Swami Paramananda (1884-1940), de l'ordre monastique de Ramakrishna, naquit au Bengale, où il passa la plus grande partie de son enfance. Vers l'âge de seize ans, attiré par la vocation religieuse, il s'enfuit de chez lui et vint chercher refuge à Calcutta auprès de Swami Vivekananda. En 1909 il partit aux USA où il eut une activité intense. Il fut un grand dévot de la Mère divine.
Il eut quelques proches disciples qu'il accompagna de façon très personnelle.
Il était assurément un maitre en Atma yoga.
La beauté de ses écrits témoigne de sa grande dévotion intérieure.
THE PATH OF DEVOTION He who with devotion oflFereth to me a leaf, a flower, a fruit and water, that love- offering I accept, made by the pure-hearted. Whatever thou doest, whatever thou eatest, whatever thou offerest as oblation, whatever thou givest and the austerities thou performest, do that as an offering to Me. Thus wilt thou be freed from the bonds of action that beareth good and evil fruit, and thy soul, being engaged in this devotion of renunciation — ^liberated thou shalt come unto Me. Alike am I to all beings, hated or beloved there is none to Me. But they who worship Me with devotion, in Me are they and in them am I. Bhagavad Gita. DEVOTION Blessed are those who have devotion in their hearts. It is the only reality in this world, other things are false. Live a pure, holy life ; be bold and fear- less. Never mind if thousands fall be- fore you; still stand firmly and never give up. Truly what a great thing it is to have love and devotion! Devo- tion is the only thing that can make one happy. True devotion has wonderful power. Through it a devotee can bring out divinity even from a stone. It is a living force and can give life to a dead body. They are indeed very happy who have naturally this devotion for the 14 Devotion Lord. You know what Sri Rama- krishna says, — ^that the goal can be at- tained very easily through the power of faith and devotion, and never through the power of reasoning. It is the true devotion that brings God-vision to us. No one can reach Him through mere intellect; nor even by the practices of Yoga or different kinds of hardships. This is the word of the Lord. He is to be attained by true and pure love, unselfish and one-pointed love. God is free. He is not bound by any law. Still He says, "I remain bound to my devotees." As a great Saviour declared, "God is love and love is God." But it is very hard to realize. One can realize and feel this only with a sincere and pure heart. As long as we have the least selfish desire, so long we cannot expect to have this. It is holy and Divine. When this kind of love awakens, one becomes free from worldly ties. But we must not give up hope be- cause it is hard. . However hard it may be from the standpoint of the world, still it must be realized. With- out it the heart is but a barren ground. This is our life and this is the only reality in this world. And it is not at all hard for a sincere and true devotee, because his heart is made of love and naturally flows towards the Lord. Have intense faith in Him, then you will be free from all anxieties. He will bless you and protect you from all evils. Always keep your eyes fixed on Him and pray with childlike simplicity. Do not mind anything. Never be dis- couraged or disheartened, but live al- ways cheerfully. Then through the blessings of the Lord you will rest in peace and bliss. If you want to be a true devotee, you must be above all worldly thoughts and deeds. No earthly condition should ever disturb your peace. Be pure, spot- less, unselfish, with an all-loving broad heart. Never claim to be great, but look upon yourself as a humble servant of the Most High, and stand always ready for the service, without thought of danger. Remember that to meet even a violent and untimely death thinking of God and leading a true life is blessed ; while to live otherwise even in comfort and prosperity will only take you away from your Ideal and that is the greatest curse. Be always watch- ful, and never allow yourself to be carried away by any momentary weak- ness. Act boldly and fearlessly, and never become impatient. Depend little on outer things, know- ing that external expressions can never express the real feelings of the heart. Talk little. It is not words or beautiful language but character that will bring the light. Great Seers spoke in most simple language, but their words were full of light, of life, of hope and cour- age. Let the plant of your devotion grow in silence on your heart. Water it with the tears of true and sincere love. Look not for results; merely serve with your whole heart and soul. The true devotee works for his Ideal and for no one else. His eating, drink- ing, sleeping, moving, his every act becomes an act of worship. He feels that all belongs to the Ideal, even his body, so he feeds and cares for it, not as his own, but as part of the Ideal. If it is hurt or hungry or cold or in any way neglected, he thinks that it is the Ideal that is suffering, so he takes every care of it for the sake of the Beloved. Or he may look upon his body as a temple in which the Divine Ideal dwells, and whatever he does for it becomes an offering to the Beloved, He is therefore watchful only to give to it what is perfectly pure and worthy to be offered on that inner altar of the heart. This constant thought of the Ideal as dwelling within enables one to free himself from all physical bon- dage. Thus true devotion brings you to a state where you live with your Ideal in every moment of your life. Nothing else can exist for you except the Be- loved One, and when you live in Him and Him alone, all misery ceases. Your whole heart flows out at the feet of the Beloved and yoii become lost in Him. This state is blessed because it leads to the ultimate goal, — the true vision of God. ♦ ♦ ♦ It is through love that we feel the nearness or presence of Divinity. Love unites God and man. When whole- hearted and one-pointed love for the Ideal awakens, it comes like a flood and washes off everything, — ignorance, narrowness, fear, doubt, selfishness, and leaves what? The Ideal. The Ideal alone is left shining on the heart. Then it becomes easy to renounce everything that is earthly, because noth- ing has any value except the Beloved. He is the Eternal, the Permanent, the Unchanging; all other things are tran- sitory and changing. He is the Efful- gent Spirit, everything else is perisha- ble matter. This love for the Ideal enables one to renounce the things of the world without effort. Christ could resist the temptations of Satan and give up all earthly power because of His intense love for His Father in heaven. So when we have whole-hearted devotion for our Ideal, nothing of this world can tempt us and renunciation becomes easy. This is the idea given by Christ of "taking the burden." It really means that we must be devoted to the Lord; we must think of Him con- stantly. By this we are purified; for whenever we meditate on a pure being, our impurities are naturally washed off. When we take refuge at the feet of the Lord, or cast our burden on Him, we love Him, our whole heart goes to Him and we no longer care for the world. Then our burden drops off. This is true renunciation and true salvation. When real devotion comes to the de- votee, he grows humble and all-loving. The Beloved is all in all, he is nothing. Everywhere he sees his Beloved, there- fore he becomes the servant of all ; and through every living creature he serves his Ideal. "Lower than a blade of grass, having endurance like