Timothy Conway (Compiler / Editor)
© Copyright 1992, 2017 by Timothy Conway
Avvaiyār; Punitavati Ammaiyār; Āṇɖāḷ; Avudayakka; Akka Mahādevi; Muktābāī; Janābāī; Lāl Ded; Mirābāī; Bahinābāī; Gangāsati; Toral; Sahajo Bāī; Tarigonda Venkamāmba; Sāradā Devī; Srī Brahmajñā Mā; Ānandamayi Mā; Anasūyā Devī; Shyāma Mātāji; Srī Dharm Devī; Mātāji Krishnābāī; Godāvari Mātāji; Srīmātā Gāyatrī Devī; Mā Jñānānanda Sarāswatī; Amma Mātā Amritānandamayi; Mathru Srī Sāradā; Srī Mā; Mother Meera.
*** Teachings from Hindu women of ancient and medieval times:
Avvaiyār (1st century CE?; bhakti [devotional] school; Tamil Nādu, India):
Avvaiyār in her old age was once chided by a temple priest because she was stretching her legs out in the direction of the statue of the deity, which is considered a sign of “disrespect.” After listening to his tirade, Avvai calmly responded: “Show me a direction where the Lord is not: I shall stretch my tired limbs that way, without disrespect to Him.”
Solitude is sweet. Sweeter is worship of the Lord. Still sweeter is the company of Godly men [and women, and sweetest is moving with them always, in the waking hours and in the dreams.
That is true religion which perceives unity in all things; that is true valour which has conquered the senses. 
Youth is a bubble on water; abundant riches are the long rolling waves of the ocean, and the body lasts no longer than letters traced on water. Why, then, my friends, do you not worship in the Court of the Lord?
A man’s accumulations stay behind in the house. His weeping kinsmen leave him at the crematorium. Fire consumes his body. If well thought of only his virtues keep him company. 
Punitavati Ammaiyār of Kāraikkāl (5th-7th century; Śaivite Nāyanār bhakti school; Tamil Nādu):
Even if my Lord ... does not remove my sufferings ... my heart will never give up its love for Him.
It is only the Lord’s grace that rules all the worlds. It is the same grace that removes the bondage of births [rebirths] for souls.
Of only one thing have I been thinking; only one thing am I determined to do; only one thing I have treasured in my heart; and that single thing is to become the servant of the Lord...
He is the Supreme Reality to be known. He is the shining light, and earth and ether [subtle-energy realm] as well.
The nature of the ... Lord is for Him to appear before His seekers in the very form and with the appurtenances that they assign to Him in their devotion.
We have conquered death and avoided hell. We have uprooted the bonds of good and evil karma [remember that egocentrically performed actions bind one just like golden chains bind]—all this has been achieved by uniting ourselves with the sacred Feet of the Lord. 
My Lord, when I became thy slave,
I did not know Thy Form.
I do not know Thy Form.
When others ask me
What is the Form of your Lord,
What shall I reply?
Tell me, what is Thy Form?
Let them say
He is the Lord of the heavens
that He dwells in the heavens,
but I say, the Supreme Being,
Who is All Knowledge
dwells in my heart.
It is He that perceives,
that makes me perceive and
is the instrument of perception
And also the objects perceived. 
Āṇɖāḷ (8th century; Ālvār Vaiṣṇava bhakti school; Tamil Nādu)
In the pond in the backyard of your house,
The lily in the ponds have opened,
The night flowers have closed,
The white-toothed sages,
Who wear clothes as red as
The powder of brick,
Are going to their temples,
To sound the conch [shell].
You who promised to wake us up, Please wake up,
Are you not ashamed, You chatter box,
Let us all sing about the lotus eyed one [Lord Viṣṇu],
Who has a holy conch and disc in his hands.
Belonging to the ignorant family of cow herds,
We [cow-herdesses] would drive the
cattle to the forest,
And there we would all eat together,
But We are blessed that you [Lord Kṛṣṇa, avatār of Viṣṇu] are one of us.
O Govinda [Cowherd boy] who does not have any short comings.
None can ever break the ties that we have with you, O Lord,
We are but ignorant girls, who do not know the world,
And in ignorance and love we have called you by name.
So please be not be angry on us,
And please give us drums, O Lord [for singing songs to Thee]
In this very early dawn,
We have come to worship
Your golden holy feet.
You were born in our family of cow herds,
And we are but there to obey your every wish,
And not come to get only the drums from you, O Govinda.
For ever and for several umpteen births,
We would be only related to you,
And we would be thine slaves,
And so please remove all our other desires. [4a]
Avudayakka (n.d.; Tamil Nādu):
My Lord! I do not find anything to offer
in return for your word of Grace to me.
This entire Universe seems to me filled with
Nothing, not even my body, heart, and soul
nor any matter in this Universe, if offered
Could match your one word of Grace.
As this Universe is nothing other than you,
what is there in this world that I can offer you? 
Akka Mahādevī (12th century; Vīraśaiva school; Karnataka/Kannada)
[She never would contemplate marriage with any man:]
I have fallen in love, O mother, with the
Beautiful One, who knows no death,
knows no decay and has no form;
I have fallen in love, O mother, with the
Beautiful One, who has no middle, has
no end, has no parts and has no features;
I have fallen in love, O mother, with the
Beautiful One, who knows no birth and
knows no fear;
I have fallen in love with the Beautiful One,
who is without any family,
without any country and without any peer;
Chenna Mallikārjuna [Lord Śiva], the Beautiful, is my husband.
Fling into the fire the husbands who are subject
to death and decay. O Lord, listen to me if you will, listen not if you will not;
I cannot rest contented unless I sing of you.
O Lord, accept me if you will, accept not if you will not;
I cannot rest contented unless I worship you.
O Lord, love me if you will, love not if you will not;
I cannot rest contented unless I hold you in my arms.
O Lord, look at me if you will, look not if you will not;
I cannot rest unless I gaze at you in overpowering longing.
O Lord Chenna Mallikārjuna, I worship you and
revel in a thrill of pleasure.
All the forest is You,
All the glorious trees of the forest are You,
All the birds and beasts that move among the trees are You.
O Chenna Mallikārjuna, reveal to me Your face, pervading everything.
O parrots that chirp and prattle, did you, did you see Him?
O cuckoos that sing on the high note, did you, did you see Him?
O bees that roam about, did you, did you see Him?
O swans that glide on the lake’s edge, did you, did you see Him?
O peacocks that dance in the mountain caves, did you, did you see Him?
Tell me, O tell me, where is Chenna Mallikārjuna?
I have seen Him in His divine form,
Him with the matted locks,
Him with the jewelled crown,
Him with the gleaming teeth,
Him with the smiling face,
Him who illumines the fourteen worlds with
the light of His eyes.
I have seen Him and the thirst of my eyes is quenched. ...
I have seen the great Lord whom the men among men
serve but as wives.
I have seen the Supreme Guru [remover of darkness] Chenna Mallikārjuna
sporting with the Primeval Śaktī [Divine Power],
And saved am I.
[Speaking of her God-realization:]
I do not say it is oneness with the Liṅga [the sacred form of the formless]
I do not say it is union,
I do not say it is harmony,
I do not say it has occurred,
I do not say it has not occurred,
I do not say it is You,
I do not say it is I,
After becoming one with the Liṅga in Chenna Mallikārjuna,
I say nothing whatever. 
Muktābāī (1279-97; Varkari bhakti school; Mahārāṣtra):
[God] is not to be found in the market and bought for money.
It is a matter of right life.
Who can teach one to realize God? One must find God for oneself.
The name [of God] is strong—[it] frees [one while] even in the body. ...
Repeating the name all are freed.
Muktai’s wealth is utterance of Hari’s [the Lord’s] name—
It has set the whole world free.
Beginning to end, Hari fills all hearts.
Knowing this, sants [the mystic “beings”] are filled with love.
God’s name in their hearts, love overflows—
Ever, ever content with devotion to God,
Peace, forgiveness, compassion rule their minds. ...
Muktai says, linked to Śrī Hari’s name,
Ever find joy in serving at his feet.
To be all is joy,
From the [narrow] “I” comes sorrow.
Give up the poison of “mine” and “my.”
Distinguishing the goal from the hindrance,
Reason and search out wisdom’s path—
Find all pilgrimage sites in God. ...
Subtle the path—bhaktas [devotees] give up body’s illusion,
Take on truth.
The story the Vedas [scriptures] try to tell
Is one which cannot be heard—
It is found in the sense of oneness. ...
Formed, formless are filled with “I am That”
And all is God.
They whose minds’ sole business is Parabrahma [the absolute Reality]
Never again come to dwell in a womb....
Knowing the oneness of knower, known, knowledge,
Their being becomes Nārāyaṇa [Divinity].
They who know Hari to be all, beginning and end,
Turn away from domestic affairs.
Muktai’s mind is forever free
Hari is the wealth stored up in my house.
[To her brother, Jñāneśvar, who was offended by some people’s abuse:]
Yogis, pure in mind
put up with the people’s offences.
Cheerfully becoming as water
a sant quenches the world’s burning anger.
Enduring the onslaught of weaponlike words
the sant treats even these as teachings. ...
To one who lives in joy’s ocean
Who is high and who low?
Remaining steady in the self,
like an actor in many plays,
Taking many parts, never the same,
Being both one and yet many,
Maintain this state in the self.
Witnessing nonbeing and being,
That which the Vedas call Oṃ [or Auṃ, the original Divine vibration that emanates the multi-level cosmos],
One may feel inclined to boast,
Or become proud and vain.
Giving up these, clothe yourself in peace...
Control both hope and pride... In the world, know that one for a sant
Who is the image of compassion, forgiveness;
In whose mind greed and ego are not.
Know such to have turned aside from the world—
Happy in this world and the next...
From Brahm [Brahman, Divine Reality], the root, arise differences,
But these are mere illusion.
Illusion will be uprooted
When the universe becomes one
At its beginning or its end.
Knowing this, sants are happy.
Pour away all worries, all anger...
Brahm is the one reality,
All else but the five elements [space, air, fire, water, earth].
If your hand happens to hit you
You do not get annoyed, do you?
If the teeth happen to bite the tongue,
Does anyone break the thirty-two (teeth)? ...
Kill the mind, be unattached...
Becoming oneself a sea of happiness,
Give the world the knowledge of experience.
Make no distinction when giving knowledge—
To the sadhu [holy person] there is no self, no other.
Hate not in your mind an unworthy being
Be ready to give up your life
For the upliftment of such a one...
Casting away imagined distinctions
Is the sadhu’s samādhi [nondual divine absorption]...
All that happens is God’s doing—
What [then,] is done by whom? ...
God is not far from one
Whose feelings are pure...
We ourselves are that One—
realising this, selfhood is destroyed. 
Janābāī (late 13th century; Varkari school; Mahārāṣtra):
I eat God, I drink God, I sleep on God, I see God everywhere. I give God, I take God, I deal with God all the time. God is here, God is there, no place is empty of God. Jani says, I fill my heart with Vithabai [God] who is both within and without.
O Vithabai, come soon. ...
Play, dance and sing with me.
Singing your praise,
Nāmdev’s Jani [Janābāī] has forgotten all else.
Vithoba’s name ... has drawn me
so that all worldly bonds have broken.
The singing of this name has so fascinated Dāsī [servant] Janī
that she remains constantly lost in it. 
Lāl Ded (14th century; Śaiva advaita [nondualism] school; Kaśmīr):
I will weep and weep for you, my Soul;
The world hath caught you in its spell.
Though you cling to them with the anchor of steel,
Not even the shadow of the things you love
Will go with you when you are dead.
Why then have you forgot your own true Self? (2) 
There is a yawning pit underneath you,
and you are dancing overhead.
Pray, Sir, how can you bring yourself to dance?
See, the riches you are amassing here,
nothing of them will go with you.
Pray, Sir, how can you relish your food and drink? (3)
For ever we come, for ever we go;
For ever, day and night, we are on the move.
Whence we come, thither we go,
For ever in a round of birth and death,
From nothingness to nothingness.
But sure, a mystery here abides.
A Something is there for us to know. (7)
Why have you sunk deep in the sea
of the illusory pleasures of the world?
Why have you pulled down the high-banked road
which could have led you safe across?
The dense darkness of tamas [inertia] surrounds you now,
And, at the appointed time,
Yama’s [ruler of death] apparitors prepare to drag
your body bleeding to death.
Who can dispel your fear of death? (13)
Why do you dote upon someone, my Soul,
who is not your true love?
Why have you taken the false for the true?
Why can’t you understand, why can’t you know?
IT is ignorance [of the spiritual Reality] that binds you to the false,
To the ever-recurring wheel of birth and death, this coming and going. (14)
In your mother’s womb you vowed
not to be born again.
When will you recall the vow?
And die, even while alive (to all desire,
and be released from birth and death)... (17)
My Guru gave me but one precept:
“From without withdraw your gaze within
And fix it on the Inmost Self.”
Taking to heart this one precept,
Naked I began to roam. (21)
Have no fear, O restless mind,
The Eternal One takes thought for you.
He knows how to fulfill your wants.
Then cry to Him alone for help,
His Name will lead you safe across. (29)
The joys of palate and fine apparel
bring man no lasting peace.
They who give up false hopes and don’t
put trust in the things of the world,
Ascend, unafraid of Death’s terrors
by scriptures told;
For having lived contented lives,
they are not debtors of Desire. (30)
O embodied One, dote not upon your body thus,
embellishing it, adorning it,
providing luxuries for it.
Even its ashes will not endure. (31)
Should you, in this very body, seek
The Supreme Self that dwells within,
Greed and illusion soon removed,
A halo of glory will surround this very body of yours. (32)
Fie on your fasts and religious rites;
Do good: therein your duty lies. (34)
Who slays the highway robbers three,
Greed, Lust and Pride,
And yet, in utter humility, serves
He truly seeks out the Lord,
Disregarding as worthless ashes
all other things. (36)
They may abuse me or jeer at me...
They may with flowers worship me...
I am indifferent to praise and blame. (38)
Only the man, free from desire,
will never die.
Only he has true knowledge
Who, though alive, is as one dead,
dead to all desire. (48)
Why do you grope thus like the blind?
Pray, doubt not what I say to you:
If you are wise, enter within
And see the Lord Himself is there.
You need not search Him here and there. (50)
Śiva abides in all that is, everywhere;
Then do not discriminate between
a Hindu or a Musalman [Muslim].
If thou art wise, know thyself;
That is true knowledge of the Lord. (57)
O fool, right action does not lie
in observing fasts and ceremonial rites.
O fool, right action does not lie
in providing for bodily comfort and ease.
In contemplation of the Self alone
is right action and right counsel for you. (59)
He who, in honest faith, accepts
his Guru’s word,
On Śiva meditates constantly,
He, full of joy, from [the binding effects of] action freed,
will not be born again. (67)
Thou art the earth, Thou art the sky
Thou art the air, the day and the night;
The sacrificial corn Thou,
And unction of the sandal-paste.
Thou art the water, Thou art the flowers,
Thou art all these and everything.
What may I, in worship, bring to Thee? (70)
Not by ascetic practices is the Self realised;
Nor by desire can you gain
the Portals of Release.
In contemplation you may be absorbed
as salt in water,
Yet hard it is for you to gain
the true knowledge of the Self. (76)
Like a tenuous web Śiva spreads Himself,
Penetrating all frames of all things.
