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The Essays of Brother Anonymous
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Contents

Passivity
Past Karma – See The Sage - After Liberation, illumined souls are carried along by the momentum of their prarabdha karma
The Past – See Time – Past, Present and Future – The past
Paths to God - All sincere paths are valid
Paths to God - Some paths are for beginners
Paths to God - The object of all paths
Paths to God - The road to God is long and narrow
Paths to God – The Path of Action (Karma) - See Karma Yoga
Paths to God - The Path of Love (Bhakti) – See Bhakti Yoga
Paths to God – The Path of Wisdom (Jnana) - See Jnana Yoga
Paths to God - Wisdom and love (Jnana and Bhakti) - Pro-Bhakti
Paths to God - Wisdom and love (Jnana and Bhakti) - Pro-Jnana
Paths to God - Wisdom and action (Karma)
Paths to God – Harmonize all paths
Paths to God - How does one know when the goal is near?
Paths to God - As we near God, we pass beyond law and guidance
Paths to God - Behind all paths is the "Perennial Philosophy" (ancient wisdom, sanathana dharma)
Paths to God - A summary of the tenets of the “Perennial Philosophy”
Patience
Payoffs
Peace
Peace-makers
Perfection
Perfection - Expecting perfection from others
Persistence – See Determination - Be steadfast; persevere; persist until the end
Politics – See Spiritual Activism
Practicing the Presence of God – See Bhakti Yoga – Practicing the Presence of God
Prarabdha Karma – See The Sage - After Liberation, illumined souls are carried along by the momentum of their prarabdha karma
Prayer
Premises
Prerequisites for Enlightenment - To turn from the world to God, one needs discrimination, detachment and devotion - See Discrimination, detachment and devotion - Three prerequisites for knowing God
The Present - See The Now
Problems
Progress in Spirituality
Prophets
Prophets – They receive their commission from the Lord
Prophets - False Prophets
Pure Intention
Purity - Is our original nature or condition
Purity - Is essential for enlightenment
Purity – Outward purity
Purity – Exception – Those who descend into impurity to uplift
Purity - The impure mind strays
Purity - God is seen reflected in the pure consciousness
Purity - The pure of heart enter the Kingdom of God
Purity - God visits the souls of the pure in heart
Purity - Purify the mind and senses to see God
Purity - Purify the heart to see God
Purity - Ways to purify - Through religious practices
Purity - Ways to purify - Through character reformation
Purity - Ways to purify - Through divine love and compassion
Purity - Ways to purify - Through repentance
Purity - Ways to purify - Through the development of discrimination and detachment
Purity - Ways to purify - Through unattached action and selfless service
Purity - Examples of the pure in heart



Passivity

If you can just allow what is happening to happen, you become a passage. If you are active you cannot be a passage, you cannot be a medium. Only passivity makes you a medium. Passivity means that you are not; it is not just a verbal passivity. The ego is always active, so the moment you are passive, the ego is not. Passivity means egolessness. (Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, IATG, 5.)

Past Karma – See The Sage - After Liberation, illumined souls are carried along by the momentum of their prarabdha karma

The Past – See Time – Past, Present and Future – The past

Paths to God - All sincere paths are valid

Some see me one with themselves, or separate:
Some bow to the countless gods that are only
My million faces. (1) (Sri Krishna in BG, 81.)

(1) Sri Krishna speaks here as God incarnate. Cf: "In him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily." (St. Paul in Colossians 2:9.)

Whatever path men travel
Is my path: (1)
No matter where they walk
It leads to me.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 51.)

(1) By "my path" Sri Krishna means God's path.

Having knocked on the door, [a visiting monk and his brother-guide entered Abba Arsenius' hut], greeted the old man and sat down without saying anything. Then the brother from the church said, "I will leave you. Pray for me." Now the visiting brother, not feeling at ease with the old man, said, "I will come with you," and they went away together. Then the visitor asked, "Take me to Abba Moses, who used to be a robber." When they arrived the Abba welcomed them joyfully and then took leave of them with delight. The brother who had brought the other one said to his companion, "See, I have taken you to the foreigner [Abba Arsenius] and to the Egyptian [Abba Moses]. Which of the two do you prefer?" … Now a Father who heard this prayed to God saying, "Lord, explain this matter to me: for Thy name's sake the one flees from men, and the other, for Thy name's sake, receives them with open arms." Then two large boats were shown him on a river and he saw Abba Arsenius and the Spirit of God sailing in the one, in perfect peace; and in the other was Abba Moses with the angels of God, and they were all eating honeycakes. (SDF, 17-8.)

Some [yogis] withdraw all their senses from contact with exterior sense-objects. For these, hearing and other senses are the offering, and self-discipline the sacrificial fire. Others allow their minds and senses to wander unchecked, and try to see Brahman within all exterior sense-objects. For these, sound and the other sense-objects are the offering, and sense-enjoyment the sacrificial fire. (Sri Krishna in BG, 53.)

Which ever way you turn your face, there you will find a road which leads to God. (Ibn Arabi, KK, 25.)

As many faiths, so many paths. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna, TLWG, xiii.)

I had to practise each religion for a time -- Hinduism, Islam, Christianity. Furthermore, I followed the paths of the Saktas, Vaishnavas, and Vedantists. (1) I realized that there is only one God toward whom all are travelling; but the paths are different. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna, GSR, 129.)

(1) The worshippers of Shakti and Vishnu and the knowers of the Formless Absolute.

I had to practise each religion for a time -- Hinduism, Islam, Christianity. Furthermore, I followed the paths of the Saktas, Vaishnavas, and Vedantists. I realized that there is only one God toward whom all are travelling; but the paths are different. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 129.)

Suppose there is an error in worshipping the clay image; doesn't God know that through it He alone is being evoked? He will be pleased with that very worship. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 80.)

God Himself has provided different forms of worship. He who is the Lord of the Universe has arranged all these forms to suit different men in different stages of knowledge.

The mother cooks different dishes to suit the stomachs of her different children. Suppose she has five children. If there is a fish to cook, she prepares different dishes from it -- pilau, pickled fish, fried fish, and so on -- to suit their different tastes and powers of digestion. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 81.)

You see, the thing is somehow or other to get into the Lake of the Nectar of Immortality. Suppose one person gets into It by propitiating the Deity with hymns and worship, and you are pushed into It. The result will be the same. Both of you will certainly become immortal. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 217.)

That Rama (the God of the Hindus) and Rahim (the God of the Muslims) were one and the same – was [Sai Baba of Shirdi’s] constant counsel to his followers. (Mani Sahukar, SBSS, 19.)

Seek [the way] not by any one road. To each temperament there is one road which seems the most desirable. But the way is not found by devotion alone, by religious contemplation alone, by ardent progress, by self-sacrificing labour, by studious observation of life. None alone can take the disciple more than one step onwards. All steps are necessary to make up the ladder. The vices of man become steps in the ladder, one by one, as they are surmounted. The virtues of man are steps indeed, necessary -- not by any means to be dispensed with. Yet, though they create a fair atmosphere and a happy future, they are useless if they stand alone. The whole nature of man must be used wisely by the one who desires to enter the way. (Ascended Master, probably the Master Hilarion, channelling through Mabel Collins, LOP, 12-3.)

All paths lead to the same goal; that is, to realize the Divine. (Mother Meera on back cover, Adilakshmi, MTHR.)

Surely men as inspiritors, known and unknown to the world, share a common uncommon discovery. The Tao of Lao-Tse, Nirvana of Buddha, Jehovah of Moses, the Father of Jesus, the Allah of Mohammed -- all point to the experience.

No-thing-ness, spirit -- once touched, the whole life clears. (Paul Reps, ZFZB, 160.)

Much of the frustration you feel on your spiritual path comes from the fact that you cannot experience something and study it at the same time. If you stand back and observe, you will not have the same experience the participant does. And if you participate, you will not have then same experience as the observer.

One spiritual method asks you to become an observer. Another asks you to be a participant. Either method works, but you cannot practice both at the same time. If you want to "know," you must learn to stand back and observe. If you want to "be," you must dive into the experience. (Paul Ferrini, SOH, 44.)

Paths to God - Some paths are for beginners

It is of vital importance ... that a man begin his spiritual journey from where he is. If an average man is instructed to meditate on his union with the absolute Brahman, he will not understand. He will neither grasp the truth of it nor be able to follow the instructions. ... However, if that same man is asked to worship God with flowers, incense, and other accessories of the ritualistic worship, his mind will gradually become concentrated on God, and he will find joy in his worship. (Swami Brahmananda quoted in HTKG, 70-1.)

If you cannot become absorbed in me, then try to reach me by repeated concentration. If you lack the strength to concentrate, then devote yourself to works which will please me. For, by working for my sake only, you will achieve perfection. If you cannot even do this, then surrender yourself to me altogether. Control the lusts of your heart, and renounce the fruits of every action." (Sri Krishna in BG, 98.)

[Ramakrishna] told his devotees that his "final and most mature opinion" was that a man should reach the Absolute (1) by following the trail of the Relative, (2) like reaching the roof by the stairs. (Yogeshananda, VSR, 102.)

(1) The Father, the non-dual reality.
(2) The Mother, God with form; that is, by following the path of dualistic worship of God with form (or bhakti).

Paths to God - The object of all paths

The aim of all religious practices is to sublimate all egoistic impulses and give them a unified direction towards the Divine. (Anandamoyi Ma in GOS, 28.)

