Adi Shankara Bhagavatpada Sri Bharati Tirtha

Sri Chandrashekhara Bharati

Sri Abhinava Vidyatirtha

Do not be proud of wealth, people (relations and friends), and youth. All these are snatched by Time in the blink of an eye. Giving up this illusory world, know and attain the Supreme. [Jagadguru Sri Adi Shankara Bhagavatpada] Daylight and darkness dusk and dawn, winter and springtime come and go. Time plays and life ebbs away. But the current of desire never leaves. [Jagadguru Sri Adi Shankara Bhagavatpada] An object continues to be dear as long as one derives pleasure from it and it is detested for the duration that it causes pain. The same object cannot be always liked or disliked. Sometimes, that which is not dear may become dear. Moreover, that which was loveable can turn unpleasant. The Atma, towards which affection never wanes, is always the most beloved. [Jagadguru Sri Adi Shankara Bhagavatpada] Modern man’s condition is pitiable. His craze for sensual pleasures and worldly success is increasing day by day. He toils restlessly to acquire more and more worldly possessions and comforts. Due to western influence and a craze for material possessions, most people have no faith in God or guru or religion or our sacred scriptures. There is growing neglect of Dharma. Virtues are on the decline. Vices are on the rise. Faith is going down rapidly. All our present endeavors must be directed towards restoration and maintenance of faith in God and in our scriptures. What we need today is a spiritual revival. The primary cause of all our misery and suffering is the culpable neglect of dharmic conduct. If only people regain their faith in God, guru and the Vedas and perform the duties as taught by the Vedas and the guru they will all be freed from misery and will be happy. [Jagadguru Sri Chandrashekhara Bharati Mahaswamigal] It is no doubt a painful experience and a physical loss to have an abscess (or tumor) operated upon and the poisonous matter taken out. But such an operation is necessary, and in the ultimate result, very beneficial, if we want to secure strength and health for the rest of the body. Similarly, the strength and health of a society, as much as of a body, does not depend upon its size or the number of its component

parts but upon its vitality and its freedom from weakness or disease. A society can remain strong and healthy only if the weak, unhealthy and poisonous elements are taken out of it. [Jagadguru Sri Chandrashekhara Bharati Mahaswamigal] In today’s materialistic world, most people have no regard for any religion or God; the few that profess such regard have only a formal sense of allegiance to their religion, which will disappear in no time, if it conflicts with their personal, selfish interests. Very, very few people are true seekers of God. [Jagadguru Sri Chandrashekhara Bharati Mahaswamigal] Our country suffers at present not for want of religious institutions but for want of people who are prepared to conform to its rules. Waste not your time in trying to create more spiritual institutions. Instead of trying to change the world, change yourself. If each individual reforms himself, society will automatically get reformed. [Jagadguru Sri Chandrashekhara Bharati Mahaswamigal] A government is responsible not only for the secular and material interests of its citizens but also for their spiritual welfare. It would be failing in its duty if it confines its attention only to the former and neglects the latter altogether. [Jagadguru Sri Chandrashekhara Bharati Mahaswamigal] Wealth and happiness are not related to each other as cause and effect. An attempt to secure happiness by securing wealth is as futile as it is absurd. [Jagadguru Sri Chandrashekhara Bharati Mahaswamigal] A thing has value only to the one who wants it. Worldly success and wealth count therefore only with those who want them. If you do not want them, you certainly do not care how wealthy or successful another person is. [Jagadguru Sri Chandrashekhara Bharati Mahaswamigal] Take money and worldly success when it comes and use it. Do not anticipate or hanker after wealth and worldly success. This is the right attitude. [Jagadguru Sri Chandrashekhara Bharati Mahaswamigal] Suppose you have 20 articles in your room, every one of which is likely to distract you by its very sight? Which is the more practical method, to prepare cases for enveloping every one of them or to shut your eyes? Obviously the latter is easier. Similarly, it is impossible for you to regulate, modify, annihilate or create at your pleasure the infinite things of the universe which are likely to disturb you. But you can regulate your own mind so that it gradually ceases to be disturbed by the objects of the world. And this is the aim of spirituality - to regulate the mind so that it is peaceful and happy in all circumstances. [Jagadguru Sri Chandrashekhara Bharati Mahaswamigal] Once man allows his inherent peace, born of contentment, to be disturbed and makes room in his heart for greed and desires, a host of evils come on. All evils in society are due to the demon of desire.[Jagadguru Sri Chandrashekhara Bharati Mahaswamigal] When you know that you have an enemy to encounter, you arm yourself to meet him. It is always preferable to meet the foe in an open field of battle; it is very difficult to fight the foe that is by your side and masquerading as a friend. It is easier to fight a tiger openly attacking you than to fight a poison which, unknown to you, has entered