If while alive, you cannot see Him,
How can you see Him after death?
Think deep and sift the true Self from the [false] self. (82)
When water freezes in the cold,
it turns to snow and ice.
Reflect, O man, that one becomes
three different things;
And when the sun shines, the three
melt into one again.
So when the sun of pure Consciousness shines,
The world of living and lifeless things,
the universe and whatever exists,
are, in the Supreme, seen as one. (83)
Laughing, sneezing, coughing, yawning,
Bathing in sacred pools,
Going about unclothed throughout the year,
He is about you all the time—
In all these forms recognize Him. (84)
The soles of my feet wore off on the roads
while I wandered in search of Him.
The lo! on a sudden, I saw
That He was all and everywhere,
I had nowhere to go in search of Him.
This was the Truth of a hundred truths.
Whoever learn of it, will they not wonder?
Will they not be mad for joy? (87)
Let go the sacred tantra rites,
Only the mantra [sacred syllable] sound remains.
And when the mantra sound departs,
Only the citta [consciousness] is left behind.
Then lo! the citta itself is gone,
And there is nothing left behind;
The void [pure spirit] merges in the Void [Great Spirit]. (89)
Realisation is rare indeed:
Seek not afar, it is near, by you.
First slay Desire, then still the mind,
giving up vain imaginings;
Then meditate on the Self within,
And lo! the void merges in the Void. (90)
Cutting my way through Six Forests [lust, anger, craving, delusion, greed, and selfishness],
I came upon the Digit of the Moon [the subtle-energy center at the crown].
By means of the practice of prāṇāpāna [breath control],
The world of matter shrank for me.
Then roasting my heart in the fire of love,
I found my God. (93)
Gently, gently, I trained my mind
to suspend its processes and thoughts.
Then (in the windless calm), the flame of the Lamp,
shining steady and bright,
Revealed my true nature unto me.
In the dark recesses of my soul
I seized upon Him and held Him fast.
Then I diffused the inner light,
(and within, without, all was Light). (98)
Foulness from my mind was cleared
as ashes from a mirror,
Then recognition of Him came to me
unmistakable and clear.
And when I saw Him close by me,
He was all and I was not. (100)
In the robe of Jñāna [transcendental wisdom] clad, ...
And by the means of the mystic syllable Oṃ,
Lalla merged in her “Cit-Jyoti,”
The luminous Light of pure Awareness;
And thus dispelled the fear of death. (102)
I traversed the vastness of the Void alone,
leaving behind me reason and sense,
Then came upon the secret of the Self;
And, all on a sudden, unexpectedly,
In mud the lotus bloomed for me. (103)
Alike for me is life and death;
Happy to live and happy to die.
[I die for none, none dies for me.] (104)
The pilgrim saṃnyāsin [renunciate] goes from shrine to shrine,
Seeking to meet Him who abides within himself.
Knowing the truth, O soul, be not misled... (107)
Some leave their home, some the hermitage,
But the restless mind knows no rest.
Then watch your breath, day and night,
And stay where you are. (108)
Should you destroy vain imaginings, desires,
which form the very web of time;
Should you realize the Lord, all-pervading
and yet untouched and pure,
You may live the life of a householder,
Or a hermit’s life in a hermitage,
living the truth that you have known. (109)
Constantly invoking the name of Śiva,
Meditating on the Way of the Swan [haṃsa, a play on the mantra soham / haṃsa, “I am He”],
From attachment and duality set free—
Such a one, even if busily engaged
in the affairs of the world, both day and night,
Wins the favour of the God of gods. (110)
Some though asleep are yet awake;
Some though awake are yet asleep;
Despite ablutions some are unclean;
Despite householders’ active life,
Some, by their actions, are untouched. (111)
Seven times I saw the lake vanishing in the void [the cosmos into God].
I remember having seen, in former lives, through aeons of time,
These dissolutions of the worlds and their rebirth. (114)
In time past, we were;
In time future, we shall be;
Throughout the ages, we have been.
For ever the sun rises and sets;
For ever Śiva creates, dissolves,
and creates again. (116)
They who have known the Supreme Self [Awareness-Bliss-Wisdom-Light]
They are the Jīvan-muktas [“souls liberated” while alive with the physical body].
The ignorant add knot to knot, in hundreds, to the tangled web of saṃsāra [cycle of rebirths],
its recurrent birth, its recurrent death. (118)
The constant awareness of the Self
is worship befitting the Lord. (120)
He is in myriad colours and forms,
Seek Him out.
Patiently suffer whatever your lot,
And happy be
Anger and hate and enmity,
You must destroy.
All this done, though hard it be,
Behold thy God. (124)
Wherever I looked, I found the Lord,
Within, without, and in the Void. (125)
I turned to Him heart and soul,
And heard the ringing of the Bell of Truth [the primordial creative vibration].
There, in dhāraṇa [meditation], fixed in thought,
I soared the Sky and the Region of Light. (126)
Lord, I did not know who I was,
nor Thou, the Supreme Lord of all.
I knew only this body of mine always.
The relation between Thou and me,
That Thou art I and I am Thou
and both are one, I did not know.
(But now I know),
To ask: “who art Thou, who am I?”
is doubt of doubts. (129)
I, Lalla, entered by the garden-gate
of mine own mind,
And there (O joy!) saw Śiva [Father God] with Śakti [Mother; Creatrix]
sealed in one;
And there itself I merged in the Lake
of Immortal Bliss.
Now while alive I am unchained
from the wheel of birth and death,
What can the world do unto me? (130)
You pervade all shapes and forms,
You breathe life into all frames,
The whole creation hums with Your silent sound.
Who can measure the Immeasurable, O Lord! (131)
He who regards himself and others alike,
He who regards alike both day and night,
He whose mind is free from duality—
He alone hath seen the God of gods. (132)
By oft-repeated practice, the wide expanse
of manifested universe is lifted to absorption;
And the saguna world, of forms and qualities,
merges in the vastness of the Void
with a splash of water on water falling;
Then the ethereal Void dissolves,
and the Ineffable Supreme alone remains.
This, O Bhatta [scholar], is the Truth to gain. (133)
Here there is neither word nor thought,
Transcendent nor non-Transcendent here.
Vows of silence and mystic mudrās [gestures]
cannot gain you admittance here.
Even Śiva and Śakti [as entities or concepts] remain not here. (134)
Here there is neither thou nor I,
No “postured thought,” nothing to contemplate,
Even the All-Creator is forgot.
The ignorant blind cannot see
the Ineffable Supreme hard to know.
But the pure, the wise, having seen
merge in the Supreme. (135)
I passed whole days in seeking Thee out.
But when I saw Thee in mine own Self,
O joy! then Thou and I disported ourselves in ecstasy. (136)
The citta, the mind, is ever new,
The ever-changing moon is new,
And ever new the shoreless expanse
of waters that I have seen.
Since I, Lalla, have scoured my body and mind
(emptied it of dead yesterdays and tomorrows unborn),
I live in the ever-present Now, ... for ever new and new. (137)
Mīrābāī (16th century; Vaiṣṇava bhakti school; Rājasthan-Gujarāt):
O Hari! [Lord] Thou art the support of my life!
I have no other refuge but Thee
In all the three worlds [earth, subtle-plane, heavens].
Though I have searched the whole universe,
Nothing pleases me but Thou.
Says Mīrā, “O Lord, I am Thy slave. Do not forget me.” (verse 4) 
Do not lose hold of such a gracious Master!
Offer thy body, mind and wealth
To Him alone.
Cherish His image in thy heart.
Come, my companion, look at His face,
Drink in the beauty with thine eyes.
Act only to please Him, in every way.
Śyām [the dark-hued Kṛṣṇa] is lovely to look upon,
On a glimpse of His visage I live. (16)
O my companion, all I can see is Śyām,
All I can think of is Śyām.
Wherever my feet tread the earth
I am dancing in his honour. (21)
O my companion,
I am playing hide and seek with Him,
Robed in this smock of five colours [the 5 elements which comprise the
body—namely, earth, water, fire, air, and space].
Disguised as I was, He caught me,
And on beholding His beauty
I made myself over to Him,
Body and soul.
Only she whose Beloved is abroad
Needs to write letters.
My Beloved rests ever in my heart,
He neither comes nor goes. (23)
Some may revile me, others may praise me,
But I will only sing the glories of Govinda [Kṛṣṇa].
Wheresoever Krishna leads,
Thither will I follow. (25)
Says Mīrā to her Lord, the courtly Giridhara [sustainer of the worlds, lit., “bearer/lifter of the mountain”],
Let my light dissolve in Your light... (46)
[Speaking to her in-law who persecutes her for her ardent devotion to God:]
Your gorgeous kingdom does not please me.
O King, there are no holy men in thy kingdom,
All are liars and good-for-nothings. ...
Mīrā’s Lord is the courtly Giridhara [Kṛṣṇa, support of the world],
She has found the perfect bridegroom. (32)
This love, Sister, is a love that endures.
I have drunk from the cup of nectar
And it has set me in a spin.
They [Mīrā’s in-laws] cannot sober me, however they try.
The King sent a snake in a basket
And they gave it to the Princess of Meratā [i.e., Mīrā]
To put on her neck.
Mīrā donned it smiling,
Thinking “This is my best necklace.”
The King prepared a cup of poison
Which they gave to the princess to drink.
She drank it up ...
Singing the glories of Govind [Kṛṣṇa]. (40)
Mīrā’s Lord ever stands as her helper
And preserves her from dangers.
She wanders about recklessly,
Drunk in adoration,
Offering herself to Giridhara [Kṛṣṇa] in total sacrifice. (41)
Krishna belongs to me
And I belong to Him;
Without Him, nothing pleases me. (67)
Worldly comfort is an illusion,
As soon [as] you get it, it goes.
I have chosen the Indestructible for my refuge,
Him whom the snake of death
Will not devour.
My Beloved dwells in my heart,
I have actually seen that Abode of Joy. (194)
O my mind,
Worship the lotus feet of the Indestructible One!
Whatever thou seest twixt earth and sky
Why undertake fasts and pilgrimages?
Why engage in philosophical discussions?
Why commit suicide in Banāras? [considered the most auspicious place to die]
Take no pride in the body,
It will soon be mingling with the dust.
This life is like the sporting of sparrows,
It will end with the onset of night.
Why don the ochre robe
And leave home as a sannyāsī [renunciate]?
Those who adopt the external garb of a Jogi [Yogi],
But do not penetrate to the secret,
Are caught again in the net of rebirth. (195)
We do not get a human life
Just for the asking.
Birth in a human body
Is the reward for good deeds
In former births.
Life waxes and wanes imperceptibly,
It does not stay long. ...
Behold the Ocean of Transmigration,
With its swift, irresistible tide.
O Lāl Giridhara [child Kṛṣṇa], O pilot of my soul,
Swiftly conduct my barque to the further shore.
Mīrā is the slave of Lāl Giridhara,
She says: Life lasts but a few days only. (196)
Do not forget thy duty to serve,
Thy joys are of short duration,
Like the blossom on the pomegranate.
You came here for the sake of profit,
But forgot your capital
And threw it away.
Mīrā’s Lord is the courtly Giridhara.
She says: In this world you must practise detachment. (198)
O my mind,
Drink the nectar of the Name of God.
Drink the nectar of the Name of God.
Give up evil company,
And continually keep the company
Of holy men. ...
Expel lust, anger, pride, greed and infatuation
From thy mind.
Mīrā’s Lord is the courtly Giridhara,
She is soaked in His love. (199)
O Giridhara they call Thee
The Refuge of the Afflicted.
Thou hast promised to save the fallen.
I am plunged in the ocean of transmigration
Without a support.
Without Thee, I shall suffer a mighty disaster.
Thou savest Thy devotees from their afflictions
In every age,
Appearing before them to grant them release.
Mīrā has taken refuge with Thee,
And is grasping Thy feet
Redeem Thy pledge, O King. (62)
My Lord, I am offering a petition:
Take my raft to the further shore. ...
Oh, remove my pain.
The world is a flowing stream
Comprising eighty-four lakhs [8,400,000] of births.
Mīrā’s Lord is the courtly Giridhara.
May He end this coming and going
Once and for all. (135)
Sleep has not visited me the whole night,
Will the dawn ever come? ...
When will the Lord of the Afflicted come?
I have lost my senses and gone mad,
But the Lord knows my secret.
He who deals out life and death
Knows the secret of Mīrā’s pain. (75)
Friend, I have lost all sleep.
I spend the whole night
Watching and waiting for the Beloved.
My companions came to lecture me,
But my mind would not listen.
Without seeing Him I cannot rest,
Yet I will not be angry. ...
My lips keep repeating the word “darling” ...
The stranded fish thinks only of the sea.
Mīrā, too, is abandoned and distracted.
She has lost consciousness of her surroundings. (87)
Strange is the path
When you offer your love.
Your body is crushed at the first step.
If you want to offer love
Be prepared to cut off your head
And sit on it.
Be like the moth,
Which circles the lamp and offers its body ...
Be like the bee,
Entrapped in the closing petals of the lotus.
Mīrā’s Lord is the courtly Giridhara
She says: Offer your mind to those lotus feet. (191) [Note: the “lotus feet”
represent “being in the world but not of it,” just as a lotus is not
tainted by the muddy water below.]
Now there is peace in my breast,
Through and through.
My wanderings are at an end.
I shall remain at Thy feet,
Thy servant for ever. (94)
I meditate on Giridhara night and day,
And Mohan [Kṛṣṇa, the divine charmer] surely abides in my heart. ...
Every day finds me filled with love anew. (88)
Thou art my companion of many births,
I do not forget Thee day or night.
Without Thee I can enjoy no peace,
My heart knows it well. ...
False is the ocean of transmigration,
False is bondage to the world,
False all family ties.
I gaze at Thy form every moment
And feel the intoxication of Thy beauty. (106)
False are rubies and pearls,
False all glamour and glimmer.
False is all external finery,
One’s only real necklace
Is love of the Lord.
False are the silks of the south,
But the rags
Of love of the Lord are true,
For in them the body stays pure. (26)
The world is a hissing cauldron of error.
It takes no joy
In cultivating the society of the good.
They [worldly people] abuse the holy men
While themselves earning demerit
By their wicked deeds.
Without the Name of God
One does not gain liberation,
One merely circulates
In the eighty-four lakhs of wombs.
The fools waste their precious lives,
Not seeking the society of the good ...
Mīrā says: My Lord, I take refuge in Thee.
Thus will I attain
The highest state open to man. (156)
Weakened by my hunger for sense-objects
I do not take the Name of God
I worship not God but myself ...
Now that I have built up
This towering rock of pride,
Where can the water of true wisdom collect?
You cannot deceive Him who knows
The inmost recesses of your soul. ...
Learn to love the compassionate Lord,
Give up faith in the world.
Mīrā is the slave of the courtly Giridhara,
She has adopted the path of simple detachment. (158)
The world is a deceit and a delusion,
Or simply a dream. (128)
How can one come to meet the Lord?
For fifteen hours one is busy [unmindfully],
And the remaining nine [hours] one sleeps.
Having received the priceless gift of a human birth,
We remain asleep and it is wasted. (159)
Without Hari, all pleasures are as dust. ...
The world is all thorns,
A veritable garbage-heap ...
Krishna is Mīrā’s Lord and Master;
She could not find another if she sought. (73)
Thou and I are one,
Like the sun and its heat. (114)
My joy is overflowing, my soul has access
To an incalculable storehouse of joy.
I meet with my companions
To honour and please the Beloved,
And there is joy all round.
O My dear companion,
Now that I have seen the Lord,
All my desires are fulfilled
And my sufferings forgotten.
Śyām [Kṛṣṇa], the Ocean of Joy, Mīrā’s Lord,
Has entered her home. (144)
Go to that impenetrable realm
That Death himself trembles to look upon.
There plays the fountain of love
With swans [a symbol for holy sages] sporting on its waters.
There the company of holy men is available,
And one may talk of spiritual knowledge.
There one can meditate on Śyām [Kṛṣṇa]
And purify one’s mind.
There one may bind on
The anklets of good-conduct,
And dance the dance of inner contentment. ...
Let there be love for Śyām
And indifference to all else. (193)
Mīrā’s Lord is Hari, the Indestructible.
She is dissolved in Śyām,
Body and mind. (200)
My love for Śyām has set in,
And my eyes have known
The joy of His sight. ...
I arrayed myself in full adornment,
And the Beloved came running to meet me.
I have chosen no miserable bridegroom
Who will die at each rebirth. ...
I have chosen Śyām for my bridegroom. (201)
Bahinābāī (1628-1700; nondual bhakti school; Mahārāshtra):
The whole universe has truly today become Pandharī [the sacred abode of Lord Vitthalā]
as I take on my lips the name Hari, Hari.
Joy has redoubled. To whom can I recount it?
Wherever I look, there my Hari fills all.
Illusion has passed away.
The idea that the body is the “I” is lost. ...
The consciousness of “I” is gone, Bhāv [presence of God] and Abhāv [absence]
have disappeared. Says Bahinā, “I have seen the king [Lord] of Pandharī.
My heart is entranced by Him. I see nothing but Him.
I have seen the pure supreme Brahman [Reality]
I have become one with Him. ...
My mind has forgotten itself.
The idea of “I” and “Thou” has fallen to nothingness. ...
I have forgotten myself. ...
My thoughts are fastened on Him.
My mental wanderings are stopped.
Bahinā is enjoying the Ātma joy [bliss of the Supreme Self].
How can I adequately relate the joy of God?
It drives away all the sorrows of this worldly existence.
Therefore, one should associate ... with Him, the Giver of all happiness. ...
To see God in His actual nature is to dim the light of ten million suns.
When a jar is broken the space in it is still in space.
Just so when the body has disappeared, the individual soul [jīvā] and the
universal soul [Śiva] enter the sphere of the illusory.
After the water has evaporated, how can the reflection in it remain?
Says Bahinā, “There seem to be two, but know that this is because of upādhi [that which makes a thing look differently from what it is];
as a rose behind a glass makes the glass appear red.
Saints and sinners are alike in body, but you recognize the difference
between them by their deeds.
A bit of glass and a precious stone at first glance seem alike, but their
inner nature is quite different.
Association with saints leads to the purification of the heart. ...
Therefore, one should make oneself their slave. By doing so one will come
to know the substance of one’s self.
Association with saints brings about destruction of all faults. All pride
will disappear through association with them.
By this association one will learn one’s true self.
One’s eternal nature will be revealed to one’s sight. 
Gangāsatī (17th century; Mahāpanth formless/nondual bhakti school; Gujarāt):
Mountains may move but not the mind
Of those at whose death the world splits open.
Calamity strikes—they remain unmoved.
Such [are] the signs of the people of God.
Whose state of mind is ever pure
Who hope no gain from any
Who give but look for no return
Their word may always be trusted.
Mountains may move but not the mind
Of those at whose death the world splits open.
Unperturbed by joy or grief
Blissful by day and by night, they ever
Dance in the company of the good,
Breaking all illusion’s fetters.
Mountains may move...
Men and women who surrender
Body, mind, wealth to the true pursuit,
When such are seated alone, in worship,
The Unseen comes to their door.
Mountains may move...
Go seek them if you would have companions—
Full, fulfilled in adoration,
Light rains from their eyes.
[To her daughter-in-law, Panbāī:]
String the pearl as the lightning flashes
Or all will be dark.
Days have passed before we knew it, Panbāī,
Time will swallow up thousands more
String the pearl as the lightning flashes
Or all will be dark.
Unknown are things worth knowing, Panbāī,
Untellable to the incomplete [the uninitiated]
This joy, this essence, is secret, a riddle,
Untie your knots [the karmic tensions of the heart and energy centers],
understand it fully
String the pearl...
Learn of what stuff your soul is made...
Beyond self and world is the teacher, Panbāī,
I show you his land
There no trace of illusion remains.
String the pearl as the lightning flashes
Or all will be dark.
One immersed in worship remains carefree
Unawed, uninfluenced by any. 
Toral (17th century? Mahāpanth formless/nondual bhakti school; Gujarāt):
[To her consort, Jesal:]
Jesal, think well now
Death hangs over your head
This world is but a dream ...
Learn from the true teacher,
So cross the ocean of being...
Boundless the teacher’s virtues
Devotion a sword’s keen blade
Can the unknowing know this world?
They waste their human birth...
Pearls are sieved and tested
Put in a trough and pounded,
Those that break are cast away,
True pearls are those that remain...
Look not to another for light
He who does is incomplete
Lamp in hand, he falls in a well... 
Sahajo Bāī (1683-1765; Charandāsi formless bhakti school; Delhi, U.P., India):
Bliss comes not from book knowledge
Bliss comes not from debate
Blissful are the wise, Sahjo says,
Who in solitude meditate.
Meeting the wise, all sorrows flee
Bliss pervades the being
Hearing their words wipes out
The pain of birth and death.
One who becomes mad with love
Loses all rules and laws
Though men and women laugh, says Sahjo
Such a one is filled with joy.
I can give up god
but not my guru.
I cannot see god
as equal to my guru.
God gave me five thieves [i.e., the senses] for company
I was helpless; the guru rescued me,
God ensnared me in useless action
The guru showed me the soul’s [nature].
God hid from my sight
The guru lit a lamp to give me vision.
All I am I would give for Charan Dās [her guru],
I can give up god,
but not my guru.
All the rich are unhappy
The poor are sorrow itself
Happy the sadhus [wandering holy ones], Sahjo says,
Who have found the rare secret.
Joy prevails in the mind
Each part of the body is drunk
Neither is Sahjo with anyone
Nor is anyone with her. 
*** Words of Hindu women of the modern era:
Tarigonda Venkamāmbā (19th century; Advaita Vedānta school; Andhra Pradesh):
Some [people], practising different yogas such as Mantra-yoga, Hatha-yoga and Laya-yoga with a view to obtaining siddhis (powers) begin to roam about, demonstrating their miracles to the ignorant. This is, after all, superficial yoga, and these are false yogis. Saints who are adepts in the knowledge of God never hanker after such things as making the body immune from disease, old age and death.
Saints or godly men are those who, giving up inertia and desire for ephemeral things, are steadfast in goodness, truthfulness, purity, peace of mind and kindness to all living beings.
Yoga must be practised uninterruptedly (for a long time). Without constant practice the mind becomes the hotbed of vices like lust and anger. One who practises discrimination [discerning the changeless Reality amidst the changing “relatively real” phenomena], renunciation, control of the mind and the senses, endurance, abstinence from sensual enjoyment, tranquillity, faith in the words of the teacher and the scriptures; one who considers another man’s wife as his mother, who does not hanker after others’ wealth, ...who takes refuge at the feet of the Lord, ... such a one alone is fit for illumination and liberation in this very life.
“The mansion of liberation” is guarded by four gate-keepers, namely Tranquillity, Contentment, Company of the Wise, and Reflection. 
Sāradā Devī (1853-1920; Vedānta/Bhakti school; West Bengal):
[Q: What is the aim of life?]
To realize God and to remain immersed in His contemplation. (II 345) 
God alone is real. All else is false. (II 262)
The whole world is a dream... it is nothing but dream. (II 302)
My child, this world is like a deep marshy place. Once a man gets entangled there, it becomes very difficult for him to come out. Even Brahma and Vishnu lose their wits in the world. What to speak of men! Repeat the Name of God. If you do so, He will cut away your bondage some day. ... Have deep faith in God. (II 348)
Discriminate always between the real [the changeless Divinity] and the unreal [phenomena]. Whenever you find the mind drawn to any object, think of its transitoriness, and thus try to withdraw the mind back to the thought of God. (II 352)
One should desire of God desirelessness. For desire alone is at the root of all suffering. It is the cause of repeated births and deaths. It is the obstacle in the way of liberation. (II 369)
The less you become attached to the world, the more you enjoy peace of mind. (II 226)
Peace is the principal thing. One needs peace alone. (II 315)
There is no other virtue higher than forbearance. (II 324)
A golden chain is as good a shackle as an iron one. (II 305)
Always do your duty to others, but love you must give to God alone. Worldly love always brings in its wake untold misery. (II 366-7)
He is blessed, indeed, who can love God alone. There is no suffering in loving God. (II 369)
Everything, husband, wife, or even the body, is only illusory. These are all shackles of illusion. ... This attachment to the body, the identification of the self with the body, must go. What is this body, my darling? It is nothing but three pounds of ashes when it is cremated. Why so much vanity about it? However strong or beautiful this body may be, its culmination is in those three pounds of ashes. And still people are so attached to it. Glory be to God! (II 261)
If a man is firmly convinced that there is such a thing as God, can he ever indulge in worldly life? (II 314)
Surrender all desires at the feet of God. He will do whatever is best for us. But one may pray for devotion and detachment. (II 349)
Everything depends upon one’s mind. Nothing can be achieved without purity of mind. (II 282)
Blinded by egotism, people think themselves to be independent agents in regard to action. They do not depend on God. He protects one who relies on him. (II 347)
People suffer from endless miseries on account of their egoism and at last they say, “[It is] Not I [who am in control], not I; it is Thou, O God! It is Thou!” (II 317)
You will gain everything if you but take refuge in the Master [Rāmakṛṣṇa]. (II 314)
Really and truly he was God Himself. He assumed this human body to remove the sorrows and sufferings of others. He moved about in disguise, as a king walks through his city. (II 362)
Pray to the Master, he will do everything for you. He is your own... (II 346)
Be devoted to Him and take shelter at His feet. It is enough to remember that there is some One, call him father or mother, who is always protecting you. (II 353)
[Q: Mother, I cannot concentrate my mind in meditation at all.]
It does not matter much. It will be enough if you look at the picture of the Master. ... If you pray to him constantly before his picture, then he manifests himself through that picture. The place where the picture is
kept becomes a shrine. (II 334, 300)
[To a young mother grieving over the loss of her only daughter:]
My daughter, what can I tell you? I do not know anything myself. Keep a picture of the Master before you, and know for certain that he is always with you. Open your grief-stricken heart to him. Shed tears and sincerely pray, “O Lord, draw me towards you, give me peace of mind.” By doing so constantly you will gradually attain peace of mind. Have devotion for the Master, and whenever you are in distress, speak it out to him. (II 363)
Neither mantra nor scripture is of any avail. Pure loving devotion alone can win everything. (I 189)
Devotion is all. ... O creature, surrender yourself: just surrender yourself. Then only will She [the Divine Mother] be gracious and clear the way for you. (I 153)
Realization of God cannot be achieved without ecstatic love (Prema Bhakti) for Him. (II 290)
This Prema [Divine Love], my child, is the innermost thing of spiritual life. (II 363)
How many are there who truly want to realize God? Where is that earnestness? They, no doubt, profess great devotion and longing, but they feel satisfied when they get even a tiny bit of enjoyment. (II 349)
The grace of God is the thing that is needful. One should pray for the grace of God. (II 301)
Everything, no doubt, happens only by the will of God, yet man must work, because God expresses His will through the actions of man. Again, all the faculties that one gets in life are determined by one’s past actions, and, besides, by one’s present actions one can counteract one’s past actions. (I 189)
Practise Japa [recitation of a Divine Name] and meditation at regular times, giving up idleness. ... While repeating the Name of God, if one sees His form and becomes absorbed in Him, one’s Japa stops. One gets everything when one succeeds in meditation. ... Mind is everything. One gets everything when the mind becomes steady. (II 340)
Don’t relax practice ... simply because you do not get His vision. Does an angler catch a big carp every day the moment he sits with the rod? He has to wait and wait, and many a time he is disappointed.... God-realization ... can be had at any time by the grace of God, but there is a difference between it and what comes in the fullness of time, as there is a difference between mangoes that ripen in the proper season and those that ripen in the [off-] month ... The latter are not very sweet. (I 190)
Everything [e.g., Realization] will happen in time. For how many cycles did the Munis and Rishis [sages] of old practise austerities to realize God, and do you believe you will attain to Him in a flash? If not in this life, you will attain to Him in the next. If not in the next, it will be after that. Is it so easy to realize God? [No.] But this time the Master has shown an easy path [i.e., devotion]; therefore it will be possible for all to realize God. (II 339-40)
You have been extremely fortunate in getting this human birth. Have intense devotion to God. One must work hard. How can one achieve anything without effort? You must devote some time for prayer even in the midst of the busiest hours of the day. ... My child, this mind is just like a wild elephant. ... One should discriminate [between the changeless Reality and the changing, unreal phenomena] all the time. One should work hard for the realization of God. (II 268-9)
[Yet, to a disciple who complained, “Mother, I have practised austerities and Japa so much, but I have not achieved anything,” Sārāda replied:]
God is not like fish or vegetables that you can buy Him for a price. (II 355)
One realizes Him in proportion to the intensity of one’s feeling for Him. (II 302)
[Q: How does one get the vision of God?]
It is only through His grace. But one must practise meditation and Japa. These remove the impurities of the mind. ... One gets spiritual awakening by constantly thinking of God. But you can realize Him right now, if you become desireless. (II 356)
[Through ardent spiritual practice,] in [the] course of time, one does not feel even the existence of God as a separate entity. After attaining Jñāna (wisdom), one sees that gods and deities are all māyā [illusion]. Everything comes into existence in time and also disappears in time. (I 188)
The more intensely a person practises spiritual disciplines, the more quickly he [or she] attains God. But even if he does not practise any spiritual disciplines, he will attain Him in the end—surely he will. (II 347)
As long as a man has desires, there is no end to his transmigration. It is the desires alone that make him take one body after another. There will be rebirth for a man if he has even the desires to eat a piece of candy. ... Desire may be compared to a minute seed. It is like a big banyan tree growing out of a seed, which is no bigger than a dot. Rebirth is inevitable as long as one has desires. Only one or two out of many men can be found who are free from all desires. Though one gets a new body on account of desires, yet one does not completely lose spiritual consciousness if one has to one’s credit merits from previous birth. (II 292)
All people, excepting highly evolved souls, live in the spirit body for a year. After that, food and water are offered in Gaya [Bihar, India] for the satisfaction of the departed souls and religious festivals are arranged. By this means the souls of the departed are released from their spirit body. They go to other planes of existence and experience pleasure or pain, and in course of time, are born again in human forms according to their desires. Others attain salvation from those planes. ... That indeed is the last birth in which one gets completely rid of all desires. (I 296-7)
Many a time a man born in a particular family takes birth and dies again and again in the same family as a result of his Karma. (II 333)
Freedom from birth is possible only when there is no trace of desire. (II 307)
Everything depends upon Karma (one’s past actions). The moment one’s Karma comes to an end, one realizes God. That is one’s last birth. (II 310)
The effect of Karma is inevitable. But by repeating the Name of God you can lessen its intensity. ... The effect of Karma can be counteracted to a great extent by Japa [recitation of God’s name] and austerities. (II 321)
Those who are having their last birth suffer from the effects of past Karma in this one. (II 324)
[A disciple was worried about being condemned to hell. Sāradā Devī declared:] What! You, who are my son, to be damned! Whoever has come here, whoever is my son, is already redeemed. Destiny dare not throw my children into hell. Entrust your future to me and be free from anxiety. (I 152)
The difference between a great soul and an ordinary man is this: The latter weeps while leaving this body, whereas the former laughs. Death seems to him a mere play. (II 253)
[Sāradā Devī would wake up at 2 a.m. Observing this, a disciple asked whether she was not sleeping well at night. Her reply was, “How can I, my child? All these children [her disciples] come to me with great longing and take initiation, but most of them do not practise Japa [recitation of the name of God] regularly. Why regularly? They do not do anything at all. But since I have taken their responsibility, should I not see to their welfare? Therefore I do Japa for their sake, and pray to the Master [Śrī Rāmakṛṣṇa] constantly, saying, “O Lord, awaken their consciousness. Give them liberation. There is a great deal of suffering in this world. May they not be born again!” (I 107)
The power of the Guru is transmitted through the Mantra [sacred phrase] to the disciple... That is why the Guru at the time of initiation takes on himself the sins of the disciple and suffers so much from physical maladies. It is extremely difficult to be a Guru; for he [or she] has to take the the responsibilities for the disciple’s sins. He is affected by them. A good disciple, however, helps the teacher. Some disciples make quick progress, and some do it slowly. It depends on the tendencies of the mind [the vāsanas or saṃskāras] acquired by one’s past deeds. (I 102)
When I initiate devotees, I have to accept their sins. Then I think, “Well, this body will die anyway; let them realize the Truth.” (II 313)
I cannot see anybody’s faults. ... Forgiveness is tapasya (austerity). (II 322)
He who is able to renounce all for His sake is a living god. Even the decrees of fate are cancelled if one takes refuge in God. Fate strikes off with her own hand what she has written about such a person. What does one obtain by realizing God? ... He gains discrimination between the real and the unreal, gets spiritual consciousness, and passes beyond life and death. (I 191)
O man, take refuge in God! Take refuge in Him! (II 356)
Śrī Brahmajñā Mā (1880-1934; Advaita Vedānta; East Bengal-Bihar):
[Mā frequently would say, in retort to those who wanted to publish a book of her sayings:]
There are many books full of [spiritual] instructions but only a few read them and none follow them. What is the good of adding another book containing the instructions of a person like me, illiterate and unversed in the Shastras [scriptures and commentaries]? (x) 
Mere reading is good for nothing. Get hold of some passage and translate it into action. If knowledge of books could do anything, all the Pandits [scholars] would have been liberated long ago. But they are still where they were, and some of them go downwards because they develop the additional sin of pride. (4-5)
This [spirituality] is a very slippery path, you must be wide-awake and be guided by discrimination [between the changeless Reality and the changing phenomena, mental states, etc.], keeping the goal always in mind. What is the good of my telling you now what to do and what not to do? I shall not be with you always. Stand on your own legs! (8)
When you know (your real nature) you will realize that you are all-pervasive ... [not] limited. You have become limited by illusion. You remain limited because you consider yourselves as such. You believe you are the body, but in reality you are neither the body nor the mind but the infinite Ātma [Divine Self]. The body, the world, everything, these are all creations of your mind. You believe you are finite but will merge in an infinite being by means of sādhanā [spiritual practice]—to begin with you have this idea—but in reality you are yourselves no other than the limitless Ātma. (63)
You are all Self-realized, only a veil is obstructing the view. There are and may be thousands of ways of removing this veil, but one way is good enough for you. Take your hint from the Guru and follow one path alone. Knowing how to proceed to the goal in a dozen ways does not take you any nearer. You would be nearer by following one path alone. Read one or two books and follow the instructions contained therein. (21)
Proceed honestly, nothing can make you fail. Even if you commit mistakes, sincerity of purpose will make you detect your error. A man can not even die if he is determined to reach the goal in this birth. (14)
Earnestness alone is what is wanted. ... Without such sincere earnestness everything is useless. (30)
If one is earnest about the attainment of Truth one is not afraid of misery and hardship and no impediment is felt. (33)
You are God. Will-power should be awakened. ... One should be fearless and free from pride. ... One should cultivate the “I can, I will” thought. ...One should not take refuge in cowardice, weakness and narrow-mindedness. A man can be great by the power of the mind. By the power of mind one can see God and also be at one with the unseen Infinite Power. (xiii)
If you want emancipation in this life, give up all other activities and devote your whole time and attention to Self-realization. (9)
To a man seeking Liberation there is no duty to anyone. To liberate himself is his first and last duty to himself and to mankind as well. (11)
[Q: Is it not a sin to take to renunciation forsaking wife, son and others?] Being entirely intoxicated with wine a man joined the company of several other drunkards and began to supply wine to them. After a few days the fit of intoxication passed off. Then he returned to his natural state and behaved in the correct fashion. The other drunkards began to wail over the loss of their companion and the supply of wine. Tell me, in these circumstances, should the man go on drinking and remain in the pit of folly, or should he return to his natural state? Which of these is virtue and which vice? ... When one’s intoxication from the wine of sense-objects in saṃsāra [the worldly cycle of existence] wears off it is not at all wrong—rather it is good—for one to give up everything and proceed on one’s own way. ... A man caught up in the meshes of attachment to wife, son and other relatives (māyā, illusion) can never get peace and contentment, rather is he always scorched by the fire of desires. On the other hand, a person who has detached his mind not only from wife and children but from the whole universe, seeks no company or support but merges in Param Ātma and ever shines in spotless splendour. There is no other way to attain this state but to give up all imagination in gross, subtle or causal form. ... Wife, son, brother, relations, foe and friends, and whatever is visible to the gross vision have no real existence. ... As long as man is in it, the dream seems real. When he wakes up what he dreamt seems unreal. ... Param Brahman [absolute Reality] alone is eternal, true, formless, changeless, beyond qualities and dependent on none. ... Param Brahman alone is immutable. The state of duality is mutable and imaginary, so it cannot be absolutely true, but it may be conditionally true. (66-8)
Without thinking this transitory saṃsāra [cycle of existence] real, all who lead a domestic life, should remain (in saṃsāra) as strangers, keeping ever in view the fact that there is a permanent abode of peace, different from it. (65)
By only talking as an Advaitin [a philosopher of the non-dual truth that Brahman or God alone IS], one cannot attain the Advaita state. If one wishes to attain that state one must die while alive; unless one dies to the world, one cannot realize it. (38)
You will have to court death sooner or later. When it is certain that you must die one day, why don’t you die now when you are still alive (i.e., let all your likes and dislikes be dead to you and remain as you really are...). If you do this you will not have to die hereafter, and you will be in perpetual Bliss and Existence. (19)
Each and every jīva [apparent soul] is born from Brahman—in fact every jīva is Brahman; but owing to the illusion of Māyā there exists the lingering conception that he is a jīva. This is Māyā. The jīva always falls a victim to death, but still every man remains effortless [i.e., does not try to realize his spiritual nature] as if he would never die—this is Māyā. Man’s body, limbs and parts of limbs always undergo change and after death the body vanishes into space, still there exists the conception that the body is real and that it is the fountain of happiness—such a notion is verily Māyā. ... The body is but an inert mass, so it cannot yield happiness to a man. The Ātma [spiritual Self], full of consciousness, alone is absolute peace. To think that the body gives happiness is Māyā. (70-1)
There is no answer to such questions as “whence did Māyā come?” or “why did Māyā come about?” (70)
You are the Ātma but in illusion consider yourself to be the mind, body, etc. This is mohamāyā (the magic of māyā). ... You are neither the body nor the mind; you have no mind or body. In illusion you feel their existence. This has come about only because you identify yourself with the body and mind. If you give up the idea not a trace of them will be left. You are the embodiment of Brahman, Being-Wisdom-Bliss Absolute. You are the [pure] “I” feeling, full of bliss. The ego and the “my” and “mine” feeling have come into existence as forms of limited consciousness owing to the perversion of the “I” feeling; by perversion out of the essence of your Bliss have grown the sex impulse and other distortions. Thirsting for sexual pleasures, etc. and thinking yourself to be the body, by imposing a limit to yourself you are wandering about in illusion, forgetting your own Self... When awakened the bodily cravings die out by (one’s) immersion in the Bliss of the Self... and when ... the idea of separateness vanishes the ego disappears. Thereupon you shine by yourself as Absolute Bliss. (74-5)
[To a devotee materially impoverished Mā sang the following song:]
Ponder deeply and there will be no hunger.
You are in reality the great Brahman [Reality] and exist as the Whole.
You exist ever free, you are never bound, you are always fully conscious—
look at your true nature.
You have no desire, anger, avarice, hate, shame or even fear of death—
you are pure Ātma [Self, or Brahman] full of knowledge.
You have lost knowledge of Self in duality—your ignorance is your own
creation and you are in it.
You have got no work to do, there is no virtue, vice, dharma [virtue] or
adharma [vice] for you, neither birth nor death, because you are changeless.
You have no mind, no intellect, no spite nor ego, you have no father,
mother, wife, son nor family;
You are befooled by the shadow of your mistake, and forgetting yourself by
your own mistake you have kept your ownself away from the Self. (24)
[To another devotee she sang, in part:]
You are pure, conscious, free and always exist; body, intellect and ego are your illusory imaginations,
You are yourself Brahman by nature—see it by opening the eyes of knowledge. (26)
That one has come into this world is a wrong notion; to give it up and return to the origin is dharma [one’s duty, the true way]. (30)
Brahma [the absolute Spiritual Reality] alone is the Truth. What is evidenced as the world by men is but a creation of thought. Just as a thirsty deer, through illusion, sees a mirage in a desert, so sentient beings, decoyed by expectation, behold the mirage of the world in their own imagination. As soon as desires perish the imagination of the mind ceases and consequently vanishes the illusion in the form of the world image. As in the deep dreamless sleep state activity of the mind is suspended and the world no longer exists, so the world must be created by the mind itself, which is no other than waves (on the ocean) of Ātman [the Divine Self]. As soon as it becomes as it were slightly unsteady the Self [in the case of an unenlightened person] passes into oblivion, and assumes the role of the mind. How and why the Self appears to be unsteady cannot be expressed in words. With the help of analogies like a bubble on the sea and such, man can only form a vague notion about it. The Self being slightly perturbed the consciousness that “I am like the sky” takes form. Then one feels “I am the all-pervading Universal Form.” Thereupon come into being two limited states, namely “I” and “What my nature is” ... whence proceeds the conception of duality. The very consciousness of mine, that “I” witness that “I exist,” starts the limited state. Thus step by step unsteadiness alone causes illusory creation, owing to vibration, commencing with the idea that “I am the Universal Form which alone exists,” and from this rises such other ideas [and limited processes] as “mind,” “intellect” and “ego.” By these alone the world is created, and the jīva [apparent individual person] having created the illusion of body and senses, etc., with the help of the ego and desires becomes bound by the meshes of cravings. Though the body, etc., have no real existence, on account of restlessness of the mind, disturbance comes into existence propelled by desires, etc., and thereby body, etc., are created. This is how the magic show of the world becomes visible. In fact the body is unreal, being only an effect of imagination and this again is due to the want of equilibrium of the mind. Likewise the mind appears to exist because of restlessness alone. The mind is no more than waves on the Self. The mind has no existence, the Self alone shines, all else is but the product of imagination.... The mind always indulges in subtle thoughts. The more these imaginary ideas are repeated, the grosser they become. This body of five elements is but a gross manifestation of thought. ... When the mind becomes more unsteady thoughts increase in number and assume visible forms. Imagination, hopes, desires, etc., are all mere projections of the same mind; according to the increase of the projection of the mind material objects multiply. ... The mind modifications by mere solidification [in thought] assume gross forms; it is in this way that one considers oneself to be the body.
Forthwith bodily actions, such as eating and sleeping, and all forms of I-consciousness, such as my body, my house, my work, and so on, become deep-rooted and thus illusion is confirmed. At this state one cannot remember that there is any such thing as the Self and through illusion or Māyā thought after thought arises in the mind, and the jīva [illusory self] rotates like a whirlpool. Thus though there is no existence of anything in reality, by the fancy of the mind the world mirage becomes visible. The current of such mental fancies flows unceasingly. Hope after hope comes into being and the mind becomes bewitched by the magic charm of hope, and knows no respite. As the sun is not visible in a sky overcast with clouds, likewise the Self cannot shine so long as the mind is shrouded with the fleeting clouds of hopes and desires. When false hopes are exterminated by the power of knowledge the real nature of the Self manifests itself. It is only after the inception of the notion that the mind is under the sway of delusion, that jīvas attempt to get rid of the delusion. One cannot try to correct an error until one recognises it. As soon as a man realizes that he is submerged in delusion, he desires to extricate himself and wakes up to consciousness. The jīva caught up in the meshes of saṃsāra go on spinning round and round in the whirlpool of pleasure and pain, and immersed in delusion, smart under the threefold misery of disease, death and grief. When the agony of sorrow is felt, then alone comes the attempt to overcome delusion. ... The man realizes the hollowness of hopes and desires and endeavors to achieve eternal peace. Generally, senility, death, etc., alone are sufficient to convince a man of the emptiness of worldly desires and so bring him to his senses. Then dispassion grows in the mind of the jīva; knowing that worldly enjoyment cannot yield peace, he feels repulsion for such gratifications. With the advent of such repulsion man sets aside the current of desires from his mind by dint of spiritual practices, and is at pains to try for the attainment of eternal Truth. Consequently the range of the pictures drawn by the imagination gradually dwindles and the mind becomes quieter step by step. The more the mind becomes quiet the higher it soars and the less becomes the inequilibrium of the mind. The mental state changes gradually with the calmness of the mind. In accordance with the degrees of mental calmness one has to pass through many states, and in the end the state of absolute tranquility is reached. According to the different degrees of mental quietude the mental states undergo definite changes corresponding to which the Yogins have imagined certain different centres [cakras] in the body and they also notice which kind of mental state appertains to each. Thus according to the difference of the mental plane the “six centres” have been imagined within the body corresponding to their respective subtle attitudes of mind. These six centres are nothing more than modifications of the mental state. The six centres are mere imagination; in fact they have no existence. When the mind abandons the outward play of Nescience (Māyā) and gradually goes upwards, the inward play of Māyā which is then noticed along with the changes of mental state, has been termed the “six centres.” [—The cakras, namely, the mūlādhāra, svādhisthāna, maṇipūra, anāhata, viśuddha, and ājñā cakras, surmounted at the crown of the head by the sahasrāra, sometimes considered as a 7th cakra; Brahmājñā Mā has with great wisdom elucidated the various increasingly-subtle states, visions, powers, etc. associated with these cakras—a passage too lengthy to quote or excerpt here, except for the last section, wherein she says:] Steadily the mind acquires a state of still greater calmness and proceeds towards ājñā centre. In order to go from one centre to another, the mind must be extremely earnest. ... There remains no body consciousness now and therefore no death. When the mind rests in ājñā, no such thing as the world exists. Conceptions such as the world etc. disappear. Thereupon such knowledge manifests itself as “I alone exist,” as if I alone occupy the whole world, as if I shine as the gigantic universal form. But even such a state is illusory. While the mind is in ājñā, though “I” have no form, the consciousness that I am “virat” (vast without measure) persists. That “I am conscious of my all-pervading vastness” so much sense of duality lingers still. The saṃsāra [cycle of worldly existences] originates from a consciousness of duality of the subtlest type; again through a gradual process of disillusionment when this stage is reached, man becomes liberated and finally attains the formless “Nirvikalpa” state (which is entirely free from the slightest vibration of thought waves). This is indeed what goes by the name of Sahasrāra. The different states represented by the phrase “Six Mystic Centres” which have been just described, vary according to the trend of the seekers’ mind. Those who are really illumined realize simply, “Brahma alone is real and the world is unreal.” (87-90, 95-6)
When cravings disappear through means of insight caused by discrimination [between the changeless reality and the changing phenomena] the mind becomes steady and the Ātma in its infinite vastness is realized. Then all illusions vanish and Ātma alone in the form of Wisdom and Bliss persists. ... Ātma alone shines to the inward sight when the mental and physical vision is abandoned. (72)
You are the infinitely vast Ātma, the abyss of pure Consciousness.... You have not come from anywhere, nor will you go somewhere else. You are motionless and all-pervading but in illusion because of body-consciousness you experience coming and going. When the body-idea is got rid of you will remain in your own real nature. (72-3)
[A song for a devotee uncertain about committing to the spiritual life:]
See and judge for yourself what you are doing in this wilderness of saṃsāra [worldly lifetimes], finding no pleasure in it;
Day by day the end is drawing near, what have you done to prepare for it?
You have read ... [the scriptures]
But your mind, illusioned by māyā, is not yet awake and you have forgotten your own Self.
By your own mistake you are playing the role of jīvā [individual self] and courting birth and death times without number.
Know for certain that you will surely die if you are born,
No one lives eternally.
So when there is yet time, be acquainted with your own Self and put an end to fear and death. ...
There is no pleasure in desiring sense-objects; fame, position, and wealth are all sapless.
Touch the real source of happiness and thereby destroying the monotony; drink the nectar of contentment which is your Self.
There is an abode of Śānti [peace] where you can have rest. March on and on—Now is the time. (25)
Brahman is the only Reality—all else is unreal. Men are eager in their search for happiness in unreal worldly objects and do not want to know the truth of the Self, though in that alone lies real happiness and bliss. (29)
Beneath the influence of your desires,
Of anger and of covetousness, you
Place poison’s bitter cup unto your lips
In preference to the nectar that is there. (43-4)
If any one should be convinced of the existence of Ātma [the Divine Self], could he remain without trying to realize it? Men believe in transitory sense-objects but do not believe in the same way in the everlasting reality—Ātma. (35)
This matter-of-fact world is no better than a dream. ...What seems true in the dream state is found to be unreal on waking. Similarly, what is regarded as real in the waking state is known to be unreal when the mind becomes still and knowledge of Truth is achieved. This is the evidence to prove that the waking state is as unreal as the dream state. (19, 37)
The world is like the shadow of trees reflected in water. The world is as unreal as this shadow. To realize that this world is unreal is sādhanā or religious practice. (29)
The foremost and fundamental means of realizing the Self is dispassion. (29)
Only after a fight with his desire for enjoyment and defeating it can a man realize his Self and shine as the Infinite. (52)
The more one gives up the more one gets. When all is given up, ALL is achieved. (32)
Without Self-realization no one can even be content. Self-realization is the only peace and contentment. Just think over and ascertain whether there are peace and contentment in the state in which you now are or in what you are now doing. ... There is no certainty when Death will fully devour you. Even at this very moment Death may swallow you up. I am surprised that you should be quite indifferent to this. Think for once of the great illusion you are in. ... Try to save yourself from the grip of the enchantress Expectation. (52)
[Q: What is vice and what virtue?]
It is vice to be subservient to the sex-impulse, anger, jealousy, malice, defamation and pride. Free from jealousy and spite, to do good to others and to make gifts and give charity without any expectation of return, and to sympathize with others in their weal and woe without being puffed up—is virtue. [Yet] a seeker after liberation should shun both virtue and vice. By vice man gradually tends to be born in turn as beasts, insects, locusts, etc., whereas by performing virtuous acts he merits happiness and celestial abodes. Enjoyment due to meritorious deeds is not permanent. When the fruits are reaped he is once more plunged into the darkness of misery. By shunning vice and courting virtue the mind is purified. Those who proceed on the path of Self-enquiry forsaking both virtue and vice, alone can get knowledge of the Self and peace in exemption from the agonies of birth and death. (65-6)
The three principal enemies to the pacification of the mind are, sex impulse (Kama), anger (Krodha) and the feeling of want (Lobha). The first is the last to go, so when the second and third are visible it is certain that the first is also present. (8)
Those very pleasures of sex and wealth which seem to be so full of nectar to the indiscriminating man are regarded as nothing but the droppings of a crow by a wise man. (46)
Enjoying sexual pleasures is like taking a sweetened ball of poison. Nothing covers the Self as much as this. The more this desire fades away, the thinner will be the cover [obstructing Self-realization]. ... To understand that there is no real pleasure in it is the correct understanding. ... As long as it is thought that an object is pleasurable it cannot be given up. When sense-objects are regarded as dangerous and distasteful, like snakes and poison, none will feel sorry to give them up. When it is understood by correct reasoning that far from being pleasurable the sense-objects cover real bliss and peace, then they will be regarded as poison and it will be an easy affair to give them up. (31)
Anticipation of the fulfilment of desire does not allow men any rest, it seduces men by promising pleasure but cannot give it. Happiness cannot be had unless anticipation of the fulfilment of desire is given up. Renunciation of hope alone can lead to peace. The more one gives up anticipation, the more one’s mind becomes relieved from bondage. (31-2)
To expect anything is the cause of misery; to expect nothing is peace. There can be no misery when you love without expectation. (46)
In childhood, how eager men are to get dolls! But when they grow they lose this eagerness. Similarly when the eye of knowledge opens, the sense-objects of saṃsāra are looked upon as silly dolls. The mind gets no peace from them. This saṃsāra is a place for fun and jokes but there is no permanent happiness in it. (32)
Saṃsāra ... is an illusion of the mind built on desires. In the absence of desires saṃsāra ceases to exist. (35)
The spider spreads its web and becomes ensnared and consequently suffers. Similarly, man also builds his saṃsāra by his desires and predilections and suffers because he is bound to it. (36)
According to the result of actions (Karma) of the present birth the subsequent incarnation is shaped. According to karma one may be born as a god (Devata) in heaven (Devaloka), or in the world as a man or even as a beast in the animal kingdom. During the transition from one state to another the jīvā suffers pain, this suffering is (known as) the pangs of birth and death. Birth and death are [actually] illusions. As long as man does not realize the Self he continues to suffer the agonies of birth and death. A man gets drunk and under the influence of liquor he fancies that he is living in a beautiful and pleasant place and so feels happy. At another time he fancies that he has fallen into a dire hell and so suffers much; sometimes he considers himself short and at others tall, but when the influence of the liquor is gone he realizes that he is neither in heaven nor hell, nor has he grown short nor tall but is what he always was—that no change has occurred. Similarly, man has forgotten his own identity under the influence of the poisonous wine of sense-objects and fancies he is suffering from pain sometimes at birth and at others at death, sometimes he feels happy and at others unhappy, but in reality he is not experiencing birth, death, happiness or misery—all these are his mental imagination and none of them has got existence in reality. As man is always passing through the three states of wakefulness, dream and deep sleep, so also the two states of contraction and expansion in the form of birth and death are going on ... As long as a man is bound by the māyā of ignorance he moves round and round in the whirlpool of different states, sub-merged in the darkness of ignorance. When man’s thirst for sense-objects is quenched, and enquiry for Truth commences, the clouds of māyā drift away from the sky of the heart and the sun of knowledge gradually shines forth. When he acquires knowledge in full, only then will he get Peace by going beyond the states of wakefulness, dream, deep sleep, birth and death. He will then realize that there was never any change in his state—he is what he always was. (58-9)
Man becomes weak by thinking repeatedly that he is weak. You have forgotten the real state of your [spiritual] freedom and have submitted to weakness. You may think you have not already got that ever-free power (śakti), but in reality it exists in you always. You are free... The true purport of this freedom can not be realized by reading books ... or from verbal instruction; it is one’s own innate nature and one must realize it by one’s own meditation. It cannot be found in anything lying outside. ... Do not consider want of discipline the same as freedom. ... Strength alone is the way to develop unshackled power. Because man has forgotten his own Self he has become weak. If he turns his vision from outwards to his own Self, all weakness will end and freedom will be manifest. (47)
One’s power is manifested in proportion to one’s efforts. The greatest efforts awaken the greatest power which alone can conquer death and take one beyond the cycle of birth and death. (49)
Man is so fickle-minded and so much engrossed in desire for sense-objects that he cannot even for a moment look at the future. He does not know what will happen next and is always busy with the present [i.e., the fulfillment of desires]. If he could think with a quiet mind, he could understand something—but where is the time for it? His mind is so unsteady because of desires that he cannot think coolly for a moment. (33-4)
Man is unable to conceive of a state [i.e., Self-realization] beyond that which he is in. So he thinks it to be his true state. ... If that state, which is beyond the three stages of wakefulness, dreaming and deep sleep, be fully known to a man, he goes beyond birth and death. It is true that man sometimes hankers after that state, but he cannot get at the desired object as he wants it while remaining bound to his present state. Just as a man who is looking to the front has to look behind if he wishes to see things lying behind him, so the mind cannot form an idea in another direction unless it is withdrawn from its existing engagements. ... If a man can meditate on, What am I? What is the body? What is mind? Then he can get beyond the darkness of ignorance and know the Root Cause. Just as a well-frog, wanting to know what the sea is like while still stopping in his well, fails to do so, refusing to believe in the very existence of the sea, so also an unliberated man fails to understand salvation and thinks it a figment of the imagination. If one wants to know one’s own self, ... that state can only be obtained by stilling the mind. (47-8)
The state which is beyond the imagination is regarded by some as nothing but imagination. How can a person caught in the net of imagination form an idea of the state beyond the imagination? (49)
The thought of death brings about renunciation. For an aspirant the thought of death is a means of advancement. ... Always ponder over the transitoriness of the world. This will cut asunder māyā [delusion] and ignorance (moha). (33)
Due to ignorance, man considers this saṃsāra to be real and so courts the pain of birth and death over and over again. (49)
There is no certainty when Death will fully devour you. Even at this very moment Death may swallow you up. I am surprised that you should be quite indifferent to this [and not yearn for Self-realization]. Think for once of the great illusion you are in. (52)
[In a poem relating a mother’s enlightened teachings to her son:]
On rolls the day, the night and Time—
Thou art man [an intelligent being], yet thou dost not come to thy senses.
How often am I to repeat (the same thing)?
Alas! Thou dost not wake up from thy midnight dream.
Thou art senseless in the darkness of ignorance—
Thy boyhood has passed and thou art in youth.
All of a sudden senility and death will come—
Hast thou ever though over these problems well?
Otherwise how art thou passing thy days in (improvident) happiness?
Open your eyes but once and see
How long will this life of youth last?
You have been forgetful of your ownself,
Spell-bound as it were in the enjoyment of material objects.
Fleeting like a dream is the sun of your happiness;
It will in turn be eclipsed by Time.
When the mirage of illusion ceases to appear,
Birth, death and fear will be your slaves.
When will that auspicious day dawn
That will awaken in you discrimination and dispassion? (50)
To understand really the transitoriness of the world is knowledge. Buddha had this knowledge, so he could give up a kingdom, but for want of this knowledge a naked man cannot give up his kaupin (loin cloth). (34)
Self-realization is the only peace and contentment. (52)
Renunciation is peace. Some say—renunciation is of the mind so it does not matter if renunciation is not carried into effect materially; but this is a want of straight-forwardness. If renunciation is in the mind why should it not be carried into practice? Those who have got renunciation both inside and outside alone can be said to have real renunciation. (34-5)
Giving up the homestead and house is not renunciation; it consists in giving up spite, blame, fame, honour and desires. (38)
When you realize, you will understand that there is nothing to give up or get hold of; what exists always exists. Only one “Grand I” exists. (36)
[To one of her disciples:] I am very glad that you have no longer any curiosity. Why should a sadhu [spiritual aspirant] want to see anything but Brahman [the Absolute Reality]? (13)
Too much sleep is not good. Already there exists the sleep of ignorance, so why court sleep? Men pass away peaceful and beautifully calm nights in sleep alone, when night is especially suitable for meditation on the Self. (31)
Purity of food is necessary. A man possessed of sattvic [harmonious] qualities is by nature inclined to sattvic vegetarian diet. One who wants to possess sattvic qualities should take vegetarian diet because sattvic, rajasic [agitating] and tamasic [dulling] food foster corresponding qualities in the person taking them. None of these three kinds of food can in the least affect one who is beyond the three qualities [i.e., Self-realized]. (69)
Many say that it is necessary to work for one’s own country. This cannot be denied. But there is no greater work for one’s country than to meditate for Self-realization, as the Self is the true “native land.” (38)
Men are eager to pass for Sadhus [holy ones] but do not like to be Sadhus. (11)
There are many Gurus but [only] a very few good disciples. (12)
Some come to saints and say that they are very eager to be liberated but that their mind does not turn in that direction. ... A man’s mind of itself tends to follow that direction which he knows to be good. As he regards fame, honour and wealth to be good, his mind turns in that direction. Those who say, “I want to but my mind turns back” really do not want it all. Mind always follows the wish. (56)
The Saint is here to give, but alas! where is the deserving person to take? One Saint can help millions to get Liberation but can scarcely find one fit to receive the benefit. (16)
A man imbibes the nature of one whom he constantly thinks of. As inclination towards material objects appears in the mind by thinking of them and by association with worldly men, so Brahmanhood gradually develops in one through constant remembrance of the Self-realized Guru. (55)
[Is Self-Realization possible without the help of a Guru?]
He alone can realize the Self without a Guru’s help in whose mind queries like, “Who am I?” “What is the world?” “Where was I before, and where shall I go?” and “Where is Peace?” arise from his very birth and the thought of the futility and transitoriness of the world clearly manifests and awakens keen dispassion and leads him to self-enquiry. Such men are very rare. (55)
First [have] the association of a Guru and then absolute dis-association. (19)
[In response to her disciples who wanted to organize a mission to disseminate her teachings to India and the world:]
You are always with me, you are always hearing my views and getting instruction—how far have you” profited by these? Why do expect others will be highly benefited by getting second-hand and sometimes distorted instruction from you? Do good to yourselves first. (12)
After I pass away I shall be in your midst. (xvii)
[To a visitor:] Tell me who you are.
[V: You know all about me, what more do you want me to tell you?]
I know all about you, but do you know who you are? ... You are a grown-up man and are given credit for being an educated and intelligent person: is it not a shame that you do not know yourself? ... Pursue the enquiry and find out yourself. (20)
Reason the Truth of the Self by the brain and feel it by the heart. ... The idea of Truth automatically grows in a pure mind. Cordial earnestness is the means. For this purification of the mind is necessary. ... Purity in talk, deed, and thought, and good company are the means to develop the thirst for Truth. (38)
Always you think—“I exist.” Every moment your body and mind are changing, but in the midst of all these changes the unchangeable notion—“I exist” persists. You never think “I do not exist.” This awareness of “I exist” is the reflection of the real “I am.” (34)
Who dies and who is born? ...
Who is it that works? Who is it that enjoys happiness?
And who becomes contented? Who suffers misery?
And who wanders in the current of expectation? ...
Who are you?—Give me your identity!
Who are the mind, intellect, and ego?—tell me! (46)
Dualism [e.g., devotion to God] is a step to Monism. Those who are unable to understand the Advaita doctrine [the non-dual truth that Brahman alone IS] can reach that knowledge through Dualism. (38)
What is Bhakti [devotion]? It is to cherish an attraction to One by reaching Whom all wants are satisfied and perfect Bliss is obtained. Some call this attraction Bhakti and some Jñāna [wisdom], but the same attraction is at the root of both. (77)
From the standpoint of knowledge there is “One,” from the standpoint of love (prema) “Two,” and of desire “Many.” In the [pure] “I” feeling only One exists, in prema—Two—Bhagavān [the Lord] and the devotee, and in desire Many exist in the form of “my” body, “my” relations and “my” house, etc. (29)
Supreme lustre am I, I’m everlasting...
Fully aware am I, devoid of death, decay;
I have not any fear. I am eternal, whole,
And free from throbs of [egocentric] thought. No intellect have I,
No body nor a mind—my real nature’s Bliss...
No wish have I-I am free from every sort of change;
No father, mother, son or family have I;
No duty, birth nor death doth appertain to me. (40)
When in this dream, woven
By false desires, the actor’s part you play,
You have forgot the knowledge of the Truth;
In this dark mire of grief now lying drunk
You never try to find out your own Self. (40)
Seek the abode of Bliss where there exists
Not a distinction between “mine” and “thine,”
And throw away all hate, and shame, and fear! ...
All ties by māyā [delusion] wrought—cut them away
Using discrimination’s keen-edged blade.
The body-idea you must first give up,
Humiliate the ego, lift the veil
Of darkness and proceed along the path
That leads to Peace...
Don’t look to anyone—remain unmoved! ...
“I” [the Self] is always quiet, calm—seat of pure bliss.
Religion, irreligion, birth or death,
Virtue or vice...
All duality, there don’t exist.
The Supreme Self alone, ‘tis That that is! (44-5)
You are ensnared, lost in oblivion,
You never pause to find out who you are;
Whence to this world you’ve come, and where you’ll go
That time when the body ceases to exist.
Full many times you have been born before
In the same saṃsāra. Parents and brothers, friends,
And also wives, who and where are they now?
In fetters of a slave your legs are tied
And by the sense of duty you are bound;
What duty have you [really] got within this world? ...
In saṃsāra you play
The role of actor. No one’s really yours... (43)
Who are you who are wandering about
Lost in saṃsāra’s forest? Pray enquire
Who are your parents and where is your home.
For ever busied with fame, honour, wealth,
Your life is no more steadfast than the drop
Of water that to lotus leaf would cling.
This moment you may die and have to leave
All that you now hold dear. Then pause and think,
Try to remember where you were before...
You’ve lost your true awareness because you
Have fallen victim to the influence
Of anger, lust, illusion, and now lie
In darkness that’s created by desire.
Lost in the mirage of unreal hope
You have forgotten your own Self and have
Been suffering from the pangs of sorrow, birth
And agony as well. The pride of wealth,
Honour and youth and body, all will be
Crushed in between the jaws of frightful Death.
Persons as dear to you as your own life,
Like dream will vanish utterly away,
You’ll never see them more. For ‘tis the truth
That you had families many times before.
Whither have they now gone? Just think of this!
Within this sleep of ignorance you dream;
Friends, parents, brothers, these do not belong
Unto your real Self. They only are
As long as you a body shall possess
And in it dwell within this seeming world;
But all will be entirely forgot
As soon as it is utterly destroyed.
While acting in this playhouse of saṃsāra
They seem to play the roles of friends and foes,
Then suddenly they vanish quite away.
Along the path of Truth go forward straight
To your own home. Why wander in vain
Within this forest of black ignorance? ...
Let knowledge and dispassion go with you
And be your guide...
Immediately throw off
The rubbish of this world, then only can
You rest for ever in the home of Peace. (41-2)
Deeply absorbed within that place which is
Ever-existing, in dhyāna [meditation] sit
And sing unto your ownself your own song;
In that essence of bliss remain immersed
Looking at all the tricks of your own Self. ...
There’s no one that exists except yourself,
This saṃsāra’s nothing but a magic show;
You are the ocean playing with its waves;
Calming these waves seek your own Self ...
Be, then your Self, your own! (42)
Ānandamayi Mā (1896-1982; nondual Vedānta; East Bengal-Uttar Pradesh):
Rest assured that your worries and tribulations are ever before my eyes. (B 122) 
Your sorrow, your pain, your agony is indeed my sorrow. This body understands everything. ... You and I are two persons and yet you and I are one... (G 170)
Q: Am I right in believing that you are God?
Mā: There is nothing save Him alone. Everyone and everything are but forms of God. In your person also He has come here now to give darśana [sight of a holy one].
Q: Then why are you in this world?
Mā: In this world? I am not anywhere. I am myself reposing within myself [the Self].
Q: What is your work?
Mā: I have no work. For whom can I work since there is only One? (G 135)
This body has no desire, no intention or set purpose—everything occurs spontaneously. (G 169)
Q: From what moment did you become Self-realized?
Mā: When was I not? (G 162)
Q: What proof is there that there is God?
Mā: What proof is there that you exist?
Q: Simple. I perceive that I am.
Mā: Who is this I?
Q: Ma! I do not want to be engaged in a philosophical discussion. I want to know from you plainly and simply if God is a reality.
Mā: (emphatically): God is a reality. Just as you are to yourself. (G 138)
There is ONE unchanging indivisible REALITY which, though unmanifest, reveals Itself in infinite multiplicity and diversity. That One—the Supreme Truth—is ever present everywhere in all circumstances. Referred to as Brahman [Absolute Reality], He is no other than God Almighty. God Almighty is nameless and formless; yet all names and forms are His. He is the Father, Mother, Guru, Friend, Creator, Preserver, Destroyer—everything. His essence is Being, Consciousness, Bliss. Indeed, He is in everything and everything is in Him; there is nothing but Him. Try to see God in everything and in everybody, including yourself. God Himself is revealed in some guise even in individuals supposed to be sinners, as also in suffering seemingly unbearable. (G 122)
Q: You say all are God, but are not some people more God-like than others?
Mā: For him who asks such a question, this is so. But in actual fact, God is fully and equally present everywhere. (G 143)
O thou Supreme Being, thou art manifest in all forms—this universe with all created things, wife, husband, father, mother and children, all in one. Man’s mind is clouded by worldly ties. But there is no cause for despair. With purity, unflinching faith and burning eagerness go ahead and you will realize your true Self. [This is one of the very few specimens of Mā’s own writings, a result of solicitations by disciple Bhāiji and others; notice how it is addressed to the Supreme Self in everyone.] (B 153)
Whether you worship Christ, Krishna, Kali or Allah, you actually worship the one Light that is also in you, since it pervades all things. Everything originates from Light, everything in its essence is Light. (G 161)
Self-realization is God-realization and God-realization is Self-realization. (G 133)
To find the Beloved is to find my Self, to discover that God is my very own, wholly identical with myself, my innermost Self, the Self of my Self. (W 184)
One cannot know His [God’s] true nature till one attains Self-realization. Thereafter, one will find Him to be none other than one’s Self, the only Ātma—the Ātma-with-form as also the Ātma-without-form as Cit, Pure Consciousness. (G 140)
All this, which is His creation, is under His dispensation, in His presence, and is He. (MV 1)
Your sole duty is to remember that He alone is, and that everything is His doing. (G 127)
Work without the feeling that it is you who is working. Take it as if it is God’s work done through you as His instrument. Then your mind will be at rest and at peace. That is prayer and meditation. (G 154)
Īśwara, the Lord of the world, is not a thing to be perceived by the sense or grasped by the mind. ... That ... which has created you and all that is manifest is Īśwara, the Lord of the universe. ... He and He alone is the one thing needful, all the rest is useless. (MV 75-6)
There is only one Ātma [Divine Self], you are that Ātma, I am that Ātma, everyone is that Ātma. So, whatever you may be, I am also with you! (G 243)
It is by seeking to know one’s Self that the Great Mother of all may be found. (MV 92)
Even though you may want to put God the Mother aside, She will not leave you. Are you not Her offspring? Keep in mind that everything is under Her dispensation. She provides for each the right thing, at the right time, in the right way. ... A mother is she who has the capacity to know precisely and measure out to her child exactly what he needs. It is because she knows how to make allowances for her child’s mistakes, how to forgive, that she is called “mother.” (MV 92-3)
In everything and in everybody is but the One Himself. Try to be constantly aware of the fact that whatever is perceived at any time, in whatever way, are but the manifestations of the Supreme Being. ... Even the feeling of the absence of God is His manifestation—so that His Presence may be realized. (MV 77)
To frequent the company of saints, sages, and seekers after Truth is incumbent on man. Association of this kind will help to awaken his interest in that which is Real. ... When no opportunity can be found for coming into the physical presence of the holy and wise, it behooves one to contemplate Vasudeva, the Divine Dweller in every human heart. (MV 82-3)
A Guru is ... he who, out of deep darkness, can reveal the hidden Truth. ... A Guru is not an ordinary preceptor—a Guru is he who has the capacity to deliver man from the sea of [egocentric] becoming (bhāva sāgara). ...By virtue of the Guru’s power everything becomes possible; therefore seek a Guru. ... In very truth, the Guru dwells within, and unless you discover the inner Guru, nothing can be achieved. (W 95, 14)
Whatever you may desire that is of this everchanging world will bring you sorrow, even though momentary happiness may be had at times. To seek THAT in which no sorrow is and all is found is man’s sole duty. (MV 10)
What appears delightful to the sense later develops into a hot-bed of poison, generating inner turmoil and disaster, for it belongs to the realm of death. (MV 16)
What is perceived in this world is in the nature of a dream ... Everything that happens belongs to the realms of dream. (MV 3-4)
There is “nothing” in this world; yet everyone is madly pursuing this nothing—some more, some less. (G 125)
It is the perception of the world, based upon the identification of yourself with body and mind, that has all along been the source of your bondage. A time will come when this kind of perception will give way ... [to] the awakening of universal consciousness... When insight into form and formless dawns in its boundlessness, everything will be uprooted. On transcending the level where form, diversity, manifestation exist, one enters into a state of formlessness. What can this be called? Godhood, the Paramātma Himself. As the individual self becomes gradually freed from all fetters [anger, greed, fear, pride, etc.], which are nothing but the veil of ignorance [which God draws over Himself for the sake of Divine Play], it realizes its oneness with the Supreme Spirit (Paramātma) and becomes established in its own Essential Being. (W 184-5)
All sorrow is due to the fact that many are seen where there is only One. (G 125)
Duality is pain. So long as man does not wake up to his identity with the One, the round of birth and death continues for him. (G 126)
Thinking of anything other than God is what creates sorrow. Be it mantra Japa [repetition of sacred syllables], be it meditation, worship, the perusal of sacred texts, the simple awareness of God... be it Kīrtan or religious music—all these are different modes of being in the Divine Presence. One should always remain engaged in one of them. (MV 21-2)
God alone is Truth, Happiness, Bliss. Do not set your hopes on anything except Supreme Beatitude, the Bliss of the Self. Naught else exists. What seems to exist outside of It is merely illusion. ... The true aim of man’s life is to realize God. ... That which is Eternal ... (MV 114-5)
People talk and marvel about those who renounce the world, but in actual fact it is you yourself who have renounced everything. What is this “everything”? God! Leaving Him aside, everyone is literally practising supreme renunciation! ... When one attains to the Essence of Things and finds one’s Self, this is Supreme Happiness. When it is found, nothing else remains to be found; the sense of want will not awaken anymore. (W 158)
Divorced from God there cannot be even a prospect of peace—never, never, never. By abiding in God man will find peace... He alone is ... the sole treasure of the human heart. ... There is simply no hope of peace save in the contemplation of God. (MV 26-7, 63)
Indolence and lust—these two are the greatest obstacles on the path to Self-Realization. (MV 97)
Take great care to spend your life in spotless purity, worthy to be dedicated in worship to the Lord. Speak about Him, meditate on His Glory, try to see Him in everyone, Him who is the Self, the breath of life, the heart of hearts. (MV 75)
Everything comes to pass according to each one’s destiny. ... The Creator has so regulated the universe that everyone has and ever will have to reap the fruits of his actions... (MV 37-8)
Misfortune must not be looked upon as a disaster ... for who sends misfortune? What He does is all-beneficent. (MV 41)
Q: How is evil in the world compatible with the idea of a God...?
Mā: When you have realized God, good and evil cease to exist for you any more. ... Good and evil are distinctions that arise only in human thought and experience; otherwise these are two sides of the same thing. ... The history of nations, families and individuals is the great līlā (divine sport) that He stages with Himself. (G 150)
Nothing happens that is not an expression of God’s Grace: verily, all is His Grace. Anchored in patience, enduring everything, abide by His Name and live joyously. (MV 43)
Everything is His, entirely His. What did you bring with you at birth? Were you not empty-handed? And all you have acquired—is it yours, really? All is His and whatever happens is His will. Endeavor to maintain this attitude. ... Call to Him because all is His. To yearn thus for Him is real prayer. ... All is His, all is He; to leave everything to Him must be your sole endeavor. Invoke His Name, meditate on Him, ever abide in the remembrance of Him. Not praying for anything that is of this world, strive to abandon yourself without reserve to Him. In Him no want of any kind exists, no pain, no agony—in Him is all attainment, the summit of fulfilment, rest, repose, tranquility. (MV 45-7)
[To someone suffering an illness:] In whatever circumstances you may find yourself sustain the remembrance of Him only. Let this be your prayer: “Lord, Thou hast been pleased to come to me in the form of sickness. Grant me the strength to bear it, gird me with patience, and give me the understanding that it is Thou who art dwelling with me in this guise.” (MV 48)
Know... that the Self is indestructible and that only the body is subject to change and decay. (MV 59)
[To a woman grief-stricken over the loss of her daughter and wanting to try to contact her at a seance:] To attempt to summon the spirit of the departed is not good. Very often some other being responds and the ordinary individual is not in a position to distinguish between a genuine manifestation and a fake. Therefore, it is harmful. ... Do not let your mind be occupied with any such matter. On the level of the Self (Ātma) you are one with your deceased daughter. ... Bear in mind that as the Self (Ātma) she is with you—within you. This is the truth, not fanciful thinking. ... In all shapes and conditions there is but He alone. (MV 64-5)
You die at every instant without being aware of it. (W 159)
[Yet:] Who is it that dies...? (MV 72)
Rebirth is a fact. There is no doubt about it. When a cataract in one’s eyes is removed by an operation, one’s eyesight is restored. Likewise by deep concentration on the Divine, when the veil that obscures our vision is removed and the mind purified and focused on the Self, the significance of mantras and of the deities of which they are the sound forms dawns on us and the impressions of previous births flash upon our consciousness. Just as while at Dacca, you can have a mental picture of what you have seen in Calcutta, so also can you project [receive] a more graphic image of your past lives upon your present mental screen. (B 145)
When I see you, I can get a vision of a series of pictures of your past births. (B 146)
Whatever you do, consciously or unconsciously, leaves an impression on your mind whether you are aware of it or not. This is styled saṃskāra. He who has the capacity to see, will be able to discern that these imprints or saṃskāras pertain to previous births. A yogī can perceive the impressions of a great number of past lives. One may see the events of thousands of one’s former births, but when the realization has come of what creation ... in reality is, what will he see then? He will see, and also not see; and neither will he not see nor see. ... On the level where everything is contained within you and you are present in everything, there is only the One, and He alone. ...If you recollect the history of your former births, it means that you know only the course of your own individual lives, in their own particular times and places. But you are not aware of your various movements and static states in the whole universe. You see “the many”; how will you go beyond this multiplicity? By finding your Self in the many. ... So long as He, the Self, has not been revealed, you are imprisoned within the boundary; boundary means ignorance... After having worked through layers and layers of ignorance, you discover: “I am in fact the whole.” I am: this is why there are trees and plants and everything that exists, however manifold. Every single form is in fact I. ...They exist within me in ways of infinite diversity, and yet I myself am all of these. ... How can the One be distinct from the infinite multiplicity? The many exist in the One and the One in the many. (W 161-3)
[From the highest perspective of the Absolute], there is no such thing as rebirth. ... At some stage the memory of previous lives will most certainly occur, but what is the significance of “before” and “after,” since I exist throughout eternity? (W 164)
When established in the Self,... there are no “others,” none is separate. (W 80)
Regard whomsoever you serve as the Supreme Being. (MV 64)
To find fault with others creates obstacles for everyone all around: for him who criticizes, for him who is blamed, as well as for those who listen to the criticism. Whereas, what is said in a spirit of appreciation is fruitful to everybody. (W 4)
It is He, verily, who manifests Himself in all temperaments and forms: whomsoever you may hate, you hate but your own Lord. In the whole universe, in all states of being, in all forms is He. All names are His names, all shapes His shapes, all qualities His qualities and all modes of existence are truly His. (MV 102)
The intense desire for God-realization is itself the way to it. (MV 68)
The true progress in one’s spiritual experience depends on the sincerity and intensity of one’s aspiration. (W 181)
Exert yourself to the limit of your power, however little it may be. HE is there to fulfill what has been left undone. (MV 116)
Who can tell, at what moment the flame of illumination will blaze forth? For this reason, continue your efforts steadily without flagging. Gradually you will get more and more deeply absorbed in Him; He and He alone will preoccupy your thoughts and feelings. ... Then you will be carried away by the current that leads to your Self. You will discover that the more you delight in the inner life, the less you feel drawn to external things. ... At any moment the realization of [one’s] identity with the Self may occur. (W 23-4)
Why speak of Self-realization in the future? It is here and now—only the veil [of selfish ignorance] that hides it has to be destroyed. (G 131)
If he [the aspirant] is completely single-minded in his thirst for Enlightenment, it must come then and there. (W 105)
Sustained effort ends in effortless being; in other words, what has been attained by constant practice is finally transcended. Then comes spontaneity. ... In effortless being lies the path to the Infinite. (W 64-5)
From our worldly point of view we everywhere perceive animate or inanimate things; but in reality He who is Truth, He who is Consciousness permeates them all... As soon as the mind understands the fact of His immanence... He becomes as it were active within us, at first through the vehicle of the breath, which is an expression of the life-force [prāṇa-śakti]. The word “within” has been used only because we think in terms of “within” and “without.” This is why we speak of “I” and “You,” of God “with form” (sakara) and “without form” (nirakara). Be ever aware of the following: what is called life-breath is really an aspect of a universal, all-pervasive power that functions continuously. It is He in one of His forms; He who is Truth-Consciousness reveals Himself in this mode. If with the help of a mantra received from the Guru, we can remain concentrated on the breath, or even if at any time there be no mantra, we simply keep on watching the movement of the breath, this will help to steady the mind and may also be an aid in our search of Him, who is the Life of our life, who is the Whole—the Eternal One. (MV 111-2)
Ever to keep the mind poised in the Self, wide awake in the current of Reality, where the Unfathomable, the One-without-end is ever revealed in His Infinity—this must ... be your one and constant endeavor. (MV 105-6)
Meditation should be practised every day of one’s life. Look, what is there in this world? Absolutely nothing that is lasting; therefore direct your longing towards the Eternal. ... In every action remember Him. ... In order to develop a taste for meditation you have to make a deliberate and sustained effort. ... The habit of countless lives is pulling you in the opposite direction and making it difficult for you; persevere in spite of it! ... If your thought does not naturally turn towards the Eternal, fix it there by an effort of will. Some severe blow of fate will drive you towards God. This will be but an expression of His Mercy; however painful, it is by such blows that one learns one’s lesson. ... From the worldly standpoint such blows are considered extremely painful, but actually they bring about a change of heart and lead to Peace: by disturbing worldly happiness they induce man to seek the path to Supreme Bliss. (W 7-10)
Suppose some people go to bathe in the sea and make up their minds to swim ahead of everyone else; consequently they will have to look back. But for him whose one and only goal is the Ocean Itself, no one has remained for whose sake he looks back or is concerned; and then, what is to be, will be. Give yourself up to the wave, and you will be absorbed by the current; having dived into the sea, you do not return anymore. The Eternal Himself is the wave that floods the shore, so that you may be carried away. Those who can surrender themselves to this aim will be accepted by Him. But if your attention remains directed towards the shore, you cannot proceed—after bathing you will return home. If your aim is the Supreme, the Ultimate, you will be led on by the movement of your true nature. There are waves that carry away, and waves that pull back. Those who can give themselves up, will be taken by Him. In the guise of the wave He holds out His hand and calls you: come, Come, COME! (W 68-9)
The sense of separateness is the root-cause of misery, because it is founded on error. ... Either melt by devotion [bhakti] the sense of separateness, or burn it by Knowledge [wisdom, jñāna]. (W 11, 13)
Realization does not come to everyone in the same way. There are infinite possibilities. (W 182)
Why should there be so many different religious sects and subsects? Through every one of them He gives Himself to Himself, so that each person may advance according to his individual uniqueness. ... The many creeds and sects serve the purpose that He may bestow Himself on Himself along various channels—each has its own beauty—and that He may be discovered as immanent, revealing Himself in countless ways, in all shapes, and in the formless. ... In the event of true Realization, one can have no quarrel with anyone; one is fully enlightened as to all faiths and doctrines, and sees all [genuine] paths as equally good. (W 187, 192-3)
By constantly dwelling on the thought of God, all the knots (granthi) that make up the ego are unravelled, and thereby that which has to be realized will be realized. (W 49)
It is not a new kind of union which has to be established, but rather the union that exists throughout eternity is to be realized. (W 80)
To what can you attain? It [God/Self] is already present here itself! Anything found [i.e., temporal] will be lost again. (W 127)
What is there to be attained? We are THAT—eternal Truth. Because we imagine that it has to be experienced, realized, it remains apart from us.... The Eternal ever IS. ... Here, there is no question of attainment or non-attainment, and therefore, even non-attainment is no shortcoming either. However, if the very slightest attachment has survived [emphasis added], it signifies that this Sublime State has not been reached. (W 150-1)
Supreme Union signifies that the whole universe is within you, and you are in it; and further, there will be no occasion to speak of a universe. Whether you say it exists or does not exist, or that it can neither be said to exist or not to exist, or even beyond that—as you please. What matters is that He [the Self] should stand revealed... At that “Moment” ... you will know your Self. ... To know yourself ... signifies the full revelation of That which eternally Is—the Supreme Father, Mother, Beloved, Lord and Master—the Self. ... You suddenly come to know Who you really are. At that instant, when you have found your Self, the whole universe will have become yours. (W 138-9)
There is a Realization [of God/Self] after which the possibility of its being obscured again by a reappearance of the veil of ignorance simply cannot occur; this is true and final Self-Realization. (W 112)
After Self-realization there is no [sense of a fixed or distinct] body, no world, and no action—not even the faintest possibility of these—nor is there such an idea as “there is not.” To use words is exactly the same as not to speak, to keep silent or not, is identical—all is THAT alone. (W 119)
[Regarding her deep states of nirvikalpa samādhi, Mā once remarked:] It is a state beyond all conscious and supra-conscious planes—a state of complete immobilization of all thoughts, emotions and activities, both physical and mental—a state that transcends all the phases of life here below. ... Deep concentration on any one of the five elementals of sense—sound, touch, smell, taste and sight ... leads a man to merge his identity into it, and as concentration deepens, the body as it were, gradually freezes with it. Then that special object of sense pervades his whole being and his ego gradually dissolves in it and coalesces with one Universal Entity. When this condition settles down, the consciousness of One Universal Self too melts away, and what then remains is beyond words, expression or experience. (B 92-3)
There are instances when one loses consciousness while sitting in meditation. Some people have found themselves swooning away, as it were, intoxicated with joy, remaining in this condition for quite a long time. On emerging, they claim to have experienced some sort of divine bliss. But this is certainly not Realization. ... If it is possible to describe in words the bliss one has experienced, it is still enjoyment and therefore a hindrance. One must be fully conscious, wide awake. To fall into a stupor or into yogic sleep will not take one anywhere. (W 25)
If a sādhaka [aspirant] could not maintain firm control over his mind, he would be liable [in deep meditations] to see and hear many things, both illusory and genuine, all mixed up. He might even be subjected to the influence of some “spirit” or power. Such occurrences, far from creating pure divine aspiration, would rather hinder than help. Moreover, to see someone in a vision or to hear him address you, may well become a source of self-satisfaction or egotistic enjoyment. To lose control over oneself is not desirable. In the search after Truth one must not allow oneself to be overpowered by anything, but should watch carefully whatever phenomena may supervene, keeping fully conscious, wide awake, in fact retaining complete mastery over oneself. ... What is the outcome of such [authentic] meditation? It opens up one’s being to the Light, to That which is eternal. (W 35-7)
After real meditation, worldly pleasures become unalluring, dull, entirely savorless. ... This, however, does not mean that vairagya [desirelessness] implies aversion or contempt for anything of the world—it is simply unacceptable, the body refuses it. Neither dislike nor anger will arise. ... If after coming down from the state of contemplation you are capable of behaving as before, you have not been transformed. When there is real meditation, which evokes indifference to the world, you will begin to pine keenly for the Divine, you will hunger for It and realize that nothing transient can appease this hunger or satisfy you. ... Nobody deliberately puts his hands into fire or treads on a snake; in exactly the same manner, you just glance at the objects of sense and turn away. ... Later, when you have become detached even from detachment, there is no problem of detachment or non-detachment—what is, is THAT. (W 25-7)
As one ... gradually passes through various stages of opening oneself more and more to the Light, one comes to see that ... there is only One Self, the Lord of all... One knows by direct perception that ... there is the One and nothing but the One, that nothing comes and goes, yet also does come and go. (W 41)
At an earlier stage one perceived Him within all objects; but now He is not seen within the objects anymore, for there is nothing but He alone. Trees, flowers, the water and the land—everything is the Beloved, and only He. Every form, every mode of being, every expression—whatever exists is He, there is none beside Him. (W 147)
Real vision is that vision where there is no such thing as the seer and the seen. It is eyeless. (W 47)
After realizing Oneness, you may do anything—it no longer contains the seed of karma. ... One has arrived at the One Essence. Does then “to merge into IT” mean to become stone-like? Not so, indeed! For form, variety, manifestation are nothing but THAT. (W 150)
If someone who aspires at the Formless realizes Him as the One-without-a-second, but fails to realize Him in the field of His Divine Play, his realization is not complete, for he has not resolved the problem of duality. (W 166)
THAT manifests in an infinite diversity of ways and also as one integral Whole. Where is the language to express all this? It is said that there is Being, there is Non-being, and yet neither Being nor Non-being. The same inexpressible Truth is experienced in two ways: as Self-luminous Silence, or as the Eternal Play of the One, He Himself playing all the parts. ... When the kingdom of Pure Consciousness has been attained, Form is revealed as the Essence Itself. (W 167-8)
By a mere stroke of God’s imagination this vast universe comes into being. What actually is this creation? He Himself, the One. ... When Realization has occurred, there is nothing but ... Siva [God], complete non-duality. Then only can it be said that the entire universe is His Divine Play. ... One realizes that it is He alone who appears. (W 16¸-9)
It is Thou who criest out helplessly in distress, and it is Thou Thyself who art the Way and the Goal. (W 132)
If there were no veil of ignorance for the individual, how could God’s Līlā [play] carried on? When acting a part one must forget oneself; the Līlā could not proceed without the covering veil of ignorance. (W 163-4)
He, the Almighty, stages His infinite Līlā, His endless Play. Within the Infinite lies the finite, and in the finite Infinity. He Himself, the One who is the Self, stages a play with Himself: this is called “Nitya Līlā.” (W 125)
What a comedy God’s Līlā is! What a lunatic asylum! He Himself is sporting with Himself! (G 125)
When speaking of Him [God/Self] as appearing in disguise [as all these phenomenal forms], what is the disguise? He Himself, of course. (W 83)
If, after Self-realization, after one’s essential Being has revealed Itself, one still performs the worship of one’s particular deity, it means engaging in one’s own worship. This is Līlā [Play]. [Q: Whose Līlā?] There is only God’s Līlā. Whose could it possibly be? (W 171)
Anasūyā Devī (1923-1985; nondual Vedānta; Andhra Pradesh):
Divinity manifests itself in us as long as we perceive the divinity in others. (M Sept. 1966, 4, 26) 
Pure empathy for the suffering of others is the hallmark of divinity. (MA 267)
When love becomes primary [in your life], it isn’t possible for there to be a single person who isn’t loved. You will love death, you will love life—love alone will be important. (MA 354)
Love is not associated with [selfish] desires. (B 8)
The meeting point of “I” and “Thou” is the substance and meaning of Brahman [Absolute Reality]. (LT 107)
The darkness which is the basis of light is the real Light. (LT 108)
I feel that there is some Śakti [Power or Energy] beyond the reach of human perception and understanding—call IT what you like: “God,” “Nature,” “Matter,” “Śakti” or whatever—which has become All. I feel THAT alone exists everywhere. (T 83)
All selves are the manifestations of the Self as the self. (VM 82)
[Q: How does the way Ammā sees Reality compare with our view of it? For instance, there is this wall here...]