Paths to God - The road to God is long and narrow

Like the sharp edge of a razor, the sages say, is the path. Narrow it is, and difficult to tread. (UPAN, 20.)

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

There is only one Straight Path, that of Righteousness; all others are false paths. (Zarathustra in GZ, 90.)

Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (Jesus in Matthew 7:14.)

Paths to God – The Path of Action (Karma) - See Karma Yoga

Paths to God - The Path of Love (Bhakti) – See Bhakti Yoga

Paths to God – The Path of Wisdom (Jnana) - See Jnana Yoga

Paths to God - Wisdom and love (Jnana and Bhakti) - Pro-Bhakti

Neither by study of the Vedas, nor by austerities, nor by alms-giving, nor by rituals can I be seen as you have seen me [Arjuna]. But by single-minded and intense devotion, that Form of mine may be completely known, and seen, and entered into. (Sri Krishna in BG, 97.)

The devotees of the unmanifest have a harder task, because the unmanifest is very difficult for embodied souls to realize. (Sri Krishna in BG, 98.)

The path of knowledge is very difficult. One cannot obtain Knowledge unless one gets rid of the feeling that one is the body. In the Kaliyuga the life of man is centred on food. He cannot get rid of the feeling that he is the body and the ego. Therefore the path of devotion is prescribed for this cycle. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 170.)

Knowledge and love -- both are paths leading to God. Those who follow the path of love have to observe a little more of outer purity. But the violation of this by a man following the path of knowledge cannot injure him. It is destroyed in the fire of knowledge. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 238.)

One’s own Chosen Deity is one’s own Self. The Chosen Deity and the Atman are identical. The vision of the Chosen Deity is equivalent to Self-Knowledge. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in RAWSH, 241.)

Perfect jnana and perfect bhakti are one and the same thing. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 811.)

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

One should not reason too much; it is enough if one loves the Lotus Feet of the Mother. Too much reasoning throws the mind into confusion. You get clear water if you drink from the surface of a pool. Put your hand deeper and stir the water, and it becomes muddy. Therefore pray to God for devotion. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 186.)

The way of love is as true as the way of knowledge. All paths ultimately lead to the same Truth. But as long as God keeps the feeling of ego in us, it is easier to follow the path of love. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 104.)

One can attain the Knowledge of Brahman, too, by following the path of bhakti. God is all-powerful. He may give his devotee Brahmajnana also, if He so wills. But the devotee generally doesn't seek the Knowledge of the Absolute. He would rather have the consciousness that God is the Master and he the servant, or that God is the Divine Mother and he the child. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 171.)

The jnani seeks to realize Brahman. But the ideal of the bhakta is the Personal God – a God endowed with omnipotence and with the six treasures. Yet Brahman and Sakti are, in fact, not different. That which is the Blissful Mother is, again, Existence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 277.)

To know God through jnana and reasoning is extremely difficult. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 94.)

Why should I make myself dry through mere reasoning? May I have unalloyed love for the Lotus Feet of God as long as the consciousness of “I’ and “you’ remains with me! (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 272.)

This Primal Power, Mahamaya, has covered Brahman. As soon as the covering is withdrawn, one realizes: “I am what I was before,” “I am Thou; Thou art I.”

As long as that covering remains, the Vedantic formula “I am He,” that is, man is the Supreme Brahman, does not rightly apply. The wave is part of the water, but the water is not part of the wave. As long as that covering remains, one should call on God as Mother. Addressing God, the devotee should say, “Thou art the Mother and I am Thy child; Thou are the Master and I am Thy servant.” (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 290.)

Do you know how a lover of God feels? His attitude is: 'O God, Thou art the Master, and I am Thy servant. Thou art the Mother, and I am Thy child.' Or again: 'Thou art my Father and Mother. Thou art the Whole, and I am a part.' He doesn't like to say, 'I am Brahman.' (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 133-4.)

From the worshippers of the Personal God you should learn their yearning – for instance, Sri Krishna’s attraction for Radha. You should learn from the worshippers of the Personal God their love for their Chosen Ideal. When the believers in the Personal God worship the images of Kali and Durga, with what feeling they cry from the depths of their souls, “Mother! O Mother!” How much they love the Deity! You should accept that feeling. You don’t have to accept the image. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 216.)

It is good to have the attitude of the servant toward the master. From this relationship of master and servant spring up other attitudes: the attitude of serene love for God, the attitude of friend toward friend, and so forth. When the master loves his servant, he may say to him, “Come, sit by my side; there is no difference between you and me.” But if the servant comes forward of his own will to sit by the master, will not the master be angry? (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 290.)

Take refuge in the Chitsakti, the Mahamaya. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 291.)

It is written in the books of the Vaishanava: “God can be attained through faith alone; reasoning pushes Him far away.” Faith alone. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 310.)

Do you know where those who speak of the formless God make their mistake? It is where they say that God is formless only, and that those who differ with them are wrong.

But I know that God is both with and without form. And He may have many more aspects. It is possible for Him to be everything. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 291.)

You do not accept God with form. That is all right. The image is not meant for you. For you it is good to depend your feeling toward your own Ideal.

In order to reach the roof, other people should follow the path of devotion, as long as they have not attained Knowledge and become free of desire. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 272.)

The path of knowledge leads to Truth, as does the path that combines knowledge and love. The path of love, too, leads to this goal. The way of love is as true as the way of knowledge. All paths ultimately lead to the same Truth. But as long as God keeps the feeling of ego in us, it is easier to follow the path of love. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 104.)

Generally speaking there are two kinds of samadhi. First, sthita or jada samadhi: one attains it by following the path of knowledge -- as a result of the destruction of the ego through reasoning. Second, bhava samadhi: one attains this by following the path of bhakti. In this second samadhi a trace of ego remains, like a line, in order to enable the devotee to enjoy God, to taste His lila. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 812.)

The jnani experiences God-Consciousness within himself; it is like the upper Ganges, flowing in only one direction. To him the whole universe is illusory, like a dream; he is always established in the Reality of the Self. But with the lover of God, the case is different. His feeling does not flow in only one direction. He feels both the ebb-tide and the flood-tide of divine emotion. He laughs and weeps and dances and sings in the ecstacy of God. The lover of God likes to sport with Him. In the Ocean of God-Consciousness he sometimes swims, sometimes goes, down, and sometimes rises to the surface – like pieces of ice in the water. (Laughter.)

(Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 277.)

Do you hear how melodious that music is? One player is producing only a monotone on his flute, while another is creating waves of melodies in different ragas and raginis. That is my attitude. Why should I produce only a monotone when I have an instrument with seven holes? Why should I say nothing but, “I am He, I am He’? I want to play various melodies on my instrument with seven holes. Why should I say only, “Brahma! Brahma!’? I want to call on God through all the moods – through santa, dasya, sakhya, vatsalya, and madhur. I want to make merry with God. I want to sport with God. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 1009-10.)

There are five kinds of light: the light of a lamp, the light of various kinds of fire, the light of the moon, the light of the sun, and lastly the combined light of the sun and the moon. Bhakti is the light of the moon, and jnana the light of the sun. (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.)

Look here, you have had enough of reasoning. No more of it. Promise that you won’t reason any more. … When you came to me the first time, I told you your spiritual Ideal. I know everything about you, do I not? … Yes, I know everything: what your Ideal is, who you are, your inside and outside, the events of your past lives, and your future. Do I not? (Paramahansa Ramakrishna to Mahendranath Gupta in GSR, 381.)

D: What is the relation between Jnana and Bhakti? M: The eternal, unbroken, natural State of abiding in the Self is Jnana. To abide in the Self you must love the Self. Since God is verily the Self, love of the Self is love of God; and that is Bhakti. Jnana and Bhakti are thus one and the same. (Sri Ramana Maharshi, MG, 25.)

[Shankara] declared that infinite knowledge is identical with the Self, but that this knowledge is covered over by ignorance. What [Shankara] called infinite knowledge Sri Caitanya called infinite love. In reality, there is no difference between the two. (Swami Prabhavananda, SHI, 329.)

Sri Caitanya discovered an essential harmony between love and knowledge. His biographers tell us that he possessed a dual personality. On the one hand, while he was in samadhi, having lost consciousness of the outer world and all sense of 'me and mine', he taught men that he was one with God; on the other hand, upon his return to normal consciousness, he remained a lover of God, and he could not bear the thought that he was one with him. (Swami Prabhavananda, SHI, 328.)

The nature of the philosophic intellect is to move among ideas and to give them a sort of abstract reality of their own apart from all their concrete representations which affect our life and personal consciousness. Its bent is to reduce these representations to their barest and most general terms and to subtilise even these if possible into some final abstraction. ...

The heart and life ... have an exactly opposite law. They cannot live with abstractions; they can find their satisfaction only in things that are concrete or can be made seizable; whether physically, mentally or spiritually, their object is not something which they seek to discriminate and arrive at by intellectual abstraction; a living becoming of it or a conscious possession and joy of their object is what they seek. Nor is it the satisfaction of an abstract mind or impersonal existence to which they respond, but the joy and the activity of a being, a conscious Person in us, whether finite or infinite, to whom the delights and powers of his existence are a reality. Therefore when the heart and life turn towards the Highest and the Infinite, they arrive not at an abstract existence or non-existence, a Sat or else a Nirvana, but at an existent, a Sat Purusha, not merely at a consciousness, but at a conscious Being, a Chaitanya Purusha, not merely at a purely impersonal delight of the Is, but at an inifinite I Am of bliss, an Anandamaya Purusha. (Sri Aurobindo, SOY, 554-5.)