your blood and is sapping your life slowly but unfailingly. [Jagadguru Sri Chandrashekhara Bharati Mahaswamigal] In the name of progress and economic growth we have grown weaker and weaker. Western thought and influence are corrupting us. The slow poison of un-Hindu thought and manners has entered our blood; and the most pitiable part of it is that we do not and would not realize that it is poison.[Jagadguru Sri Chandrashekhara Bharati Mahaswamigal] If we do not succeed in the first few attempts, it means that in the past we have exercised our free will just in opposite direction. So our present effort must be proportionate to that past activity to eliminate its effects. Thus the obstacles which we face in life are just the gauge by which we have to guide our present activities. [Jagadguru Sri Chandrashekhara Bharati Mahaswamigal] Worldly comforts and pleasures are not the means of happiness. Today we have in abundance all the requisites of comfort and happiness, far more than our ancestors had. Yet we are not better off than before. Even though, the means of happiness (worldly possessions) have increased manifold over the last century, our happiness has not increased. [Jagadguru Sri Chandrashekhara Bharati Mahaswamigal] All worldly possessions must be left behind when you die. Friends and relatives come as far as the burning ground and return home from there. The only things which accompany the departing soul are dharma (good deeds) and adharma (evil deeds). The former is a help and the latter a hindrance. You must therefore in this birth accumulate as much of dharma as you can and at the same time minimize adharma as far as possible. [Jagadguru Sri Chandrashekhara Bharati Mahaswamigal] Worldly life is at best only a means of livelihood. There are higher objects in life than mere living, and only by turning to religion can you secure such objects. Do not ignore your spiritual welfare, in the interests of mere living. [Jagadguru Sri Chandrashekhara Bharati Mahaswamigal] If you do not succeed even after your best effort, do not despair, for fate being a product of your free will can never be stronger than free Will. Your failure only means that your present exercise of free will is not sufficient to counteract the result of the past exercise of it. But if you keep on trying you are bound to succeed. [Jagadguru Sri Chandrashekhara Bharati Mahaswamigal] Start with boundless hope with the presumption that nothing is impossible for you. If you work with earnestness and persist in your efforts, you can accomplish anything. [Jagadguru Sri Chandrashekhara Bharati Mahaswamigal] Conversions from one religion to another are neither advisable nor desirable. The religion in which a man is born is the best fitted for his spiritual up lift ment. The Lord knows which religion is best for us and gives us birth in a country, climate, time and faith for which we are best suited. [Jagadguru Sri Chandrashekhara Bharati Mahaswamigal] No matter how good an artist is, we cannot paint a picture on vacant air, though he may possess the finest paints and brushes. He requires a stable background, be it canvas or a wall. Similarly a seeker should apply his God given gifts on the stable background of his God chosen faith. So a Hindu should try to become a better Hindu,

