Always Speak the Truth Because It Takes Us Directly to God-Realization

“The world contains a mixture of truth and untruth. Discard the untruth and take the truth. Even those engaged in worldly activities, such as office work or business, should hold to the truth. Truthfulness alone is the spiritual discipline in the Kaliyuga. Dwell in the truth and you will certainly realize God.”
– Sri Ramakrishna

The Mundaka Upanishad boldly proclaims: Satyameva Jayate – Truth alone Triumphs and not Untruth. This is because only by being truthful with ourselves and with others, can we clear away the scum of the ego-driven imperfections that cloud our mind; and when the mind is thus purified, our soul can see its reflection clearly and realize its True Self, its Infinite Divine Svarupa in Samadhi or Moksha.

Therefore the act of speaking the truth always takes us towards Soul-realization, which is the same as God-realization.

On the other hand when we lie to ourselves and to others, then we immediately cloud our mind with egotistical impurities and thus devolve to a lower consciousness by getting enveloped in the darkness of falsehood. For this reason being truthful has always been emphasized by the sages of the Upanishads as the most important spiritual discipline.

And it was this very same teaching of the Mundaka Upanishad that Sri Ramakrishna underscored for his disciple Rakhal (Swami Brahmananda) in a very interesting incident. At the time this incident took place, Rakhal was still a young disciple under the tutorship of Sri Ramakrishna and had not yet attained to Nirvikalpa Samadhi or complete mergence with God. Hence Sri Ramakrishna was focused on pointing out the imperfections in his disciple’s nature, so that Rakhal could correct them and thus attain to the perfection of God-consciousness.

Satyameva Jayate – Truth Alone Leads to God – Sri Ramakrishna Teaches Rakhal

“When the lamp of truth is lit, darkness vanishes by itself. Stand up men and women, dare to believe in the truth, dare to practice the truth!”
– Swami Vivekananda

One day when Rakhal came to Sri Ramakrishna’s room, Sri Ramakrishna said to him: “Rakhal, for some reason, I can’t look at you. I see a veil of ignorance covering your face. Tell me have you done anything wrong?”

Rakhal was greatly perturbed. He tried hard to remember what he had done wrong but could not recollect anything.

“Try to recall”, Sri Ramakrishna said “if you have told any untruth.” Rakhal immediately remembered and admitted that he had recently jokingly told a lie to a friend.

Sri Ramakrishna forgave him and said: “Never do it again. To speak the truth always is the most important spiritual discipline. The virtue of truthfulness is most critical. If a man always speaks the truth, and tenaciously holds to the truth he will realize God, for God is Truth.”

“The great King Bhartrihari said – ‘Let the sages blame or let them praise; let the goddess of fortune come or let her go wherever she likes; let death come to-day, or let it come in hundreds of years; he indeed is the steady man who does not move one inch from the way of truth.’”
– Swami Vivekananda

Om Namah Shivay

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How Swami Vivekananda Bestowed a Vision of “Lord Krishna” With His Mere Touch

“The one Godhead has many forms. All these forms are real. A seer can see them and talk to them.”

– Swami Brahmananda, direct disciple of Sri Ramakrishna.

God in Advaita Vedanta has been described as the formless and infinite ocean of Sat-Chit-Ananda consciousness. However this One Infinite Godhead, being the all-powerful creator of the Universe, can take up any form in which, a devotee worships Him with faith.

This fact has been revealed by Sri Ramakrishna, who has emphasized that God is both with form and without form. It all depends upon the concept of God that a devotee holds dear.

For this reason, a devotee struggling on the path of God-realization, must not become a fanatic and think that only his/her particular notion of God is right, and all other ideas are false.

This truth about the multiple aspects of One God, was beautifully revealed to Sardar Hari Singh of Jaipur, who had been an ardent believer in the formless aspect of God and thus could not reconcile himself to the idol worship of many Hindus.