Devotees [as opposed to jnanis] do not seek Nirvana. They say, O mind, it is not good to become sugar, (1) but I want to eat sugar." (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in Swami Ritajanada, ST, 15-6.)

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

Paths to God - Wisdom and love (Jnana and Bhakti) - Pro-Jnana

Absorption in the heart of being,
Whence we sprang,
Is the path of action, of devotion,
Of union and of knowledge. (Ramana Maharshi, CW, Chapter 5.)

Under whatever name and form one may worship the Absolute Reality, it is only a means for realizing It without name and form. That alone is true realization, wherein one knows oneself in relation to that Reality, attains peace and realizes one's identity with it. (Ramana Maharshi, FVR, verse 8.)

Several paths are taught in the Vedas to suit the different grades of qualified aspirants. Yet, since release is but the destruction of mind, all efforts have for their aim the control of mind. Although the modes of meditation may appear to be different from one another, in the end all of them become one. There is no need to doubt this. One may adopt that path which suits the maturity of one's mind.

The control of prana which is yoga, and the control of mind which is jnana -- these are the two principal means for the destruction of mind. To some, the former may appear easy, and to others the latter. Yet, jnana is like subduing a turbulent bull by coaxing it with green grass, while yoga is like controlling through the use of force. Thus the wise ones say: of the three grades of qualified aspirants, the highest reach the goal by making the mind firm in the Self through determining the nature of the real by Vedantic enquiry and by looking upon one's self and all things as of the nature of the real; the mediocre by making the mind stay in the heart through kevala-kumbhaka and meditating for a long time on the real, and the lowest grade, by gaining that state in a gradual manner through breath-control, etc.

The mind should be made to rest in the heart till the destruction of the 'I'-thought which is of the form of ignorance, residing in the heart. This itself is jnana; this alone is dhyana also. The rest are a mere digression of words, digression of the texts. Thus the scriptures proclaim. Therefore, if one gains the skill of retaining the mind in one's Self through some means or other, one need not worry about other matters.

The great teachers also have taught that the devotee is greater than the yogins and that the means to release is devotion, which is of the nature of reflection on one's own Self.

Thus, it is the path of realizing Brahman that is variously called Dahara-vidya, Brahma-vidya, Atma-vidya, etc. …

The Scriptures teach in different modes. After analysing all those modes the great ones declare this to be the shortest and the best means. (Ramana Maharshi, SE, answer to question 36.)

[The paths] are (i) stuti, (ii) japa, (iii) dhyana, (iv) yoga,(v) jnana, etc.

(i) stuti is singing the praises of the Lord with a great feeling of devotion.

(ii) japa is uttering the names of the gods or sacred mantras like Om either mentally or verbally. (While following the methods of stuti and japa the mind will sometimes be concentrated (lit. closed) and sometimes diffused (lit. open). The vagaries of the mind will not be evident to those who follow these methods).

(iii) dhyana denotes the repetition of the names, etc., mentally (japa) with feelings of devotion. In this method the state of the mind will be understood easily. For the mind does not become concentrated and diffused simultaneously. When one is in dhyana it does not contact the objects of the senses, and when it is in contact with the objects it is not in dhyana. Therefore those who are in this state can observe the vagaries of the mind then and there and by stopping the mind from thinking other thoughts, fix it in dhyana. Perfection in dhyana is the state of abiding in the Self (lit., abiding in the form of 'that' tadakaranilai). As meditation functions in an exceedingly subtle manner at the source of the mind it is not difficult to perceive its rise and subsidence.

(iv) yoga: The source of the breath is the same as that of the mind; therefore the subsidence of either leads effortlessly to that of the other. The practice of stilling the mind through breath control (pranayama) is called yoga. Fixing their minds on psychic centres such as the sahasrara (lit. the thousand-petalled lotus) yogis remain any length of time without awareness of their bodies. As long as this state continues they appear to be immersed in some kind of joy. But when the mind which has become tranquil emerges (becomes active again) it resumes its worldly thoughts. It is therefore necessary to train it with the help of practices like dhyana, whenever it becomes externalised. It will then attain a state in which there is neither subsidence nor emergence.

(v) jnana is the annihilation of the mind in which it is made to assume the form of the Self through the constant practice of dhyana or enquiry (vichara). The extinction of the mind is the state in which there is a cessation of all efforts. Those who are established in this state never swerve from their true state. The terms 'silence' (mouna) and inaction refer to this state alone. (Ramana Maharshi, SI, Chapter 2, Question 3.)

Whatever the means, the destruction of the sense 'I' and 'mine' is the goal, and as these are interdependent, the destruction of either of them causes the destruction of the other; therefore in order to achieve that state of Silence which is beyond thought and word, either the path of knowledge which removes the sense of 'I' or the path of devotion which removes the sense of 'mine', will suffice. So there is no doubt that the end of the paths of devotion and knowledge is one and the same. (Ramana Maharshi, SI, Chapter 1, Question 11.)

Bhakti is not different from mukti. Bhakti is being as the Self (Swarupa).

One is always that. He realises it by the means he adopts. What is bhakti? To think of God. That means: only one thought prevails to the exclusion of all other thoughts. That thought is of God which is the Self or it is the Self surrendered into God. When He has taken you up nothing will assail you. The absence of thoughts is bhakti. It is also mukti.

The jnana method is said to be vichara (enquiry). That is nothing but 'supreme devotion' (parabhakti). The difference is in words only.

You think that bhakti is meditation on the Supreme Being. So long as there is vibhakti (the sense of separateness), bhakti (reunion) is sought. The process will lead to the ultimate goal. …

Any kind of meditation is good. But if the sense of separateness is lost and the object of meditation or the subject who meditates is alone left behind without anything else to know, it is jnana. Jnana is said to be ekabhakti (single-minded devotion). The jnani is the finality because he has become the Self and there is nothing [more] to do. He is also perfect and so fearless, dwitiyat val bhayam bhavati - only the existence of a second gives rise to fear. That is mukti. It is also bhakti. (Ramana Maharshi, TWSRM, Question 650.)

Paths to God - Wisdom and action (Karma)

The wise see knowledge and action as one:
They see truly.
Take either path
And tread it to the end:
The end is the same.
There the followers of action
Meet the seekers after knowledge
In equal freedom.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 57.)

Paths to God – Harmonize all paths

He indeed is a real man who has harmonized everything. Most people are one-sided. But I find that all opinions point to the One. All views – the Shakta [the follower of Shakti], the Vaishnava [follower of Vishnu], the Vedanta [non-dualist] – have that One for their centre. He who is formless is, again, endowed with form. It is He who appears in different forms. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in TLWG 126.)

Seek [the way] not by any one road. To each temperament there is one road which seems the most desirable. But the way is not found by devotion alone, by religious contemplation alone, by ardent progress, by self-sacrificing labour, by studious observation of life. None alone can take the disciple more than one step onwards. All steps are necessary to make up the ladder. … The whole nature of man must be used wisely by the one who desires to enter the way. (Ascended Master, probably the Master Hilarion, channelling through Mabel Collins, LOP, 12-3.)

Saints of all religions have attained God-realization through the simple concept of the Cosmic Beloved. Because the Absolute is nirguna, "without qualities," and acintaya, "inconceivable," human thought and yearning have ever personalized It as the Universal Mother. A combination of personal theism and the philosophy of the Absolute is an ancient achievement of Hindu thought, expounded in the Vedas and the Bhagavad-Gita. This "reconciliation of opposites" satisfies heart and head: bhakti (devotion) and jnana (wisdom) are essentially one. (Paramahansa Yogananda, AY, 80.)

Sri Caitanya discovered an essential harmony between love and knowledge. His biographers tell us that he possessed a dual personality. On the one hand, while he was in samadhi, having lost consciousness of the outer world and all sense of 'me and mine', he taught men that he was one with God; on the other hand, upon his return to normal consciousness, he remained a lover of God, and he could not bear the thought that he was one with him. (Swami Prabhavananda, SHI, 328.)

All four yogas – karma, jnana, bhakti, and raja – are harmoniously practised in the Ramakrishna Order. [Swami] Shivananda … reminded the monks: “… This Order does not stand exclusively for spiritual practices – the practice of renunciation and austerity only. This Order has a mission that will re-establish the religion of the age. Here one must perform action along with contemplation. … Even as repeating His name and thinking about Him is spiritual practice, so is the service of humanity when done selflessly. You are wholly mistaken, in fact, irrational, if you think that you have wasted your life in doing service. Spiritual practice is not of one kind only; it is various.” (Swami Chetananda writing of Swami Shivananda in GLWT, 161.)

Paths to God - How does one know when the goal is near?

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

Paths to God - As we near God, we pass beyond law and guidance

It is written that for him who is on the threshold of divinity no law can be framed, no guide can exist. (Ascended Master, probably the Master Hilarion, channelling through Mabel Collins, LOP, 30.)

Remember, O disciple, that great though the gulf may be between the good man and the sinner it is greater between the good man and the man who has attained knowledge; it is immeasurable between the good man and the one on the threshold of divinity. (Ascended Master, probably the Master Hilarion, channelling through Mabel Collins, LOP, 15.)