a Muslim a better Muslim, a Buddhist a better Buddhist and a Christian a better Christian. [Jagadguru Sri Chandrashekhara Bharati Mahaswamigal] Who are we to sit in judgment over other religious teachers and religions? Waste not your precious life in judging others. Use it to regulate your life and purify yourself. [Jagadguru Sri Chandrashekhara Bharati Mahaswamigal] There must be perfect equality - each man to his religion - unmolested by anybody and every facility guaranteed to him to practice his own religious pursuit. [Jagadguru Sri Chandrashekhara Bharati Mahaswamigal] Do not be disheartened by the spiritual darkness over-running the world. When the sun sets and the darkness of night envelop the land, we do not stop our work saying that the sun has set. Do we not light a lamp and get on with our normal activities with the aid of that lamp? If we feel that there is urgency, do we not walk miles together during the darkest of nights guided by the flickering light of a torch? If you feel earnestly and keenly the urgency for escaping from the cycle of birth and death, you will ignore the spiritual gloom prevailing in the land and seek out a guiding torch which will dispel the gloom for you. Such a guiding torch is the Guru, your spiritual master, who is waiting to help you. [Jagadguru Sri Chandrashekhara Bharati Mahaswamigal] Does fire refuse to scorch a person who touches it without knowing that it will scorch or who refuses to accept its power to scorch? Similarly, if you go against God’s laws you are bound to suffer. [Jagadguru Sri Chandrashekhara Bharati Mahaswamigal] Prevention is better than cure. It is easier to be always clean and pure than to dip your hands in dirt and filth and impurities and then wash them off. Similarly, it is advisable to be spiritual from the very start than to get entangled in worldly life and maya and then try to free yourself from it. [Jagadguru Sri Chandrashekhara Bharati Mahaswamigal] Know that as soon as you come into this world, the quota of pleasure and pain to be enjoyed by you in this life has already been determined and it is not within your power, or anybody else’s, to add to or take away from that allotment. [Jagadguru Sri Chandrashekhara Bharati Mahaswamigal] It is a waste of time and energy to quarrel about the nature of God. The feet of God are not visible to you, why do you waste your precious life speculating and wrangling about the nature of God’s face? [Jagadguru Sri Chandrashekhara Bharati Mahaswamigal] When we see a nail on the wall we cannot see what exact length of the nail is embedded in the wall (How much effort is required to pull out the nail depends on how deeply the nail is embedded in the wall.) We do not desist from the attempt to pull out the nail simply because we happen to be ignorant of the length of the nail in the wall or of the number and intensity of the strokes which drove it in. Rather we persist and persevere in pulling it out. If we do not succeed in the first few attempts, we increase the number and the intensity of our present efforts to pull it out. The nail in the wall represents the obstacles which arise in our present life due to the wrong use of our free will in the past. Just as we persevere to pull out the nail from the wall, we should make persistent efforts to counteract the ill effects of our past actions. We are bound to pull out the nail sooner or later. Similarly, we are bound to overcome all

