (UPAN, 51.)

Thus think the ignorant: that I, the unmanifest,
Am become man. They do not know my nature
That is one with Brahman, changeless, superhuman.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 73.)

He who knows the nature
Of my task and my holy birth
Is not reborn.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 51.)

Silently and secretly they come into the world, like a flash of lightning, survey it, and in the twinkling of an eye disappear; few see them, fewer understand them, and still fewer follow their advice. This is the life-history of most great men -- prophets, seers, and Incarnations -- in all ages and in all climes. (Anon., LSR, 46.)

The Master asked [Purna], “What do you think of me?” Filled with devotion, Purna replied without hesitation, “You are God himself. Come to earth in flesh and blood.” Sri Ramakrishna was delighted with his answer. He blessed Purna wholeheartedly and gave him some secret spiritual instructions and a mantram. After returning to Dakshineswar, Sri Ramakrishna said to his disciples, “Well, Purna is a mere boy and his intellect has not yet matured. How then could he recognize me as an Incarnation of God? … It is definitely due to the good impressions accumulated during previous lives that the picture of untarnished truth spontaneously appears to their pure Sattvic minds.” (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in TLWG, 389.)

Avatars - Examples of devotees who realized the nature of the Avatar

Mahendranath Gupta (smiling): "You are as infinite as He of whom we have been talking [i.e., Krishna]. Truly, no one can fathom your depth." Master (smiling): "Ah! I see you have found [me] out." (1) (GSR, 128.)

(1) It is probable that the real exchange between Mahendranath Gupta and Sri Ramakrishna is happening below words, that the Master is reading M's thoughts and heart as Jesus read the minds of others, something Sri Ramakrishna was fully capable of, and thus knows that “M” has “found him out.” Reports M in other passages: “Sri Ramakrishna ... could see into a man's innermost thoughts.” (Mahendranath Gupta in GSR, 233.) And: “I can see inside [a man] through his eyes, as one can see the objects in a room through the glass door.” (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 94.)

[Hari's] six years at Dakshineswar had convinced [him] that Sri Ramakrishna was a divine incarnation. Hence, when the Master fell sick, he could not believe that disease had really overcome him -- the whole thing was a play of the Lord. One day, towards the end of his life, when Sri Ramakrishna was lying in bed at Cossipur, suffering from cancer of the throat, Hari approached and asked: "Sir, how are you?" The Master replied: "Oh, I am in great pain. I cannot eat anything, and there is an unbearable burning in my throat."

But Hari was not fooled. He saw that the Master was still confirming him in his devotion. For Hari knew that the Upanishads declare that the play of the Atman is all "as if" -- not actuality. The Atman never experiences any illness or suffering. A man of realization is always the same. And Hari's Master was such a man.

The more Sri Ramakrishna complained, the clearer it was to Hari that his teacher was teasing him. Finally, Hari could control himself no longer and burst out: "Sir, whatever you may say, I see you as an infinite ocean of bliss."

At this, Sri Ramakrishna said to himself with a smile: "This rascal has found me out!" (Swami Ritajananda in ST, 23.)

Avatars - It is not necessary to go to them

I suggest that people stay where they are. If they need help, I will help them. The help will go without miles counting. (Mother Meera on back cover, MTHR.)

I suggest that you do your job and your duties wholeheartedly and joyfully and bring peace and happiness [to] your family and ... your surroundings. Do Japa, the chanting or repeating of the name of God (or whatever you believe in), and ask for whatever you want. (Mother Meera on back cover, MTHR.)

Avatars – To love an Incarnation is enough

The devotee should worship and serve an Incarnation of God as long as He lives in a human body. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 355.)

To love an Incarnation of God – that is enough. Ah, what ecstatic love the gopis had for Krishna. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 356.)

If you cannot remember God, think of me. That will do. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in RAWSH, 36; also in TLWG, 69.)

In order to meditate on God, one should try at first to think of Him as free from upadhis, limitations. God is beyond upadhis. He is beyond speech and mind. But it is very difficult to achieve perfection in this form of meditation.