Paths to God - Behind all paths is the "Perennial Philosophy" (ancient wisdom, sanathana dharma)

God has borne forth to you the star-spangled girdle of celestial origin, the ancient faith of the worshippers of God. (Zarathustra, GZ, 61.)

Religions are branches from a common trunk -- Divine Wisdom.

This Divine Wisdom is spoken of as the Wisdom, the Gnosis, the Theosophia, and some, in different ages of the world, have so desired to emphasize their belief in this unity of religions that they have preferred the eclectic name of Theosophist to any narrower designation. (Annie Besant, ESO, 6.)

The purpose of this book is to show as clearly as possible that there is an essential unity in all religions; that there is no difference in the truths inculcated by the various faiths; that there is but one method by which the world, external and internal, has evolved; and that there is but one Goal admitted by all scriptures. (Sri Yukteswar Giri, HS, 3.)

Only a few specially gifted persons can rise superior to the influence of their professed creeds and find absolute unanimity in the truths propagated by all great faiths. (Sri Yukteswar Giri, HS, 4.)

Men of realization who have the common knowledge of the same truth do not contradict one another. Because they express the same wisdom in various manners of thought, their disciples of limited understanding create differences and establish different cults with varying beliefs. (Paramahansa Yogananda SCC, II, 10.)

Philosophia perennis -- the phrase was coined by Leibniz; but the thing -- the metaphysic that recognizes a divine Reality substantial to the world of things and lives and minds; the psychology that finds in the soul something similar to, even identical with, divine Reality; the ethic that places man's final end in the knowledge of the immanent and trascendent Ground of all being -- the thing is immemorial and universal. Rudminents of the Perennial Philosophy may be found among the traditionary lore of primitive peoples in every region of the world, and in its fully developed forms it has a place in every one of the higher religions. A version if this Highest Common Factor in all preceding and subsequent theologies was first committed to writing more than twenty-five centuries ago, and since that time the inexhaustible theme has been treated again and again, from the standpoint of every religious tradition and in all the principle languages of Asia and Europe. (Aldous Huxley in PP, vii.)

In Vedanta and Hebrew prophecy, in the Tao Teh King and the Platonic dialogues, in the Gospel according to St. John and Mahayana theology, in Plotinus and the Areopagite, among the Persian Sufis and the Christian mystics of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance -- the Perennial Philosophy has spoken almost all the languages of Asia and Europe and has made use of the terminology and traditions of every one of the higher religions. ... The records left by those who have known [the pure state described by the Perennial Philosophy] make it abundantly clear that all of them, whether Hindu, Buddhist, Hebrew, Taoist, Christian or Mohammedan, were attempting to describe the same essentially indescribable Fact. (Aldous Huxley, "Introduction" to BG, 11-2.)

Enlightenment has been given many names. ... St. Paul called it "the peace of God that passeth understanding" and Richard Maurice Bucke named it "cosmic consciousness." In Zen it is satori, in yoga it is samadhi or moksha, in Sufism it is fana, in Taoism it is wu or The Ultimate Tao. Gurdjieff labelled it "objective consciousness,' Sri Aurobindo spoke of the Supermind, mystery schools and occult paths speak of "illumination," "liberation," and "self-realization." Likewise, enlightenment has been symbolized by many images: the thousand-petalled lotus of Hinduism, the Holy Grail of Christianity, the clear mirror of Buddhism, Judaism's Star of David, the yin-yang circle of Taoism, the mountaintop, the swan, the still lake, the mystic rose, the eternal flame. (John White, "Introduction" to his WIEN, xvi-xvii.)

The perennial wisdom is unchanging; truth is one. That is agreed on by the sages of all major religions and sacred traditions, all hermetic philosophies, genuine mystery schools and higher occult paths. Enlightenment is the core truth of them all. Even more broadly, it is the essence of life -- the goal of all growth, development, evolution. It is the discovery of what we ultimately are, the answer to the questions: Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going? What is life all about? (John White, "Introduction" to his WIEN, xi.)

The Masters have been numberless since the creation of man; they have appeared with different names and forms; but He alone was disguised in them who is the only Master of eternity. (Hazrat Inayat Khan, WOI, 31.)

If the Masters were not the same in mortal garb, yet in spirit they were one; if it were not so, how could one and the same truth be disclosed in all? (Hazrat Inayat Khan, WOI, 31.)

All the Teachers who came before taught for whatever community or group of people they were born, and prophesied the coming of the next Teacher, foreseeing the possibility and the necessity of the continuation of the Message until its fulfillment.

That the Messenger came successively did not mean that they were to give different Messages, but that they should correct the corruptions made in the message of the past by its followers; and also to revive principles in order to suit the evolution of the period, and to recall the same truth to the human mind which had been taught by the past Masters but had become lost from memory. It was not their perional message, but the divine message. They were obliged to correct the errors made by the misinterpretation of the religions, thereby renewing the same truth given by the past Masters, which had in the course of time been changed from its real character. Man has ignorantly quarrelled about the names and forms of Masters, traditions, principles, and their limited groups, forgetting that they are one in that which unites them. (Hazrat Inayat Khan, WOI, 32-3.)

Their messages differ from one another in their outer appearances, each message being given in accordance with the age of man's evolution, and also in order to add a particular part in the course of divine wisdom. Certain laws and principles were prescribed by them to suit the country where the message was given, the climate, the period, customs, manners and requirements. (Hazrat Inayat Khan, WOI, 33.)

All Masters from the time of Adam till the time of Mohammed have been the one embodiment of the Master-ideal. When Jesus Christ is represented as saying, 'I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end,' it is not meant that either the name or the visible person of Jesus Christ is the Alpha and Omega, but the Master-spirit within. It was this spirit which proclaimed this, moved by its realization of past, present, and future life, confident of its eternity. It is this same spirit which spoke through Krishna, saying, 'We appear on earth when Dharma is corrupted,' which was long before the coming of Christ. During his divine absorption Mohammed said, 'I existed even before this creation and shall remain after its assimilation.' In the holy traditions it is said, 'We have created thee of Our light and from thy light We have created the universe.' This is not said of the external person of Mohammed as known by this name. It refers to the spirit which spoke through all the blessed tongues and yet remained formless, nameless, birthless and deathless.

But the blind world, absorbed in its phenomena and impressed by a certain name and form, has clung to the name, forgetting the true being. It is this ignorance which has divided the children of men into so many divisions and separated one from the other by their own delusions: whereas in reality therte exists one religion and one single Master, the Only God. (Hazrat Inayat Khan, WOI, 34.)

When wealth was esteemed the message was delivered by King Solomon; when beauty was worshipped, Joseph (son of Jacob, called Israel), the most handsome, gave the message; when music was regarded as celestial David gave his message in song; when there was curiosity about miracles Moses brought his message; when sacrifice was highly esteemed Abraham gave the message; when heredity was recognized, Christ gave his message as the Son of God; and when democracy was necessary, Mohammed gave his message as the Servant of God, one like all and among all. (Hazrat Inayat Khan, WOI, 33.)

All the world's major religions are basically the same. (Dalai Lama in "I am a Human Being: A Monk," Time, Sept. 12, 1979, 67.)

Paths to God - A summary of the tenets of the “Perennial Philosophy”

The main spiritual verities of religion may be summarized thus:

i. [There is] one eternal infinite cognizable real Existence.

ii. From That, the manifested God [unfolds] from unity to duality, from duality to trinity.

iii. From the manifested Trinity many spiritual Intelligences [guide] the cosmic order.

iv. Man [is] a reflection of the manifested God and therefore a trinity fundamentally, his inner real self being eternal, one with the Self of the universe.

v. His evolution [proceeds] by repeated incarnations, into which he is drawn by desire, and from which he is set free by knowledge and sacrifice, becoming divine in potency as he had ever been divine in latency. (Annie Besant, AW, 5-6.)

[Another summary:] The soul of a man is immortal, and its future is the future of a thing whose growth and splendor have no limit.

The principle which gives life dwells in us and without us, is undying and eternally beneficent, is not heard or seen or smelt, but is perceived by the man who desires perception.

Each man is his own absolute lawgiver, the dispenser of glory or gloom to himself, the decreer of his life, his reward, his punishment. (Ascended Master, probably the Master Hilarion, channelling through Mabel Collins, IWL, 114.)

At the core of the Perennial Philosophy we find four fundamental doctrines.

First: the phenomenal world of matter and of individualized consciousness -- the world of things and animals and men and even gods -- is the manifestation of a Divine Ground within which all partial realities have their being, and apart from which they would be nonexistent.

Second: human beings are capable not merely of knowing about the Divine Ground by inference; they can also realize its existence by a direct intuition, superior to discursive reasoning. This immediate knowledge unites the knower with that which is known.

Third: man possesses a double nature, a phenomenal ego and an eternal Self, which is the inner man, the spirit, the spark of divinity within the soul. It is possible for a man, if he so desires, to identify himself with the spirit and therefore with the Divine Ground, which is of the same or like nature with the spirit.

Fourth: man's life on earth has only one end and purpose: to identify himself with his eternal Self and so to come to intuitive knowledge of the Divine Ground. (Huxley in "Introduction" to BG, 13.)

Patience

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

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

Patience ... overcomes resistance and disgrace, just as ointment softens the skin. (Bodhidharma, ZTB, 53.)

Nothing can be achieved except in its proper time. Some persons must pass through many experiences and perform many worldly duties before they can turn their attention to God, so they have to wait a long time. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 162.)

It takes a long time to achieve liberation. A man may fail to achieve it in this life. Perhaps he will realize God only after many births. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 98.)

To be able to be really spacious, one has to be patient. (Ajahn Sumedo, CIT, 94.)

Patience means you endure through the way things are right now. (Ajahn Sumedo, CIT, 93-4.)

The Unconditioned is as interesting as the space in this room. The space in this room -- is it very interesting to look at? It's not to me: the space in this room is like the space in the other room. The things in this room might be interesting or uninteresting or whatever -- good, bad, beautiful, ugly -- but the space ... what is it? There is nothing you can really say or think about it. It has no quality except being spacious....

As there is nothing one can grasp, one recognizes space only by not clinging to the objects in the room. When you let go, when you stop your absorptions, judgements, criticisms and evaluations of the beings and the things in the room, you begin to experience the space of it. But that takes a lot of patience and humility. (Ajahn Sumedo, CIT, 94-5.)

When we just sit here in the space ... the body starts becoming painful. We become restless or sleepy. Then we endure. We watch and we listen ... not in order to come up with some fascinating, interesting conclusions about ourselves as being anything, but just as a mere recognition, a bare recognition that all that arises passes away. (Ajahn Sumedo, CIT, 95.)

In your meditation now, as you incline towards the emptiness of the mind, towards the spaciousness of the mind, your habitual grasping, fascination, revulsions, fears, doubts and worries about the conditions lessen. You begin to recognise they're just things that come and go: they're not-self, nothing to get excited about or depressed about. They are as they are. We can allow conditions to be just as they are because they come and go -- their nature is to go away so we don't have to make them go away. We're free and patient and enduring enough to allow things to take their natural course. In this way, we liberate ourselves from the struggle, strife and the confusion of the ignorant mind that has to spend all its time evaluating and discriminating, trying to hold onto something, trying to get rid of something.

So reflect on what I've said, and take all the time in the world to endure the unendurable. What seems to be unendurable is endurable if you are patient. Be patient with others and with the world as it is, rather than always dwelling on what's wrong with it and how you'd like it to be if you had your way. Remember that the world happens to be as it is, and right now that's the only way it can be. The only thing we can do is be patient with it. It doesn't mean that we approve, or like it any the more ... it means that we can exist in it peacefully, rather than complaining, rebelling and causing more frictions and confusion, adding to the confusion through believing in our own confusion. (Ajahn Sumedo, CIT, 95-6.)

Payoffs

If you’re doing it, you’re digging it. Or there’s a payoff. (John Enright, Cold Mountain Institute Seminar, April 10, 1976.)

If you stay with the blues, you’re either avoiding a greater pain or getting a payoff. (John Enright, Cold Mountain Institute Seminar, April 10, 1976.)

When a person makes the same “error” four times, we should look for the payoff. The payoff in a woman marrying her fourth alcoholic may be confirming the way the world is. She loves the familiar over the unfamiliar. No matter how bad it is, there’s no place like home. (John Enright, Cold Mountain Institute Seminar, April 10, 1976.)

Payoffs are learned solutions and when you learned them they were the best around. But they aren’t anymore. They are like the mouse accepting a small shock for pressing the bar because if he doesn’t he will get a bigger shock from the floor of the cage. But the cage has been electrically disconnected for years and so the mouse’s reaction is obsolete. (John Enright, Cold Mountain Institute Seminar, April 10, 1976.)

Every bit of [unwanted consequences] hanging around gathers payoffs around it. It’s useful to hang onto the [unwanted consequences] as long as you value the payoffs. The payoffs lock the charge on the [consequences]. Once you accept responsibility, you dissolve the glue of the payoff. Acknowledging payoffs, accepting responsibility, and taking the consequences gets rid of the [unwanted consequences]. (John Enright, Awareness, Responsibility, Communication Seminar, January 20, 1979.)

Peace

Where you find peace, there is the end. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 800.)

Peace is Self-Realisation. Peace need not be disturbed. One should aim at Peace only. (Ramana Maharshi, TWSRM, Question 155.)

Because your peace is temporary [you do not feel satisfaction]. If made permanent it is called Realisation. (Ramana Maharshi, TWSRM, Question 155.)

Peace-makers

To the counsellors of peace is joy. (Proverbs 12:20.)

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. (Jesus in Matthew 5:9.)

Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord. (St. Paul in Hebrew 12:14.)

He that forgives and seeks reconcilement shall be rewarded by Allah. (Koran, 153.)

Perfection

Be ye ... perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. (Jesus in Matthew 5:48.)

Everything must be removed from people if they are to become perfect. (Blessed Henry SUSO, HSU, 177.)

The goal of perfection is reached when the soul with all its powers is taken into the simple One, which is God. (Abba Cassian in Blessed Henry SUSO, HSU, 139.)

The soul ... will not be transformed in God if it has only one imperfection. (St. John of the Cross in CWSJC, 98.)

Why bother now about a state which comes only after Perfection? The fact is that you are even now perfect and your supposed imperfection is only your own creation. (Ramana Maharshi, GR, 36.)

Perfection - Expecting perfection from others

You don’t have to change anything to have everything be perfect. It’s perfect right now. You just have to recognize it. (John Enright, Cold Mountain Institute Seminar, April 8, 1976.)

You alreadyare doing only what you want to do. You don’t need to change. You just need to accept what you are already doing. (John Enright, Cold Mountain Institute Seminar, April 8, 1976.)

You do not live in a perfect world. To expect others to be perfect is to attack them. That is not my teaching. Even perceiving others as wrong is a form of attack.

Do not attack your brother or sister. Nothing good can come of it. (Paul Ferrini, SOH, 37.)

Persistence – See Determination - Be steadfast; persevere; persist until the end

Politics – See Spiritual Activism

Practicing the Presence of God – See Bhakti Yoga – Practicing the Presence of God

Prarabdha Karma – See The Sage - After Liberation, illumined souls are carried along by the momentum of their prarabdha karma

Prayer

My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and I will look up. (Psalm 5:3.)

Ask and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. (Jesus in Matthew 7:7.)

It is God's will that one pray to him. (Blessed Henry SUSO, HSU, 130.)

In order to form a habit of conversing with God continually, and referring all we do to Him, we must at first apply to Him with some diligence; but ... after a little care we should find His love inwardly excite us to it without any difficulty. (Attributed to Brother Lawrence, PPG, 10.)

We ought to act with God in the greatest simplicity, speaking to Him frankly and plainly, and imploring His assistance in our affairs, just as they happen. ... God never failed to grant it, as he had often experienced. (Attributed to Brother Lawrence, PPG, 10-1.)

It was a great delusion to think that the times of prayer ought to differ from other times; ... we are strictly obliged to adhere to God by action in the time of action as by prayer in the season of prayer. (Attributed to Brother Lawrence, PPG, 19-20.)

His prayer was nothing else but a sense of the presence of God, his soul being at that time insensible to everything but divine love; and ... when the appointed times of prayer were past, he found no difference, because he still continued with God, praising and blessing Him with all his might, so that he passed his life in continual joy; yet hoped that God would give him somewhat to suffer when he should grow stronger. (Attributed to Brother Lawrence, PPG, 20.)

There is another way: earnestly praying to God. God is our very own. We should say to Him: “O God, what is Thy nature? Reveal Thyself to me. Thou must show Thyself to me; for why else has Thou created me?” (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 96.)

We should force our demands on God. He is our Father and Mother, isn’t He? If the son demands his patrimony and gives up food and drink in order to enforce his demand, then the parents hand his share over to him three years before the legal time. Or when the child demands some pice from his mother, and says over and over again: “Mother, give me a couple of pice. I beg you on my knees!” – then the mother, seeing his earnestness, and unable to bear it any more, tosses the money to him. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 96-7.)

Those that ask shall have. But though the ordinary man asks perpetually, his voice is not heard. For he asks with his mind only; and the voice of the mind is only heard on that plane on which the mind acts. ... To ask is to feel the hunger within -- the yearning of spiritual aspiration. (Ascended Master, probably the Master Hilarion, channelling through Mabel Collins, LOP, 18.)

The heart is often very hard; it is not easily moved. Soften it by prayer. Then divine blessing comes. (Paramahansa Yogananda, SY, 110.)

Premises

Brandy and water. Scotch and water. Bourbon and water. Gets drunk. Conclusion: it must be the water. (John Enright, Cold Mountain Institute Seminar, April 15, 1976.)

Your premises determine what happens to you in life. They determine what you do, and what data you select out from all that comes toward you. They determine how you experience and how you interpret your experience.

Whatever your premises, then, your experience will almost automatically verify them. Usually you don’t know your premises, but they can be brought to your attention, at first by others and later by yourself. You can then know your premises but you won’t be able to change them, and yet they will change. The harder you try to change them, usually the less easily they will change. (John Enright, Awareness, Responsibility, Communication Seminar, November 1977.)

Prerequisites for Enlightenment - To turn from the world to God, one needs discrimination, detachment and devotion - See Discrimination, detachment and devotion - Three prerequisites for knowing God

The Present - See The Now

Problems

Our bodies are made for the real world and we no longer live in it. We are isolated from it by our artifactual environment. We need TV violence to get us going. A few actual bang-up fights would be the equivalent of numerous TV fights. (John Enright, Cold Mountain Institute Seminar, April 15, 1976.)