the obstacles which we face in our life, if we try hard enough. [Jagadguru Sri Chandrashekhara Bharati Mahaswamigal] The only way a religion can be safeguarded is by strengthening the hands of those who are entrusted with the duty of seeing that the followers of a particular faith properly perform their functions. [Jagadguru Sri Chandrashekhara Bharati Mahaswamigal] It is the duty of parents to safeguard the spiritual interests of their child. As the parents have to feed a child which cannot feed itself, so have they to look after its spiritual interests also till it is able to take care of them. [Jagadguru Sri Chandrashekhara Bharati Mahaswamigal] Make the best use of the opportunities available to you now, for there is no guarantee that you may have the same opportunities and facilities in the births to come. Do not delay till tomorrow what can be done today. [Jagadguru Sri Chandrashekhara Bharati Mahaswamigal] Moksha can be attained by all. Never for a moment think yourself incompetent or incapable of attaining moksha. [Jagadguru Sri Chandrashekhara Bharati Mahaswamigal] The scriptures, which alone are our guides in religious matters, are above everyone and no one on earth has absolutely any right or justification to interfere with them on any account. [Jagadguru Sri Chandrashekhara Bharati Mahaswamigal] The Vedas are beginning-less. They are the revelations of God himself. [Jagadguru Sri Chandrashekhara Bharati Mahaswamigal] The scriptures have been written for your own good. Their aim is to guide you so that you can be free from pain and suffering, restlessness and unhappiness, and enjoy everlasting peace and bliss. By following their commands you stand only to gain and not lose. Why then do you persist in disobeying the scriptures? [Jagadguru Sri Chandrashekhara Bharati Mahaswamigal] Tendencies develop, regardless of the characteristic of the action performed. Hence, he who wishes to lead a proper life will do well to avoid evil deeds and to repeatedly perform virtuous deeds. [Jagadguru Sri Chandrashekhara Bharati Mahaswamigal] The nature of the object of worship necessarily depends upon the nature of the worshipper (i.e. spiritual competency). [Jagadguru Sri Chandrashekhara Bharati Mahaswamigal] Guidance can never be the same for all. Countless are the varieties of temperament, training, environment, hereditary and pre-natal tendencies and so on. So it is impossible to expect any single stereotyped system of conduct to suit all beings. [Jagadguru Sri Chandrashekhara Bharati Mahaswamigal] In spite of the knowledge that telling a lie is sinful, many people persist in it. When people sin, knowing that what they do is sinful, what is the point of teaching them that many other acts of theirs are also sinful. Such a teaching is not going to make any difference to their conduct. Now they err in ignorance; after being taught they will err deliberately. That will be all the difference perhaps. The fault lies with us. What can any guru do when we have no desire to reform ourselves?

[Jagadguru Sri Chandrashekhara Bharati Mahaswamigal] To suffer the result of sin, only the capacity to suffer is required; and this capacity, namely, the sense of pain and pleasure, is present in the baby, even when it is in the womb. A child cannot distinguish between right and wrong. So until it acquires this capacity, it incurs no sin. If a child commits no sin, why do so many children experience pain and suffering? The reason is simple. Children suffer for the sinful acts done by them as adults in previous births. [Jagadguru Sri Chandrashekhara Bharati Mahaswamigal] We have the ability to learn. Materials for knowledge are available to us. Teachers are available for teaching us. Yet man willingly prefers to live in the darkness of ignorance. Within man exists an ocean of bliss. Yet he willingly prefers to live a life full of misery, pain and suffering. This is the tragedy of human life. [Jagadguru Sri Chandrashekhara Bharati Mahaswamigal] It is not possible for most of us to sit vacant-minded (i.e. free from all thoughts). Our mind is restless like a monkey. It is imperative that we give some useful work to our mind; or else it will lead us astray. The least harmful work that we can give our mind is to think, not of the exciting things which disturb our equilibrium or excite our passions, but to think about abstract things, like the nature of God, the origin of the universe and such other things. [Jagadguru Sri Chandrashekhara Bharati Mahaswamigal] If you make a mistake be prepared to face the consequences. There is no justification for throwing the blame on others. [Jagadguru Sri Chandrashekhara Bharati Mahaswamigal] If you choose to avoid a present inconvenience and risk a greater inconvenience in the future, it is purely an act of your volition and you must be prepared to face the consequences. [Jagadguru Sri Chandrashekhara Bharati Mahaswamigal] Ordinarily speaking, we say that we are happy when we get the thing we are longing for. At the time when we desire something, our mind is in a state of unrest; but when we get that thing, the state of unrest is replaced by a sense of peace. Similarly, we say we are happy when we get rid of a thing which we loathed. At the time when we loathe something, our mind is restless; but when we get rid of that thing, our mind becomes calm. Therefore, happiness follows when a preceding state of unrest is ended. Happiness is identical with the feeling of rest or peace. Only he who knows mental peace experiences true happiness. And to still the mind (i.e. remove all thoughts) is the aim of all spiritual practices. [Jagadguru Sri Chandrashekhara Bharati Mahaswamigal] The health which is not preceded by a sickness is more natural, perfect and permanent than the one which comes into being on the cessation of a sickness. Similarly, the happiness which is not preceded by a mental disturbance will be more natural, perfect and enduring than the one which follows a mental disturbance. [Jagadguru Sri Chandrashekhara Bharati Mahaswamigal] The number of things in the world that awaken desire is infinite. If a man gets a particular thing, the mental unrest caused by the longing for that thing may cease; but it will be replaced by restlessness caused by desire for another object. This process will go on forever as there is no end to desire. Similarly, the number of things that are undesirable is also infinite. If you get rid of a particular undesirable object,