But it is easy to meditate on an Incarnation – God born as man. Yes, God in man. The body is a mere covering. It is like a lantern with a light burning inside, or like a glass case in which one sees precious things. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in TLWG, 87.)

Avatars – Saluting one brings liberation

Chaitanyadeva became a sannyansin so that all would salute him. Whoever salutes an Incarnation, even once, obtains liberation. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 717.)

Avatars - It is not necessary to give over one's chosen form and worship them

It is not necessary to ... believe in me. If you are sincere to your guru, master, God, Absolute or .. the Divine, it is enough and I will strengthen your faith. ... If you need me or my help I will help you, whatever path you may follow. For me there is no difference. All paths lead to the same goal; that is, to realize the Divine. (Mother Meera on back cover, MTHR.)

Avatars - The phenomenon of immaculate birth

Thus think the ignorant: that I, the unmanifest,
Am become man. They do not know my nature
That is one with Brahman, changeless, superhuman.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 73.)

I seem to be born:
It is only seeming,
Only my Maya. (1)
I am still master
Of my Prakriti, (2)
The power that makes me.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 50.)

(1) My illusion: Krishna speaks here as the Father incarnate.
(2) Prakriti is one of the names of the Divine Mother or Holy Spirit.

The Glory in God’s Presence (1) … came down from the Endless Light like Fire (and) mingled with the fire in front of [Zarathustra;s mother]; from the fire it mingled with the (future) mother of Zarathushtra. (Greenlees, GZ, 69.)

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(1) Probably the Holy Spirit. Compare wth the angel Gabriel’s words, above.

For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, (1) priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him;

To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being in interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem (2), which is, King of peace;

Without father, without mother, (3) without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually. (St. Paul in Hebrews 7:1-3.)

(1) “King of Salem,” as St. Paul notes later in this passage, is equivalent to saying “Prince of peace” (“Salem” meaning “peace”), a title used with reference to Jesus and signifying an avatar or one who possesses the power of redemption and liberation, or bestowal of peace.
(2) Again, Prince of peace.

Having neither father nor mother is equivalent to saying being immaculately born.

Divine portents had filled the [parents of Sri Ramakrishna] with great expectations. ... Khudiram [the father] ... had been to Gaya on a pilgrimage. He had a wonderful vision there. Lord [Vishnu] ... appeared before him in a dream and said, 'Khudiram, I shall be born in your cottage.' (Smarananda, SRBP, 9.)

Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son. (Matthew 1:23.)

Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?

The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest (1) shall overshadow thee; therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

… For with God nothing shall be impossible. (Luke 1:34-5 and 37.)

(1) “Holy Ghost” and “power of the Highest” are synonyms. Cf. the account of Zarathustra’s conception, above.

[One] day when [Chandra Devi] was standing with [her neighbour] Dhani before the Shiva temple adjacent to her house, she saw a flood of celestial light issue from the image of Lord Shiva and dart towards her. She was about to speak of the phenomenon to her friend, when the light entered her body and completely overpowered her, rendering her unconscious. Dhani nursed her back to consciousness and, hearing the whole story, was at first puzzled and then took it as a nervous disease. But Chandra felt as if she were with child. (1) (Anon., LSR, 9.)

(1) The child was the future Sri Ramakrishna.

[Chandra Devi:] I saw that the holy image of Lord Shiva inside the shrine was alive! It began to send forth waves of the most beautiful light -- slowly at first, then quicker and quicker. They filled the inside of the temple, then they came pouring out -- it was like one of those huge flood waves in the river -- right towards me! I was going to tell Dhani [her neighbour], but then the waves washed over me and swallowed me up, and I felt that marvellous light enter into my body. I fell down on the ground, unconscious. When I came to myself, I told Dhani what had happened, but she did not believe me. She said I'd had an epileptic fit. That cannot be so, because since then I have been full of joy and my health is better than ever. Only -- I feel that light is still inside me, and I believe that I am with child. (Swami Chetanananda, TLWG, ix-x.)

Avatars – Pain is unavoidable when a body has been assumed

Pain … is unavoidable as long as there is a body. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 71.)

Suffering is inevitable when one assumed a human body. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 943.)

Perhaps there is a meaning in what has happened to my throat [referring to his throat cancer]. This has happened lest I should make myself light before all; lest I should go to all sorts of places and sing and dance. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 826.)

I have been suffering for all of you. I have taken upon myself the miseries of the whole world. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in RAWSH, 27.)

The Divine Mother has shown me that people are getting rid of their sins by touching my feet. I am absorbing the results of their sinful actions, so I am suffering from this terrible cancer. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in RAWSH, 222.)

I came into this world secretly with a few close devotees, and now Ram [Ram Chandra Datta] is spreading my name. He brings all sorts of people here and asks me to touch and bless them. How much burden can I carry? I got this disease by taking the sins of these people upon myself. Look, I shall not stay in this world longer. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in RAWSH, 55-6.)

The people whose karma I have taken think that they are attaining salvation through their own strength. They do not understand that it is because I have taken their karma on me. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in RAWSH, 157.)

Once his elder brother was drinking water while delirious. The Master snatched the glass out of his hand after he had drunk just a little. The brother became angry and said: “You have stopped me from drinking water. You will also suffer likewise. You will also feel such pain in your throat.” The Master said: “Brother, I did not mean to injure you. You are ill. Water will harm you. That is why I have taken the glass away. Why have you, then, cursed me in this manner?” The brother said, weeping: “I do not know, Brother. Those words have come from my mouth. They cannot but bear fruit.” At the time of his illness, the Master told me, “I have got this ulcer in my throat because of that curse.” (Sarada Devi in RAWSH, 278.)

I do not care. I will give up twenty thousand such bodies to help one man. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna when asked to cease teaching because it worsened his condition, in RAWSH, 16.)

O mind! Forget the body, forget the sickness, and remain merged in Bliss. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 71.)

Avatars – They predict their future return and the spread of their teachings

I was in the land of the white people. Their skin is white, their hearts are white and they are simple and sincere. It is a very beautiful country. I think I shall go there. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in TLWG, 64.)

[The Master] said that he would live for another hundred years in a subtle body, in the hearts of the devotees. He further said that he would have many devotees among white people. (Sri Sarada Devi in RAWSH, 30.)

On a certain occasion the Master, standing on the semi-circular verandah of his room, said that he would be born again after a hundred years. (TLWG, 65.)

The Master said he would come again after a hundred years. Meanwhile, for those hundred years he would live in the hearts of those who love him. Standing on the semicircular verandah of Dakshineswar, the Master said this, pointing towards the northwest. (Sri Sarada Devi in RAWSH, 31.)

I shall have to be born once more. Therefore I am not giving all knowledge to my companions. (With a smile.)

Suppose I give you all knowledge; will you then come to me again so willingly? (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 359.)

Once I went to Cossipore garden, but I found so many visitors there that I could not go upstairs [where the Master’s room was]. I waited for some time and then Gurumaharaj sent down one of his photographs, saying, “Tell her to be content with looking at this today.” Later he told me, in referring to the picture, that it would “travel in railway carriages and on ocean steamers and by bearers, and that people would carry it in their pockets and even on their watch chains.(Nistarini Ghosh in TLWG, 246.)

It is not the right time to spread the message of this place [meaning, his message] through lecturing and newspapers. The power and ideas which are within this body will automatically spread all over in the course of time. Hundreds of Himalayas will not be able to suppress that power. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna top Keshab Chandra Sen who asked permission to publicize the former’s teachings, in RAWSH, 10.)

You will see how in the course of time I will be worshipped in every house. You will see everyone accepting this [meaning himself]. This is surely going to happen. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in RAWSH, 29.)

Aversion (One of the Three Poisons) - See also the Three Poisons (Craving, Aversion, and Ignorance), Craving, and Ignorance

The attraction and aversion which the senses feel for different objects are natural. But you must not give way to such feelings; they are obstacles. (Sri Krishna in BG, 48.)