However through the infinite grace of Swami Vivekananda, the Sardar’s dilemma was resolved when Swamiji bestowed upon him, a vision of God with form. The details of this incident have been wonderfully captured in the book: The Life of Swami Vivekananda by His Eastern and Western Disciples, Volume 1. Enclosed is an excerpt:

At Jaipur the Swami (Swami Vivekananda) became very intimate with Sardar Hari Singh, the Commander-in-Chief of the State. He passed many days in his home discussing many interesting and instructive spiritual and scriptural subjects.

One day the subject was the efficacy of image-worship. A strong believer in the doctrines of the Vedanta, Hari Singh did not believe in images and even after hours of discussion with the Swami he remained unconvinced.

In the evening they went out for a walk. As they were passing along the footpath they came upon some devotees carrying the image of Shri Krishna and singing devotional songs as they went. The Swami and the Sardar watched the procession for a while as it passed.

Suddenly the Swami touched Hari Singh and said, “Look there, see the living God!” The eyes of the Sardar fell on the image of Lord Krishna, and he stood there transfixed with tears of ecstasy trickling down his cheeks.

When he returned to ordinary consciousness, he exclaimed, “Well, Swamiji, that was a revelation to me. What I could not understand after hours of discussion, was easily comprehended through your touch. Verily I saw the Lord in the image of Krishna!”

Once Sri Ramakrishna had the following conversation with his disciple Mahendranath Gupta:

Sri Ramakrishna: “Well, do you believe in God with form or without form?”

Disciple: “Sir, I like to think of God as formless.”

Sri Ramakrishna: “Very good. It is enough to have faith in either aspect. You believe in God without form; that is quite all right. But never for a moment think that this alone is true and all else false. Remember that God with form is just as true as God without form. But hold fast to your own conviction.”

Om Namah Shivay

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Life is wonderful if you know how to live

A rare conversation between Ramkrishna Paramahansa Swami Vivekanand

Swami Vivekanand:- I can’t find free time. Life has become hectic.

Ramkrishna Paramahansa:- Activity gets you busy. But productivity gets you free.

Swami Vivekanand:- Why has life become complicated now?

Ramkrishna Paramahansa:- Stop analyzing life.. It makes it complicated. Just live it.

Swami Vivekanand:- Why are we then constantly unhappy?

Ramkrishna Paramahansa:- Worrying has become your habit. That’s why you are not happy.

Swami Vivekanand:- Why do good people always suffer?

Ramkrishna Paramahansa:- Diamond cannot be polished without friction. Gold cannot be purified without fire. Good people go through trials, but don’t suffer. With that experience their life becomes better, not bitter.

Swami Vivekanand:- You mean to say such experience is useful?

Ramkrishna Paramahansa:- Yes. In every term, Experience is a hard teacher. She gives the test first and the lessons afterwards.

Swami Vivekanand:- Because of so many problems, we don’t know where we are heading…

Ramkrishna Paramahansa:- If you look outside you will not know where you are heading. Look inside. Eyes provide sight. Heart provides the way.

Swami Vivekanand:- Does failure hurt more than moving in the right direction?

Ramkrishna Paramahansa:- Success is a measure as decided by others. Satisfaction is a measure as decided by you.

Swami Vivekanand:- In tough times, how do you stay motivated?

Ramkrishna Paramahansa:- Always look at how far you have come rather than how far you have to go. Always count your blessing, not what you are missing.

Swami Vivekanand:- What surprises you about people?

Ramkrishna Paramahansa:- When they suffer they ask, “why me?” When they prosper, they never ask “Why me?”

Swami Vivekanand:- How can I get the best out of life?

Ramkrishna Paramahansa:- Face your past without regret. Handle your present with confidence. Prepare for the future without fear.

Swami Vivekanand:- One last question. Sometimes I feel my prayers are not answered.

Ramkrishna Paramahansa:- There are no unanswered prayers. Keep the faith and drop the fear. Life is a mystery to solve, not a problem to resolve. Trust me. Life is wonderful if you know how to live.

==========================

If you think positively
Sound becomes music
Movement becomes dance
Smile becomes laughter
Mind becomes meditation and
Life becomes a celebration…

Om Namah Shivay

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Ramkrishna Paramahansa and Swami Vivekanand

1. Swami Vivekanand:- I can’t find free time. Life has become hectic.

Ramkrishna Paramahansa:- Activity gets you busy. But productivity gets you free.

2. Swami Vivekanand:- Why has life become complicated now?

Ramkrishna Paramahansa:- Stop analyzing life.. It makes it complicated. Just live it.

3. Swami Vivekanand:- Why are we then constantly unhappy?

Ramkrishna Paramahansa:- Worrying has become your habit. That’s why you are not happy.

4. Swami Vivekanand:- Why do good people always suffer?

Ramkrishna Paramahansa:- Diamond cannot be polished without friction. Gold cannot be purified without fire. Good people go through trials, but don’t suffer. With that experience their life becomes better, not bitter.

5. Swami Vivekanand:- You mean to say such experience is useful?

Ramkrishna Paramahansa:- Yes. In every term, Experience is a hard teacher. 

6. Swami Vivekanand:- Because of so many problems, we don’t know where we are heading…

Ramkrishna Paramahansa:- If you look outside you will not know where you are heading. Look inside. Eyes provide sight. Heart provides the way.

7. Swami Vivekanand:- Does failure hurt more than moving in the right direction?

Ramkrishna Paramahansa:- Success is a measure as decided by others. Satisfaction is a measure as decided by you.

8. Swami Vivekanand:- In tough times, how do you stay motivated?

Ramkrishna Paramahansa:- Always look at how far you have come rather than how far you have to go. Always count your blessing, not what you are missing.

9. Swami Vivekanand:- What surprises you about people?

Ramkrishna Paramahansa:- When they suffer they ask, “why me?” When they prosper, they never ask “Why me?”

10. Swami Vivekanand:- How can I get the best out of life?

Ramkrishna Paramahansa:- Face your past without regret. Handle your present with confidence. Prepare for the future without fear.

11. Swami Vivekanand:- One last question. Sometimes I feel my prayers are not answered.

Ramkrishna Paramahansa:- There are no unanswered prayers. Keep the faith and drop the fear. Life is a mystery to solve, not a problem to resolve. Trust me. Life is wonderful if you know how to live.

Om Namah Shivay

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How Lord Buddha Suddenly Appeared Before Swami Vivekananda-2

Incident #2 – Vision of Lord Buddha at Bodh-Gaya

A few years after the above incident, just before the passing of Sri Ramakrishna in August of 1886, Swami Vivekananda and 11 other disciples took the monastic vow of Sannyas (renunciation), receiving from Sri Ramakrishna ochre clothes and rosaries of rudraksha beads. (Source: Ramakrishna and His Disciples)

Immediately after being initiated into Sannyas, Sister Nivedita writes, Swami Vivekananda’s first act was to hurry to Bodh-Gaya, the place where his monastic ideal Lord Buddha had attained to enlightenment.

For many thousands of years ago, Lord Buddha too had taken the same monastic vow of Sannyas, renouncing his kingdom and princely wealth and set out to attain Nirvana (enlightenment). Now Swamiji was walking in the holy one’s foot-steps.

While in Bodh-Gaya, Swami Vivekananda paid reverential respects to the Bodhi-tree, an offshoot of the original tree under which Buddha had attained Nirvana, and remained absorbed in meditation before the image of Buddha. (Source: Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna)

It was while meditating thus that he for the second time, keenly felt the presence of Lord Buddha and saw vividly how the history of India had been changed by his noble teachings. (Source: Vivekananda a Biography)

Upon returning from Bodh-Gaya, Swamiji eagerly described this second vision of Buddha, to his guru Sri Ramakrishna. This conversation has been captured by “M” in his book the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna (Chapter 50: The Master and Buddha):

“M” (Mahendranath Gupta): Sri Ramakrishna asked Narendra by sign whether he had seen a tuft of hair on Buddha’s head.

Narendra (Swami Vivekananda): “No, sir. He seems to have a sort of crown; his head seems to be covered by strings of rudraksha beads placed on top of one another.”

Sri Ramakrishna: “And his eyes?”

Narendra (Swami Vivekananda): “They show that he is in samadhi.”

Many years later, upon returning back from his trip West, Swami Vivekananda once more visited the sacred soil of Bodh-Gaya on his 39th birthday. This visit was the last. He gave up his body in Samadhi shortly thereafter.

“When a man merges his Buddhi, his intelligence, in Bodha, Consciousness, then he attains the Knowledge of Brahman (God); he becomes Buddha, enlightened.
Sri Ramakrishna

Om Namah Shivay

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How Lord Buddha Suddenly Appeared Before Swami Vivekananda-1

“The Buddha is not a person but a (state of) realization to which anyone can attain.” – Swami Vivekananda explaining Lord Buddha’s last words on his death-bed.

Lord Buddha was one of the great spiritual ideals of Swami Vivekananda (Swamiji), whom he worshiped with intense love and devotion, just as he did his guru Sri Ramakrishna.

“Who was there ever like Him?” he once spoke of Buddha, his whole face aglow with inspiration. “The Lord – who never performed one action for Himself – with a heart that embraced the whole world! So full of pity that He – prince and monk – would give His life to save a little goat! So loving that He sacrificed himself to the hospitality of a pariah and blessed him!“

So immense was Swamiji’s reverence for Lord Buddha, Sister Nivedita relates, that he once told a lady “‘Madam, I am the servant of the servants of the servants of Buddha!’ as if even the title of a believer would seem, to his veneration, too exalted to claim.”

So it is not at all surprising to note that the deeply cherished ideal – Lord Buddha Himself, choose to appear before his ardent devotee, to shower his blessings on 2 noteworthy occasions.

Incident #1 – Lord Buddha Suddenly Manifests in Swami Vivekananda’s Room

The first incident took place when Swami Vivekananda was just a student (probably in his first year of Bachelor’s degree). Those were the early days of his discipleship under Sri Ramakrishna and Swamiji was in the habit of spending the entire night meditating in his room, after his family had gone to bed.

Recollecting his special practice of meditation during those days, his brother disciple Swami Saradananda wrote:

“Narendra (Swamiji’s childhood name) adopted a new method of practicing meditation…and prayed to the effect: ‘O God, make me fit to see Your real nature.’ He then removed all kinds of thought from his mind and keeping it still and motionless like the flame of a lamp in a windless place, tried to remain in that state. As the result of doing so, Narendra’s mind used to merge in itself so deeply that even the consciousness of time and of his own body disappeared now and then.”
– Sri Ramakrishna the Great Master by Swami Saradananda, page 1134.

One day as a consequence of this kind of meditation, Swami Vivekananda had an extraordinary vision, which he later related to Swami Saradananda and his disciples Sister Nivedita and Sharat Chandra Chakravarty, on 3 separate occasions. A combined account of this incident in Swamiji’s own words, gathered from these 3 sources is presented here:

One day while meditating, “there flowed in my mind a current of serene bliss when I kept it still, devoid of all objects. I felt for a long time even after the end of the meditation, a sort of intoxication under its impulse.

So, I did not feel inclined to leave the seat and get up immediately. While I was sitting in that condition at the end of the meditation, from the southern wall of that room a luminous figure stepped out and stood at a little distance in front of me, filling the room with a divine effulgence.

It was the figure of a Sannyasin (monk) in ochre cloth, absolutely calm, shaven-headed, and staff and Kamandalu (a Sannyasin’s wooden water-bowl) in hand.

The man was tall and largely built. There was a wonderful radiance on his visage, yet there seemed to be no play of emotion on it. In his face was a calm so deep and so established, that it seemed, as if both pain and pleasure had been forgotten during infinite time.

He gazed at me for some time and I too gazed at him in speechless wonder. I felt very much drawn towards him. He walked forward towards me with a slow step, with his eyes steadfastly fixed on me, as if he wanted to say something.