no doubt you get mental peace for the moment; but the next moment you will become restless because another thing will start troubling you. This process will go on indefinitely as the things which give us trouble in the world are countless. If, therefore, we seek to remove our mental unrest by trying to secure all the things which the mind asks for or to get rid of all the things which disturb it, our search for peace will be an endless one and true everlasting peace and happiness will never be attained by us. [Jagadguru Sri Chandrashekhara Bharati Mahaswamigal] You are responsible for what you are today. You are responsible for your pain and suffering and misery. You cannot escape your responsibility by blaming fate, for fate is of your own making, or by blaming God, for he is but the divine dispenser of fruits in accordance with the merits of your actions. You have none to blame but yourself for your present state of affairs. [Jagadguru Sri Chandrashekhara Bharati Mahaswamigal] Fate places no obstacles in our path. All obstacles are of our own making and it is within our competence to overcome them. [Jagadguru Sri Chandrashekhara Bharati Mahaswamigal] The greatest impediment to Bhakti is the ego, which repeatedly asserts itself and prevents self-surrender. Thus a man can truly surrender himself to Ishvara only if he annihilates his ego. Repeatedly thinking of Ishvara and practicing spiritual discipline precisely in the manner indicated by the Guru go a long way in effacing the ego and engendering devotion. [Jagadguru Sri Abhinava Vidyatirtha Mahaswamigal] When praying to Ishvara it is best not to ask for anything. Asking Ishvara for worldly things is not a good practice at all. Ishvara knows what is best and one should leave everything to him. One should love Ishvara purely for the sake of love. By keeping the company of sages one develops pure devotion. Everything which one does should be completely dedicated to Ishvara. One should act for His sake and offer the fruits of all actions to Him. [Jagadguru Sri Abhinava Vidyatirtha Mahaswamigal] The need for mind control is quite obvious. Only he who has control over his mind can be successful in worldly pursuits and be happy. Such being the case what need be said about the need for mind control in the case of spiritual aspirants? To study, to work and even to play well the mind must be concentrated on the task in hand and this is possible only if one has control over the mind. [Jagadguru Sri Abhinava Vidyatirtha Mahaswamigal] By God’s grace, we have obtained a human birth, the power of discrimination and someone to teach us about the ultimate, truth. If we still remain lazy, we will be wasting a marvelous opportunity. [Jagadguru Sri Abhinava Vidyatirtha Mahaswamigal] It is ridiculous to suppose that Prarabdha can be more powerful than one’s will. The reason for this is that Prarabdha itself is a creature of one’s will. What one performed guided by one’s will in the previous births, is what is now appearing as fate. What one has brought about due to exercise of one’s will in the previous births can certainly be overcome by exercise of will power in the present birth, provided one makes adequate effort. [Jagadguru Sri Abhinava Vidyatirtha Mahaswamigal] There is no reason whatsoever to despair about one’s spiritual progress. If one tries strong enough, one will certainly make much progress. After all, Prarabdha has been