a tree, seeking not honor for himself, but giving honor to all, such a soul is fit to take the Name of the Blessed Lord." A tree fulfills its nature, no matter how we treat it. If we cut its branches, still it continues to grow and give us shade. So the true devotee worships his Ideal, not because he desires any- thing from Him, but because He is dear to him, because He is his Beloved whom he loves for the sake of love. So long as we expect anything, we do not love truly and the Ideal remains far from us. Only when we have begun to love for the sake of love do we get true devotion. Then we serve silently and quietly. He who talks of himself is not a true devotee or a true worker. Swami Vivekananda declares: "The true workers work in silence and pass away in silence. Those who actually give up their lives for human- ity are oftentimes not known by many. "Where there is none to admire your work, not even a single person to encourage, where everyone hates you, there lives infinite patience, eternal contentment and absolute fearlessness in works. "When a great work comes before us, where there are thousands of people to admire, there a mean coward, a most selfish man also can give up his life in order to prove himself as a great hero. "But he who can do a very little without letting anyone know, he is a true hero, an unselfish lover of hu- manity. He is really blessed." Choose that relation to your Ideal which gives the greatest sense of near- ness. Trying to serve Him in an aspect contrary to your natural ten- dency makes the path of devotion te- dious and often leads to failure. Does He seem to you a loving Father ? Then make Him your real Father, infinitely closer than your earthly parent and look to Him for all support and guidance. If He is dearer as the Mother, then even more can you take Him close to you ; for with the idea of mother comes a feeling of nearness that no other re- lation brings. With the father there is sometimes fear, but the child can al- ways go freely to the mother; even if he has done wrong, he knows that she will not really punish, but will always love and forgive and protect. Perhaps it will be more natural for you, as many do in India, to look upon the Ideal as your little child, like the Baby Krishna or the Christ Child. No relation is more uplifting or purifying than this, for there is great depth in sincere and unselfish mother love. The deeper you dive in that ocean of love, the higher you rise in \visdom. Sur- round your Divine Child with true mother love, then nothing, no evil, will ever dare approach you. Look upon Him as your own child. Be like De- vaki, the mother of Sri Krishna, who never cared for the glory or power of her son, but regarded Him as only her little child, who needed her care and protection. When true devotion in any of these aspects arises, the relation becomes so* real that love and worship flow natur- ally from the heart to the Ideal. But there can be true devotion without serv- ing the Personal God in any form. If you seek the truth within yourself, with earnestness and sincerity, you are also a devotee. Have true love for yoiu* Ideal, whatever you may call Him. Serve Him faithfully, with unselfish- ness and purity, and you will get true devotion. II PURITY Purity is real strength, purity is real health. Gather your strength from that source. Never forget this; then you will become immortal. Purity will make you fearless, purity will make you cheerful. Have strength. Have courage, no matter what may come be- fore you. Overcome all weakness by the strength of purity. Move onward boldly, having real faith in the Lord. He will always protect you. With purity, whatever you do, that will shine. So there is nothing to fear. This is the secret. One learns it through the blessings of the Lord. His power is great and His manifestation Purity will be seen in a pure soul. He will always guide you through the right path. But work in strength, not in weakness. March on! March on! The path lies before you and the goal must be reached. No sleep, no rest. Awake ! Arise ! * * ♦ You must not be disheartened if sometimes the pure surface of your mind becomes dim and clouded. It will not last. After a great storm comes the calmness. After restlessness comes peace. One must follow the other ; this is the law of nature. With- out suffering we cannot realize what happiness means. So we must always remember that whatever happens in our lives has some deep meaning to give us only better understanding. It is natural that after the exercise of great strength there should come a reaction, exhaustion, weakness. Such moments are tests for the true devotee. He who can keep the balance and stand firmly in both conditions, holding to his faith and purity of purpose, is a perfect char- acter. Others are like babies. Any one can remain happy when every- thing goes well, but he is a real de- votee who can remain undisturbed when everything goes wrong and against him. Stand firm on purity and faith, then strength is sure to come and the path will become clear to you. A sincere devotee is never at rest, but is constantly trying to be a little unselfish and to get a glimpse of purity, which is the foundation of every true character. It is indeed very great to be unselfish. Pray with your whole heart and soul to become unselfish and pure, because this is the only way to freedom. AH other ways lead to bondage. * ♦ * Unselfishness and purity are insep- arable. One follows the other. Through unselfish work the heart becomes pure, and in pure heart remains nothing but love. Love, unbounded love, that love comes like a. flood and sweeps away everjrthing. Anything that is earthly finds no room in that heart. Sorrow, pain, misery, jealousy, hatred and whatever is worldly can no more exist there. This is what I understand by "Divine Love." This is the only thing I understand and take as religion. Be absorbed in this love and forget everything else. Do not care what others say. Care for Him and Him alone. Let this outward world vanish from you entirely. It is time for you to become mad in that love. "AH are mad, some for money, some for name, fame, etc.," says Sri Ramakrishna. You be mad for your Ideal. Be steady, be firm in faith and move onward and onward. Why should you fear ? Fear must not have any room in your heart. Be fearless, cheerful, pure and divine. Let the world see that you are the child of Divinity. Remember that infinite strength is behind you. So be strong, knowing that nothing can shake you. No matter what happens, you must al- ways remain undisturbed. In the pure heart there is no anxiety or sadness. Let your face be always cheerful, like a child who rests happily in his moth- er's arms. ♦ * * It is only when the heart is abso- -lutely pure that real devotion comes, and you know how devotion makes us unselfish. Take for instance mother's devotion towards her child. She for- gets everything about herself, but re- mains always busy for the welfare of her child. The mother is ready to meet any danger for the sake of the child. She is ever anxious to keep him on the safe side even at the cost of her own happiness. This way, forgetting one's own self and self-interest for the sake of the Ideal, is the only way to become unselfish. This is what real devotion means. We must always move onward hold- ing this great ideal before us. Never mind whether body goes or remains. Never mind what others say. We must worship the Ideal, the Lord, the Master. Worshipping Him with whole- hearted devotion will bring peace and happiness. Nothing