But I was seized with fear and could not keep quiet. I got up from my seat, opened the door and walked out of the room with rapid step. The next moment I thought, ‘Why this foolish fear?’ I made bold and went back into the room to hear the monk, who, alas, was no longer there.

I waited long in vain and felt dejected, repenting that I had been stupid enough to fly away without listening to him. I have seen many monks, but never have I found such an extraordinary expression in any other face. That face has been indelibly imprinted in my heart.

It may be a hallucination, but very often it comes to my mind that I had the good fortune of seeing Lord Buddha that day.”

– Swami Vivekananda relating his vision of Lord Buddha, to Swami Saradananda (Sri Ramakrishna the Great Master, page 1134-1135); Sister Nivedita (The Master as I Saw Him) and Sharat Chandra Chakravarty (Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, Volume 7).

Om Namah Shivay

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Vivekananda Saw Practical Vedanta As Panacea

Swami Vivekananda was never concerned with world-negating spirituality distanced from the din and bustle of daily living. He was intensely perturbed by the endless suffering of mankind and discovered that the root of all suffering lies in ignorance, disharmony, divisiveness and confinement of consciousness within finitudes. His esoteric experience of Advaita philosophy of Vedanta offered him a unique panacea. In the light of his experience of cosmic consciousness he found a bridge between science and spirituality, between religions and between the mundane and divine. From absolutely secular, scientific and experiential philosophy he developed the concept of practical Vedanta as a formula of living.

Swamiji prescribed the following motto of life as self-realisation and selfless service to humanity: “Atmano mokshartham jagaddhitaya cha.“ The twofold complementary agenda can be best practised with the concept of practical Vedanta which is not a religious but a spiritual formula for all.

The central theme of Vedanta is essential unity in diversity or ultimate oneness of existence. Brahmn alone abides. Its manifestation through names, forms and attributes are merely apparent within time, space and causality rooted in cosmic delusion. Each soul is potentially divine and essentially one. Hence Vedantic Self-realisation is infinite self expansion in the universe as expression of the Absolute. There is no divisiveness in One without a second as Christ also experienced, “I and my Father are one.“

Practical Vedanta is rooted in Upanishadic revelations. But the best lesson is found in the Gita delivered at Kurukshetra which teaches us unattached action with spiritual anchorage.

Joyful action flows from the centre of our being where we are not lost in the circumference of worldly doing and possessing with undue attachment.Then every action is divine action and play of the divine in the divine world. The mundane and spiritual get united in massive oneness and we experience joy in life as the play of consciousness.

For Swamiji renunciation did not lie in negating creation but in divinisation of entire creation and serving all. When we behold Creation as expression of the Absolute within and without our sense of personal loss, then gain or ego satisfaction get automatically sublimated. Instead of being player we become observer of cosmic drama with joy of Being.

The resultant effect is selfless love for entire Creation and absolute freedom from human bondage. Then our happiness no longer depends on anything or anybody but flows from within.

Sense of immortality gives us our freedom to act without fear or temporal concern. Tremendous sense of harmony enables us to enjoy apparent diversity in thought, action, belief and worship. We become not tolerant but appreciative of one another and rise above sectarian boundaries where solutions to all problems flow from empathy.

Practical Vedanta starts with self-purification through selfless service which is possible only when we are grounded in cosmic Self through constant Self-inquiry and deep meditation. Self-expansion leads to falling in love with everybody with perception of own Self. Then our life becomes an instrument of cosmic will for playing divine tune as a finite expression of inexpressible Infinite.

Swamiji wanted us to attain this divine consciousness and make it our sole mission and direction. In that elevated consciousness our personal suffering becomes enactment, disharmony a veil of ignorance and the creation a cosmic drama. Behind all these remains blissful singular existence and consciousness of cosmic Self behind the plurality of names, forms and attributes. Therefore, he said, “Arise, awake and stop not till the goal is reached.“

Om Namah Shivay

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