compared by Brahma to seed. Not only the seed determines what one gets out of the field but also by the effort that one makes to till the land. By proper maturing and the like the situation can be very much improved. It is meaningless if a man just sits quiet and expects fate to lead him on in the spiritual path. [Jagadguru Sri Abhinava Vidyatirtha Mahaswamigal] Care should be taken by spiritual aspirants to keep the body healthy. This does not mean that undue attention should be paid to die body but its health must not be neglected. It is not good to sleep excessively or to sleep too little. For healthy young people about six or seven hours of sleep is enough. Going to bed between 10 and 10.30 p.m. and getting up between 4.30 a.m. and 5 a.m. is a very good practice. [Jagadguru Sri Abhinava Vidyatirtha Mahaswamigal] The light of a lamp falls on its surroundings. One may study Sastras in that light. While another may, paying no attention to it, spend time sleeping. Similarly great souls are always showering their grace. Each one can derive benefit depending on one’s mentality. If one takes a big vessel to a pond, one can bring a large quantity of water, just because it is said that a small vessel can hold little water, it does not mean that the vessel itself is the limit for the capacity of the pond. [Jagadguru Sri Abhinava Vidyatirtha Mahaswamigal] The source of bliss is not something external but is one’s own true nature, the Atma. Not realizing this, the man devoid of discrimination seeks happiness in external objects. It is because of the mistaken feeling that happiness can be got from things external that the mind goes outward. [Jagadguru Sri Abhinava Vidyatirtha Mahaswamigal] People are often devoid of dispassion. The reason for this is the lack of discrimination. Dispassion may dawn due to some calamity but that dispassion is only temporary. Only that dispassion that results from discrimination is lasting. The importance of burning dispassion can never be over-emphasized. It would not be wrong to say that much of the trouble which people encounter in controlling the mind is due to want of Vairagyam. [Jagadguru Sri Abhinava Vidyatirtha Mahaswamigal] Sri Krishna describes desire, anger and greed as the triple gates of hell. These are man’s worst enemies and one must never succumb to them. Desire can be overcome by dispassion. Anger is a result of frustration of desire. Thus by conquering desires completely one can conquer anger. An attempt must be made to control greed by impressing upon the mind that in reality everything belongs to Ishvara alone and that one is but an instrument in the hands of Ishvara. [Jagadguru Sri Abhinava Vidyatirtha Mahaswamigal] Tendencies develop, regardless of the characteristic of the action performed. Hence, he who wishes to lead a proper life will do well to avoid evil deeds and to repeatedly perform virtuous deeds. [Jagadguru Sri Abhinava Vidyatirtha Mahaswamigal] An ideal disciple will indeed act as per the Guru’s instructions and not give place to thoughts as “Is it possible for me to do as he says? Shall I try something else?” If we follow our Guru’s instructions, it does not mean that we are unintelligent. It only implies that we have surrendered for our own good to a power superior to us. [Jagadguru Sri Abhinava Vidyatirtha Mahaswamigal]

The best disciple directly understands what his Guru desires him to do even without the preceptor actually telling him anything. By devotion to the preceptor one attains the highest. If one has devotion to one’s preceptor like Ekalavya who attained magnificent proficiency in archery by virtue of his faith in Dronacharya even without the latter actually teaching him anything, one need not have any fear regarding one’s spiritual progress. [Jagadguru Sri Abhinava Vidyatirtha Mahaswamigal] When tendencies nurtured in the previous birth are the same as those in the present birth then obstacles to a course of action are negligible. On the other hand when past and present trends are at variance the course of action is decided by the one which is more powerful. If one tries hard enough, one can certainly overcome the past tendencies. How hard one must try cannot be determined before hand. Only when obstacles are encountered one must try harder and harder till one succeeds. [Jagadguru Sri Abhinava Vidyatirtha Mahaswamigal] It is a great blunder not to make proper use of the body and mind that has been given to us by God. [Jagadguru Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamigal] Instead of using the tongue for speaking futile issues, use it to chant the names of God. God shall then guide you along the right and beneficial path. [Jagadguru Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamigal] No man is omniscient. Hence man should not have the ego that he knows all. It is ego that leads man astray and drives him to commit sins. [Jagadguru Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamigal] To err is human. Accepting one’s error and correcting oneself is a mark of nobility. Humility is the primary path to achieving nobility. [Jagadguru Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamigal]