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The Essays of Brother Anonymous
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Contents

Getting Out of the Way
Goals
Getting Out of the Way
God-intoxication
The Good, the True and the Beautiful
Goodness - See also Dharma
Grace
Greed See also Bhakti Yoga – Lust and greed are the primary obstacles to the rise of devotion; see also Sexuality – Lust
Guilt
Guilelessness
The Gunas - Reality is free of qualities, unqualified
The Gunas - Their role in creation
The Gunas - Their nature
The Gunas - The perceptible world is composed of them
The Gunas - All creatures, of whatever order, are affected by the gunas
The Gunas - They are the chief obstacles to Self-knowledge
The Gunas - They issue forth from the Mother
The Gunas - But the Father is the ultimate source of them
The Gunas - Though their source, the Father is unaffected by them
The Gunas - Are the doers of every action
The Gunas - Transcend them and be enlightened
The Gunas - Transcend them and be enlightened - A Buddhist description of the process
The Gunas - How to use them for transcendence
The Gunas – Tamas (Ignorance, delusion, slothfulness) - Synoptic descriptions of Tamas
The Gunas - How Tamas manifests
The Gunas - Under the deluding influence of Tamas, we remain ignorant of our true nature
The Gunas - Under the influence of Tamas, we cannot apprehend the light of our true nature
The Gunas - The night of Tamas will end when true knowledge dawns
The Gunas - Rajas (Passion, Dynamism, Energy, Activity) - Synoptic descriptions of Rajas
The Gunas - How Rajas manifests
The Gunas - The two faces of Rajas: craving and aversion
The Gunas - The ego arises with rajasic desire – See Desire – Desire creates the dualistic experiencer
The Gunas - When Tamas is present, Rajas redoubles its attack
The Gunas - Sattwa (Equipoise, tranquillity, peace) - Synoptic descriptions of Sattwa
The Gunas - How Sattwa manifests...
The Gunas - The potential problem with Sattwa
The Gunas - Transcending them
The Guru
The Guru - Meaning of the term
The Guru - God is the true Guru
The Guru - Only the enlightened can become gurus
The Guru - What is a genuine Guru like?
The Guru - The Guru's powers
The Guru - When the aspirant is ready, the Master appears
The Guru - Meeting the Master
The Guru - The Guru teaches the nature of Reality and the path to knowledge of It
The Guru – The guru accepts the burden of the aspirant's sins
The Guru – The guru transforms the aspirant physically and spiritually
The Guru – Serving the guru is a blessing
The Guru – The guru awakens the aspirant’s spirituality
The Guru – The guru leads the aspirant to enlightenment
The Guru - The Guru passes authority to the disciple
Guru – The devotee must have faith in the words of the guru
The Guru - The devotee must obey the Master implicitly
The Guru - Find a wise and competent Guru
The Guru - What happens if one chooses an incompetent teacher?
The Guru - What is one's fate if one cannot find a Guru?
The Guru -- Who can dispense with one?



Getting Out of the Way

When you get out of the way, you become a vehicle for spirit. It is that simple. And that hard! (Paul Ferrini's reply to: Silent Heart Humility posted by Tapestry on June 06, 2001, on Paul Ferrini, Website, http://heartwayspress.com/board/?topic=topic2&msg=26, accessed 8 Jan. 2002.)

Goals

My goal in life right now is to escape from the results of pursuing my last goal. (John Enright, Awareness, Responsibility, Communication Seminar, January 20, 1979.)

Getting Out of the Way

God-intoxication

By the Pen and what they write, you are not mad: thanks to the favour of your Lord! A lasting recompense awaits you, for yours is a sublime nature. You shall before long see -- as they will see -- which of you is mad. (Koran, 61.)

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.)

Those fools who will not sing, or dance, mad with God's name, will never attain God. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 186.)

One must become mad with love in order to realize God. ... Sex-life with a woman! What happiness is there in that? The realization of God gives ten million times more happiness. Gauri used to say that when a man attains ecstatic love of God all the pores of the skin, even the roots of the hair, become like so many sexual organs, and in every pore the aspirant enjoys the happiness of communion with the Atman. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 346.)

Some people think that by thinking of God too much the mind becomes deranged; but that is not true. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 108.)

Was Radha’s madness the madness that comes from brooding over worldly objects and makes one unconscious? One attains that madness by meditating on God. Haven’t you heard of love-madness and knowledge-madness? (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 220.)

A man who has seen God sometimes behaves like a madman: he laughs, weeps, dances, and sings. Sometimes he behaves like a child, a child five years old -- guileless, generous, without vanity, unattached to anything, not under the control of any of the gunas, always blissful. Sometimes he behaves like a ghoul: he doesn't differentiate between things pure and things impure; he sees no difference between things clean and things unclean. And sometimes he is like an inert thing, staring vacantly: he cannot do any work; he cannot strive for anything. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 265.)

Krishnakishore … too passed through a God-intoxicated state, when he would repeat only the word “Om” and shut himself up alone in his room. His relatives thought he was actually mad, and called in a physician. Ram Kaviraj of Natagore came to see him. Krishnakishore said to the physician, “Cure me, sir, of my malady, if you please, but not of my ‘Om.’” (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 118.)

In that state of God-intoxication I used to speak out my mind to all. I was no respecter of person. Even to men of position I was not afraid to speak the truth. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 118.)

One day, in that state of divine intoxication, I went to the bathing-ghat on the Ganges at Baranagore. There I saw Jaya Mukherji repeating the name of God; but his mind was on something else. I went up and slapped him twice on the cheeks.

When one gets into such a state of mind, one doesn’t enjoy any conversation but that about God. I used to weep when I heard people talk about worldly matters. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 119.)

At one time Rani Rasmani was staying in the temple garden. She came to the shrine of the Divine Mother, as she frequently did when I worshipped Kali, and asked me to sing a song or two. On this occasion, while I was singing, I noticed she was sorting flowers for worship absent-mindedly. At once I slapped her on the cheeks., She became quite embarrassed and sat there with folded hands. . After praying to the Divine Mother for some time with great yearning, I was able to shake off this habit. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 119.)

Sri Ramakrishna was completely intoxicated with divine love. The devotees felt its contagion and danced with the Master in an ecstacy of love. (Mahendranath Gupta in GSR, 807.)

A strange transformation came over the devotees. They all became mad, as it were, with divine ecstacy. ... Vijay was first on his feet, carried away by divine intoxication. ... The younger Naren and Latu went into deep samadhi. The atmosphere of the room became electric. Everyone felt the presence of God. ... After a while, as they came down, some laughed and some wept. An outsider, entering the room, would have thought that a number of drunkards were assembled there. (Mahendranath Gupta in GSR, 884.)

The Good, the True and the Beautiful

Whatever in this world is powerful, beautiful or glorious, that you may know to have come forth from a fraction of my power and glory. (Sri Krishna in BG, 90.)

The good and the beauty of the soul consists in its becoming godlike because from the divinity all beauty comes and all the constituents of reality. (Plotinus in EP, 40.)

The Soul ... is author ... of bodily beauty. (Plotinus in EP, 40.)

Goodness - See also Dharma

The lights of goodness dwelling in their heart emanate from that which is not matter, from him who alone is good in himself. (Pseudo-Dionysius in MT, 214.)

Do you know the nature of a good man? He never troubles others. He doesn’t harass people. The nature of some people is such that when they go to a feast they want special seats. A man who has true devotion to God never makes a false step, never gives trouble to others for nothing.

It is not good to live in the company of bad people. A man should stay away from them and thus protect himself. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 281.)

Grace
God never failed offering us His grace at each action; ... he distinctly perceived it, and never failed of it, unless when his thoughts had wandered from a sense of God's presence, or he had forgotten to ask His assistance. (Attributed to Brother Lawrence, PPG, 19.)

God seemed to have granted the greatest favors to the greatest sinners, as more signal monuments of His mercy. (Attributed to Brother Lawrence, PPG, 14.)

The greater perfection a soul aspires after, the more dependent it is upon divine grace. (Attributed to Brother Lawrence, PPG, 22.)

What if you are [householders]? Through His grace even the impossible becomes possible. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 293.)

Why shouldn’t one be able to lead a spiritual life in the world? But it is extremely difficult. … There are many ties on a worldly man. There is no way for him to get rid of them except through the grace of God. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 1016.)

They are heroes indeed who can pray to God in then midst of worldly activities. They are like men who strive for God-realization while carrying heavy loads on their heads. Such men are real heroes. You may say that this is extremely difficult. But is there anything, however hard, that cannot be achieved through God’s grace? His grace makes even the impossible possible. If a lamp has been brought into a room that has been dark a thousand years, does it illumine the room little by little? The room is lighted all at once. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 1014-5.)

Is it possible to obtain God’s grace just like that? A beggar may get a penny, if he asks for it. But suppose he asks you right off for his train fare. How about that? (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 351.)

Yes, it is true. Through the grace of God some may get both jnana and bhakti. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 351.)

You need not eliminate the wrong “I.” All that you need do is to find out its origin and abide there. Your efforts can extend only thus far. Then the Beyond will take care of itself. You are helpless there. No effort can reach it. (Ramana Maharshi, TWSRM, Question 197.)

Faith, Love, Grace are all your nature, the Self. (Ramana Maharshi, GR, 42.)

By repeated practice one can become accustomed to turning inwards and finding the Self. One must always and constantly make an effort, until one has permanently realized. Once the effort ceases, the state becomes natural and the Supreme takes possession of the person with an unbroken current. Until it has become permanently natural and your habitual state, know that you have not realized the Self, only glimpsed it. (Ramana Maharshi, CI, n.p.)

D. How can I obtain Grace?

M. Grace is the Self. That also is not to be acquired; you only need to know that it exists. The sun is brightness only. It does not see darkness. Yet you speak of darkness fleeing on the sun’s approach. So also the devotee’s ignorance, like the phantom of darkness, vanishes at the look of the Guru. You are surrounded by sun-light; yet if you would see the sun, you must turn in its direction and look at it. So also Grace is found by the proper approach you make, though it is here and now.

D. Cannot Grace hasten ripeness in the seeker?

M. Leave it all to the Master. Surrender to Him without reserve. One of two things must be done; either surrender yourself, because you realize your inability and need a Higher Power to help you; or investigate into the cause of misery, go into the Source and so merge in the Self. Either way, you will be free from misery. God or Guru never forsakes the devotee who has surrendered himself. (Sri Ramana Maharshi, MG, 39.)

At a certain point, when we have done all we can [to bring about an abiding union with the divine], the divine steps in and takes over. (Bernadette Roberts, PNS2, 131.)

Greed See also Bhakti Yoga – Lust and greed are the primary obstacles to the rise of devotion; see also Sexuality – Lust

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.)

Long ago, when that great bodhisattva was cultivating the seed of enlightenment, it was to counter the three poisons that he made his three vows. Practicing moral prohibitions to counter the poison of greed, he vowed to put an end to all evils. Practicing meditation to counter the poison of anger, he vowed to cultivate all virtues. And practising wisdom to counter the poison of delusion, he vowed to liberate all beings. Because he persevered in these three pure practices of morality, meditation and wisdom, he was able to overcome the three poisons and reach enlightenment. By overcoming the three poisons, he wiped out everything sinful and thus put an end to evil. (Bodhidharma, ZTB, 44.)

Whoever denies entry to the three poisons and keeps the gates of his senses pure, his body and mind still, inside and outside clean, builds a monastery [and thereby earns the merit of doing good works]. (Bodhidharma, ZTB, 47.)

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.)

[The wealth of miserly people] is squandered in these ways: first, litigation; second, thieves and robbers; third, physicians; fourth, their wicked children’s extravagance. It is like that. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in TLWG, 113.)

If the mind is free from [lust and greed], then what else can obstruct a man? He enjoys then only the bliss of Brahman. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in TLWG, 313.)

Guilt

Self-blame is just another aspect of image management. It informs the other person that we know the error we made and prevents that other person from feeling able to call us on the error. (John Enright, Cold Mountain Institute Seminar, April 15, 1976.)

Guilt is the price you pay for clinging to an image in spite of the way you’re behaving. (John Enright, Cold Mountain Institute Seminar, April 15, 1976.)

Guilt is “Class B” membership in the club. The guilty smoker is not a righteous non-smoker, but he is more righteous than the not-guilty smoker.

Guilt is simply a facet of image management. Why not do it and admit that you’re digging it? If you don’t intend to stop, then groove on what you’re doing. (John Enright, Cold Mountain Institute Seminar, April 15, 1976.)

Just acknowledge that you have done things and then go on. Everything else is image management. (John Enright, Awareness, Responsibility, Communication Seminar, January 20, 1979.)

Guilelessness

A guileless man easily realizes God. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 258.)

The Gunas - Reality is free of qualities, unqualified

Followers of the Way, now is the time to understand [that] the four types of environment [earth, fire, air, and water] … are without characteristics. (Master Lin-Chi [Rinzai], ZTML, 37.)

All things in the phenomenal world are empty of characteristics. When conditions change, they come into existence; when there is no change, they do not exist. The threefold world is nothing but mind; the ten thousand phenomena are nothing but consciousness. These 'dreams, phantasms, empty flowers - why trouble yourself trying to grasp them?' (Master Lin-Chi [Rinzai], ZTML, 50.)

If your mind entertains a moment of doubt, it becomes obstructed by the element earth. If your mind entertains a moment of craving, it becomes drowned in the element water. If your mind entertains a moment of anger, it is seared by the element fire. If your mind entertains a moment of delight, it is tossed about by the element air. If you can understand that this is so, however, you will not be swayed by the environment but can utilize the elements wherever you may be. (Master Lin-Chi [Rinzai], ZTML, 38.)

The Gunas - Their role in creation

The idea of the three essential modes of Nature (1) is a creation of the ancient Indian thinkers and its truth is not at once obvious because it was the result of long psychological experiment and profound internal experience. Therefore without a long inner experience, without intimate self-observation and intuitive perception of the Nature-forces it is difficult to grasp accurately or firmly utilise. ... These modes are termed in the Indian books qualities, gunas, and are given the names sattwa, rajas, tamas. Sattwa is the force of equilibrium and translates in quality as good and harmony and happiness and light; Rajas is the force of kinesis and translates in quality as struggle and effort, passion and action; Tamas is the force of inconscience (2) and inertia and translates in quality as obscurity and incapacity and inaction. Ordinarily used for psychological self-analysis, these distinctions are valid also in physical Nature. Each thing and every existence in the lower Prakriti (3) contains them and its process and dynamic form are the result of the interaction of these qualitative powers. (Sri Aurobindo, SOY, 220-1.)

(1) The Mother.
(2) Unconsciousness, incomprehension.
(3) Also the Mother.

The three gunas, which constitute Prakriti, make up the universe of mind and matter. When the gunas are in perfect balance, there is no creation, expression, or manifestation. When the balance is disturbed, creation occurs. ... In the physical world, sattva embodies what is pure and fine (e.g., sunlight); rajas embodies the active principle (an erupting volcano); and tamas embodies solidity and resistance (a block of granite). From the standpoint of evolution, sattva is the essence of the form to be realized; tamas is the obstacle to its realization; and rajas is the power by which the obstacle is removed. In the mind of man, sattva expresses itself as calmness and purity; rajas as activity, passion, and restlessness; tamas as laziness, inertia, stupidity. Man's mood and character vary according to the predominating guna. The spiritual aspirant must overcome tamas by rajas, and rajas by sattva. In order to realize the Atman, or Purusha, sattva must also be transcended. (Usha, RVW, 34.)

Maya, or Prakrti, [sic] is said to consist of the three gunas, known as sattva, rajas, and tamas. The word guna is usually translated into English as "quality", which does not give the precise meaning of the original. Sattva, rajas, and tamas are not qualities of maya in the same sense that hardness is a quality of iron, or softness of butter, or heat of fire. The three gunas are the ingredients of maya; they may be compared to three strands with [sic] constitute the rope of maya, the rope by which maya binds man to the illusory world. Maya has no existence independent of the gunas. The three gunas are present, in varying degrees, in all objects, gross or subtle, including the mind, the buddhi, and the ego. The food which nourishes our body, the thought which is the function of the mind, the duty which elevates a man from the animal level, charity, worship, sacrifice -- in short, everything belonging to the universe of maya -- contains these three gunas.

At the end of a world cycle, when names and forms go back to the state of non-manifestation or involution, the gunas remain in a state of non-differentiation or equilibrium. This is called the seed state of the universe; it is described as the sleep of the Cosmic Soul. Maya, in association with Brahman, or Pure Consciousness, at that time exists as the Cause, alone, without any of its manifestation. Suddenly this equilibrium is disturbed, by the will of the Lord, and the gunas begin to assert their individual characteristics. Different objects, subtle and gross, come into existence. The tangible universe manifests itself step by step.

... The three gunas always exist together. There cannot be pure sattva, without rajas and tamas; or pure rajas, without sattva and tamas; or pure tamas, without sattva and rajas. The difference between one being and another lies in the varying preponderance of the gunas.

The three gunas ... belong to maya, Prakrti [sic] or ignorance, which includes everything in Nature -- inorganic, organic, or psychic. They are the characteristics of relativity. As long as man is attached to any of them he is a phenomenal being and not a free soul. 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. Sattva binds a man with attachment to happiness, rajas with attachment to activity, and tamas with attachment to delusion. ... Truth lies beyond the three gunas. (Nikhilananda, "Introduction" to SK, 65-8.)

The Gunas - Their nature

Sattwa preserves, rajas creates, and tamas destroys. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 267.)

So long ... as man identifies himself with his material body and fails to find repose in his true Self, he feels his wants according as his heart's desires remain unsatisfied. To satisfy them he has to appear often in flesh and blood on the stage of life, subject to the influence of Darkness, Maya, and has to suffer all the troubles of life and death not only in the present but in the future as well.

... Ignorance, Avidya, is misconception, or is the erroneous conception of the existence of that which does not exist. ... This Ignorance is not only a trouble in itself but is also the source of all the other troubles of man.

... Ignorance, Avidya, is nothing but a particle of Darkness, Maya, taken distributively, and as such it possesses the two properties of Maya. The one is its darkening power, (1) by the influence of which man is prevented from grasping anything beyond the material creation. This darkening power produces Asmita or Egoism, the identification of Self with the material body, which is but the development of Atom, the particles of the universal force; and Abhinivesa or blind tenacity to the belief in the validity and ultimate worth of the material creation.

By virtue of the second (2) of the properties of Maya, Ignorance or Avidya in its polarized state produces attraction for certain objects and repulsion for others. The objects so attracted are the objects of pleasure, for which an Attachment, Raga, is formed. The objects that are repulsed are the objects producing pain, for which an Aversion, Dwesha, is formed.

... By the influence of these five troubles -- Ignorance, Egoism, Attachment, Aversion, and Tenacity to the material creation -- man is induced to involve himself in egoistic works and in consequence he suffers. (Sri Yukteswar Giri, HS, 46-9.)

(1) Tamas.
(2) Rajas.

Consciousness as seeking has three forms, called "rajasic," "tamasic," and "sattwic" in the Indian Scriptures.

If it is tamasic it tends to be inert, unconscious, immobile, insensitive, negative, unaware, and identified with the state of the object. As such there is no understanding possible, but it may believe it already understands. ...

If it is rajasic it tends to be motivated, vital, impulsive, aware of problems, in the form of contradictions in the mind, and exclusively generated as the subject of action. This is the most obvious form of seeking as an action. ...

If it is sattwic it tends to be self-contained, intelligently aware of all aspects of the problem of action and inaction, reserved, neither motivated nor unmotivated, observing and understanding on a mental level. ...

The rajasic mentality is active as desire. The tamasic mentality is active as differentiation. The sattwic mentality is active as identification.

The rajasic mentality thinks it is seeking. The tamasic mentality thinks it is no-dilemma. The sattwic mentality thinks it is no-seeking.

But beyond these forms of seeking, there is Reality, which is no-seeking, no-dilemma, real knowledge, real meditation and real consciousness. (Da Free John, KOL, 248-9.)

. There is a subtle contraction (1) in the process of man, and it constantly changes the quality of consciousness. It creates the identification of consciousness with the contracted sense. ... And in that identification, it differentiates itself from other forms, other beings. Then the rest of life is spent, through exploitation of the movement of desire, (2) to overcome that creation. Through the movement that is desire we seek constantly to create a connection, a flow of force between the contracted identity and everything from which it has identified itself. Yoga, religion, spirituality, philosophy, all our strategies, even our simple psychological strategies, our lifestyles, have this same form. They are all attempts to release energy between this contracted, separated one and all from which it is differentiated. Thus, all ordinary activity is founded in this dilemma, this self-created contraction. (Da Free John, MOS, 3.)

(1) Tamas.
(2) Rajas.

The Gunas - The perceptible world is composed of them

The world is the play of the gunas -- the universal energies of light, motion and mass.

They take form as the elements and the senses. (Patanjali, EB, 76.)

The state of an object at any moment arises from the unique state of the gunas then operating. (Patanjali, EB, 118.)

Manifested characteristics are the present; unmanifested, the past and future.

All are workings of the gunas. (Patanjali, EB, 118.)

[Maya] is composed of the three gunas, subtle, beyond perception. (Shankara in CJD, 49.)

Maya has been defined as a composition of the three gunas. It is the causal body of the Atman. Through these, the seeker tastes everlasting bliss. (Shankara in CJD, 50.)

This universe consists of the three gunas -- sattwa, rajas, and tamas. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 104.)

This divine maya (1) is made up of three gunas. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 218.)

(1) The universe of mind and matter, the perceptible world, the creation of the Mother.

The three gunas ... make up the universe of mind and matter. (Usha, RVW, 34.)

Maya, or Prakrti, [sic] is said to consist of the three gunas, known as sattva, rajas, and tamas. ... Maya has no existence independent of [them]. The three gunas are present, in varying degrees, in all objects, gross or subtle, including the mind, the buddhi, and the ego. The food which nourishes our body, the thought which is the function of the mind, the duty which elevates a man from the animal level, charity, worship, sacrifice -- in short, everything belonging to the universe of maya -- contains these three gunas. (Nikhilananda, "Introduction" to SK, 65.)

The word guna is usually translated into English as "quality", which does not give the precise meaning of the original. Sattva, rajas, and tamas are not qualities of maya in the same sense that hardness is a quality of iron, or softness of butter, or heat of fire. The three gunas are the ingredients of maya; they may be compared to three strands with [sic] constitute the rope of maya, the rope by which maya binds man to the illusory world. (Nikhilananda, "Introduction" to SK, 65.)

The three gunas, it must not be forgotten, belong to maya, Prakrti [sic] or ignorance, which includes everything in Nature -- inorganic, organic, or psychic. They are the characteristics of relativity. (Nikhilananda, "Introduction" to SK, 67.)

The Gunas - All creatures, of whatever order, are affected by the gunas

There is no creature, either on earth or among the devas in heaven, who is free from these three gunas which come forth from Prakriti. (1) (Sri Krishna in BG, 125.)

(1) Prakriti = The Procreatrix; i.e., the Mother.

All living creatures are led astray as soon as they are born, by the delusion (1) that this relative world is real. This delusion arises from their own desire and hatred. (2) (Sri Krishna in BG, 73-4.)

(1) Tamas.
(2) Desire and hatred = Rajas.

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. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 141.)

In the ... reaction to them the three modes determine the temper of the recipient and the character of the response. Inert and inapt [sic], [the individual] may suffer them without any responsive reaction, any motion of self-defence or any capacity of assimilation and adjustment; this is the mode of Tamas, the way of inertia. The stigmata of Tamas are blindness and unconsciousness and incapacity and unintelligence....

On the other hand, the recipient..., touched and stimulated, .. may react to the pressure or against it. [Nature] allows, encourages, impels him to strive, to resist, to attempt, to dominate or engross his environment, to assert his will, to fight and create and conquer. This is the mode of Rajas, the way of passion and action and the thirst of desire. Struggle and change and new creation, victory and defeat and joy and suffering and hope and disappointment are its children and build the many-coloured house of life in which it takes its pleasure. ...

There is possible a reception and reaction with clear comprehension, poise and balance. This way of natural being has the power that, because it understands, sympathises; it fathoms and controls and develops Nature's urge and her ways; it has an intelligence that penetrates her processes and her significances and can assimilate and utilise... This is the mode of Sattwa, the turn of Nature that is full of light and poise, directed to good, to knowledge, to delight and beauty, to happiness, right understanding, right equilibrium, right order. (Sri Aurobindo, SOY, 221-2.)

Each one of us is sattwic in some directions of his energy of Nature or in some parts of his mind or character, in others rajasic, tamasic in others. ( Sri Aurobindo, SOY, 223.)

The three gunas ... belong to maya, Prakrti [sic] or ignorance, (1) which includes everything in Nature -- inorganic, organic, or psychic. They are the characteristics of relativity. As long as man is attached to any of them he is a phenomenal being and not a free soul. 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. Sattva binds a man with attachment to happiness, rajas with attachment to activity, and tamas with attachment to delusion. ... Truth lies beyond the three gunas. (Nikhilananda, "Introduction" to SK, 65-8.)

(1) Maya is "ignorance" in the sense that Maya obscures Brahman, the transcendental reality. The Mother is not "ignorant." Her nature is inconceivable and majestic.

Man's mood and character vary according to the predominating guna. (Usha, RVW, 34.)

The Gunas - They are the chief obstacles to Self-knowledge

Veiled in my Maya, (1) 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.)

(1) The gunas.

'I wanted this and to-day I got it. I want that: I shall get it to-morrow. All these riches are now mine: soon I shall have more. I have killed this enemy. I will kill all the rest. I am a ruler of men. I enjoy the things of this world. I am successful, strong and happy. Who is my equal? I am so wealthy and so nobly born. I will sacrifice to the gods. I will give alms. I will make merry.' That is what they say to themselves, in the blindness of their ignorance. (Sri Krishna in BG, 115.)

Buddhas regard delusion (1) as their father and greed (2) as their mother. Delusion and greed are different names for mortality. Delusion and mortality are like the left hand and the right hand. There's no other difference. (Bodhidharma in ZTB, 34.)

(1) Tamas.
(2) Rajas.

Man's bondage is caused by the power of these two -- tamas and rajas. Deluded by these, he mistakes the body for the Atman and strays on to the path that leads to death and rebirth. (Shankara in CJD, 55.)

None of the three gunas can reach Truth.... Sattva, rajas, and tamas are like so many robbers.

Listen to a story. Once a man was going through a forest, when three robbers fell upon him and robbed him of all his possessions. One of the robbers said, 'What's the use of keeping this man alive?' So saying, he was about to kill him with his sword, when the second robber interrupted him, saying, 'Oh no! What is the use of killing him? Tie him hand and foot and leave him here.' The robbers bound his hand and feet and went away. After a while the third robber returned to the man: 'Ah, I am sorry. Are you hurt? I will release you from your bonds.' After setting the man free, the thief said: 'Come with me. I will take you to the public highway.' After a long time they reached the road. Then the robber said: 'Follow this road. Over there is your house.' At this the man said: 'Sir, you have been very good to me. Come with me to my house.' 'Oh no!' the robber replied. 'I can't go there. The police will know it.'

This world itself is the forest. The three robbers prowling here are sattva, rajas, and tamas. It is they who rob a man of the Knowledge of Truth. Tamas wants to destroy him. Rajas binds him to the world. But sattva rescues him from the clutches of rajas and tamas. Under the protection of sattva, man is rescued from anger, passion, and the other evil effects of tamas. Further, sattva loosens the bonds of the world. But sattva also is a robber. It cannot give him the ultimate Knowledge of Truth, though it shows him the road leading to the Supreme Abode of God. Setting him on the path, sattva tells him: 'Look yonder. There is your home.' Even sattva is far away from the Knowledge of Brahman. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 267-8.)

As long as man is attached to any of [the gunas] he is a phenomenal being and not a free soul. (Nikhilananda, "Introduction" to SK, 67.)

Tamas wants to destroy a man; rajas binds him to the world and robs him of his spiritual treasures; sattva sets him on the path to Freedom. Tamas is to be overcome by rajas, and rajas by sattva. But finally sattva, too, is to be given up if the aspirant seeks total Freedom. Truth lies beyond the three gunas. (Nikhilananda, "Introduction" to SK, 68.)

The Gunas - They issue forth from the Mother

These three gunas ... come forth from Prakriti. (1) (Sri Krishna in BG, 125.)

(1) Prakriti = The Procreatrix; i.e., God the Mother.

Satva [sic], rajas and tamas ... together constitute what is known as prakrti [sic] or nature. (1) (Sage Vasistha, CYV, 266.)

(1) The Mother.

One must take refuge in the Divine Mother, the Cosmic Power Itself. It is She who has bound us with the shackles of illusion. The realization of God is possible only when those shackles are severed. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 116.)

Sakti (1) alone is the root of the universe. That Primal Energy has two aspects: vidya (2) and avidya. (3) Avidya deludes. Avidya conjures up [lust and greed], which casts the spell. Vidya begets devotion, kindness, wisdom, and love, which lead one to God. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 116.)

(1) The Mother.
(2) Knowledge of the Real.
(3) Ignorance of the Real.

The Aum vibration (1) that reverberates throughout the universe (the "Word" or "voice of many waters" of the Bible) has three manifestations or gunas, those of creation, preservation, and destruction. (Paramahansa Yogananda, AY, 17.)

(1) The Mother.

The three gunas ... constitute Prakriti. (Usha, RVW, 34.)

At the end of a world cycle, when names and forms go back to the state of non-manifestation or involution, the gunas remain in a state of non-differentiation or equilibrium. This is called the seed state of the universe; it is described as the sleep of the Cosmic Soul. Maya, in association with Brahman, or Pure Consciousness, at that time exists as the Cause, alone, without any of its manifestation. Suddenly this equilibrium is disturbed, by the will of the Lord, and the gunas begin to assert their individual characteristics. Different objects, subtle and gross, come into existence. The tangible universe manifests itself step by step. (Nikhilananda, "Introduction" to SK, 65-6.)

The Gunas - But the Father is the ultimate source of them

You must know that whatever belongs to the states of sattwa, rajas and tamas, proceeds from me. They are contained in me, (1) but I am not in them. The entire world is deluded by the moods and mental states which are the expression of these three gunas. That is why the world fails to recognize me as I really am. I stand apart from them all, supreme and deathless. (Sri Krishna in BG, 71.)

(1) Krishna speaks here as an Incarnation of Brahman or God the Father.

The Gunas - Though their source, the Father is unaffected by them

[The gunas] are in Brahman. (1) But Brahman is unattached. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 104.)

(1) The Father.

Brahman is beyond the three gunas. It is beyond Prakriti. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 267.)

There is poison (1) in a snake; but though others may die if bitten by it, the snake itself is not affected by the poison. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 102.)

(1) The three gunas.

The world consists of the illusory duality of knowledge and ignorance. It contains knowledge and devotion, and also attachment to [lust and greed]; righteousness and unrighteousness; good and evil. But Brahman is unattached to these. Good and evil apply to the jiva, the individual soul, as do righteousness and unrighteousness, but Brahman is not at all affected by them. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 152.)

Brahman, alone untouched by maya, is beyond the gunas. (Nikhilananda, "Introduction" to SK, 67-8.)

The Gunas - Are the doers of every action

The gunas ... are the doers of all actions. (Sri Krishna in BG, 109.)

Every action is really performed by the gunas. Man, deluded by his egoism, thinks: 'I am the doer.' But he who has the true insight into the operations of the gunas and their various functions, knows that when senses attach themselves to objects, gunas are merely attaching themselves to gunas. Knowing this, he does not become attached to his actions. (Sri Krishna in BG, 47-8.)

Let the wise man know
These gunas alone as the doers
Of every action;
Let him learn to know That
Which is beyond them, also:
Thus he will reach my oneness.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 109.)

If by the grace of God a man but once realizes that he is not the doer, then he at once becomes a jivanmukta. (1) Though living in the body, he is liberated. He has nothing else to fear. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 169.)

(1) Liberated while living in the body. This state would actually entail reaching what Sri Ramana Mahasrhi calls “sahaja (or permanent) nirvikalpa samadhi,” a step above the “kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi” or “Brahmajnana” that Sri Ramakrishna is referring to.

Only an ignorant person feels that he is the doer. A man verily becomes liberated in life if he feels: 'God is the Doer. He alone is doing everything. I am doing nothing.' Man's sufferings and worries spring only from his persistent thought that he is the doer. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 142.)

The Gunas - Transcend them and be enlightened

The gunas, their purpose fulfilled, return to their original state of harmony, and pure unbounded Consciousness remains, forever established in its own absolute nature. This is Enlightenment. (Patanjali, EB, 126.)

The Vedas teach us about the three gunas, and their functions. You, Arjuna, must overcome the three gunas. You must be free from the pairs of opposites. Poise your mind in tranquillity. Take care neither to acquire nor to hoard. Be established in the consciousness of the Atman, always. (Sri Krishna in BG, 40.)

A man is said to have transcended the gunas when he does not hate the light of sattwa, or the activity of rajas, or even the delusion of tamas, while these prevail; and yet does not long for them after they have ceased. He is like one who sits unconcerned, and is not disturbed by the gunas. He knows that they are the doers of all actions, and never loses this power of discrimination. ... He who worships me with unfaltering love transcends these gunas. He becomes fit to reach union with Brahman. (Sri Krishna in BG, 109-10.)

He who worships me with unfaltering love transcends these gunas. He becomes fit to reach union with Brahman. (Sri Krishna in BG, 110.)

How hard to break through
Is this, my Maya,
Made of the gunas!
But he who takes refuge
Within me only
Shall pass through Maya:
He, and no other.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 72.)

When the dweller in the body
Has overcome the gunas
That cause this body,
Then he is made free
From birth and death,
From pain and decay:
He becomes immortal.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 109.)

He who seeks freedom,
Thrusts fear aside,
Thrusts aside anger
And puts off desire:
Truly that man
Is made free for ever.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 62.)

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.)

He who has attained God ... becomes like a child. A child has no attachment to the three gunas -- sattva, rajas, and tamas. He becomes as quickly detached from a thing as he becomes attached to it. You can cajole him out of a cloth worth five rupees with a doll worth an anna. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 171.)

Under the spell of maya man forgets his true nature. He forgets that he is heir to the infinite glories of his Father. This divine maya is made up of the trhee gunas. And all three are robbers; for they rob man of all his treasures and make him forget his true nature. The three gunas are sattva, rajas, and tamas. Of these, sattva alone points the way to God. But even sattva cannot take a man to God. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 218.)

Brahman is beyond the three gunas. It is beyond Prakriti. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 267.)

It is extremely difficult to go beyond the three gunas. One cannot reach that state without having realized God. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 269.)

None of the three gunas can reach Truth; they are like robbers, who cannot come to a public place for fear of being arrested. …

Listen to a story. Once a man was going through a forest, when three robbers fell upon him and robbed him of all his possessions. One of the robbers said, “What's the use of keeping this man alive?” So saying, he was about to kill him with his sword, when the second robber interrupted him, saying, “Oh no! What is the use of killing him? Tie him hand and foot and leave him here.” The robbers bound his hand and feet and went away. After a while the third robber returned to the man: “Ah, I am sorry. Are you hurt? I will release you from your bonds.” After setting the man free, the thief said: “Come with me. I will take you to the public highway.” After a long time they reached the road. Then the robber said: “Follow this road. Over there is your house.” At this the man said: “Sir, you have been very good to me. Come with me to my house.” “Oh no!” the robber replied. “I can't go there. The police will know it.”

This world itself is the forest. The three robbers prowling here are sattva, rajas, and tamas. It is they who rob a man of the Knowledge of Truth. Tamas wants to destroy him. Rajas binds him to the world. But sattva rescues him from the clutches of rajas and tamas. Under the protection of sattva, man is rescued from anger, passion, and the other evil effects of tamas. Further, sattva loosens the bonds of the world. But sattva also is a robber. It cannot give him the ultimate Knowledge of Truth, though it shows him the road leading to the Supreme Abode of God. Setting him on the path, sattva tells him: “Look yonder. There is your home.” Even sattva is far away from the Knowledge of Brahman. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 267-8.

The Gunas - Transcend them and be enlightened - A Buddhist description of the process

The three realms are greed, anger and delusion. (1) To leave the three realms means to go from greed, anger and delusion back to morality, meditation and wisdom. (2) (Bodhidharma in ZTB, 23.)

(1) Greed and anger represent the impact of rajas and delusion represents the impact of tamas.
(2) I.e., sila, samadhi, and panna.

Greed is the realm of desire, anger the realm of form and delusion the formless realm. When a thought begins you enter the three realms. The beginning or end of the three realms, the existence or non-existence of anything depends on the mind. This applies to everything, even to such inanimate objects as rocks and sticks. (Bodhidharma in ZTB, 26.)

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 Gunas - How to use them for transcendence

What is this vision like? How is it attained? How will one see this immense beauty that dwells, as it were, in inner sanctuaries and comes not forward to be seen by the profane?

Let him who can arise, withdraw into himself, forego all that is known by the eyes, turn aside forever from the bodily beauty that was once his joy. He must not hanker after the graceful shapes that appear in bodies, but know them for copies, for traceries, for shadows, and hasten away towards that which they bespeak. ... Withdraw into yourself and look. ... 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, this 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.... Have you become like this? Do you see yourself, abiding within yourself, in pure solitude? Does nothing now remain to shatter that interior unity, nor anything cling to your authentic self? Are you entirely that sole true light which is not contained by 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? Then you have become vision itself. Be of good heart. Remaining here you have ascended aloft. You need a guide no longer. Strain and see. (Plotinus in EP, 40-3.)

The Gunas – Tamas (Ignorance, delusion, slothfulness) - Synoptic descriptions of Tamas

Tamas … destroys. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 219.)

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

Tamas is the veiling-power that hides the true nature of a thing and makes it appear as other than what it really is. The influence of tamas is seen, in man, in his ignorance, lassitude, dullness, inadvertence, and stupidity. When tamas predominates over sattva and rajas, he goes to sleep or remains inactive. It deprives a man of right judgement or definite belief and subjects him to doubt and uncertainty. After tamas has veiled the true nature of the Self, rajas exerts its projecting-power and creates the many fantasies that constitute an unenlightened man's practical life. And alas, even scholars well versed in philosophy cannot escape its hypnotic spell. It is the mother of delusion. (Nikhilananda, "Introduction" to SK, 66-7.)

The Gunas - How Tamas manifests

When the conscience is so thickly wrapped in ignorance that it mistakes wrong for right and sees everything distorted, then it has the nature of tamas. (Sri Krishna in BG, 124.)

As for the determination inspired by tamas, it is nothing but obstinacy. It makes a man stubbornly refuse to shake off his dullness, fear, grief, low spirits or vanity. (Sri Krishna in BG, 124.)

Men of tamas take a perverse pleasure in foods which are stale, tasteless, rotten and impure. They like to eat the leavings of others. (Sri Krishna in BG, 117.)

If a man, in his ignorance, renounces those actions which the scriptures ordain, his renunciation is inspired by tamas. (Sri Krishna in BG, 120.)

When the givers of the sacrifice are inspired by tamas, they disregard the scriptural injunctions: there is no food-offering, no prayer of dedication, no gift to the chief priest, and no faith at all. (Sri Krishna in BG, 118.)

Men of tamas ... worship the spirits of the dead, and make gods of the ghosts of their ancestors. (Sri Krishna in BG, 117.)

When the mind is dark,
Bewildered, slothful
And lost in delusion:
Know tamas prevailing.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 108.)

Truly, ignorance is all
The fruit of tamas.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 108.)

The act undertaken
In the hour of delusion
Without count of cost,
Squandering strength and treasure,
Heedless of harm to another,
By him who does not question
His power to perform it:
That act is of tamas.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 123.)

The indifferent doer
Whose heart is not in his deed,
Stupid and stubborn,
A cheat, and malicious,
The idle lover of delay,
Easily dejected:
He is a man of tamas.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 124.)

He who dies in tamas will return
To the womb of a dullard.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 108.)

Sunk in tamas,
His lowest nature,
He sinks to the underworld.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 109.)

Bred of tamas
Is brutish contentment
In stupor and sloth
And obstinate error:
Its end, its beginning
Alike are delusion.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 125.)

The power of tamas
Enslaves the deluded
And darkens their judgment.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 107.)

Tamas the ignorant
Bewilders all men:
Tamas will bind you
With bonds of delusion,
Sluggishness, stupor.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 107.)

They who even after a thousand births are still in darkness, unawakened, are known as beings of darkness (tamas). They may take a long time to reach liberation. (Sage Vasistha, CYV, 94.)

Failure to perceive the actual object, seeing something as different from what it really is, vacillation of the mind, taking delusions for realities: these are the characteristics of tamas. As long as man is attached to tamas, he can never get free from them. (Shankara in CJD, 50.)

Tamas has these ... characteristics: ignorance, laziness, dullness, sleep, delusions and stupidity. A man who is under their influence cannot understand anything. He lives like a somnambulist, or an unconscious log of wood. (Shankara in CJD, 50.)

Tamas ... destroys. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 219.)

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

Pride and delusion come from tamas. ... Another characteristic of tamas is anger. Through anger one loses one's wits and cannot distinguish between right and wrong. ... Still another feature of tamas is lust. ... If you cannot get rid of temptation, direct it toward God. Be infatuated with God's beauty. If you cannot get rid of pride, then be proud to say that you are a servant of God, you are the child of God. Thus turn the six passions toward God.(Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 861.)

[In the physical world] tamas embodies solidity and resistance (a block of granite). (Usha, RVW, 34.)

[In the mind of man] tamas [expresses itself] as laziness, inertia, stupidity. (Usha, RVW, 34.)

The Gunas - Under the deluding influence of Tamas, we remain ignorant of our true nature

Tamas ... is the cause of man's continued subjection to the wheel of birth and death. (Shankara in CJD, 50.)

Tamas has the power of veiling the real nature of an object, making it appear other than it is. ... A man may be intelligent, clever, and learned. He may have the faculty of keen self-analysis. But, if he is overpowered by tamas, he cannot understand the true nature of the Atman, even though it may be clearly explained to him in various ways. He takes the appearance, which is the product of his ignorance, for the reality -- and so he becomes attached to delusions. This obscuring power of dreadful tamas is, alas, very great. (Shankara in CJD, 50.)

Man is in bondage because he mistakes what is non-Atman (1) for his real Self. This is caused by ignorance. (2) Hence follows the misery of birth and death. (Shankara in CJD, 54.)

(1) Not the Self.
(2) Tamas.

[From the standpoint of evolution] tamas is the obstacle to [the] realization [of the essence of the form]. (Usha, RVW, 34.)

The Gunas - Under the influence of Tamas, we cannot apprehend the light of our true nature

The Atman (1) is the light:
The light is covered by darkness:
This darkness is delusion: (2)
That is why we dream. (3)
(Sri Krishna in BG, 59.)

(1) The Child or soul.
(2) Tamas.
(3) Remain deluded.

And the light shineth in the darkness; (1) and the darkness comprehended it not. (John 1:5.)

(1) Tamas.

The Gunas - The night of Tamas will end when true knowledge dawns

The individual self, deluded by forgetfulness of his identity with the divine Self, bewildered by his ego, grieves and is sad. But when he recognizes his worshipful lord as his own true Self, and beholds his glory, he grieves no more. (UPAN, 47.)

Shake off this fever of ignorance. Stop hoping for worldly rewards. Fix your mind on the Atman. Be free from the sense of ego. Dedicate all your actions to me. (Sri Krishna in BG, 48.)

On the removal of ignorance, (1) the pure Self (2) will shine forth of Itself, like the sun after the dispersal of clouds. (Shankara translated by Sri Ramana Maharshi in CWRM, 186.)

(1) Tamas.
(2) The Child or soul.

Ignorance, (1) though beginningless, comes to an end when knowledge dawns. It is completely destroyed, root and all, like the dreams that vanish utterly when we wake. (Shankara in CJD, 65.)

(1) Tamas.

This false identification [of the Self] can be dispelled only by perfect knowledge. Perfect knowledge, according to the revealed scriptures, is the realization of the Atman as one with Brahman. (Shankara in CJD, 65.)

To know [Brahman], hidden in the lotus of the heart, is to untie the knot of ignorance. (UPAN, 45.)

The bondage [of tamas] cannot be broken by weapons, or by wind, or by fire, or by millions of acts. Nothing but the sharp sword of knowledge can cut through [it]. It is forged by discrimination and made keep by purity of heart, through divine grace. (Shankara in CJD, 56.)

When your heart is free from ... ignorance, there will no longer be any possibility of your rebirth. You will reach immortality. (Shankara in CJD, 59.)

The Gunas - Rajas (Passion, Dynamism, Energy, Activity) - Synoptic descriptions of Rajas

The deformation which enters in and prevents the purity, is a form of vital craving; the grand deformation which the psychic Prana contributes to our being, is desire. (1) The root of desire is the vital craving to seize upon that which we feel we have not, it is the limited life's instinct for possession and satisfaction. It creates the sense of want, - first the simpler vital craving of hunger, thirst, lust, then these psychical hungers, thirsts, lusts of the mind which are a much greater and more instant and pervading affliction of our being, the hunger which is infinite because it is the hunger of an infinite being, the thirst which is only temporarily lulled by satisfaction, but is in its nature insatiable. The psychic Prana invades the sensational mind and brings into it the unquiet thirst of sensations, invades the dynamic mind with the lust of control, having, domination, success, fulfilment of every impulse, fills the emotional mind with the desire for the satisfaction of liking and disliking, for the wreaking of love and hate, brings the shrinkings and panic of fear and the strainings and disappointments of hope, imposes the tortures of grief and the brief fevers and excitements of joy, makes the intelligence into a partial, a stumbling and an eager pursuer of limited, impatient, militant prejudgments and opinion. Desire is the root of all sorrow, disappointment, affliction, for though it has a feverish joy of pursuit and satisfaction, yet because it is always a straining of the being, it carries into its pursuit and its getting a labour, hunger, struggle, a rapid subjection to fatigue, a sense of limitation, dissatisfaction and early disappointment with all its gains, a ceaseless morbid stimulation, trouble, disquiet, asanti. To get rid of desire is the one firm indispensable purification of the psychical Prana, - for so we can replace the soul of desire with its pervading immiscence in all our instruments by a mental soul of calm delight and its clear and limpid possession of ourselves and world and Nature which is the crystal basis of the mental life and its perfection. (Sri Aurobindo, SOY, 629-30.)

(1) Rajas.

The principle trait of rajas is energy, and from it has emanated the "primal flow of activity". Through its power the phenomenal universe alternates between evolution and involution, manifestation of names and forms and their recession into the seed state. The visible effect of rajas, in a human being, for instance, is a ceaseless activity through which expression is given to ambition, lust, anger, avarice, arrogance, egotism, envy, pride, jealousy, and so forth. Under its influence a man becomes violently attached to the world. Rajas is the source of suffering. (Nikhilananda, "Introduction" to SK, 66.)

The Gunas - How Rajas manifests

Rajas ... inspires that kind of determination with which a man follows the object of his desire, or seeks wealth, or does a duty, looking for reward of personal advantage. (Sri Krishna in BG, 124.)

When the conscience cannot distinguish between right and wrong, or know what should and what should not be done, then it has the nature of rajas. (Sri Krishna in BG, 124.)

Men of rajas worship power and wealth. (Sri Krishna in BG, 117.)

Men of rajas prefer foods which are violently bitter, sour, salty, hot, pungent, acid and burning. These cause ill-health, and distemper of the mind and body. (Sri Krishna in BG, 117.)

You may be sure that the performance of sacrifice for outward show, and in the hope of divine reward, is inspired by rajas. (Sri Krishna in BG, 118.)

If [a man] abstains from any action merely because it is disagreeable, or because he fears it will cause him bodily pain, his renunciation is inspired by rajas. He will not obtain any spiritual benefit from such renunciation. (Sri Krishna in BG, 120.)

Senses ...
Have joy in their marriage
With things of the senses,
Sweet at first
But at last how bitter:
Steeped in rajas,
That pleasure is poison.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 125.)

The act of weary toil
Done in despite of nature
Under the whip of lust
And the will of the ego:
That act is of rajas.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 123.)

The doer with desire,
Hot for the prize of vainglory.
Brutal, greedy and foul,
In triumph too quick to rejoice,
In failure despairing:
He is a man of rajas.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 123.)

The power of rajas
Enslaves the doers.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 107.)

Of rajas, greed [is born]. (Sri Krishna in BG, 108.)

In greed, in the heat of action.
In eager enterprise,
In restlessness, in all desire,
Know rajas the ruler.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 108.)

Rajas the passionate
Will make you thirsty
For pleasure and possession:
Rajas will bind you
To hunger for action.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 107.)

As for the deeds of rajas,
Pain is their fruit.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 108.)

Remaining in rajas,
In this world he remains.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 109.)

He who dies in rajas
Will be reborn
Among those whose bondage is action.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 108.)

The wind turns a ship
From its course upon the waters:
The wandering winds of the senses
Cast man's mind adrift
And turn his better judgment from its course.
When a man can still the senses
I call him illumined.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 43.)

The middling type [among creatures] are the ones who are full of the quality of dynamism and desire (rajas). When such people are lose enough to liberation that on their departure from this world they reach it, they have a mixture of rajas and satva. (Sage Vasistha, CYV, 94.)

Rajas has the power of projection: its nature is activity. Through its power, the phenomenal world, which is involved in Maya, begins to evolve. Attachment, desire and similar qualities are caused by its power, as are also grief and similar moods of the mind. (Shankara in CJD, 49.)

Lust, anger, greed, arrogance, jealousy, egotism, envy and other such vices are the worst characteristics of rajas. (1) When a man is overpowered by it, he attaches himself to worldly actions. Hence rajas is the cause of bondage. (Shankara in CJD, 50.)

(1) Passion; specifically, craving and aversion, desire and hatred.

So-called seekers after liberation, who lack the true spirit of renunciation, try, nevertheless, to cross the ocean of this world. The shark of craving catches them by the throat, and drags them violently from their course, and they are drowned mid-way.

Yielding to the power of rajas, he identifies himself with the many motions and changes of the mind. Therefore he is swept hither and thither, now rising, now falling, now sinking, in the boundless ocean of birth and death, whose waters are full of the poison of sense-objects. This is indeed a miserable fate. (Shankara in CJD, 55.)

He who has killed the shark of sense-craving with the sword of true dispassion, crosses the ocean of this world without meeting any obstacle. (Shankara in CJD, 44.)

Only he who is free from the horrible trap of craving for sense-enjoyment, so hard to renounce, is ready for liberation -- and no other, even though he may be schooled in the six systems of philosophy. (Shankara in CJD, 44.)

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.)

Men with rajas entangle themselves in many activities. Such a man has clothes all spic 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.)

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

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.)

A restless mind must have a changing variety of expressions and actions, it must be occupied; it must have ever-increasing sensations, passing interests. (Krishnamurti, COL, 1, 13.)

Rajas embodies the active principle (an erupting volcano). (Usha, RVW, 34.)

[In the mind of man] rajas [expresses itself] as activity, passion, and restlessness. (Usha, RVW, 34.)

The Gunas - The two faces of Rajas: craving and aversion

The rajo-guna has two faces,
Rage and lust: the ravenous, the deadly:
Recognize these: they are your enemies.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 48-9.)

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.)

It is not lust (1) alone that one should be afraid of in the life of the world. There is also anger. Anger arises when obstacles are placed in the way of desire. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 247.)

(1) Craving.
(2) Aversion, in this case to opposition.

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.)

The Gunas - The ego arises with rajasic desire – See Desire – Desire creates the dualistic experiencer

The Gunas - When Tamas is present, Rajas redoubles its attack

The veil of tamas hides the true nature of the Atman, just as an eclipse hides the rays of the sun.

When the pure rays of the Atman are thus concealed, the deluded man identifies himself with his body, which is non-Atman. Then rajas, which has the power of projecting illusory forms, afflicts him sorely. It binds him with chains of lust, anger and the other passions. (Shankara in CJD, 54.)

When the Atman is enveloped in the thick darkness of tamas, the terrible power of rajas attacks the deluded man with all kinds of sorrows. (Shankara in CJD, 55.)

Rajas and Tamas ramify each other

The delusion (1) that this relative world is real ... delusion arises from their own desire and hatred. (2) (Sri Krishna in BG, 73-4.)

(1) Tamas.
(2) Rajas. Thus tamas arises from rajas.

Tamas ... also makes possible the power of rajas. (Shankara in CJD, 50.)

As long as man is attached to tamas, he can never get free.... And rajas, also, will trouble him without ceasing. (Shankara in CJD, 50.)

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.)

Wherever desire and ego harbour, passion and disturbance harbour with them and share their life. (Sri Aurobindo, SOY, 225.)

Nonetheless, rajas can be used to win freedom from Tamas [From the standpoint of evolution] rajas is the power by which the obstacle [to the realization of the essence of the form] (1) is removed. (Usha, RVW, 34.)

(1) Tamas.

The spiritual aspirant must overcome tamas by rajas. (Usha, RVW, 34.)

The Gunas - Sattwa (Equipoise, tranquillity, peace) - Synoptic descriptions of Sattwa

The first and foremost among ... creatures are born of noble practices. They are naturally good and devoted to good deeds. They reach liberation in a few lifetimes. They are full of the quality of purity and light (satva). (Sage Vasistha, CYV, 94.)

Sattwa, when mixed with the other gunas, has these characteristics: absence of pride, purity, contentment, austerity, a desire to study the scriptures, self-surrender to God, harmlessness, truthfulness, continence, freedom from greed, faith, devotion, longing for liberation, aversion to the things of this world, and other virtues that lead toward God. (Shankara in CJD, 51.)

Among men, God manifests Himself more clearly in those devotees who are sattvic, in those who have no desire to enjoy [the objects of lust and greed]. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 321.)

Sattva is the giver of happiness and is the real friend of man in his effort to realize Truth. It manifests itself, in man, as humility, guilelessness, self-control, unselfishness, purity, contentment, truthfulness, fearlessness, faith, devotion, yearning for Liberation, and other similar spiritual attributes. When sattva predominates, a man feels detached with respect to the world, lessens his physical activities, intensifies his contemplation, and strives in various ways to attain peace and blessedness. Through the cultivation of sattva, both rajas and tamas are kept under control. (Nikhilananda, "Introduction" to SK, 67.)

The Gunas - How Sattwa manifests...

... In the physical realm Sattwa preserves. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 267.)

In the physical world, sattva embodies what is pure and fine (e.g., sunlight). (Usha, RVW, 34.)

From the standpoint of evolution, sattva is the essence of the form to be realized. (Usha, RVW, 34.)

... In the psychological realm Determination inspired by sattwa never wavers. It is strengthened by the practice of yoga. A man who has this kind of determination gains absolute control over his mind, vital energy and senses. (Sri Krishna in BG, 124.)

When understanding
Shines in through the senses,
The doors of the body:
Know sattva is present.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 108.)

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

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 the social realm Men of sattwa like foods which increase their vital force, energy, strength and health. Such foods add to the pleasure of physical and mental life. They are juicy, soothing, fresh and agreeable. (Sri Krishna in BG, 117.)

P>The act of sacred duty,
Done without attachment,
Not as pleasure desired,
Not as hated compulsion,
By him who has no care
For the fruit of his action:
That act is of sattwa.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 123.)

The doer without desire,
Who does not boast of his deed,
Who is ardent, enduring,
Untouched by triumph,
In failure untroubled:
He is a man of sattwa.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 123.)

Who knows the Atman
Knows that happiness
Born of pure knowledge:
The joy of sattwa.
Deep his delight
After strict self-schooling:
Sour toil at first
But at last what sweetness,
The end of sorrow.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 125.)

... In the spiritual realm Sattwa the shining
Can show the Atman
By its pure light:
Yet sattwa will bind you
To search for happiness,
Longing for knowledge.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 107.)

... Or results In

Fruit of the righteous act
Is sattwa, purest joy.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 108.)

The man who meets death
In the hour of sattwa
Goes to a sinless home
Among the saints of God.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 108.)

Abiding in sattwa,
Man goes to higher realms.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 109.)

They who are of a pure (satvika) nature and they whose activities ... are based on purity and light (satva) do not live their life mechanically, but inquire into the origin and nature of this world-appearance. (Sage Vasistha, CYV, 161.)

Sattwa in its pure state has the following characteristics: tranquillity, direct perception of the Atman, absolute peace, contentment, joy and steady devotion to the Atman. Through these, the seeker tastes everlasting bliss. (Shankara in CJD, 51.)

Men whose temperament is dominated by sattwa, worship God, in His various aspects. (Sri Krishna in BG, 117.)

Of sattwa, knowledge is born. (Sri Krishna in BG, 108.)

A man's conscience has the nature of sattwa when it can distinguish between the paths of renunciation and worldly desire. Then it knows what actions are right or wrong, what is safe and what is dangerous, what binds the embodied spirit and what sets it free. (Sri Krishna in BG, 124.)

When a man performs an action which is sanctioned by the scriptures, and does it for duty's sake only, renouncing all attachment and desire for its fruits, then his renunciation is inspired by sattwa. (Sri Krishna in BG, 120.)

When men offer sacrifice in accordance with scriptural injunctions, and do not desire any advantage for themselves, they are inspired by sattwa. Their hearts are set upon the sacrifice, for its own sake. An inner sense of duty impels them. (Sri Krishna in BG, 117-8) He who has taken birth for the last time now, is endowed with a mixture of light (satva) and a little impurity (rajas). Right from birth he grows in holiness. The nobler type of knowledge enters into him with ease. All the noble qualities like friendliness, compassion, wisdom, goodness and magnanimity seek him and take their abode in him. He performs all appropriate actions, but is not swayed if their results appear to be gain or loss; nor does he feel elated or depressed. His heart is clear. He is much sought after by the people. Such a one is full of all the noble qualities, seeks and follows an enlightened master, who directs him along the path of self-knowledge. He then realizes the self, which is the one cosmic being. Such a liberated one awakens the inner intelligence, which has been asleep so far, and this awakened intelligence instantly knows itself to be the infinite consciousness. Becoming constantly aware of the inner light, such a blessed one instantly ascends into the utterly pure state. (Sage Vasistha, CYV, 163-4.)

The mind of the knower of truth is no-mind: it is pure satva. After living with such no-mind for some time, there arises the state known as turiya-atita (the state beyond the transcendental, or the turiya, state). (Sage Vasistha, CYV, 306.)

The state of mind of the liberated ones who are still living and who see both the supreme truth and the relative appearance, is known as satva (transparency). It is improper to call it the mind: it is really satva. These knowers of truth are mindless and are in a state of perfect equilibrium; they live their life here playfully. They behold the inner light all the time, even though they seem to be engaged in diverse actions. Concepts of duality, unity or such others do not arise in them, for there are no tendencies in their heart. The very seed of ignorance is burnt in the state of satva and it does not again rise to delusion. (Sage Vasistha, CYV, 260-1.)

Their mind has fully entered the state of satva or divinity and was therefore utterly free from delusion, from egoistic notion ('I do this') and from the desire for achievement -- though they did not reject such achievement or the rewards for their actions. They did not indulge in vain exultation when they defeated their enemies, nor did they give way to despair and grief when they were defeated. They were engaged in natural activities, allowing all actions to proceed from them non-volitionally. (Sage Vasistha, CYV, 275.)

Such a [sattwic] mind ... is untouched by sins like greed and delusion, even under the worst provocation. Virtues like delight (in the prosperity of others) do not leave the person whose ego-sense has been dissolved. The knots of mental conditioning and tendencies are cut asunder. Anger is greatly attenuated and the delusion becomes ineffective. Desire becomes powerless. Greed flees. The senses function on an even keel, neither getting excited nor depressed. Even if pleasure and pain are reflected on his face, they do not agitate the mind, which regards them all as insignificant. The heart rests in equanimity. (Sage Vasistha, CYV, 410-11.)

Sattwa is purity. Even when it is mixed with rajas and tamas, as water is mixed with water, it lights the way to liberation. Sattwa reveals the Atman as the sun reveals the objective world. (Shankara, CJD, 50-1.)

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

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

A devotee who possesses [sattwa] meditates on God in absolute secret, perhaps inside his mosquito net. Others think he is asleep. Since he is late in getting up, they think perhaps he has not slept well during the night. His love for the body goes only as far as appeasing his hunger, and that only by means of rice and simple greens. There is no elaborate arrangement about his meals, no luxury in clothes, and no display of furniture. Besides, such a devotee never flatters anybody for money. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 146.)

No sooner does a man develop pure sattva than he realizes God, through His grace. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 895.)

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.)

Ordinary people cannot understand pure sattva. He once said to me: 'Well, priest! The goal of a man's life is to acquire name and fame in the world. Isn't that true?' (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 895.)

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. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 219.)

In the mind of man, sattva expresses itself as calmness and purity. (Usha, RVW, 34.)

The Gunas - The potential problem with Sattwa

The power of sattwa
Enslaves the happy.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 107.)

An exclusive resort to Sattwa would seem to be the way of escape [from rajas and tamas]; but there is this difficulty that no one of the qualities can prevail by itself against its two companions and rivals. ... A quiet peace, happiness, knowledge, love, right sentiment can be provided by the principle of light, (1) but, if Rajas is absent or completely suppressed, the quiet in the soul tends to become a tranquillity of inaction, not the firm ground of a dynamic change. Ineffectively right-thinking, right-doing, good, mild and even, the nature may become in its dynamic parts Sattwa-tamasic, neutral, pale-tinted, uncreative or emptied of power. Mental and moral obscurity may be absent, but so are the intense springs of action, and this is a hampering limitation and another kind of incompetence. For Tamas is a double principle; it contradicts Rajas by inertia; it contradicts Sattwa by narrowness, obscurity and ignorance and, if either is depressed, it pours in to occupy its place. (Sri Aurobindo, SOY, 225.)

The Gunas - Transcending them

Sattwa must be transcended as well as Rajas and Tamas, the golden chain must be broken no less than the leaden fetters and the bond-ornaments of a mixed alloy. The Gita prescribes to this end a new method of self-discipline. It is to stand back in oneself from the action of the modes and observe this unsteady flux as the Witness seated above the surge of the forces of Nature. He is the one who watches but is impartial and indifferent, aloof from them on their own level and in his native posture high above them. As they rise and fall in their waves, the Witness looks, observes, but neither accepts nor for the moment interferes with their course. First there must be the freedom of the impersonal Witness; afterwards there can be the control of the Master, the Ishwara.

... The detached Witness ... perceives the ego to be nothing better than a device and ... perceiving it, he is delivered from the illusion of the lower egotistic Nature. ... Thus convinced and conscious of the essential vice of the ego-sense in all our personal action, he seeks no longer to find a means of self-correction and self-liberation in the rajasic or sattwic ego but looks above, beyond the instruments and the workings of Nature, to the Master of works alone and his supreme Shakti, the supreme Prakriti. There alone all the being is pure and free and the rule of a divine Truth possible.

... Observing and unmoved by the grief and desire of the lower members, smiling at their joys and their strainings, ... uncompelled and unattached to the mind's illuminations and its relief and sense of ease or of power in the return of light and gladness, it throws itself into none of these things, but waits unmoved for the intimations of a higher Will and the intuitions of a greater luminous knowledge. Thus doing always, it becomes eventually free even in its dynamic parts from the strife of the three modes and their insufficient values and imprisoning limits.

[Finally] ... the intelligence, the thinking, understanding and reflective mind, renounces its sattwic limitations and opens to an essential light and peace. An infinite knowledge offers to us its splendid ranges, a knowledge not made up of mental constructions, not bound by opinion and idea or dependent on a stumbling uncertain logic and the petty support of the senses, but self-sure, authentic, all-penetrating, all-comprehending, a boundless bliss and peace.... A higher force, bliss and knowledge from a source beyond mind and life and body seize on them to remould in a diviner image. (Sri Aurobindo, SOY, 226-8.)

The Guru

Do you know what the guru is? He is like a matchmaker. A matchmaker arranges for the union of the bride with the bridgegroom. Likewise, a guru prepares for the meeting of the individual soul with his Beloved, the Divine Spirit. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in TLWG, 270.)

The Guru (or Preceptor) is the living embodiment of scriptural truths and is the agent of salvation appointed by God in response to a devotee's demands for release from all bondage of matter. (Paramanansa Yogananda, SCC, 1, 8.)

Hence, the first requisite in your spiritual path lies not entirely in going to church services and being a passive member, satisfied merely with listening to sermons, but also in finding your spiritual Guru who will lead you as far along the spiritual path as you wish to go. Having found him, follow him closely, obey him with intelligent devotion, and practice what he teaches you: thus ultimately you will attain your highest goal. (Paramahansa Yogananda, SCC, 1, 11.)

It is more easy to follow a living, breathing, talking man (who lives truth) than a mute scripture. If a saint has reached his goal, whether by the shorter Yoga route, or by the longwinded spiritual-prayer way, he experiences actual self-realization. Anyone following him certainly would reach the goal by using either method. (Paramahansa Yogananda, SCC, 1, 9.)

My Master once said to me: "I will be your friend from now until Eternity, no matter whether you are on the lowest mental plane or on the highest plane of wisdom. I will be your friend if ever you should err, for then you will need my friendship more than at any other time." (Paramahansa Yogananda, SCC, 1, 6.)

The Guru - Meaning of the term

The Guru Gita explains the word guru: gu means “darkness or ignorance”; ru means “destroyer.” He or she who destroys or removes the ignorance of the disciple is a guru. (Swami Chetanananda in GLWT, 114.)

Guru - spiritual teacher; from the Sanskrit guru, "to raise, to uplift." (Paramahansa Yogananda, SCC, 1, 5n.)

The Guru - God is the true Guru

In you [the Atman] ... We find the guru. (Shankara in CJD, i.)

The Guru is all in all. There is no one higher than the Guru. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in SGS, 20.)

God is the Inner Guide. He sees the longing of our heart and the yearning of our soul. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 112.)

Before you came here, you didn’t know who you were. Now you will know. It is God who, as the guru, makes one know. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 359.)

He who is the Lord of the Universe will teach everyone. He alone teaches us, who has created this universe; who has made the sun and the moon, men and beasts, and all other beings; who has provided means fro their sustenance; who has given children parents and endowed them with love to bring them up. The Lord has done so many things – will He not show people the way to worship Him? If they need teaching, then He will be the Teacher. He is our Inner Guide. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 80.)

One must not look on one’s guru as a mere human being: it is Satchidananda Himself who appears as the guru. When the disciple has the vision of the Ishta, through the guru’s grace, he finds the guru merging in Him. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 1016.)

It is Satchidananda that comes to us in the form of the guru. If a man is initiated by a human guru, he will not achieve anything if he regards his guru as a mere man. The guru should be regarded as the direct manifestation of God. Only then can the disciple have faith in the mantra given by the guru. Once a man has faith he achieves all. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 292.)

Satchidananda Himself is the Guru. At the end of the sava-sadhana, just when the vision of the Ishta is about to take place, the Guru appears before the aspirant and says to him, 'Behold! There is your Ishta!' Saying this, the Guru merges in the Ishta. He who is the Guru is also the Ishta. The Guru is the thread that leads to God. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 184.)

Satchidananda alone is the Guru. If a man in the form of a guru awakens spiritual consciousness in you, then know for certain that it is God the Absolute who has assumed that human form for your sake. The guru is like a companion who leads you by the hand. After the realization of God, one loses the distinction between the guru and the disciple. … The relationship between them remains as long as the disciple does not see God. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 217.)

The Guru - Only the enlightened can become gurus

Only if the guru himself has attained Perfect Knowledge can he show they way. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 346.)

He who receives authority from God also receives power from Him. Only then can he perform the difficult task of a teacher. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 168.)

Dive deep. Plunge to the bottom and gather up the gems. Then you may do other things. But nobody wants to plunge. People are without spiritual discipline and prayer, without renunciation and dispassion. They learn a few words and immediately start to deliver lectures. It is difficult to teach others. Only if a man gets a command from God, after realizing Him, is he entitled to teach. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 125-6.)

People won't listen to you without such authority. Such teaching has no force behind it. One must first of all attain God through spiritual discipline or some other means. Thus armed with authority from God, one can deliver lectures. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 168.)

He who receives authority from God also receives power from Him. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 168.)

After the realization of God one obtains an inner vision. Only then can one diagnose a person's spiritual malady and give instruction.

Without the commission from God, a man becomes vain. He says to himself, 'I am teaching people.' This vanity comes from ignorance, for only an ignorant person feels that he is the doer. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 142.)

A master [is] one who has realized himself as the omnipresent soul, not the body or ego. (Paramahansa Yogananda, AY, 106.)

[A] Master [is] ... one knowing his dominion over the Cosmos. (Paramahansa Yogananda, SCC, 1, 6n.)

Only he who is enlightened and annointed by the Divine Spirit can be a Master. He who is not enlightened by the Divine Spirit does not have the right to teach others, because he will violate the Divine law. (Beinsa Douno, MAS, 84.)

The Guru - What is a genuine Guru like?

And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated.

And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face. (Deuteronomy 34:7-8.)

The signs of a Guru are as follows: his eyes are still and unwinking whenever he wants them to be so; by the practice of Yoga his breath is quiet without his forcibly holding it in his lungs; his mind is calm without effort. If a man has eyelids that blink continually, and lungs acting like bellows all the time, and a mind always restless like a butterfly, and he keeps on telling you he is in cosmic consciousness, laugh at him. Just as a man cannot pretend that he is sleeping while he continues to run, so one with restless eyes, breath, and mind cannot convince you, who know better, that he is in cosmic consciousness. Just as sleep manifests in the body by certain physiological changes, so the muscles, eyes, breath, all usually become still during cosmic consciousness. (Paramahansa Yogananda, SCC, 1, 9.)

In meditation I would often see his photographic image emerge from its frame and, taking living form, sit before me. When I attempted to touch the feet of his luminous body, it would change become the picture. As childhood slipped into boyhood, I found Lahiri Mahasaya transformed in my mind from a little image, cribbed in a frame, to a living, enlightening presence. I frequently prayed to him in moments of trial or confusion, finding within me his solacing direction.

At first I grieved because he was no longer physically living. As I began to discover his secret omnipresence, I lamented no more. (Paramahansa Yogananda, AY, 7.)

His eyes, half open to denote a nominal interest in the outer world, are also half closed, indicating his absorption in inner bliss. Oblivious of the poor lures of the earth, he was fully awake at all times to the spiritual problems of seekers who approached for his bounty. (Paramahansa Yogananda speaking of Lahiri Mahasaya, his guru's guru in AY, 8-9.)

The silence habitual of Sri Yukteswar was caused by his deep perceptions of the Infinite. No time remained for the interminable "revelations" that occupy the days of teachers without Self-realization. A saying from the Hindu scriptures is: "In shallow men the fish of little thoughts cause much commotion. In oceanic minds the whales of inspiration make hardly a ruffle." (Paramahansa Yogananda of his guru, Sri Yukteswar Giri, in AY, 115.)

I often reflected that my majestic Master could easily have been an emperor or a world-shaking warrior had his mind been centred on fame or worldly achievement. He had chosen instead to storm those inner citadels of wrath and egotism whose fall is the height of a man. (Paramahansa Yogananda of his guru, Sri Yukteswar Giri, in AY, 132.)

Always one with the Lord, [Sri Yukteswar] needed no separate time for communion. A Self-realized master has already left behind the stepping-stone of meditation. "The flower falls when the fruit appears." But saints often cling to spiritual forms in order to set an example for disciples. (Paramahansa Yogananda, AY, 107.)

Quiet evening hours often brought one of my guru's discourses: treasures against time. [Sri Yukteswar's] every utterance was chiselled by wisdom. A sublime self-assurance marked his mode of expression: it was unique. He spoke as none other in my experience ever spoke. His thoughts were weighed in a delicate balance of discrimination before he permitted them the outward garb of speech. The essence of truth, all-pervasive with even a physiological aspect, came from him like a fragrant exudation of the soul. I was conscious always that I was in the presence of a living manifestation of God. The weight of his divinity automatically bowed my head before him. (Paramahansa Yogananda, AY, 107.)

I always thrilled at the touch of Sri Yukteswar's holy feet. A disciple is spiritually magnetized by reverent contact with a master; a subtle current is generated. The devotee's undesirable habit-mechanisms in the brain are often as if cauterized; the grooves of his worldly tendencies are beneficially disturbed. Momentarily at least he may find the secret veils of maya lifting, and glimpse the reality of bliss. My whole body responded with a liberating glow whenever I knelt in the Indian fashion before my guru. (Paramahansa Yogananda, AY, 115.)

Speaking from my own experience, I can only say that [his] touch was like a cooling spring to a fevered body. It gave one an inner exaltation which could be felt but not described. (Swami Prabhavananda of Swami Brahmananda in EC, 59.)

The Guru - The Guru's powers

And Ahab rode, and went to Jezreel.

And the hand of the Lord was on Elijah; and he girded up his loins, and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel. (I Kings 18:45-6.)

And Elijah ... said to the captain of fifty, If I be a man of God, then let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty. And there came down fire from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty. (II Kings 1:10.)

And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together, and smote the waters, and they were divided hither and thither, so that [Elijah and Elishu] went over on dry ground. (II Kings 2:8.)

I have an ear hidden within my inmost soul, and with that hidden ear, I hear whenever a man breaks the girdle of doubt and polytheism and unbelief, and the sound of that breaking reaches the ear of my soul. (Mohammed in DR, 17.)

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

I can see inside [a man] through his eyes, as one can see the objects in a room through the glass door. (Paramahansa Ramakrsihna in GSR, 94.)

What shall I do with superhuman powers? Can one realize God through them? If God is not realized then everything becomes false. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 158.)

When Suresh had ... been at Quetta for some time, he felt a great hankering for initiation. He resolved to come to Calcutta and take his initiation from [Paramahansa Ramakrishna]. But when he came there, alas! the Light of Dakshineswar was about to flicker out. Suresh repented bitterly.... When Sri Ramakrishna passed away, he was in great grief and cursed his own fate. Since then every night he used to repair to the bank of the Ganges and sigh out his mental agony to the spirit of the holy river. Once he laid himself down on the bank with an austere vow. The whole night he was in the same posture. To his great astonishment, early in the morning before daybreak he saw Sri Ramakrishna coming out of the waters of the Ganges and approaching ... him. The Master came near him and uttered the holy Mantram into his ear. Suresh bowed down and wanted to take the dust from His feet, but lo! the holy figure had vanished. (Chakravarty, NAG, 57.)

[Swami] Brahmananda was a real guru. He had the power to impart samadhi, or illumination, to anybody. (Swami Chetanananda in GLWT, 114.)

A man of realization does not perform any miracle until he receives an inner sanction. ... God does not wish the secrets of His creation revealed promiscuously. (Sri Yukteswar Giri in Paramahansa Yogananda, AY, 114.)

Why are you stupified at all this? The subtle unity of the phenomenal world is not hidden from true yogis. I instantly see and converse with my disciples in distant Calcutta. They can similarly transcend at will ever obstacle of gross matter. (Paramahansa Yogananda, AY, 22.)

My guru, awake in God, knew this world to be nothing but an objectivized dream of the Creator. Because he was completely aware of his unity with the Divine Dreamer, Lahiri Mahasaya could materialize or dematerialize or make any other change he wished in the dream atoms of the phenomenal world.

Mark 11:24. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever you desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. (Paramahansa Yogananda, AY, 113.)

God-united masters are fully able to transfer their divine realizations to advanced disciples, as Lahiri Mahasaya did for Sri Yukteswar on this occasion. (Paramahansa Yogananda, AY, 113.)

Maharaj recognized his future disciples at first sight and bound them to him at once with an indescribable love. (Prabhavananda of Swami Brahmananda in EC, 64.)

The Guru - When the aspirant is ready, the Master appears

When the disciple is ready the Master is ready also. (Ascended Master, probably the Master Hilarion, channelling through Mabel Collins, LOP, 23.)

D. How is [the] Guru found?

M. God, who is immanent, in His Grace takes pity on the loving devotee and manifests Himself according to the devotee’s development. The devotee thinks that He is a man and expects a relationship as between two physical bodies. But the Guru, who is God or the Self Incarnate, works from within, helps the man to see the error of his ways and guides him in the right path until he realizes the Self within. (Sri Ramana Maharshi, MG, 37.)

Hari was soon caught in Sri Ramakrishna's love. He had found no other person who could so satisfy his spiritual longing, clear his doubts, guide his life and give him such affection. He felt he had received the greatest of blessings in obtaining Sri Ramakrishna as his teacher. Hari knew that, according to the scriptures, if a person is earnest in his spiritual life, the teacher comes to him. Now he saw that this was true. (Swami Ritajananda, ST, 20.)

There is a saying in the East that when the pupil is ready the Master appears. When you are spiritually ready the door will open. You will not have to ask. The door will open so wide that you will walk through it and the task will begin. (Silver Birch, GSB, 19-20.)

The Guru - Meeting the Master

"Merciful Mother of the Universe, teach me Thyself through visions, or through a guru sent by Thee!"

The passing hours found my sobbing pleas without response. Suddenly I felt lifted as though bodily to a sphere uncircumscribed.

"Thy Master cometh today!" A divine womanly Voice came from everywhere and nowhere. (Paramahansa Yogananda in AY, 88.)

I turned my head to survey a narrow, inconspicuous lane.

A Christlike man in the ochre robes of a swami stood motionless at the end of the lane. Instantly and anciently familiar he seemed; for a trice my gaze fed hungrily. Then doubt assailed me.

"You are confusing this wandering monk with someone known to you," I thought. "Dreamer, walk on."

After ten minutes, I felt heavy numbness in my feet. As though turned to stone, they were unable to carry me farther. Laboriously I turned around; my feet regained normality. I faced the opposite direction; again the curious weight oppressed me.

"The saint is magnetically drawing me to him!" With this thought, I heaped my parcels into the arms of [my friend]. He had been observing my erratic footwork with amazement, and now burst into laughter.

... Retracing my steps as though wing-shod, I reached the narrow lane. My quick glance revealed the quiet figure, steadily gazing in my direction. A few eager steps and I was at his feet.

"Gurudeva!" The divine face was the one I had seen in a thousand visions. These halcyon eyes, in a leonine head with pointed beard and flowing locks, had oft peered through the gloom of my nocturnal reveries, holding a promise I had not fully understood.

"O my own, you have come to me!" My guru uttered the words again and again in Bengali, his voice tremulous with joy. "How many years I have waited for you!" (AY, 88-9.)

"Gratefully I accept your authority in every detail of my life -- on one condition." [Yogananda said to his guru, Sri Yukteswar.]

"Yes?"

"That you promise to reveal God to me!"

An hour-long verbal tussle ensued. A master's word cannot be falsified; it is not lightly given. The implications in the pledge open out vast metaphysical vistas. A guru must be on intimate terms indeed with the Creator before he can obligate Him to appear. I sensed Sri Yukteswar's divine unity and was determined, as his disciple, to press my advantage.

"You are of an exacting disposition!" Then Master's consent rang out with compassionate finality:

"Let your wish be my wish."

A lifelong shadow lifted from my heart; the vague search, hither and yon, was over. I had found eternal shelter in a true guru. (Paramahansa Yogananda in AY, 102-3.)

When the real Guru ... and the real teaching is found, then the restless searching must cease. The thirsty one should not keep seeking wells, but should go to the best well and daily drink its nectar. (Paramahansa Yogananda, SCC, 1, 5.)

For those who stay in tune to the end, I or one of the other masters, will be there to usher them into the divine kingdom. (Yogananda in Kriyananda, PATH, 286.)

The Guru - The Guru teaches the nature of Reality and the path to knowledge of It

But others casting themselves down before my feet, besought me that they might be taught; but I, causing them to rise up, became a guide of mankind, teaching them the reasons how, and by what means they may be saved. And I sowed in them the Words of Wisdom, and nourished them with Ambrozian [sic] Water of Immortality. (Hermes, DPH, 16.)

[Buddha announces his mission:] I bring you great and good news. There is a way from the crushing miseries of this transitory life to real happiness, and it is open to all. But the way is hard, and there is no magical method of making it easy. It means strenuous and constant self-examination; it means renouncing all that you foolishly prize now -- your present self, in fact, with all the ignorant cravings and blind urges that make it what it is. No one can tread this path for you, neither god nor man; you must tread it for yourself. So begin now. (Buddha in TCB, 52.)

If one receives the guru's grace, one has nothing to fear. ... He will let you know who you are and what your real nature is.

If the devotee practises spiritual discipline a little, the guru explains everything to him. Then the disciple understands for himself what is real and what is unreal. God alone is real, and the world is illusory. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 232-3.)

All the knots of ignorance come undone in the twinkling of an eye, through the guru’s grace. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 298.)

The world is the field of action. Through action one acquires knowledge. The guru instructs the disciple to perform certain works and refrain from others. Again, he advises the pupil to perform action without desiring the result. The impurity of the mind if destroyed through the performance of duty. It is like getting rid of a disease by means of medicine, under the instruction of a competent physician. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 185.)

If the devotee practises spiritual discipline a little, the guru explains everything to him. Then the devotee understands for himself what is real and what is unreal. God alone is real, and the world is illusory. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 233.)

The Guru – The guru accepts the burden of the aspirant's sins

If I awaken their spiritual consciousness I shall have to accept the burden of their sins. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 970.)

The Guru – The guru transforms the aspirant physically and spiritually

The Lord Jesus Christ ... shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. (St. Paul in Philippians 3:20-1.)

[Yogananda to Ram Gopal:] "Sir, why don't you grant me a samadhi?"

"Dear one, I would be glad to convey the divine contact, but it is not my place to do so." The saint looked at me with half closed eyes. "Your master will bestow that experience on you shortly. Your body is not tuned just yet. As a small lamp-bulb would be shattered by excessive electrical voltage, so your nerves are unready for the cosmic current. If I gave you the infinite ecstasy right now, you would burn as though every cell were on fire." (Paramahansa Yognananda, AY, 138.)

After the body is clean, the soul should be baptized by wisdom, magnetism, spiritual tradition, or Holy Ghost (or holy, silent, ghost-like vibratory emanations from the preceptor). ... Jesus, with His Cosmic Aura, could baptize the souls of people with wisdom, and with Cosmic Vibratory Emanations. (Paramahansa Yogananda, SCC, 1, 87.

The Guru – Serving the guru is a blessing

[Sri Ramakrishna] said to M: “My legs are aching. Please stroke them gently.” Thus, out of his infinite compassion, the Master allowed his disciple to render him personal service. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 238.)

The Guru – The guru awakens the aspirant’s spirituality

The Master was still in an abstracted mood and said to Adhar, "My son, meditate on the Deity whose name you chanted." With these words he touched Adhar's tongue with his finger and wrote something on it. Did the Master thereby impart spirituality to Adhar? (Mahendranath Gupta in GSR, 273.)

Muttering something to himself, with his eyes fixed on me, he slowly drew near me.... In the twinkling of an eye, he placed his right foot on my body. At his touch, I had an entirely new experience. With my eyes wide open, I saw that the walls and everything else in the room were whirling around, vanishing into nothingness; the whole universe, together with my own individuality, was about to be lost in an all-encompassing, mysterious Void. I was terribly frightened and thought I must be facing death -- for the loss of my individuality meant nothing less than that to me. I couldn't control myself: I cried out, "What are you doing to me! I have my parents at home!" At this, he laughed aloud. Stroking my chest, he said, "All right, that's enough for now. Everything will come in time." The wonderful thing was, as soon as he'd said that, the whole experience came to an end. I was myself again. And everything inside and outside the room was just as it had been before." (Swami Vivekananda in TSV, xxv.)

Sri Yukteswar chose the following morning to grant me Kriya Yoga initiation. The technique I had already received from two disciples of Lahiri Mahasaya -- Father and my tutor, Swami Kebalananda. But Master possessed a transforming power; at his touch a great light broke upon my being, like the glory of countless suns blazing together. A flood of ineffable bliss overwhelmed my heart to an innermost core. (Paramahansa Yogananda, AY, 105.)

The Guru – The guru leads the aspirant to enlightenment

When he nodded at me, I beheld in my mind the Light..., and the truly indefinite (1) ornament or world; ... the Fire is comprehended or contained in ... a great moist Power, (2) and constrained to keep its station. (3) (Hermes, DPH, 9.)

(1) Illusory
(2) The Mother
(3) I.e., it exists as an island in the Father's ocean of Bliss.

I shall explain Righteousness so that you may be perfected and see the Light. (Zarathustra in GZ, 182.)

And Moses ... gathered the seventy men of the elders of the people, and set them round about the tabernacle.

And the Lord came down in a cloud, and spake unto him, and took of the spirit that was upon [Moses], and gave it unto the seventy elders: (1) and it came to pass that, when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease. (Numbers 11:24-5.)

(1) There was certainly no need for the Lord to take of His own Spirit, which was upon Moses, and give it to the elders; He could have given the Spirit directly to them. To work in this manner probably validated the tradition of master/successor which Moses was later to observe in laying hands on Joshua.

And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him. (Deuteronomy 34:9.)

And the Lord said, Arise, anoint him: for this is he.

Then Samu-el took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward. So Samu-el rose up, and went to Ramah. (I Samuel 16:12-3.)

I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire. (John the Baptist in Matthew 3:11.)

Jesus said: I will give you what eye has not seen and what ear has not heard and what hand has not touched and [what] has not arisen in the heart of man. (1) (Jesus in GATT, 13.)

(1) The Atman or Self cannot be seen by the eye, heard by the ear, touched by the hand, or arise in the heart of an unenlightened mortal. Jesus, as Guru, promises to give illumination to his disciples.

For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.

Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom. (Jesus in Matthew 16:27-8.)

For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. (Jesus in Matthew 24:27.)

They shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. (Jesus in Matthew 24:30.)

Then shall the King (1) say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. (Jesus in Matthew 25:34.)

(1) I.e., Jesus.

All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him. (Jesus in Luke 10:22.)

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name. (John 1:12.)

I go to prepare a place for you.

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. (Jesus in John 14:2-3.)

And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, (1) and your joy no man taketh from you. (2) And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. (3) (Jesus in John 16:22-3.)

(1) Because you will experience Self-Knowledge.
(2) The experience will be lasting.
(3) Because there will be nothing left to realize; everything will be known.

I will pray to the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;

Even the Spirit of truth; (1) whom the world cannot receive. (Jesus in John 14:16-7.)

(1) The Holy Spirit or Universal Mother.

And ... [Jesus] breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost. (John 20:22.)

I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. (1) (Jesus in Revelation 21:6.)

Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. (Jesus in Revelation 2:10.)

To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saveth he that receiveth it. (Jesus in Revelation 2:17.)

He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death. (1) (Jesus in Revelation 2:11.)

(1) Self-Knowledge, with the destruction of the ego and knot of ignorance, is the second death. The reader who has consulted New Maps of Heaven will see that in the context of the afterlife, the “second death” is the shedding of the astral body between the Astral Plane and the Mental Plane. But in enlightenment studies, the term refers to the death of the ego upon enlightenment.

To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. (1) (Jesus in Revelation 2:7.)

(1) Cf. Genesis 3:22. "And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden." This passage recalls hauntingly what Paul said in I Corinthians 45: "The first Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit." Jesus here promises to quicken the dead; i.e., unenlightened mortals who overcome the world.

[Stephen], being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, (1) and Jesus standing on the right hand of God. (Acts 7:55.)

(1) Another way of saying the Holy Ghost or Divine Mother.

Jesus Christ ... hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father. (Revelation 4:5.)

Do you know what the guru is? He is like a matchmaker. A matchmaker arranges for the union of the bride with the bridegroom. Likewise, a guru prepares for the meeting of the individual soul with his Beloved, the Divine Spirit. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in TLWG, 270.)

If by the grace of the guru one's ego vanishes, then one sees God. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 169.)

The mother bird doesn’t break the shell until the chick inside the egg is matured. The egg is hatched in the fullness of time. It is necessary to practise some spiritual discipline. The guru no doubt does everything for the disciple; but at the end he makes the disciple work a little himself. When cutting down a big tree, a man cuts almost through the trunk; then he stands aside for a moment, and the tree falls down with a crash. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 363.)

One cannot see God unless maya steps aside from the door. Rama, Lakshmana, and Sita (1) were walking together. Sita walked in the middle, and Lakshmana followed them. But Lakshmana could not see Rama because Sita was between them. In like manner, man cannot see God because maya is between them. (To Mani Mallick) But maya steps aside from the door when God shows His grace to the devotee. When the visitor stands before the door, the door-keeper says to the master, 'Sir, command us, and we shall let him pass.' (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 243.)

(1) The avatar Rama, his wife Sita, and his companion Lakshmana.

At the end of the sava-sadhana, just when the vision of the Ishta (1) is about to take place, the guru appears before the aspirant and says to him, 'Behold! There is your Ishta.' Saying thus, the guru merges with the Ishta. He who is the guru is also the Ishta. The guru is the thread that leads to God. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 184.)

(1) Personal spiritual ideal; i.e., Christ, Krishna, Kali, etc.

One early morning at three o'clock, ... Gopal Ma was about to finish her daily devotions, when she was startled to find Sri Ramakrishna sitting on her left, with his right hand clenched, like the hand of the image of Gopala. (1) She was amazed and caught hold of the hand, whereupon the figure vanished and in its place appeared the real Gopala, her Ideal Deity. She cried aloud with joy. (Swami Nikhilananda in GSR, 64.)

(1) Gopala is an epithet of the baby Krishna.

[Sri Yukteswar] spoke caressingly, comfortingly. His calm gaze was unfathomable. "Your heart's desire shall be fulfilled." ... He struck gently on my chest above the heart. My body became immoveably rooted; breath was drawn out of my lungs as if by some huge magnet. Soul and mind instantly lost their physical bondage and streamed out like a fluid piercing light from every pore. The flesh was as though dead, yet in my intense awareness I knew that never before had I been fully alive. My sense of identity was no longer narrowly confined to a body but embraced the circumambient atoms. People on distant streets seemed to be moving gently over my own remote periphery. The roots of plants and trees appeared through a dim transparency of the soil; I discerned the inward flow of their sap.

The whole vicinity lay bare before me. My ordinary frontal vision was now changed to a vast spherical sight, simultaneously all-perceptive. Through the back of my head I saw men strolling far down Rai Ghat Lane, and noticed also a white cow that was leisurely approaching. When she reached the ashram gate, I observed her as though with my two physical eyes. After she had passed behind the brick wall of the courtyard, I saw her clearly still.

All objects within my panoramic gaze trembled and vibrated like quick motion pictures. My body, Master's, the pillared courtyard, the furniture and floor, the trees and sunshine, occasionally became violently agitated, until all melted into a luminescent sea; even as sugar crystals, thrown into a glass of water, dissolve after being shaken. The unifying light alternated with materializations of form, the metamorphoses revealing the law of cause and effect in creation.

An oceanic joy broke upon calm endless shores of my soul. The Spirit of God, I realized, is exhaustless Bliss; His body is countless tissues of light. A swelling glory within me began to envelop towns, continents, the earth, solar and stellar systems, tenuous nebulae, and floating universes. The entire cosmos, gently luminous, like a city seen afar at night, glimmered within the infinitude of my being. The dazzling light beyond the sharply etched global outlines faded slightly at the farthest edges; there I saw a mellow radiance, ever undiminished. It was indescribably subtle; the planetary pictures were formed of a grosser light.

The divine dispersion of rays poured from an Eternal Source, blazing into galaxies, transfigured with ineffable auras. Again and again I saw the creative beams condense into constellations, then resolve into sheets of transparent flame. By rhythmic reversion, sextillion worlds passed into diaphanous lustre, then fire became firmament.

I cognized the centre of the empyrean as a point of intuitive perception in my heart. Irradiating splendour issued from my nucleus to every part of the universal structure. Blissful amrita, nectar of immortality, pulsated through me with a quicksilverlike fluidity. The creative voice of God I heard resounding as Aum, the vibration of the Cosmic Motor.

Suddenly the breath returned to my lungs. With a disappointment almost unbearable, I realized that my infinite immensity was lost. Once more I was limited to the humiliating cage of a body, not easily accommodative to the Spirit. Like a prodigal child, I had run away from my macrocosmic home and had imprisoned myself in a narrow microcosm.

My guru was standing motionless before me; I started to prostrate myself at his holy feet in gratitude for his having bestowed on me the experience in cosmic consciousness that I had long passionately sought. He held me upright and said quietly:

"You must not get overdrunk with ecstasy. Much work yet remains for you in the world. Come, let us sweep the balcony floor; then we shall walk by the Ganges."

I fetched a broom; Master, I knew, was teaching me the secret of balanced living. The soul must stretch over the cosmogonic abysses, while the body performs its daily duties. (Paramahansa Yogananda in AY, 141-3.)

One early morning at three o'clock, ... Gopal Ma was about to finish her daily devotions, when she was startled to find Sri Ramakrishna sitting on her left, with his right hand clenched, like the hand of the image of Gopala. (1) She was amazed and caught hold of the hand, whereupon the figure vanished and in its place appeared the real Gopala, her Ideal Deity. She cried aloud with joy. (Swami Nikhilananda in GSR, 64.)

The relationship between the spiritual teacher and the student is like two arrows shot at full speed and meeting head on in mid air- both lose all their concepts. (Adyashanti, From Nonduality Salon Highlights, http://www.nonduality.com/hl981.htm, downloaded 11 March 2006.)

The Guru - The Guru passes authority to the disciple

And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him. (Deuteronomy 34:9.)

On that day (1) the Lord magnified Joshua in the sight of all israel; and they feared him, as they fear Moses, all the days of his life. (Joshua 4:14.)

(1) Of passing over Jordan into the land of Canaan.

And the Lord said unto [Elijah], ... Elisha the son of Shapat of Abelmeholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room.

... So he departed thence, and found Elisha, the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth: and Elijah passed by him, and cast his mantle upon him. (I Kings 19:15-6 and 19.)

And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together, and smote the waters, and they were divided hither and thither. ...

And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.

And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so.

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

And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces. ...

And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the Lord God of Elijah? and when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elishu went over.

And when the sons of the prophets ... saw him, they said, The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha. (1) And they came to meet him, and bowed themselves to the ground before him. (II Kings 2:8-12+14-5.)

If Jesus declared John the Baptist to be Elijah, could it be that Jesus himself was Elisha> Many of the events in the lives of Elisha and Jesus can be seen to be parallel – the curing of the sick, the legions of angels, the raising of the dead.

Narendra once narrated how the Master had transmitted his power unto him: “Two or three days before Sri Ramakrishna’s passing away, he called me to his side and looked steadily at me and went into samadhi. Then I felt that a subtle force like an electric shock was entering my body! In a little while I also lost outward consciousness and sat motionless. How long I stayed in that condition I do not remember. When consciousness returned I found Sri Ramakrishna shedding tears. In questioning hi, he answered me affectionately: “Today, giving you my all, I have become a beggar. With this power you are to do much work for the good of the world before you return.” I feel that that power is constantly directing me to this work or that work. (Swami Vevekananda in GLWT, 37.)

Guru – The devotee must have faith in the words of the guru

One needs faith – faith in the words of the guru, childlike faith. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 381.)

One should have faith in the holy name given by the guru and with it practice spiritual discipline. It is said that the pearl oyster makes itself ready for the rain that falls when the star Svati is in the ascendant. Taking a drop of that rain, it dives into the fathomless depths of the ocean and remains there until the pearl is formed. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 1017.)

What can one not achieve through simple faith! Once there was an annaprasana ceremony in a guru’s house. His disciples volunteered, according to their powers, to supply the different articles of food. He had one disciple, a very poor widow, who owned a cow. She milked it and brought the guru a jar of milk. He had thought that she would take charge of all the milk and curd for the festival. Angry at her poor offering, he threw the milk away and said to her, “Go and drown yourself.” The widow accepted this as his command and went to the river to drown herself. But God was pleased with her guileless faith and, appearing before her, said: “Take this pot of curd. You will never be able to empty it. The more curd you pour out, the more will come from the pot. This will satisfy your teacher.” The guru was speechless with amazement when the pot was given to him. After hearing from the widow the story of the pot, he went to the river, saying to her, “I shall drown myself if you cannot show God to me.” God appeared then and there, but the guru could not see Him. Addressing God, the widow said, “If my teacher gives up his body because Thou does not reveal Thyself to him, then I too shall die.” So God appeared to the guru – but only once.

Now you see, because of faith in her guru the disciple herself had the vision of God and also showed Him to her teacher. Therefore I say, “Even though my guru frequents a grog-shop, still to me he is the embodiment of Eternal Bliss.” (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 1016.)

The Guru - The devotee must obey the Master implicitly

Know ... that he who walks the path indicated by his teacher, who is his truest well-wisher, ... reaps the highest fruit of the knowledge of Brahman. (Shankara in CJD, 44.)

One should follow the instructions of the guru; if one follows a devious path, one will suffer in trying to retrace one’s steps. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 98.)

[Nag Mahasaya] would accept whatever Sri Ramakrishna said as the gospel truth. To him even what Sri Ramakrishna said in jest had a profound significance. (NM, 45.)

It so happened that Nagmahasaya one day heard [Paramahansa Ramakrishna] telling one of his devotees, "Well, it is very difficult for doctors, lawyers and brokers to realize religious truths." The Master specially made mention of doctors, and said, "If the mind clings to the tiny drops of medicine, how can one conceive of the great Being?" About this time, Nagmahasaya used to feel disturbed during meditation as the images of his patients would flash across his mind. he, therefore, thought that the advice was meant for him. He then and there decided that he should not take to any calling which would be an obstacle to the realisation of God. He returned home and that very day threw his medicine box and his medical books into the Ganges. After this he took his bath in the river and came back to his house. (Chakravarty, NAG, 45.)

”Trust in the guru fully,” [Shirdi Sai Baba] reiterated, “this is the only sadhana.” (Mani Sahukar, SBSS, 22.)

Having found [your Master], follow him closely, obey him with intelligent devotion, and practice what he teaches you: thus ultimately you will attain your highest goal. (Yogananda, SCC, 1, 11.)

When the real Guru ... and the real teaching is found, then the restless searching must cease. The thirsty one should not keep seeking wells, but should go to the best well and daily drink its nectar. (Paramahansa Yogananda, SCC, 1, 5.)

For those who stay in tune to the end, I or one of the other masters, will be there to usher them into the divine kingdom. (Yogananda in Kriyananda, PATH, 286.)

You must trust your Master; you must trust yourself. If you have seen the Master, you will trust him to the uttermost, through many lives and deaths. If you have not yet seen Him, you must still try to realize Him and trust Him because if you do not, even He cannot help you. Unless there is perfect trust there cannot be the perfect flow of love and power. (Krishnamurti, AFM, 61.)

The Guru - Find a wise and competent Guru

If he would know the eternal, let him humbly approach a Guru devoted to Brahman and well-versed in the scriptures.

To a disciple who approaches reverently, who is tranquil and self-controlled, the wise teacher gives that knowledge, faithfully and without stint, by which is known the truly existing, the changeless Self. (UPAN, 44.)

The truth of the Self cannot be fully understood when taught by an ignorant man, for opinions regarding it, not founded in knowledge, vary from one to another. Subtler than the subtlest is this Self, and beyond all logic. Taught by a teacher who knows the Self and Brahman as one, a man leaves vain theory behind and attains to truth. (UPAN, 17.)

Supreme Righteousness gives good passage to any one who, because of his noble deeds and virtuous thoughts, has a spiritual teacher. (Zarathustra in GZ, 42.)

Those illumined souls who have realized the Truth will instruct you in the knowledge of Brahman, if you will prostrate yourself before them, question them and serve them as disciple. (Sri Krishna in BG, 54.)

Let the wise man give up craving for pleasure in external things, and struggle hard for liberation. Let him seek out a noble and high-souled teacher, and become absorbed whole-heartedly in the truth which is taught him. (Shankara in CJD, 33.)

How does the person who has the aptitude for the state of gnosis ... understand his own reality? ... It is necessary that he finds a gnostic who knows his own self and after he has found him, from the bottom of his heart, and with all his soul, make his character to be his character. (Ibn Arabi, KK, 2.)

There are of My servants those who have found Me. If you want to find Me, follow in their footsteps. They become means for you and they finally lead to me. If this is so then by serving those people, a person comes to know himself. (Ibn Arabi, KK, 3.)

Those who want to find out let them hang onto the hem of a Perfect person and ask of him, because: "The one who has not tasted cannot know." (Ibn Arabi, KK, 48.)

One must get instruction from a guru. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 292.)

There are eight fetters. Shame, hatred, fear, caste, lineage, good conduct, grief, and secretiveness – these are the eight fetters. And they cannot be unfastened without the help of a guru. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 243-4.)

It is necessary to seek the company of holy men, practise prayer, and listen to the instructions of the guru. These purify the mind. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 158.)

If one receives the guru's grace, one has nothing to fear. ... He will let you know who you are and what your real nature is. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 232-3.)

The guru is like a companion who leads you by the hand. After the realization of God, one loses the distinction between the guru and the disciple. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 217.)

We can have many teachers first, but only one Guru, and no more teachers afterward. (Paramahansa Yogananda, SCC, 1, 5.)

When the real Guru (Preceptor) and the real teaching is found, then the restless searching must cease. The thirsty one should not keep seeking wells, but should go to the best well and daily drink its nectar. That is why in the beginning we seek many until we find the right path, and the right master, and then remain loyal to him through death and eternity, until final emancipation. (Paramahansa Yogananda, SCC, 1, 5.)

If a disciple, after following a Guru for a long time, should spurn him, then he actually spurns the help sent by God. A Guru is not a help for this life only. He also makes a spiritual soul-contact with the disciple, and says: "Let our friendship be eternal, and let us help each other through incarnations until we are both completely emancipated in spirit." (Paramahansa Yogananda, SCC, 1, 6.)

The Guru - What happens if one chooses an incompetent teacher?

A man's ego is destroyed after three croaks, as it were, if he gets into the clutches of a real teacher. But if the teacher is an 'unripe' one, then both the teacher and the disciple undergo endless suffering. The disciple cannot get rid either of his ego or the shackles of the world. If a disciple falls into the clutches of an incompetent teacher, he doesn't attain liberation. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 168.)

The Guru - What is one's fate if one cannot find a Guru?

If you don't find a teacher soon, you'll live this life in vain. It's true, you have the buddha-nature. But without the help of a teacher, you'll never know it. Only one person in a million becomes enlightened without a teacher's help. (Bodhidharma in ZTB, 7.)

The Guru -- Who can dispense with one?

If..., by the conjunction of conditions, someone understands what the Buddha meant, that person doesn't need a teacher. Such a person has a natural awareness superior to anything taught. But unless you're so blessed, study hard. And by means of instruction, you'll understand. (Bodhidharma in ZTB, 7.)

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