The problem you have now is a solution to one you had earlier, and a better solution than one you’d be in were you to solve it and have a new problem. If it weren’t better, then you’d solve it.

Why is it that you don’t solve your problem? What problem would it lead to if you did? What would be the unfortunate or uncomfortable consequences of solving your problem? What’s the pain you avoid by having it? What’s the payoff you get from having it? Why not reclassify your problem? It’s not “Getting a Job” that’s a problem for you. It’s “holding on to Free Time.” (John Enright, Awareness, Responsibility, Communication Seminar, November 1977.)

We don’t have a choice between problems and no problems, but between high-quality and low-quality problems. Without situationally-stimulated emotions (in light of our removal from the “real” world) we’ve got to have something to do. Until we have some high-quality problems, we’re stuck with the low-quality problems we have. (John Enright, Cold Mountain Institute Seminar, April 15, 1976.)

If you’re stuck in a problem, it’s because it’s the best one around. If you’re unhappy with your present one, get a new one (or buy one from someone else), one that turns you on more. (John Enright, Awareness, Responsibility, Communication Seminar, January 20, 1979.)

Ask yourself:

(1) What problem was this one originally a solution to?

(2) What problem did I have to solve to get the one I have now?

(3) What problem will be created by solving the problem I’m dealing with now? (John Enright, Awareness, Responsibility, Communication Seminar, January 20, 1979.)

Keep a supply of high-quality problems around for the day you feel unhappy with the ones you’ve got. (John Enright, Awareness, Responsibility, Communication Seminar, January 20, 1979.)

Progress in Spirituality
Not to advance in the spiritual life is to go back. But those who have the gale of the Holy Spirit go forward even in sleep. (Brother Lawrence, PPG, 40.)

Prophets

I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.

And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.

But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die.

And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the Lord hath not spoken?

When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him. (Deuteronomy 18:18-22.)

And the Lord came down in the pillar of the cloud, and stood in the door of the tabernacle....

And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream. (Numbers 12:5-6.)

With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early…. (Isaiah 26:9) In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the LORD sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.

Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.

And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.

And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.

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

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

And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. (Isaiah 6:1-7) Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.

And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. (Isaiah 6:8-9) The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned.

The Lord GOD hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back.

I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.

For the Lord GOD will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.

He is near that justifieth me; who will contend with me? let us stand together: who is mine adversary? let him come near to me.

Behold, the Lord GOD will help me; who is he that shall condemn me? lo, they all shall wax old as a garment; the moth shall eat them up. (Isaiah 50:4-9.)

Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the LORD hath spoken…. (Isaiah 1:2.)

Hear the word of the LORD…. (Isaiah 1:10.)

Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the river of Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God.

In the fifth day of the month, which was the fifth year of king Jehoiachin's captivity, The word of the LORD came expressly unto Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of the LORD was there upon him. (Ezekiel, 1:1-3.)

And he said unto me, Son of man, stand upon thy feet, and I will speak unto thee.

And the spirit entered into me when he spake unto me, and set me upon my feet, that I heard him that spake unto me.

And he said unto me, Son of man, I send thee to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that hath rebelled against me: they and their fathers have transgressed against me, even unto this very day.

For they are impudent children and stiffhearted. I do send thee unto them; and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD.

And they, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, (for they are a rebellious house,) yet shall know that there hath been a prophet among them.

And thou, son of man, be not afraid of them, neither be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns be with thee, and thou dost dwell among scorpions: be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious house. (Ezekiel 2:1-6.)

Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child.

But the LORD said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak.

Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD.

Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth.

See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant. (Jeremiah 1:4-10.)

Surely the Lord God will do nothing but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets. (Amos 3:7.)

Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments. (Ezra 7:10.)

It comes into my mind at this point to comment on a verse of the Koran, although it is not related to the present discourse. However, this thought comes into my mind and I will express it so that it may go one record. God most High says.... (Rumi in DR, 14.)

That is the state of getting many meanings from a few words. If a man has reached this he is heir to the Prophet and has reached the Truth of the Prophet. (Ibn Arabi, KK, 37.)

God keeps certain mysteries secret from His envoys and prophets during their prophethood. One of these is the mystery of destiny. If the inviter to truth, like an envoy or prophet, is to see in some of the people he is professing to their inclination to deny, and in some of them he sees that his invitation would be of no avail, he would remain incapacitated and perplexed, and he could not perform his prophecy as it should be. Therefore he would be hampered if he knew this mystery. The mystery of destiny has been made known to the prophets after their invitation is finished and after it has become apparent who is a coverer up of Truth, [and] who is a believer, ... who is a hypocrite, and who is a pure person. (Ibn Arabi, KK, 30.)

A master who achieves ... final freedom may elect to return to earth as a prophet to bring other human beings back to God, or like myself he may choose to reside in the astral cosmos. There a saviour assumes some of the burden of the inhabitants' karma, and thus helps them to terminate their cycle of reincarnation in the astral cosmos and go on permanently to the causal spheres. Or a freed soul may enter the causal world to aid its beings to shorten their span in the causal body and thus attain the Absolute Freedom. (Sri Yukteswar Giri in Paramanansa Yogananda, AY, 421.)

Prophets – They receive their commission from the Lord

Moses

And Moses said unto the Lord, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou has spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.

And the Lord said unto him, Who hath made man's mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or the deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the Lord?

Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say. (Exodus 4:10-12.)

And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face. (Deuteronomy 34:10.)

Joshua

And the Lord said unto Joshua, This day will I begin to magnify thee in the sight of Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee. (Joshua 3:7.)

Samson

And the angel of the Lord appeared unto the woman, and said unto her, Behold now, thou art barren, and bearest not: but thou shalt conceive, and bear a son.

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

For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from his womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines. (Judges 13:3-5.)

Samuel

The word of the Lord was precious in those days; there was no open vision. (I Samuel 3:1.)

Beforetime in Israel, when a man went to enquire of God, thus he spake, Come, and let us go to the seer; for he that is now called a Prophet was beforetime called a Seer. (1) (I Samuel 9:9.)

(1) In ancient India a master of the highest attainment was also called a seer or rishi.

The Spirit of the Lord (1) spake by me, and his word was in my tongue. (II Samuel 23:2.)

(1) The Holy Spirit.

And the Lord came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth. (I Samuel 3:10.)

And the Lord appeared again in Shiloh: for the Lord revealed himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the Lord. (1) (I Samuel 3:21.)

(1) By the Holy Spirit or Divine Mother.

Isaiah

In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the LORD sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.

Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.

And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.

And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.

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

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

And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. (Isaiah 6:1-7) Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.

And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. (Isaiah 6:8-9) The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;

To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified. (Isaiah 61:1-3.)

Jeremiah

Then the word of the Lord (1) came unto me, saying,

Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee a prophet unto the nations. (Jeremiah 1:4-5.)

(1) Probably referring to the Holy Spirit or Divine Mother.

Ezekiel

Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the river of Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God.

In the fifth day of the month, which was the fifth year of king Jehoiachin's captivity,

The word of the LORD came expressly unto Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of the LORD was there upon him. (Ezekiel 1:1-3.)

And he said unto me, Son of man, stand upon thy feet, and I will speak unto thee.

And the spirit entered into me when he spake unto me, and set me upon my feet, that I heard him that spake unto me.

And he said unto me, Son of man, I send thee to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that hath rebelled against me: they and their fathers have transgressed against me, even unto this very day.

For they are impudent children and stiffhearted. I do send thee unto them; and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD.

And they, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, (for they are a rebellious house,) yet shall know that there hath been a prophet among them.

And thou, son of man, be not afraid of them, neither be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns be with thee, and thou dost dwell among scorpions: be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious house.

And thou shalt speak my words unto them, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear: for they are most rebellious.

But thou, son of man, hear what I say unto thee; Be not thou rebellious like that rebellious house: open thy mouth, and eat that I give thee.

And when I looked, behold, an hand was sent unto me; and, lo, a roll of a book was therein;

And he spread it before me; and it was written within and without: and there was written therein lamentations, and mourning, and woe. (Ezekiel 2:1-10.)

Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, eat that thou findest; eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel.

So I opened my mouth, and he caused me to eat that roll.

And he said unto me, Son of man, cause thy belly to eat, and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee. Then did I eat it; and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness.

And he said unto me, Son of man, go, get thee unto the house of Israel, and speak with my words unto them.

For thou art not sent to a people of a strange speech and of an hard language, but to the house of Israel;

Not to many people of a strange speech and of an hard language, whose words thou canst not understand. Surely, had I sent thee to them, they would have hearkened unto thee.

But the house of Israel will not hearken unto thee; for they will not hearken unto me: for all the house of Israel are impudent and hardhearted.

Behold, I have made thy face strong against their faces, and thy forehead strong against their foreheads.

As an adamant harder than flint have I made thy forehead: fear them not, neither be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious house.

Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, all my words that I shall speak unto thee receive in thine heart, and hear with thine ears.

And go, get thee to them of the captivity, unto the children of thy people, and speak unto them, and tell them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear.

Then the spirit took me up, and I heard behind me a voice of a great rushing, saying, Blessed be the glory of the LORD from his place.

I heard also the noise of the wings of the living creatures that touched one another, and the noise of the wheels over against them, and a noise of a great rushing.

So the spirit lifted me up, and took me away, and I went in bitterness, in the heat of my spirit; but the hand of the LORD was strong upon me.

Then I came to them of the captivity at Telabib, that dwelt by the river of Chebar, and I sat where they sat, and remained there astonished among them seven days. (Ezekiel 3:1-15.)

Prophets - False Prophets

It is inevitable, I suppose, that someone will always be looking for a soapbox to stand on. And others who are uncertain in their own faith will listen to him and call him Messiah. Proclaiming his teaching, they will neglect the wisdom that lies within their own hearts. But such idols inevitably fall, and when they do the fears of the followers come to light for healing.

The one who stands on the soapbox may be foolish, but the one who listens to him is more foolish still. And more foolish than both is the one who condemns either one.

We need to learn to let others live and learn. The only help that we can offer them comes through our acceptance and love and not through our judgment. (Paul Ferrini, SOH, 38.)

Pure Intention

Once we come back to our Self, then whatever is created is happening not so much from a perspective of “What do I want?” but from a pure intention. Not an individual intention, not a collective intention, but the intention, the primal intention. It’s not an intention with a choice or a chooser. It’s a primary creative energy that comes from the source.

When we really have returned to the source, creation is no longer distorting itself through our wants or desires. That’s when we’re seeing, “What is? That’s what I want. What is actually happening? That’s what I desire.” And I’m no longer interested in creating anything, because I realize that everything, as it is, is what I always wanted it to be. It was always my intention; I just didn’t know it. I didn’t really want to manifest my individual intention, I wanted to come into the purity of intention itself.

This realization doesn’t obliterate duality; it liberates duality. When we come into the ultimate Truth, then our thoughts, feelings, and actions come from this self-realization. At that point, there’s no sense in choosing or not choosing. There’s just the watching. When the Truth is conscious instead of unconscious, it can come through and manifest purely—without any desire to do so. (Adyashanti, “Actually One Being,” 1999, downloaded from www.adyashanti.org, 2004.)

Purity - Is our original nature or condition

Pure in its own nature and free from the category of finite and infinite, Universal Mind (1) is the undefiled Buddha-womb, which is wrongly apprehended by sentient beings. (Lankavatara Sutra in Huxley, PP, 8.)

(1) God the Father.

All natures (1) are pure. ... All appearances (2) are empty. (Bodhidharma in ZTB 3.)

(1) The Self.
(2) The external world of matter.

The buddha is your real body, your original mind. This mind has no form or characteristics, no cause or effect, no tendons or bones. It's like space. You can't hold it. It's not the mind of materialists or nihilists. Except for a tathagata, (1) no one else, no mortal, (2) no deluded being, can fathom it. (Bodhidharma in ZTB, 21.)

(1) A fully-perfected being or Buddha.
(2) No unenlightened being; hence one trapped in the cycle of birth and death.

Pure Mind, Pure Buddhi, Pure Atman -- all these are one and the same. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 802.)

That which is Pure Mind is also Pure Buddhi; that again is Pure Atman, because there is nothing pure but God. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna, GSR, 178.)

Purity - Is essential for enlightenment

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

When a man is free from desire, his mind and senses purified, he beholds the glory of the Self and is without sorrow. (UPAN, 18.)

Their impurities washed away, the seers realize him. (UPAN, 47.)

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

Who but the purest of the pure can realize this Effulgent Being, who is joy and who is beyond joy? (UPAN, 18.)

By the pure in heart is he known. (UPAN, 46.)

That infinite happiness (1) ... can be realized by the purified heart but is beyond the grasp of the senses. (Sri Krishna in BG, 66.)

(1) Union or Self-Knowledge.

Next to life purity is the greatest good for man, that purity ... which is in God's Religion for him who cleanses his own self with good thoughts, words, and deeds. (Zarathustra in GZ, 95-6.)

Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place?

He that hath clean hands and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.

He shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. (Psalm 24:3-5.)

Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. (Jesus in Matthew 5:8.)

Purify your soul from all undue hope and fear about earthly things, mortify your body, deny self - affections as well as appetites -- and the inner eye will begin to exercise its clear and solemn vision. (Plotinus in Bucke, CC, 122.)

Only those reach [the Good] who rise to the intelligible realm, face it fully, stripped of the muddy vesture with which they were clothed in their descent ... and enter in nakedness, having cast off in the ascent all that is alien to the divine. (Plotinus in EP, 40.)

A man whose heart is pure realizes the supreme Atman. Thereby he destroys his bondage to the world, root and all. (Shankara in CJD, 56.)

With a controlled mind and an intellect made pure and tranquil, you must realize the Atman directly, within yourself. (Shankara in CJD, 53.)

None shall be saved except him who comes before his Lord with a pure heart. (Koran, 199.)

Bianrong said, “You must be pure and clean to preach the Dharma.” Zibo said, “Right now I am not stained by even an atom of dust.”

Bianrong ordered him to take off his tunic and give it to a monk standing nearby. As Zibo took it off, Bianrong said to him, “After you have stripped off one layer, there’s still another layer.” (Ch’an master Zibo in ZIBO, 11.)

To undertake the journey to God the heart must be burned and purified of all creatures with the fire of divine love. (St. John of the Cross in CWSJC, 75.)

Only the pure in heart see God. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 98.)

God cannot be realized without purity of heart. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 161.)

Let me tell you one thing. God can be seen. The Vedas say that God is beyond mind and speech. The meaning of this is that God is unknown to the mind attached to worldly objects. Vaishnavcharan used to say, 'God is known by the mind and intellect that are pure.' (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 158.)

God can be seen … through the pure mind and the pure intelligence. Through attachment to “woman and gold” the mind becomes impure. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 1012.)

Pure mind sees God and ordinary mind does not function. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 687.)

How can one attain yoga? By completely renouncing attachment to worldly things. The mind must be pure and without blemish, like the telegraph wire that has no defect.

God cannot be known by the sense-organs or by this mind; but He can be known by the pure mind, the mind that is free from worldly desires. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 328-9.)

Can one not see God as formless Reality? Of course one can. But not if one has the slightest trace of worldliness. The rishis of olden times renounced everything and then contemplated Satchidananda, the Indivisible Brahman. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 213.)

One must not cherish any desire whatever. The devotion of a man who has any desire is selfish. But desireless devotion is love for its own sake. You may love me or not, but I love you: this is love for its own sake. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 375.)

If a man finds a hair in the food he is chewing, he spits out the entire morsel. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 258.)

The truth is that you cannot attain God if you have even a trace of desire. Subtle is the way of dharma. If you are trying to thread a needle, you will not succeed if the thread has even a slight fibre sticking out. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 769.)

God is realized as soon as the mind becomes free from attachment. Whatever appears in the Pure Mind is the voice of God. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 178.)

A monk told Joshu: "I have just entered the monastery. Please teach me."
Joshu asked: "Have you eaten your rice porridge?" (1)
The monk replied: "I have eaten."
Joshu said: "Then you had better wash your bowl." (2) At that moment the monk was enlightened. (Paul Reps, ZFZB, 96.)

(1) Digested and assimilated the spiritual teachings.
(2) Purify the heart and quiet the mind.

As in the works of knowledge, so in dealing with the workings of the heart, we are obliged to make a preliminary distinction between two categories of movements, those that are either moved by the true soul or aid towards its liberation and rule in the nature and those that are turned to the satisfaction of the unpurified vital nature. ... A division can be made between religious emotions and mundane feelings and it can be laid down as a rule of spiritual life that the religious emotions alone should be cultivated and all worldly feelings and passions must be rejected and fall away from our existence. (Sri Aurobindo, SOY, 141.)

Purity – Outward purity

Don’t be over-fastidious about outward purity. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 292.)

Purity – Exception – Those who descend into impurity to uplift

As a test of your orientation and preference, to which, or with whom, would you rather associate and which would you rather be: a highly generous individual but one who possesses a filthy mind and filthy feelings, or an individual who is highly pure but aloof? Only the latter has hope to make a breakthrough to the Imperium. The former can sojourn only in the lower lokas of the world. Generosity is not enough. Purity is essential if one is to ascend into the realm of utter Fullness, Peace and Security. This is necessary.

There is, of course, a step beyond, the step calling for the Great Renunciation where He Who has ascended to these heights descends again into the cesspool of outer worldly consciousness to bring to that vast filthiness something of the values of the transcendent purity. But for the purpose of attaining this stupendous release, purity is the supreme requirement. (Franklin Merrell-Woolf, WB.)

Purity - The impure mind strays

Even a mind that knows the path
Can be dragged from the path:
The senses are so unruly.
But he controls the senses
And recollects the mind
And fixes it on me.
I call him illumined.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 42.)

Unless the soul is pure, it cannot have genuine love of God and single-minded devotion to the ideal. The mind wanders away to various objects. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna, GSR, 710.)

Purity - God is seen reflected in the pure consciousness

The subtle Self within the living and breathing body is realized in that pure consciousness by which the heart beats and the senses perform their office. (UPAN, 47.)

In one's own soul Brahman is realized clearly, as if seen in a mirror. ...

None beholds him with the eyes, for he is without visible form. Yet in the heart is he revealed, through self-control and meditation. ...

When all the senses are stilled. when the mind is at rest, when the intellect wavers not -- then, say the wise, is reached the highest state. (UPAN, 24.)