Don't hate life and death or love life and death. Keep your every thought free of delusion, and in life you'll witness the beginning of nirvana, and in death you'll experience the assurance of no rebirth. (Bodhidharma in ZTB, 29.)

The three poisonous elements [are] greed, hatred, and illusion. (Hui Neng, SHN, 28.)

Awakening – The first step is to realize you are asleep

The first step to waking up is the realization that you have been asleep. Everything after that realization is the next step. (Adyashanti, downloaded from http://www.thedailyinspiration.com/cgi/daily.php?id=574, 12 March 2006.)

Awareness - Awareness is God, the Buddha, your original Self

[The Turiya], (1) say the wise, is not subjective experience, nor objective experience, nor experience intermediate between these two, nor is it a negative condition which is neither consciousness nor unconsciousness. It is not the knowledge of the senses, nor is it relative knowledge, nor yet inferential knowledge. Beyond the senses, beyond the understanding, beyond all expression is the [Turiya]. It is pure unitary consciousness, wherein awareness of the world and of multiplicity is completely annihilated. It is ineffable peace. It is the supreme good. It is one without a second. It is the Self. (UPAN, 51.)

(1) Beyond the three states of waking, dreaming, and dreamless sleeping lies the Fourth -- the Turiya or Eternal, Unchanging Consciousness that is the Father.

When you're deluded, buddhahood (1) exists. When you're aware, it doesn't exist. Because awareness is buddhahood. (Bodhidharma, ZTB, 29.)

(1) Perfect enlightenment.

Buddhahood means awareness. Mortals whose minds are aware reach the Way (1) of Enlightenment and are therefore called buddhas. (Bodhidharma, ZTB, 23.)

(1) Taoists and some Buddhists use the term "the Way" to signify the Transcendental Absolute -- what we have here called the Heavenly Father.

The Nirvana Sutra says: "... Our buddha-nature is awareness: to be aware and to make others aware. To realize awareness is liberation." Everything good has awareness for its root. From this root of awareness grows the tree of all virtues and the fruit of nirvana. Beholding the mind like this is understanding. (Bodhidharma, ZTB, 39.)

The Atman is the witness -- beyond all attributes, beyond action. It can be directly realized as pure consciousness and infinite bliss. Its appearance as an individual soul is caused by the delusion of our understanding, and has no reality. (Shankara in CJD, 64.)

We are conscious and God is conscious, and it becomes evident that if we want God, we shall have to search Him out in our inner consciousness. We must always seek consciousness in consciousness. Just as we must seek a bird among birds, not among beasts; in the same way we must not search for God in unconsciousness. What is unconscious? Matter is dead and unconscious, therefore God must not be sought in matter. We must seek him in consciousness, that is, inside our own self. (Swami Ramakrishnananda, GDI, 37.)

The nature of Awareness is existence-consciousness-bliss. (Ramana Maharshi in WHO, 12.)

The primary awareness of reality, my own actual consciousness [can] not be modified or lost. It is the only thing in our lives that is not an experience. It depends on nothing and nothing can destroy it. It is bliss, joy, freedom, consciousness and sublime knowledge!

... That Presence could be identified as "Reality," "Self," "God," "Shakti," "Guru" or whatever. It was simply the sense of being related to a Presence that was truth and reality itself; a perfectly absorbing, consoling, illuminating Force that contained me, lived me and guided me. It is the heart of all religious and spiritual experience. (Da Free John, KOL, 136-7.)

Beneath the thinking mind is a pure, non-judgmental awareness. As soon as you discover that awareness, the heart opens, and giving and receiving are effortless. (Paul Ferrini, SOH, 11.)

This stillness of awareness is all there is. (Adyashanti, downloaded from http://www.members.shaw.ca/adyashanti/, 16 May 2004.)

There is no one who is aware. Awareness itself is itself. You are now no longer the thought, nor the thinker, nor someone who is aware. Only awareness remains, as itself. Then, within awareness, thought moves. Within the changeless, change happens. Now awareness expresses itself. Awareness is always expressing itself: as life, as change, as thought, feelings, bodies, humans, plants, trees, cars, etc. Awareness yields to itself, to its inherent creativity, to its expression in form, to experience itself. The changeless is changing. The eternal is living and dying. The formless is form. The form is formless. This is nothing the mind could have ever imagined. (Adyashanti, “Only Awareness Remains,” 2003, downloaded from www.adyashanti.org, 2004.)

The very source of existence itself — … [a] faceless awareness … holds both the question and the questioner in a timeless embrace. (Adyashanti, “Foreword” to Nirmala, Nothing Personal: Seeing Beyond the Illusion of a Separate Self.)

Awareness - It will carry you to enlightenment

Know what is in thy sight, (1) and what is hidden from thee will be revealed. For there is nothing hidden which will not be manifest. (Jesus in GATT, 5.)

(1) There are many levels to this utterance. Jesus is within his listener's sight; know Jesus truly and the listener will be enlightened. Again, be fully aware in the moment and the hidden God will become manifest to the mind thus purified. Or know what is within thy inward sight and the hidden God will be made manifest.
Awareness of the ways of desire is self-knowledge. Self-knowledge is the beginning of meditation. (Krishnamurti, COL, 2, 67.)

Now, if one may suggest, leave it alone; you have heard, and let that work as it will. To be still after tilling and sowing is to give birth to creation. (Krishnamurti, COL, 2, 10.)

The ego is a false self, created by the society; it is not your real centre. Your real centre is almost a no-self, but the feeling of am-ness remains. Even when the ego dissolves and the personality is dropped, then too there is a feeling of am-ness. One still “is” though one cannot say “I am a self.” Self remains separate from existence. One cannot say “I am separate from self, from existence” but one certainly “is.” This is-ness … is an experience of egoless existence. And this can be penetrated slowly by becoming aware.

The process is awareness. Just watch your thoughts, your feelings. Everything changes: only I-amness remains permanent. One moment it is anger, another moment it is love, but they go on changing. One moment you are happy, another moment you are unhappy; they go on changing but one thing remains eternally there, and that is I-am-ness. That is never lost, not even in deep sleep: it persists.

It is as if I-am-ness is the mirror and on the mirror a thousand and one things are reflected and they go on passing. There is a procession, the whole traffic of the mind goes by, but the mirror remains. It simply reflects: when it is confronted by anger it reflects anger; when sadness comes, it reflects sadness. One cloud, moves, another comes and another, and it goes on reflecting all kinds of forms and shapes. Still, it is neither of them; it is neither happiness nor unhappiness. It is just a mirror reflecting. …

To find [that innermost mirror of consciousness] is to find god. It is the door into pure existence, uncontaminated by the idea of ego, and from there one can easily slip into the eternal ocean of god. (Osho, TSY, 11-2.)

Awareness - It leads to Self-knowledge

The denial of thought does not bring about love. There is freedom from thought only when its deep significance is fully understood; and for this, profound self-knowledge is essential, not vain and superficial assertions. Meditation and not repetition, awareness and not definition, reveal the ways of thought. Without being aware and experiencing the ways of thought, love cannot be. (Krishnamurti, COL, 1, 17.)

Self-knowledge comes into being through awareness of the moment-by-moment responses to the movement of life. (Krishnamurti, COL, 1, 79.)

Curiosity is not the way of understanding. Understanding comes with self-knowledge. (Krishnamurti, COL, 1, 15.)

The very conception that self-knowledge is difficult to acquire is a hindrance to self-knowledge. If I may suggest, do not suppose that it will be difficult, or that it will take time; do not predetermine what it is and what it is not. Begin. (Krishnamurti, COL, 1, 47.)

Self-knowledge is the beginning of wisdom; without self-knowledge, learning leads to ignorance, strife and sorrow. (Krishnamurti, COL, 2, 3.)

Don't try to change the dream, because trying to change it is just another movement in the dream. Look at the dream. Be aware of the dream. That awareness is It. Become more interested in the awareness of the dream than in the dream itself. What is that awareness? Who is that awareness? Don't go spouting out an answer, just be the answer. Be It. (Adyashanti, “Selling Water by the River,” Inner Directions Journal, Fall/Winter, 1999, downloaded from www.adyashanti.org, 2004.)

Awareness - God-Realization or unified awareness will swallow up everyday awareness

Beyond the senses, beyond the understanding, beyond all expression is the [Turiya]. It is pure unitary consciousness, wherein awareness of the world and of multiplicity is completely annihilated. (UPAN, 51.)

There is a continuous consciousness of the unity of Atman and Brahman. (1) There is no longer any identification of the Atman with its coverings. All sense of duality is obliterated. There is pure, unified consciousness. The man who is well established in this consciousness is said to be illumined.

For him, the sorrows of this world are over. Though he possesses a finite body, he remains united with the Infinite. His heart knows no anxiety. (Shankara cited in HTKG, 64.)

(1) Jesus might say “the unity of the Father and the Son.”
"Nirvikalpa Samadhi" properly means a complete trance in which there is no thought or movement of consciousness or awareness of either inward or outward things -- all is drawn into a supracosmic Beyond. (Sri Aurobindo, LOY, 2, 741.)

Awareness - Be aware at the deepest levels

The purgation of the mind must take place not only on its upper levels, but also in its hidden depths. (Krishnamurti, COL, 1, 69.)

Ordinarily we do not remain aware on the deepest levels of the mind. We are either concentrated in its extensions, at the level of sense awareness or in the process of concrete thought. Occasionally we slip into a deeper level, similar to the one to which we pass in dreams, and there we experience the daydreams, the subliminal memories, emotions and motivations that underlie our waking life. It was my purpose to remain continuously aware at this deepest focal point of the mind. ... It is a point deep within the head, but it monitors all the levels of consciousness, the physical body, and the experiences of the sense organs, the vital centers in the lower body, the great center of being and energy in the heart, the peculiar order of subliminal imagery that moves out of that creative center analogous to the throat, and all of the passing perceptions, the images, ideas, sensations, forms, memories and super-conscious communications that are generated in the parts of the head. (Da Free John, KOL, 23.)

Awareness - Passive awareness - See also The Self - It is the eternal witness, Discriminate betwen the Unreal and the Real – Abide as the Self

Let this monkey go.
Let the senses go.
Let desires go.
Let conflicts go.
Let ideas go.
Let the fiction of life and death go.
Just remain in the center, watching. And then forget that you are there. (Lao-Tzu in HHC, 13.)

Effortless and choiceless awareness is our real state. If we can attain it or be in it, it is all right. But one cannot reach it without effort, the effort of deliberate meditation. (Ramana Maharshi, GFB, chapter 8.)

In passive watchfulness ... the thinker is not. (Krishnamurti, COL, 2, 27.)

The what is can be understood only when the mind is utterly passive, when it is not operating on what is. (Krishnamurti, COL, 2, 63.)

Awareness, without any choice, of the ways of the mind, is the beginning of meditation. (Krishnamurti, COL, 1, 84.)

Choiceless awareness ... is not for something; it is to be aware of the craving for an end and of the means to it. This choiceless awareness brings an understanding of what is. (Krishnamurti, COL, 1, 89.)

Righteousness is in purely looking, which is attention without the distortion of measure and idea. ... To look without distortion is love, and the action of that perception is the action of virtue. (Krishnamurti, SPKR, 229.)

Virtue is not conflict and achievement, prolonged practice and result, but a state of being which is not the outcome of self-projected desire. There is no being if there is a struggle to be. (Krishnamurti, COL, 1, 34.)

Be passively watchful of your habitual responses; simply be aware of them without resisting; passively watch them as you would watch a child, without the pleasure or distaste of identification. Passive watchfulness itself is freedom from defence, from closing the door. (Krishnamurti, COL, 2, 90.)

The truth frees.... The highest state of inaction is the action of truth. (Krishanmurti, COL, 2, 37.)

It would be a better world if each one of us were aware of true inaction, which is not the opposite of action. But that is another matter. (Krishnamurti, COL, 2, 99.)

The phenomenon of the observer and the observed is not a dual process, but a single one; and only in experiencing the fact of this unitary process is there freedom from desire, from conflict. The question of how to experience this fact should never arise. It must happen; and it happens only when there is alertness and passive awareness. (Krishnamurti, COL, 1, 61.)

[Passive awareness is] honest introspection, the exquisitely painful approach to wisdom. Self-scrutiny, relentless observation of one's thoughts, is a stark and shattering experience. (Nameless sadhu in Paramahansa Yogananda, AY, 41.)

[Passive awareness] pulverizes the stoutest ego. But true self-analysis mathematically operates to produce seers. The way of 'self-expression', individual acknowledgments, results in egoists, sure of the right to their private interpretations of God and the universe. (Nameless sadhu in Paramahansa Yogananda, AY, 41.)

Unawareness leads to momentary relief and continuing pain; awareness leads to momentary pain and continuing relief. (John Enright, Awareness, Responsibility, Communication Seminar, January 20, 1979.)

Awareness – Is not a someone

There is no one who is aware. Awareness itself is itself. You are now no longer the thought, nor the thinker, nor someone who is aware. Only awareness remains, as itself. Then, within awareness, thought moves. Within the changeless, change happens. Now awareness expresses itself. Awareness is always expressing itself: as life, as change, as thought, feelings, bodies, humans, plants, trees, cars, etc. Awareness yields to itself, to its inherent creativity, to its expression in form, to experience itself. The changeless is changing. The eternal is living and dying. The formless is form. The form is formless. This is nothing the mind could have ever imagined. (Adyashanti, “Only Awareness Remains,” 2003, downloaded from www.adyashanti.org, 2004.)

The very source of existence itself — … [a] faceless awareness … holds both the question and the questioner in a timeless embrace. (Adyashanti, “Foreword” to Nirmala, NP.)

Awareness - Stillness of awareness is all there is

This stillness of awareness is all there is. (Adyashanti, Downloaded from http://www.members.shaw.ca/adyashanti/, 16 May 2004.)

Awareness – Awareness is it

Don't try to change the dream, because trying to change it is just another movement in the dream. Look at the dream. Be aware of the dream. That awareness is It. Become more interested in the awareness of the dream than in the dream itself. What is that awareness? Who is that awareness? Don't go spouting out an answer, just be the answer. Be It. (Adyashanti, “Selling Water by the River,” Inner Directions Journal, Fall/Winter, 1999, downloaded from www.adyashanti.org, 2004.)

Awareness - It is only in the now

Awareness isn't hidden. But you can only find it right now. (Bodhidharma, ZTB, 17.)

Sages don't consider the past. And they don't worry about the future. Nor do they cling to the present. From moment to moment, they follow the Way. If you haven't awakened to this great truth, you'd better look for a teacher on earth or in the heavens. Don't compound your own deficiency. (Bodhidharma, ZTB, 37.)

Only in discovery can there be joy -- the discovery from moment to moment of the ways of the self. (Krishnamurti, COL, 1, 68.)

Merely to be silent does not indicate a tranquil mind. Tranquillity does not come into being with abstinence or denial; it comes with the understanding of what is. To understand what is needs swift awareness, for what is is not static. (Krishnamurti, COL, 1, 14.)

The past is the known, and the response of the past is ever overshadowing the present, the unknown. The unknown is not the future, but the present. The future is but the past pushing its way through the uncertain present. This gap, this interval, is filled with the intermittent light of knowledge, covering the emptiness of the present; but this emptiness holds the miracle of life. (Krishnamurti, COL, 1, 26.)

Something could happen at any moment, and if you are not absolutely awake, absolutely still, you will miss it. This is the kind of waiting Jesus talks about. In that state, all your attention is in the Now. There is none left for daydreaming, thinking, remembering, anticipating. There is not tension in it, no fear, just alert presence. You are present with your whole Being, with every cell of your body. In that state, the "you" that has a past and a future, the personality…, is hardly there anymore. And yet nothing of value is lost. You are still essentially yourself. In fact, you are more fully yourself than you ever were before, or rather it is only now that you are truly yourself. (Eckhart Tolle, PN, 80-1.)

Awareness - It does not depend on the mind

If you don't use your mind to create mind, every state of mind is empty, every thought is still. You go from one buddha land to another. If you use your mind to create mind, every state of mind is disturbed, every thought is in motion. You go from one hell to the next. (Bodhidharma in ZTB, 30.)

The myriad doors to the truth all come from the mind. When appearances of the mind are as transparent as space, they're gone. (Bodhidharma in ZTB, 37.)

You want to possess a still mind, as you would possess a dress or a house. Having a new objective, the stillness of the mind, you begin to inquire into the ways and means of getting it, so you have another problem on your hands. Just be aware of the utter necessity and importance of a still mind. Don't struggle after stillness, don't torture yourself with discipline in order to acquire it, don't cultivate or practise it. All these efforts produce a result, and that which is a result is not stillness. What is put together can be undone. Do not seek continuity of stillness. Stillness is to be experienced from moment to moment; it cannot be gathered. (Krishnamurti, COL, 2, 212-3.)

Awareness - It does not depend on thinking

The mind is empty only when thought is not. Thought cannot come to an end save through passive watchfulness of every thought. (Krishnamurti, COL, 2, 27.)

The idea is more important to us than the fact; the concept of what one should be has more significance than what one is. ... The image, the symbol, is of greater worth than the actual; and on the actual we try to superimpose the idea, the pattern. So we create a contradiction between what is and what should be. ... In this conflict between the so-called real and the so-called false we are caught. (Krishnamurti, COL, 1, 85-6.)

The experience of pleasure and pain is direct, individual; but the understanding of the experience is after the pattern of others, of the religious and social authorities. We are the result of the thoughts and influences of others; we are conditioned by religious as well as political propaganda. (Krishnamurti, COL, 1, 61-2.)

Awareness - It does not depend on naming

We name not only to communicate, but also to give continuity and substance to an experience, to revive it and to repeat its sensations. This naming process must cease, not only on the superficial levels of the mind, but throughout its entire structure. This is an arduous task, not to be easily understood or lightly experienced; for our whole consciousness is a process of naming and terming experience, and then storing or recording it. It is this process that gives nourishment and strength to the illusory entity, the experiencer as distinct and separate from the experience. (Krishnamurti, COL, 1, 69.)

The purgation of the mind must take place not only on its upper levels, but also in its hidden depths; and this can happen only when the naming or terming process comes to an end. Naming only strengthens and gives continuity to the experiencer, to the desire for permanency, to the characteristic of particularizing memory. There must be silent awareness of naming, and so the understanding of it. (Krishnamurti, COL, 1, 69.)

Awareness - Examples of the discriminating/differentiating mind falling quiet but remaining aware

Reasoning and discrimination vanish after the attainment of God and communion with Him in samadhi. How long does a man reason and discriminate? As long as he is conscious of the manifold, as long as he is aware of the universe, of embodied beings, of 'I' and 'you.' He becomes silent when he is truly aware of unity. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 177.)

The mind was not functioning; it was alert and passive, and though cognizant of the breeze playing among the leaves, there was no movement of any kind within itself. There was no observer who measured and observed. There was only THAT, and THAT was aware of itself without measure. It had no beginning and no word. (Krishnamurti, COL, 2, 242.)

I saw that all kinds of seeking were founded in identification with a certain level of life, experience or motivation. The dilemma that was always involved was founded in a present act of differentiation, whereby what was constantly being realized was founded in a present act of differentiation, whereby what was constantly being realized was separated and threatened consciousness. Thus, I was not moved to pursue any goals, experiences or forms. All such things were merely matters of seeking. I did not even pursue my identity with Siva, Self or pure Consciousness. Such was also a form of seeking. I simply and radically founded myself in understanding, the enquiry of experience, the perception of truth and reality that had been communicated through all my experience. ... I had come to understand life as a proposition of radical consciousness. I saw that every deliberate path was a form of seeking that involved the moment to moment avoidance of relationship as primary activity in consciousness and in life. (Da Free John, KOL, 120-1.)

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