else can bring peace, neither name, fame, nor im- mense wealth. So we must serve our Ideal with determination, without car- ing for the results. This is true re- ligion. * * * Purity, strength, fearlessness and peace of mind, these are what religion gives. Religion is realization, is build- ing up one's own character. Belonging to any society or church cannot make anybody's life happy. See everything in the true light. Whom to fear ? God is our most loving Mother. Can that Mother do any harm to Her child ? Be true, practise purity and patience. To practise purity, you must first learn to control your senses ; then keep your mind fixed on the Ideal. Without self-control glimpses of the Truth may occasionally come to you, but they slip away again. Only through the con- stant control of the senses can you keep the vision of the Truth. The mind that yields to the senses loses all its wisdom. So long as it tries to gratify them, it is restless and unhappy. But when it real- izes that only through the influence of the outside world all disturbances come, while in control of the senses alone true peace is to be found, then it turns away from outer things and the heart is gradually purified. When the heart becomes pure, we get the vision of our true Self or the Ideal. Our heart is like a mirror. As long as it is covered with the dust of impurity, so long it cannot take the reflection of the true Self, which dwells within all living beings. So the purification of the heart is the most essential thing for spiritual attainment. Purification of the heart is indeed the essence of all religion. The ob- servance of outer cleanliness without inner cleanliness cannot ever bring a sense of purity; so do not make too much of external practices. Know that you are pure, you are clean, whether you touch water or not. Everything becomes pure and clean in His Name. Repeat the Holy Name of the Lord with sincere faith and earnestness and all impurities will be washed off. Keep your mind always in a pure environ- ment, that is, think holy thoughts and seek holy company; then purity will shine in your heart. Above all give up all egotism. There is no greater impurity than this. Noth- ing so quickly covers the mirror of the heart with the dust of delusion and selfishness. If you wish to be a true devotee, you must resign the little "I," which always leads to darkness and bondage. When you have resigned this little '%" then the great "I" will shine for you and cover the whole universe. You must give up the idea that you are something. That you do or do not do, both must be given up. Give up taking the credit for anything; root out this idea, then you will become unselfish. Root out all selfish desires and you will reach the goal. If you serve your Ideal without selfish desires, you work freely, and that work is the only real work. One can attain perfection through it. Such unselfish service to the Ideal will re- move all bondages from the heart and give purity. STEADFASTNESS Stand firm like a rock in your own faith. Be always watchful, cheerful and faithful to your Ideal. Be brave and true and unselfish. Never fear and never look back, but move on. There is no greater lesson than to learn to remain steady and strong under all con- ditions. Do not seek for human help, but look only to the grace of the Lord. He will protect you. Pray to Him and depend on Him alone. Human help is so uncertain. Human friends are selfish and they betray; but He is the Divine Friend, who loves for the sake of love. Swami Vivekananda says in one of his letters : "He the Lord knows best. Let ig- norant men talk nonsense. We neither seek aid nor avoid it. We are the servants of the Most High. The petty attempts of small men should be be- neath our notice. Onward! Upon ages of struggle a character is built. Be not discouraged. One word of truth can never be lost ; for ages it may be hidden under rubbish, but it will show itself sooner or later. Truth is indestructible, virtue is indestructible, purity is indestructible. Give me a gen- uine man ; I do not want masses of con- verts. My son, hold fast ! Do not care for anybody to help you. Is not the Lord infinitely greater than all human help? Be holy, trust in the Lord, de- pend on Him always, and you are on the right track; nothing can prevail against you." Misery and difficulties come at times to strengthen our character. They are like examinations. We must prepare and pass them. Know that they are very good for the formation of char- acter. The more we meet with diffi- culties, the more we remember our Mother for protection ; and that was the reason why one of the greatest devo- tees, the mother of the five Pandavas, prayed to the blessed Lord to give her always misery and sorrow so that she might never forget Him. Gener- ally we forget the Lord when we find everything easy and enjoyable. So it IS a blessing when this teacher, in the form of misery, comes and reminds us of our duties. One must be bold enough to face everything in order to serve the Ideal. Remember what Swami Vivekananda says in "My Master" : "Are you really sure that you can stand to your ideals and work on even if the whole world wants to crush you down ?" That kind of courage and self-sacrificing spirit is necessary. Truth can never be realized by weak-minded people. Our task in life must be done boldly. Fear none. Divinity and purity are your birthright. Have faith and struggle on. Why should anyone fear who is un- selfish? Selfishness is the cause of all misery and fear. There is no sin for him who is unselfish. Know this and be free from all fear and care. Fear- lessness is what religion teaches, and one can become fearless only through purity of thoughts and deeds. Past is dead and gone, but present is alive. So do everything with unselfishness in the present moments. The path of Karma is so hard and so crooked, even wise men are often deluded. Depression sometimes comes, but we must try to remain quiet and steady. God's ways are mysterious. We must struggle as long as we live. No matter if we fail thousands of times; we must still get up with fresh vigor and courage. Life is a struggle; one must be bold enough to stand everything. Let us try to follow the teaching of the Master. Strength, Strength! No weeping in a corner. Stand up, shake off all weakness. The soul is immortal; there is no sin for the soul. Whom to fear? Move on with strength. Fear not, but move on. You are free, you are immortal. Let no one call you weak, wicked, a sinner. You are not. You are pure, you are perfect. This is a very good song : mind ! Where can be the fear when I have taken shelter at His feet? He is Almighty and His grace is infinite. What can enemies do by insulting and tor- turing? At the most I may die, but I will die sing- ing His victory. 1 have heard the words of great hope that even if I die, I shall always live with Him in eternal happiness. This is His promise. In the lonely cottage of my heart I will place Him (my Ideal), who is the Lord of my heart and soul, and will spend this life with Him in happiness and Divine bliss. So no fear after taking shelter at His feet, but happiness and bliss. That one indeed is fortunate, very, very for- tunate who has devotion. The Lord says, "I can give salvation very easily, but I do not give Bhakti (devotion). By giving Bhakti I become bound to my devotee." It is extremely hard to get true devotion. He who has it and can work on steadily and quietly, with- out caring for praise or blame, is blessed. In every man's life there come mo- ments of weariness and struggle, when everything appears gloomy and hard. But know that no true character was ever formed without passing through these stages. So we must be brave and patient. This world is no lovely flower garden, as some foolish people regard it. It is full of thorns, and we must be very, very careful as we walk in it. To be watchful is not only good, but abso- lutely necessary for spiritual progress. You know that thieves cannot enter your room when you are wide awake. So try to remain always watchful and awake; then you will never lose your precious treasure. Above all have steadfast faith in yourself and in your Ideal. Shake off all weakness and come out into the broad sunshine of truth ; every- thing will look different then. Remem- ber this, that we must not take up the true path for anybody's sake or give it up for anybody's sake, but must follow it for the sake of itself; and must stick to it as long as we live. Pray to the Lord to give us strength and light, so that we may always serve Him by following the right path. Never mind if we die in the path ; but never, never shall we give it up through weakness. * * * Know that there are ups and downs in both mind and body. We must not get depressed in any way because of that, but must remain firm and steady. You remember the parable of Sri Ra- makrishna on the two peasants, one a farmer by birth, the other a weaver by birth. The weaver, not getting much profit in his own profession, takes up farming in the hope of gaining more; but if it does not rain for one or two years, he grows discouraged and goes back to his own trade; while the farmer by birth, knowing no other profession, will go to the field with plough in hand even if it does not rain for twelve years. Similarly there are two classes of devotees. One is born with that Divine love and knows nothing else; while the other is simply trying to gain it. The first does not give up his devotion to the Lord even if he meets with hun- dreds of difficulties and by his life-long struggle fails to realize Him; while the second wavers in his devotion and turns again to the world when he meets with the slightest obstacle in the path. The first one's love is pure love, — ^love for love's sake; while the other one worships the Lord for selfish ends, and when his desires are not fulfilled he falls back from the path of devotion. * * * A steady mind is absolutely neces- sary. Without that no progress is pos- sible. Always try to depend as little as you can on the external side of life; then you will gain more and more internal strength. Never mind praise or blame, never mind what others say or do ; move on, walk on steadily, being unmoved by either praise or blame. Remember always what the Blessed Lord says in the Gita: "Udharet At- manatmanam, natmanam abhasadaet" (In order to make yourself free, no depression should be allowed). Never under any circumstances should you yield to weakness or de- pression. Be watchful and steady and a true hero. Stand up and say boldly, "I am strong, I am pure, I am holy." All the weaknesses will at once drop off, all limitations will vanish and you will become blissful, peaceful and happy. Do not expect anything from outside. Turn your whole thought within; see Him within. Place your Ideal on the altar of your heart and worship Him day and night. That is the greatest thing one can do in this life. * * * There is no real happiness in earthly- things. How can there be when noth- ing is permanent in this ^orld ? Pleas- ure is transitory, and so is pain; they come and go, and cannot last long, so endure them, knowing that it is only for a few days. He is a true hero who remains undisturbed in both pleasure and pain. Have patience; patience will conquer everything in long run. We must stand like brave soldiers, firm in faith. Body does not last long but spirit will remain, character will re- main. So pay all your attention to building up the character. You are pure and free; weakness does not befit you. Have faith in yourself. Have such faith that you can command every atom of your be- ing. No doubting person can reach the goal. "He who does not believe in himself is an atheist," says Swami Vivekananda. Know that you cannot have faith in the Lord unless you have faith in yourself first. What the Master wants us to do we may not understand. But we know that we are His children and we may be sure that He will guide us and protect us. That is all we need. Let the whole world stand against us ; we should not care. We must be brave soldiers, faith- ful, true soldiers. The path of Karma is very crooked; but no great work was ever performed without the su- preme sacrifice. Arise, awake, and turn away from this outside world. Go deeper and deeper within yourself. There you will find real peace and rest. Know that peace can be had only within your own self and nowhere else. No place can give us peace unless we are our- selves peaceful. So try to gain that peace within yourself, then you shall become free and no outward disturb- ance will ever break your calmness. Fear not. Believe in yourself. Move onward ! Die like a hero fighting for the truth. That will bring peace to your soul. IV FEARLESSNESS Nothing can drive you from the path if you stand fearlessly, with de- termination and purity of purpose. Why should we give up our ideal life only because some people say that it is bad or rise in opposition ? No ! We must not do that. Let the whole world go against us, still we must remain unmoved, true to our own Ideal. For this we need strength and determina- tion. Anyone can be a hero when every- thing goes on smoothly. But he is a true hero who can stand firmly on his own feet even when the whole world acts against him. That is the test of life. In order to mould a perfect character we need many things. We must go through both good smd bad, happiness and misery, pleasure and pain. And when we are unshaken by either happi- ness or misery, then we have reached perfection. Then we can have no more fear from the outside world. What is there in the world? We know there is no real happiness. How can there be when it is so transitory? Never mind ; even if we cannot realize God in this life, still we should never think of going back to the wretched world which we have renounced as poison. Always remember this ; it will give you great strength. He who has renounced the world, or in other words, has vomited the world out of his sys- tem, if he wants to taste that filthy stuff again, how foolish, how unwise, how wretched, bow shameless should he be regarded! There is some real happiness in living a pure and true life. In no other way can it be found. Take courage and have infinite pa- tience. Patience will conquer every- thing. Have wonderful determination and say boldly, "I must live a true life !" Show your strength and say fearlessly to the world, "Get thee off, proud world ! I do not want thee. I do not need thy help." Bring out all your strength and repeat again and again, "I am strong ! I am pure ! I am true !" You will see how quickly the clouds of Ignorance will vanish and how soon your pure heart will be filled with Divine love and light. Fear ? Whom to fear ? What is there for us to fear ? Shall we show our back to the enemy? No, never! Let us die on the battlefield like heroes rather than live a life of slavery. He can fight boldly who has a sword of wisdom and a shield of purity. * * * The spiritual life, the life of renunci- ation, is very hard for those who have a tendency to fulfill selfish desires; otherwise it brings great happiness and peace. There is some real joy in re- nunciation. Give up, give up and be free. As long as we have something to depend on, so long we are not free. Freedom comes when we no longer depend on any external help, when we get everyhing within our- selves and remain satisfied with our own self. What good is there in sense enjoyments? They bring only misery and darkness. One moment's sense enjoyment will perhaps bring misery for the whole life. What is the use of having such momentary happiness to create only suffering in the end? It is better never to run after such pleasure even if we do not get a single glimpse of spirituality by our life-long struggle. Self-control, at least, will make us more independent. Never mind whether we realize God or not in this life, but there is no reason why we should live like slaves or live in the world and create more and more bond- age around us by blindly following our selfish desires. The more we try to satisfy them, the stronger they become ; just as the flame rises higher when we pour oil on the fire. We know the world is full of misery, why should we be tempted again by that ? No, by no means should we think of going back to it. That kind of determination we must have. Renunciation means giving up never to take back. Strength is necessary, firmness is necessary. Before strength everything is subdued. Even Devas are afraid of him who has a pure unselfish character. The strength of character is very great. * * * Be bold! Move on and iEear none. Learn to say that you are true and pure and strong; then you will be free from all fear. Fear comes from sel- fishness. So become thoroughly unsel- fish. Take courage! Take courage! Take courage ! Truth can never be at- tained by the weak. Take the essence of all that you have heard and studie:! and seen and try to realize that in yc: life. Let the whole world turn again. . you, still never fail to serve your Ideal. It is better to die in the battle instead of living a life of defeat. We must fight boldly with our enemies as long as we live. There is no enemy outside. Our passions and desires are the real enemies. So conquer them and you shall be free. Strength and patience, have them both. What is the use of that life which cannot stand for Truth ! Be bold, be fearless and see everything through purity. Life is a constant struggle; here we must not expect to get any rest. Move on. Yield to no depression or weakness. Suffering is good ; it is a great teacher. * * * Remember always what the Lord says in the Gita: "That which is like poison in the beginning and nectar in the end, that happiness is declared to have the quality of goodness, being born of the pure knowledge of the spirit. But the pleasure that conies from the connection of senses and sense objects, which is pleasant in the begin- ning but like poison in the end, is de- clared to come from passion," We must use the power of discrimination and distinguish right from wrong. It is very easy to be carried away by our desires ; but he is a true hero who can overcome them by exercising the power of discrimination. Weakness is death. My own experi- ence tells me that strength only is re- ligion, strength is truth. Anything that makes us weak is sinful. With all our power we must avoid that. We make mistakes to learn. But after learning once, we must work with de- termination and never allow any weak- ness. This is the greatest of all works. This is the best of all Yogas. How can we expect to get rest till we have conquered all our weak desires and have become masters of ourselves? Shall we obey our senses? No; we must not. Let children follow them to get some experience of the world. But never shall we obey them. We must command them at our will. When we have become masters of ourselves we shall have no more bondage, no more fear, but peace and bliss. Now no more talking, no more reading, no more theorizing ; the time has come for "being and becoming." On! On! Let the world remain busy with its own concerns, but let us walk steadily on- ward without looking at it even. ♦ ♦ ♦ We have no right to trouble our minds about anything. Things will take take care of themselves. "To work we have the right and not to the fruits/' Work means building up our own char- acter. Let us try to do that and not spend our energies in vain talking. Great teachers taught not by mere words but by force of character. If we can build up such characters, then only we shall have the right to do good to others. Know that a beggar cannot help another beggar. Have something to give first, then you will be able to help others. Be free from all fears, all anxieties, and work steadily. The Lord is taking care of His children. **Ours is to do and die." Do what is right, do what is strengthening, do what is purifying, do what is uplifting, and die quietly. No use of talking big things. The world may not recognize you; the world may not give you credit. That matters not. Your character will make you happy and blissful. * * * The Master only knows what He has in His mind. If we trust in Him, He will give us strength enough to stand all conditions. Good, evil, happi- ness, misery, praise and blame will have no influence on us. Whether He puts us in heaven or hell will make no differ- ence to us. He who is free, he who is master of himself will remain the same even in hell. Therefore we must not give way to anxiety if trouble comes, but only pray, pray with great earnest- ness. So much we have the right to do. We can only live an unselfish, pure life and take the Name of the Lord. To the results we have no right. The world is one thing and God is another thing. So we should not judge the path of the Lord from the worldly standpoint. We know very well that great men, Saviours, never got justice from the world. Only a few appreciated them, and they were those who had given up the world and were cursed by it. World and God cannot go hand in hand. It is impos- sible. If we w^ant to worship the Lord, then we must run away from worldly comforts, praise, name and fame. Know that these are like poison for a soul who is striving for spiritual reali- zation. "Child, if you want to be free from bondage, then give up all worldly thoughts. As one shudders at the sight of a cup of poison and is delighted to drink nectar, so do you regard all the objects of the senses as poison and run away from them; but know the path gf Divinity to be forgiveness, sim- plicity, contentment, kindness and truthfulness and take them as nectar." The Sannyasin's life is a very, very strict life. Even the sight of a worldly man is injurious for one who is prac- tising renunciation. We may think we are strong enough to stand worldly vibrations ; but gradually in the course of time the world enters into our sys- tem even without our knowledge and spoils the whole life. Our senses are like thieves, ever trying to find our weak moments. So always remain awake on the spiritual plane ; then you will have no fear from the thieves. They cannot steal while you are awake. * * * So long as life remains in the body, our whole life must be a struggle to serve our Ideal with pure and unselfish love. Never mind what others say. Infinite strength is behind us. We are the children of the Divine Mother and there lies our strength. We must live boldly, work boldly, and die boldly. Fear is weakness, fear is sin. We must have nothing to do with that. Shake off all impurities from the system and say, "I am pure, I am free ! No sin, no death and no fear for me. Shivoham! Shivoham! I am a child of God, I am immortal. There is no difference between an immortal father and an immortal child. Both are one and the same." Strength, strength, strength is necessary. No weak person can attain freedom. So be strong and shake off all weakness. Say day and night, think day and night, "I am pure, I am blissful, I am free." May He who is the eternal Lord of the universe, may He who comes in different forms for the good of hu- manity, make us strong, steady, pure and fearless, so that we may live in Him and Him alone SELF-SURRENDER The true devotee is always con- scious of the power that works through him. Otherwise he is nothing ; he does not want to be an3rthing independent of that Divine power. He knows that the Mother does Her own work, that he has no right to take any credit or blame upon himself. Ever3rthing is all right as long as we do not forget Her. Egotism makes us forget Her ; it is our worst enemy. So we must fight and kill it. Let us pray that we may do a little service to Her children, remain- ing always a true instrument in Her hands. Otherwise this life has no value. We have only the right to live a true and pure life and serve as much as we can all Her children. Sometimes the task appears very hard, as if there were no way out of it. But nothing can remain permanent in this -world ; the clouds vanish and again life becomes hopeful. We must there- fore stand like a rock under all cir- cumstances. Let everything come and go, but try to remain always unmoved. Be bold and face the truth. If you have an Ideal, give your life for the realization of it. We must sacrifice our lives for our Ideal. That is the only way to worship the Ideal. Not weakness, not hypocrisy, but sincere love and strength will make us wor- ship Him truly. Move on and do not look back to see what happens to anyone. Thou- Self^Surrender 6g^x sands like me may die in this moment, . but that will not do any harm to this vast world. Truth is deathless and that will shine forever. Worship the truth and die for it. Remember always that the present life is the result of past thoughts and deeds ; the future is going to be according to the present. So our future depends entirely upon us. Past will be washed off by the present life, * * * That which has been offered to the Ideal, at the feet of the Master, we have no right to use for our personal satisfaction or happiness. He who has truly given his life, soul and body, to the service of the Master must not think of his own will, but should sacri- fice his own will at the command of the Master. This is called true sdf-sacri- fice. Otherwise as long as we can ful- fill our own desires by serving the Master, we serve him ; but the moment it interferes with our selfishness, we do not; this is not self-resignation. On the contrary, it is mean selfishness. One must be bold and determined enough to conquer this unworthy weak- ness, and must use the power of dis- crimination. The path of renunciation is very hard. Complete self-surrender at the feet of the Master is a very hard thing, but without that spiritual growth is im- possible. The disciple should always be ready to go to the mouth of a cannon or before a tiger at the command of the Master without asking why. This is what is called true devotion. Another thing necessary is to have no attachment for earthly things. The mind must be free from lust and greed. "He who, even here, before he is sepa- rated from the body, can resist the force of lust and anger, that man is really wakeful, that man is happy." Try to realize this and you will be free at once. Crush down egotism and say "I am lower than even a blade of grass." Then you will see that all impurities will vanish, you will become divine. Then you will have the right to take the Blessed Name of the Lord. Ego- tism stands between us and the Lord, our true Self; so destroy it and say "Not I, but Thou." Bring out the real strength and destroy all weakness. Know that Atman (the true Self) is never realized by a weak person. Let us therefore conquer all weak- ness. People take advantage when we are weak. We must know how to preserve our dignity, especially when we are among the people of the world. We must "hiss" in order to protect ourselves from the wicked, but we must never try to do any actual harm. When we try to do harm we drop to the level of the evil-doers whom we oppose and really hurt ourselves. In order to remain true to our principle, however, we must sometimes show a spirit of resistance in tjie form of a hiss, but never should we be actuated by a desire to injure anyone. Stand like a rock in your faith and devotion and let the Divine Mother hold your hand. When we hold Her hand there is some danger of our loos- ening our hold, but when She holds there is no more fear of falling down. So we must make ourselves free from every danger by always trusting in Her Divine will. Do not allow any other thing but Herself to occupy your pure heart. Do not be depressed by any foolish thought, fear, or anxiety. Know that nothing is impossible for Her. Have intense faith and feel free. Let her will be done in ever3rthing, then all must come right. We must not question why or what, but must follow Her will patiently and quietly. If misery comes, accept it as a blessing from Mother, who knows in which way She forms our characters. One thing we should always remember, that worldliness and holiness are two differ- ent things. If one goes towards the north, the other goes towards the south. So you cannot expect justice from the world. We must be bold, strong and fearless in our every action. When miseries or difficulties come, say "All right, come on,'* and stand up like a hero. They will run away from you at once; that is the only way to conquer them. Be bold. Be bold and fearless. Even one word of boldness brings strength ; 6o try always to keep your mind bold and cheerful. It is a great and unselfish work to be happy, strong and cheerful for the sake of your Ideal. By working with such unselfishness you will gain every day more and more purity and strength. But this can be done only through con- stant thought of the Ideal and earnest prayer. The Mother will not fail to fulfill the prayers which are said from the heart with unselfishness. She will always protect you and give strength and guide you. Will She make you unhappy when you try to serve Her always with whole heart and soul ? She will not, for She is an ocean of mercy and cannot make Her children un- happy. No fear ; if any misery comes, Her heart will always be ready to share it with you. ♦ ♦ ♦ Then why so often do our prayers remain unanswered, you ask ? We can- not know. We are only children. We should not wish to know much. She knows, the Divine Mother knows. This is Her world. She will take care of Her children. We should hold the thought, "I am only a child, a simple child ; I am the servant of all Her chil- dren." There is some happiness in serving Her children unselfishly, so let us always try to serve them. But here also we find difficulty because we do not'know what real servicemcansi Out of our foolishness we hurt those whom we intend to serve. In this way we make mistakes and cause unhappiness to others. Life is very hard without the power of proper understan^jingf. But still let us try to depend upon Her entirely. Although clouds some- times gather so darkly about us, we must stand and be patient. Let us walk- on steadily without being afraid of an3rthing. Never mind for the results. Know that good will always produce good, it cannot be otherwise. It may not sho.w outwardly ; still this is the only true and desirable path to follow. Her Divine will, we are all guided by Her will. Let us fully depend upon Her and say sincerely *l-et Thy will be done." We remember this, yet still sometimes a , little sense of -anxi- ety comes in the mind. But we must shake it off. We must live here toldly, have purity and strength of character, then face everything fearlessly, all the difficulties and dangers. Whom to fear? We are the children of Divine Mother ; our Mother is the Ruler of the universe, the whole world belongs to us. Have that kind of Ufergiving faith. Bring out the life, the strength, the purity and unseUish love which you possess within yourself ; they are your birthright. Come up, come up bravely. There is no death for you. Throw off all impurities ; old superstitions. They do not belong and never belonged to you. Know that you are free, free from all bondage. The little feelings of jealousy, hatred, anger, envy, name, fame, are all mere superstitions. What are you to do with them ? Drown them all in the ocean of wisdom without having any mercy. Do it quickly and realize that you are free. Free ! Wher- ever you go, you are free. No more bondage! No more fear! Let fools talk nonsense. Pity them, they do not know any better. Move on and never look back to see what is going on be- hind you. Let them talk, let them do whatever they want. Say nothing, but walk on silently and steadily. ♦ ♦ ♦ "Mother, everjrthing is Thy will ; Thou art the embodiment of all will. Thy work Thou performest, O Mother ! People say, *I am doing/ *I am doing/ Thou canst capture even an elephant in a little muddy hole, Thou canst make a lame man to cross a mountain. Thou canst raise one up to be even tHe bead of the Devas, And Thou canst throw one down to the lowest state. Thou art the agent, we are the instruments. As Thou dost guide us, so do we act. As Thou makest us speak, so do we speak." O Mother everything is done by Thy will. Not I, not I. This is the true wisdom. One be- comes free after realizing this. Vanity is ruinous, is the worst enemy of man- kind. Kill it, kill it forever. Then will shine the sun of wisdom. Think "Who am I? Why should I quarrel or dis- pute with anyone? I am a child of God. I am free from praise, blame, sorrow, misery, pleasure, pain." That is freedom. Only foolish people wish to be regarded as great by others, try to get praise from others. If they do not get it, they are unhappy and miser- aWe. Nonsense ! Do you care for such nonsense ? A foolish play of five min- utes. What is the reality in this world ? We must use the power of discrimina- tion. No use in living like slaves. Why should we be guided by our senses and desires ? We must fight and conquer them. We have plenty of work before us. The work is hard, but it must be done. It must be worked out before we can be free. If we neglect it or do not do it out of fear, then it will take more lives and cause more siiffering. Through the blessings of the Lord the path lies open. Walk steadily, being fearless and cheerful. It is a very hard task to carry a burden, and «till harder for the one who re- moves it. How can one repay his debt ? Only by living a pure and true life according to his teachings. There is no other way, there is no other way. Material help and service are nothing. Cast off all slothfulness, therefore, and move on. Know that you are not the body, you are not matter, but you are Spirit, the pure, divine, holy and spotless soul. Hold this great ideal always in your mind ; then nothing will ever dare to disturb your peace. Mother will always protect you. Without Her grace no one can do any good work. Let us not for- get that, then we shall always be on the safe side. Man is in dan- ger when he forgets his Mother and runs after earthly things, regard- ing them as great and substantial. It is through Her grace that one gets light and non-attachment to worldly pleas- ures. Let us sing Her Divine glory as long as we live, never mind whether we are in happiness or in the midst of misery. Let us be absorbed in Her thoughts; let us become mad in Her Divine love. The world will at once drop off from our minds naturally. What is there in human praise or blame, love or hatred, jealousy and other narrow things of the world ? Let us forget everything and worship Her and Her alone with all our heart's love and devotion. Mother will scatter all around us peace and blessings. We are Her lov- ing children and She will never fail in giving Her mother care. The waves come and go, the waves of pleasure and pain; they are very good for our spiritual growth. Stand firm. Let everything come and go, but stand like a rock and have always faith in your- self and in your Ideal. It is through faith and self-surrender that one real- izes the truth, and never through use- less arguments or power of human intellect. * * * Human friends and foes are noth- ing. Mother is ever3rthing. She is all in all. Every moment must be spent in Her worship ; all else is false, whether good or bad, all illusion, Maya, ig- norance. Truth is one without a second, and it is She. She is the foundation of the whole universe. Without Her will nothing can be done. She is our Mother, Mother of all. When Mother is near no evil can touch us. Have faith, strength and courage. Know that Mother can make everything possible. No one can harm him who takes shelter at Her Divine feet. Fearless child he becomes. Pray to Mother and take shelter at Her feet sincerely, then fear, care and all weakening thoughts will cease to exist. Say *7ai Ma Anandamair "All- Blissful Mother, victory to Thee!" Re- peat with force, all evil will vanish. She is the only destroyer of evil and She is ever the Protector of Her good and innocent little children, who know none but Mother. What else is there in this world to talk of? Everything is useless and unreal except the glory of Divine Mother, who is the source of our existence, the source of eternal peace and bliss. Let us always rest in peace in Her arms. Mother knows how to take care of Her child best. There is no fear for a little child so long as he is in his mother's arms. She is all in all, one without a second. Whc«n shall we worship if we do not worship Her Divine blessed feet? Let the rest go. Let all other things drop from our minds. Where will evil exist then? Where will be the fear or care or anxi- ety to disturb us when every room of our hearts is occupied by Her? You know that beautiful song in which it is said that in this world he is supremely blissful who knows the Supreme Blissful Mother. Ceremonies and rituals are nothing to him. He does not go on pilgrimage to purify himself; he does not even hear any other word than the name of All-Bliss- ful Mother, and does not believe in any- thing except the will of the Divine Mother. In this way he who has made the Mother's feet all in all, forgets the world very easily and naturally, and he alone will reach the other side of the ocean of Samsdra (worldliness). There cannot be any fear for him. He does not listen to the praise or blame of the world, but he remains ever in- toxicated by drinking the nectar of the Mother's name. * * * Mother is the goal. She is the only place of rest and peace. Pray to Her. Pray to Her and think of Her and Her alone. She is the real protection. She is the source of all happiness and bliss. Let us dive deep in the ocean of Her divine love and be mad. This world will drop off from our minds at once. Everything that is unworthy of Her will be for- gotten in a minute, "/ae Ma Anan- damai!" "All-Blissful Mother, victory to Thee!" All fear will vanish, every- thing will become blissful in Her pres- ence. Pray to Her like a little child and She will protect you. We are all Her children. Why should we fear any- thing? Mother will take care of us. Our duty is not to forget Her in the turmoil of this miserable world. What else can I say except that we must worship the Mother Divine always, under all circumstances ; that is all one must do in this life. There is no higher or greater duty than this. Pray to Her: "O Mother! give me true love at Thy feet. I do not want anything else. Take everything else from me, only give me pure love at Thy feet." Pray day and night, and weep for pure devotion and piu^e love. This is called the true worship. Be absorbed in this grand worship; then the world will slip away from you and you will always live in peace and bliss. Remember that everything is done through Her will. She can do what- ever She likes. She can make the most impossible possible. Who knows Her glory? Who can sing Her glory? Ours is to give up all egotism and say ^'Naham! Naham! Tuhu! TuhuT "Not I, Mother, Not I. It is all Thou. Give me only true love at Thy feet, so that I may never forget Thee. O Mother! Thy name is so sweet; give me intense love and faith in Thy name. Mother, O Mother, take me in Thy arms. I do not want to stay here; this is not my home. Thou art my home, my refuge; Oh let me come to Thee! Thy work must be don'* Let me do it truly and faith- fully, with unselfishness and purity. Let Thy will be done! Give us strength and give us light, and may we say truly and sincerely, Let Thy will be done. "Mother, grant unto us peace and blessings." APPENDIX 91 / SANSKRIT SALUTATIONS Twameva mata cha pita twapieva, Twameva bandhul" cha sakha twameva, Twameva vidya, dravmam twameva, Twameva sarvSm mamadevadeva. (Thou art my Mother, Thou art my Father, Thou art my Friend, Thou art my Companion, Thou art my learning, Thou art my Wealth, Thou art my all in all, Thou art my One Lord.) ♦ ♦ ♦ 93 94 Sanskrit Salutations Mukum karoti bachalam Pangum langha ate girim Jatkripa tarn aham bande Paramananda madhabam. (Through whose Grace the dumb be- comes eloquent, The lame crosses the mountain, I bow down to that supremely-blissful Lord. ) ♦ 3|e 4c A j nana timirandhasya Jnanaitjana salakaya Chakshurunmilitam jena Tasmai sri gurube nama. (He who brings light to one blinded by the darkness of ignorance And opens his spiritual eye. We bow down to that Guru, the spirit- ual teacher.) ♦ ?|e 3|e Sanskrit Salutations 95 Nityam, sudham, nirabhasam, Nirakaram, niranjanam, Nityabodham, chidanandam, Gurum Brahma namamyaham. (Eternal, Pure, Unlimited, Formless, Spotless, Omniscient, Blissful, We bow down to the Supreme Lord in the form of Guru.) Nityo nityanam chetanarchetananam Eko bahunam jo bidadhati kaman. (He is the Eternal among all eternals. The consciousness among all conscious beings, Who though One fulfills the desires of many. ) * * * 9^ Sanskrit Salutations Saranagata idinarta paritrana parayane Saravasyartihare devi narayani namas- tute. (Mother, do Thou protect those who, being overpowered by the misery of the world, take refuge at Thy feet. Thou art the destroyer of all evil. I bow down to Thee.) SANSKRIT PRAYERS Sahana babatu sahanou bhunaktu Saha biryam karababahai Tejasvinam abadhitam astu Ma bidysa bahai, Om! Santi, Santi, Santi! (May He protect us from all evils. May both the teacher and the taught enjoy together the blessings of the Lord. May whatever we study be well studied and strengthening to us, May we never hate each other ! Om! Peace, Peace, Peace!) * * * 97 98 Sanskrit Prayers Asato ma sat gamaya Tamaso ma jotir gamaya Mrityor ma amritam gamaya. (O Light of the universe From unreal to the Real lead us. From darkness to light lead us, From death to immortality lead us.)' "• * LITANY TO THE DIVINE MOTHER (As mother is the most sacred of all human relations, so in India Divine Motherhood is regarded as the highest manifestation of the Personal God. No love is so tender and watchful, so en- during and all-forgiving as mother love; and when God becomes our Mother, then have we a sure refuge in all the varying conditions of life. Realizing this, the Hindus prefer to worship the Supreme Being as Mother and it is at Her feet that they pour out their most eloquent and touching hymns of praise and supplication. They see and bow down to Her in every form. Good and bad both are 100 Litany to the Divine Mother manifestations of Her glory. No- where is She absent. Her Divine power pervades the universe as the earthly mother's influence pervades the household ; and in whatever aspect She appears, whether good or evil, always is She to be worshipped as the loving Mother. This feeling is strikingly set forth in the following Litany, taken from the Sanskrit.) The Divine Mother who dwells in all living beings in the form of con- sciousness, We bow down to that Mother again and again and again. The Divine Mother who dwells in all living beings in the form of intellect, We bow down to that Mother again and again and again. - -'^ . i> Litany to the Divine Mother loi The Divine Mother who dwells in all living beings in the form of sleep, We bow down to that Mother again and again and again. The Divine Mother who dwells in all living beings in the form of hunger, We bow down to that Mother again and again and again. The Divine Mother who dwells in all living beings in the form of shadow, We bow down to that Mother again and again and again. The Divine Mother who dwells in all living beings in the form of power. We bow down to that Mother again and again and again. 102 Litany to the Divine Mother The Divine Mother who dwells in all living beings in the form of thirst, We bow down to that Mother again and again and again. The Divine Mother who dwells in all living beings in the form of forgive- ness, We bow down to that Mother again and again and again. The Divine Mother who dwells in all living beings in the form of shyness, We bow down to that Mother again and again and again. The Divine Mother who 'dwells in all living beings in the form of peace, We bow down to that Mother again and again and again. Litany to the Divine Mother 103 The Divine Mother who dwells in all living beings in the form of faith, We bow down to that Mother again and again and again. The Diving Mother who dwells in all living beings in the form of beauty, We bow down to that Mother again and again and again. The Divine Mother who dwells in all living beings in the form of all ten- dencies, We bow down to that Mother again and again and again. The Divine Mother who dwells in all living beings in the form of memory, We bow down to that Mother again and again and again. 104 Litany to the Divine* Mother The Divine Mother who dwells in all living beings in the form of kind- ness, We bow down to that Mother again and again and again. The Divine Mother who dwells in all living beings in the form of con- tentment, We bow down to that Mother again and again and again. The Divine Mother who dwells in all living beings in the form of mother, We bow down to that Mother again and again and again. The Divine Mother who dwells in all living beings in the form of mis- takes. We bow down to that Mother again and again and again. Litany to the Divine Mother 105 The Divine Mother who dwells in all living beings in the form of the All- pervading, We bow down to that Mother again and again and again. He who takes shelter at Thy feet never meets with any danger. But becomes the shelter for other souls.