Even though the aspirant is gazing at his own Self, it is said to look like a light located outside himself. The Upanishads refer to this illusion: "In one's own soul (1) Brahman is realized clearly, as if seen in a mirror." (Prabhavananda and Manchester, commenting in UPAN, 23fn.)

(1) The quiet mind or clarified buddhi.

Purity - The pure of heart enter the Kingdom of God

He attains, through the complete purging of every sin, to the everlasting, ... happy and ... perfect progress of the undisturbed Best Life. (Zarathustra, GZ, 149-50.)

The Home of Song is for the holy souls, and no one of the wicked can enter the Home of Song or its bright, wide, holy ways to Ahuramazda, (because) no one who remains in darkness can look at the light. (Zarathustra in GZ, 117.)

The road (over the [Chinvat] Bridge) becomes for the wicked like a razor's edge and ... his path ... is like ... where numbers of sharp-pointed darts are planted out ... point-upwards, and they unwillingly come running, not allowed to hang back (or) to make delay. (The Lord Ahuramazda in GZ, 125.)

[For the righteous] the width of the [Chinvat] Bridge becomes about a mile; and the righteous soul passes over with the help of holy Obedience, in the joy of perfect holiness he walks over the far-famed Bridge, ... well-kept and guarded by virtue; the pleasantness of his going thereon is like when you eagerly and unweariedly walk in the golden spring. (The Lord Ahuramazda in GZ, 134.)

Purity - God visits the souls of the pure in heart

When you have purified your hearts by faith, the king will enter in and you will see his face. (Jesus in AGJC, 68:14.)

Whatsoever things are true, ... honest, ... just, ...pure, ... lovely, ... of good report; ... think on these things.

... And the God of peace shall be with you. (St. Paul in Phillipians 4:8-9.)

Do not pretend to purity; He best knows those who guard themselves against evil. (Koran, 113.)

God visits the altars of hearts that are cleansed by tears of devotion and lighted with candles of love. (Paramahansa Yogananda in SY, 91.)

Purity - Purify the mind and senses to see God

When the senses are purified, the heart is purified; when the heart is purified, there is constant and unceasing remembrance of the Self; when there is constant and unceasing remembrance of the Self, all bonds are loosed and freedom is attained. (UPAN, 74.)

When a man is free from desire, his mind and senses purified, he beholds the glory of the Self and is without sorrow. (UPAN, 17-8.)

By the purified mind alone is the indivisible Brahman to be attained. (UPAN, 21.)

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

Temperance, courage, every virtue -- even prudence itself -- are purifications. (Plotinus in EP, 39.)

For what is temperance, rightly so called, but to abstain from the pleasures of the body, to reject them rather as unclean and unworthy of the clean? (Plotinus in EP, 39.)

Only the mind's eye can contemplate this mighty beauty. But if it comes to contemplation purblind with vice, impure, weak, without the strength to look upon brilliant objects, it then sees nothing even if it is placed in the presence of an object than can be seen. For the eye must be adapted to what is to be seen, have some likeness to it, if it would give itself to contemplation. No eye that has not become like unto the sun will ever look upon the sun; nor will any that is not beautiful look upon the beautiful. Let each one therefore become godlike and beautiful who would contemplate the divine and beautiful. (Plotinus in EP, 43.)

The seeker after liberation must work carefully to purify the mind. When the mind has been made pure, liberation is as easy to grasp as the fruit which lies in the palm of your hand. (Shankara in CJD, 61.)

Purity - Purify the heart to see God

When through discrimination the heart has become pure, then, in meditation, the Impersonal Self is revealed. (UPAN, 47.)

Purify the heart until you know that "I am Brahman". Realize your own Atman, the pure and infinite consciousness. (Shankara in CJD, 74.)

To undertake the journey to God the heart must be burned and purified of all creatures with the fire of divine love. (St. John of the Cross in CWSJC, 75.)

First of all purify the mind. In the pure heart God takes His seat. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna, GSR, 125.)

After the purification of the heart one obtains divine love. Then one sees God, through His grace. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna, GSR, 158.)

The heart must be freed from subjection to the cravings of the life-principle and the senses and thus rid itself of the false emotions of fear, wrath, hatred, lust, etc., which constitute the impurity of the heart. The will to love is proper to the heart, but here also the choice and reaching after love have to be foregone or tranquillised and the heart taught to love with depth and intensity indeed, but with a calm depth and a settled and equal, (1) not a troubled and disordered intensity. The tranquillisation and mastery of these members is a first condition for the immunity of the understanding from error, ignorance and perversion. (Sri Aurobindo, SOY, 298-9.)

(1) "Equal" is meant here in the sense of "equanimity."

A free heart is ... a heart delivered from the gusts and storms of the affections and the passions; the assailing touch of grief, wrath, hatred, fear, inequality of love, trouble of joy, pain of sorrow fall away from the equal heart, and leave it a thing large, calm, equal, luminous, divine. These things are not incumbent on the essential nature of our being, but the creations of the present make of our outward active mental and vital nature and its transactions with its surroundings. The ego-sense which induces us to act as separate beings, who make their isolated claim and experiences the test-of-values of the universe, is responsible for these aberrations. When we live in unity with the Divine in ourselves and the spirit of the universe, these imperfections fall away from us and disappear in the calm and equal strength and delight of the inner spiritual existence. ... By equality of the heart we get away from the troubled desire-soul on the surface, open the gates of this profounder being, bring out its responses and impose their true divine values on all that solicits our emotional being. A free, happy, equal and all-embracing heart of spiritual feeling is the outcome of this perfection. (Sri Aurobindo, SOY, 676-7.)

Purity - Ways to purify - Through religious practices

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

(1) Purity.

Religion cleanses the believer from every bad thought and word and deed, in the same way as a swift-rushing hurricane cleanses the plain. (Zarathustra in GZ, 90.)

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

Chant His name and purify your body and mind. Purify your tongue by singing God's holy name. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 159.)

"Practice, practice," [Swami Brahmananda] would tell us: "Through practice of the spiritual disciplines the heart will be purified and a new realm will open. You will realize that God alone is real and that everything else is unreal. But when through japam and meditation a little awakening comes, do not imagine you have achieved the end. Light! More Light! Onward! Onward! Attain God! Gain his vision! Talk to him!" (Of Swami Brahmananda in Swami Prabhavananda, EC, 61.)

Purity - Ways to purify - Through character reformation

Temperance, courage, every virtue -- even prudence itself -- are purifications. (Plotinus in EP, 39.)

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 smoothes 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 aim of moral discipline is to purify the heart from the rust of passion and resentment, till, like a clear mirror, it reflects the light of God. (Al Ghazzali, AH, 23.)

Purity - Ways to purify - Through divine love and compassion

Acts of sacrifice, almsgiving and austerity should not be given up: their performance is necessary. For sacrifice, almsgiving and austerity are means of purification to those who rightly understand them. But even these acts must be performed without attachment or regard for their fruits. Such is my final and considered judgment. (Sri Krishna in BG, 120.)

The mind, body, and soul of a man become purified through divine love. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna, GSR, 155.)

Raja-bhakti is pure love of God, a love that seeks God alone and not any worldly end. Prahlada had it. ... Such is love of God for its own sake. You simply love God and don't want anything from Him in return. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 183.)

Compassion is the love one feels for all beings of the world. ... [Compassion] makes our hearts pure and gradually unties our bonds. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna, GSR, 161.)

Maya (1) keeps us in ignorance and entangles us in the world, whereas daya (2) makes our hearts pure and gradually unties our bonds. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 161.)

(1) The Divine Mother or illusion.
(2) Compassion.

Ordinary love is selfish, darkly rooted in desires and satisfactions. Divine love is without condition, without boundary, without change. The flux of the human heart is gone forever at the transfixing touch of pure love. (Sri Yukteswar Giri in AY, 89-90.)

Purity - Ways to purify - Through repentance

One should weep for God. When the impurities of the mind are thus washed away, one realizes God. The mind is like a needle covered with mud, and God is like a magnet. The needle cannot be united with the magnet unless it is free from mud. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 98.)

Purity - Ways to purify - Through the development of discrimination and detachment

If discrimination and dispassion are practiced, to the exclusion of everything else, the mind will become pure and move toward liberation. Therefore the wise man who seeks liberation must develop both these qualities within himself. (Shankara, CJD, 60-1.)

The purification of the mind, which is attained through the practice of discrimination and dispassion, is the goal of spiritual discipline. In the pure mind one sees the reflection of the self. (Nikhilananda, Hinudism, 55.)

Purity - Ways to purify - Through unattached action and selfless service

Life in the world and life in the spirit are not incompatible. Work, or action, is not contrary to knowledge of God, but indeed, if performed without attachment, is a means to it. (UPAN, 26.)

Work done with anxiety about results is far inferior to work done without such anxiety, in the calm of self-surrender. Seek refuge in the knowledge of Brahman. They who work selfishly for results are miserable.

In the calm of self-surrender you can free yourself from the bondage of virtue and vice during this very life. Devote yourself, therefore, to reaching union with Brahman. To unite the heart with Brahman and then to act: that is the secret of non-attached work. In the calm of self-surrender, the seers renounce the fruits of their actions, and so reach enlightenment. Then they are free from the bondage of rebirth, and pass to that state which is beyond all evil. (Sri Krishna in BG, 41.)

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 is destroyed through the performance of duty. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna, GSR, 185.)

Purity - Examples of the pure in heart

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

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

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