As a wall only! While recognizing this wall to be a wall, it is realized that this wall is THAT, that Reality which has become every object. Objects are real all right, but Reality is not an object. (T 73)
According to the saying that there is not even a needle point’s space where Paramātman [the Supreme Self] is absent, all must happen solely within HIM. Deaths, births, lives, pralayas [absorptions of universes]—all are HE. What is different from HIM? (T 57)
THIS [visible universe] exists in union with THAT [Divine Power]. The effort to know something other than what is visible is only to learn finally that there is nothing other than THIS. We begin by assuming that
THIS is unreal, only to conclude that all that is seen also is real. When Reality is Known, all that is seen also becomes real; but until that Reality is Known we will continue to think of all THIS as unreal. (T 74)
Reality is beyond expression. IT is not to be explained; IT is only to be experienced. (T 65)
The Goal is unapproachable; it is known through spontaneous experience. (VM 36)
When your doubts are cleared, when you arrive at that state where you understand that there is no “other” to attain, that is mukti (liberation). It is not mere thinking; that bhāva (mental attitude) must become permanent.... That is tripti (true contentment). Tripti is the state of feeling “There is nothing beyond THIS.” Tripti is mukti [liberation]. ... Until that bhāva [attitude] arises, there is effort [to attain realization, liberation]. But that bhāva is not attained; it is bestowed at the taruna (opportune moment) by the Impulsion [of the Divine Śakti]. There is no question of worthiness; when that taruna arrives even the worthiness for mukti arises of its own accord; so even that cannot be attained. Yet to those who do not Know, it may appear to be the result of an individual’s own effort. The Impulsion is Śakti. We cannot do anything unless the Impulsion comes. ... When the taruna [moment] comes, when time forces itself upon you, everything becomes available to you of its own accord. ... I never think that I have attained some state. I have only the one bhāva [disposition or attitude that “All is THAT.”] Herein there is no feeling differently; everything is the same. No one thing seems important; everything has the same importance. Everything is natural (sahaja). (T 66-8)
That mysterious “something” which they [traditional sages] take to be the source of all THIS is all THIS. THAT which pervades everywhere and to which they give the name “Ātman,” I call “Śakti.” IT is not sitting away off in some corner. IT has become everything. Even the expression, “IT is in everything,” means that IT became everything, not that IT is only inside forms; forms too are THAT alone. ... They say that Ātman is without upāyi [individual embodiments]; I say Ātman is All, including upāyi. ... The feeling that All is Ātman [the Divine Self]—when that bhāva (attitude) becomes firm it is Ātma-sākṣātkāra [Self Realization]... Then all things are viewed equally. Whomsoever and whatever you see, hear, or touch, THAT alone appears. There is nothing other than THAT. Whatever is formed from Ātman-Śakti [the Power of the Self] is Ātman-Śakti itself. I think you are the svarūpa (“own form” or embodiment) of Ātman. All that appears ... is ITs svarūpa. There is nothing that is not Ātman. (T 78-9)
What is invisible they call “God”; what is visible they call “Nature.” In my view, all that is visible is God alone. What science calls “Nature,” spirituality calls “God.” The same Śakti seems different to the scientist and the spiritual man. ... Nature is itself God. (T 84, 89)
“Spiritual” is heads, and “worldly” is tails. ... According to your standpoint, one side or the other appears real. One fellow thinks that Reality is behind all THIS, whereas another thinks that THIS is all there is. Both are the same to me. When they say there are two, I unfold it and say there is only ONE. (T 74-5)
Why can’t God be seen? Because HE does not exist separately; because HE exists as all these; because HE is everywhere. God does not appear as [a separate] one, HE appears as everything. ... God is Reality, the Absolute, “What is.” I can find no better explanation for the word “God.” What is? What is! You too are within THAT. If you can understand the inner meaning of these words, you will have understood everything. There is nothing else to understand. (T 84-5)
He is formless because all forms are His.
He is nameless because all names are His.
He is without attributes because all attributes are His. (M June 1966, 1, 39)
Everything that exists changes. From the changeless arose what changes. (T 58)
THAT from which thoughts emerge, and which recognizes them, is THAT into which they merge. ... When some thoughts occur we feel that we are thinking them; but when some others occur we feel that there is nothing we can do about them. And yet all these thoughts arise from the same Source. (T 102)
Māyā [delusion] is not feeling that HE alone performs every action. (T 63)
If you can boldly hold on to the view that you alone are responsible for everything, it is well and good [this is the path of wisdom, jñāna-mārga]. Or, you may surrender to the Divine Will and say That is responsible for everything [bhakti-mārga, the devotional path]. But the whole misery comes when you arrogate to yourself a bit of responsibility and apportion another bit to God. ... Even if you slip and fall, it is due to Divine Grace. It is also due to the same Grace that you may sustain an injury or may not. (M June 1982, 3, 10-11)
Sins and merits are not man’s. THAT through which all this universe took form has arranged all these ITself. Call them “sin” and “merit,” “good” and “bad,” or “like” and “dislike”—THAT alone! (T 34)
I say that we are not the doers, but that some Śakti gets things done. THAT does all the mischief while all the time making you think that you are the cause. [!] (T 126)
Hasn’t it been said before that the Creation is not different from love (prema)? ... Creation is Śakti; Śakti itself is Creation. Creation is pervaded by love. Righteousness and unrighteousness, morality and immorality, right and wrong, sin and virtue—love contains all these. There is nothing different from love. Love is itself all. Love includes both humanity and Divinity. ... I am not concerned with the question of whether “right” applies to the doer of an action ... I have not found a meaning for “right.” Whatever happens is right, I think. (T 134)
What is to happen shall happen in spite of what you propose. (M May 1985, 2, 15)
Everything is necessary in Creation [even alcoholism, etc.] That alone is why they have been created. There is not a single unnecessary thing in Creation. (T 158-9)
[Q: What is the difference between man and God?]
Man wants some things; God wants everything. (T 162)
[Q: Have we no responsibility for our good and bad deeds?]
You have no responsibility.
[Q: Then may we not kill someone and claim that we are not responsible?]
You are unable to do that. If you could do that, you could do good deeds also. Whoever is doing bad deeds is doing them in full awareness of the social conventions. In spite of being aware that good deeds should be done, you are not able to do them, are you? (T 119)
Human initiative and divine intervention emanate from the same source. (B 13)
Listen! To you all I am saying, “Commit murders, play cards, drink, steal, behave immorally!” Even so, not one of you steps forward and says, “All right, I will!” Yet not one of you can accept the fact that nothing is in your hands... Poor fellows, poor fellows! (T 185-6)
All forms of śakti [power] are manifestations of that one Śakti. ... If you say that Śakti is making you act, there must be two, you and Śakti; but if you say that Śakti acts as you, you speak [wisely] of the ONE alone. (T 128)
The mentality which understands “HE is All” is itself Divinity; to think, “There is something which is mine,” is humanity. (T 121)
Though we have the attitude “It is mine,” there is nothing that is ours. And yet if there were no such attitude, there would be no Creation. (T 214)
Karma doctrine says that if I do something good (or bad) to you, it is because you have already done something good (or bad) to me—it is the result of actions in some previous life. But suppose, as sometimes happens, the wrong man is tried for murder. The fellow who actually committed the crime runs away and the wrong man is caught, tried and sentenced to death. Then who commits the sin? Is it the one who catches him, the one who sentences him to death, or is it the one who presses the switch? Whose is the sin? Whose fault is it? Who is responsible for all this? I am only enquiring ... I am not pointing out anyone as the guilty one. I cannot do that. If the wrong fellow is caught, who is responsible? I feel that God alone is responsible for all this. ... There is none greater than HE. [Q: Then why does HE permit wrongs?] God is creation. This Creation includes right and wrong, sin and merit. HE creates all these. (T 144)
This body has ... so many parts. They are involved in innumerable processes within the body. Food enters from outside and enables the body to grow. The food taken in changes into so many forms—blood, marrow, urine, faeces, flesh... There is no greater miracle than this. This body with its hair, nose, eyes, mouth and so forth, is formed in the womb in nine months ... How is this body so perfectly formed in the womb? Is there any answer to that question? If there is any defect, the doctor can say how and why it happened, but none can say how it became so perfect. Suppose we analyze the substance of which a baby is made ... from that substance the human body is formed. What could be more miraculous than this? ... These are the reasons why I say, “Creation is God; God is Creation.” (T 145-6)
[Q: If the mind impels one to do wrong, isn’t it wrong?]
I keep no list of rights and wrongs, my child. (T 114)
Your bhāva [attitude] is that the thoughts which occur to you are different from those which occur to God. I say that all kinds of thoughts are God’s alone. ... One fellow came here lamenting that he had discovered some bad qualities in himself, and asked, “Can even these be Divine?” On that occasion I told him that he would not have them unless HE too had them. (T 69)
Everyone has the vices [lust, wrath, greed, delusion, pride, envy.] That is man’s svabhāva (inherent nature). There is no one without them. HE has HIMself given them. I do not think that they result from past lives or from the environment. That same Śakti which caused his coming [birth and growth] also causes his actions. Those raised in extraordinary surroundings may live ordinary lives; there are some living extraordinary lives who were raised in ordinary surroundings. I cannot judge. I say that everything is the effect of Śakti alone. ...
[Q: Do you want us to sit quietly without doing anything, surrendering everything to the Supreme Will?]
Even surrender is not in your hands.
[Q: Then what should we do?]
Do whatever you are impelled to do, for isn’t it HE that impels you? You are not responsible for what you consider to be “your” actions; HE alone is responsible who bestowed such a disposition (guna) on you and impels you to act. Even if someone does what you call “evil,” I feel that the “fault” is not his, but rather his Maker’s. (T 147-8)
[Q: Many yogis ... experience a fall.]
Why call it a “fall”? HE impels everyone to do just what is necessary... you could call it “his” [the yogi’s] defeat only if everything accomplished until then was his own achievement.
[Q: In God’s view all are HIS children. Can’t HE impel HIS children to do only good? Why should some of them sin?]
There can be no Creation without variety. Good and evil, sin and virtue, before and after—all exist for that same reason.
[Q: But can’t mokṣa (liberation) be granted to all at once?]
We presume that there is such a thing as mokṣa only on the authority of the scriptures. What method did the writers prescribe to attain it?
[Q: (Points to a sadhu, or holy man.) This person is higher than me by a few stages. He is able to renounce everything and become a sadhu owing to the merit he accumulated in his former lives. I am not like that. And there may be still greater souls.]
I find no difference between you, he and me. God gave the sadhu such a life and so he is like that. You are like this because HE gave you such a life. I have never said that sugati (salvation) is only for those who lead their lives in such-and-such a way. I have said that sugati is for all, for sinners as well as saints. I don’t think that it rests in man’s hands to do good or evil. We do as HE who created us makes us do. ... In my view this sadhu has no special place, nor is such a place denied you because you are unlike him. (T 163-4)
THAT alone is the cause for everything. Sugati [good fate] is realizing that THAT is the basis for all fates. In my view there is sugati ... for the sinner as well as for the saint. All will attain sugati. When? In the course of time: one person sooner, another later—that is the only difference. After dying, everyone attains the same state. In that state there is the same sugati for everyone. Because THAT alone has created all, there is only the one Destiny. Though people’s fates differ, ultimately all merge in the one Destiny. ... All of you will merge in God at death. ...At death the limited mind dissolves in the unlimited Mind. Death, in fact, is blissful—it is like floating free. (T 255-6)
[Q: What is the difference between the state of jñāna (enlightenment) attained by a few, and the sugati [good fate] attained by all?]
The jñāni [enlightened one] never asks, “What is my present state and what will be my state after death?” That question never arises. Where is death for him? Only if he thinks there is birth [of an illusory separate ego] will he think there is death. The jñāni is independent of everything, free; he who attains sugati is like the foetus protected within the mother’s womb. The jñāni attains sugati while still alive in the body; the other when he dies. (T 256)
[Q: Are there no selfless people?]
I do not think there is anyone without selfishness. Selfishness is man’s svabhāva. Each person has his own kind.
[Q: Do you too have selfishness?]
Why not, my child? There is selfishness in me. What is selfishness in my case? My gathering you near me like this and feeding you is not for your sake, but for my own satisfaction. If you eat, I am satisfied; if you do not, I suffer. ... My concern whether the living conditions here suit you or not is also for my own pleasure. So how can I say there is no selfishness in me? Whatever the reason, there is no difference between me and you.
[Q: What do you think about, Ammā?]
About your food. (Laughter) Yes, my child, it really is so—whether you have eaten today or not. (T 149-50)
[Q: Please tell us what is necessary for us to attain a higher state.]
There is nothing in particular that I give. THAT which has given you this life, gives everything. There is nothing like self-effort. I do not think that even sādhanā (spiritual endeavor) is in your hands. I think that even sādhanā must become possible (sadhya). You cannot practise a sādhanā which does not become possible. ... Our not doing sādhanā is certainly not due to any lack of advice to do so! Then why doesn’t it become possible to do sādhanā? ... Because we do not cognize THAT which causes everything to be done, we think that we are doing, but we are doing only what has become possible. Until this is understood, we shall continue to think, “I am doing.” My experience is that we cannot do anything, my child. ... Anyway, an effort has begun, hasn’t it? The desire has arisen in the mind to stabilize the mind and, through that, to achieve something. It was not there at first; it began at some later stage. THAT which cause it to begin, ITself gives “what has to be” for you, some time or other. I call it the taruna (appropriate moment). That same Śakti which is assisting you in worldly matters [i.e., digesting food, beating the heart, etc.] also assists you in spiritual matters. (T 12³-4)
[Q: I cannot get rid of my anger, Ammā.]
All right, let it be. ... if the time comes, it goes of its own accord. (T 151)
[Q: Why do I do something, knowing it to be wrong?] ...
There is no particular cause as such. You are not the cause: you are not doing it. ... You have no responsibility; God alone is responsible.
[Q: But if one’s entire life is made up of wrongs, what hope is there of salvation?]
You cannot do wrong only.
[Q: But I am doing it.]
There is no problem if you think that God is making you act. Otherwise, if you cannot reach this attitude, all right, do wrong—the responsibility is mine! (T 190)
[A visitor was suffering while confessing to Ammā a wrong he had committed.]
Even if you have done wrong, there is a place for you here. In the mother’s view her child can never do wrong, however much others may condemn him.... To err is human. .. I too am erring. Of all those who come here, how many am I satisfying? [Actually, quite a lot!—Timothy] It is not in our hands; we proceed in the way that Śakti drives us. [Q: Then have we no sin?] The role given you to play while you are on this Earth is that of a sinner. (T 188)
[Q: Ammā, please tell us some path to purify the mind and conquer the six vices. We are in this saṃsāra (worldly life). If you tell us some path, we shall want to practise it ourselves.]
Just being, without torturing ourselves about the vices, but rather thinking, “These are what HE has given.” Only for he who thinks, “Whatever the vices are, they are obstacles, ... they must be conquered. There is a God ... whom I must attain. For that these must be conquered”—only for he who has such thoughts are the vices obstacles. ... In fact, HE has given even the bhāva (attitude), “I must conquer the vices. I must attain HIM by conquering them.” Where else could it have come from? Even God, is HE giving this bhāva to everyone? No. HE who has given that bhāva, has HIMself given these gunas (qualities) also, the gunas which you consider useless [i.e., the vices]. Keeping this fact in mind is itself the path. [Emphasis added.] They say that I have not told (any [spiritual] path). But what I speak of is a far more difficult and far more direct path than all those paths which attribute responsibility to man and tell him, “The vices must be conquered and the mind purified.” In fact, all the paths mentioned in all the books and scriptures are the same path, but told with unnecessary twists and complications. ...
[Q: So the path of which you speak is for us to accept and embrace whatever changes come to us.]
Yes, that’s all... But is it so easy to keep in mind that HE has HIMself given the mind its unsteadiness? In fact it is very difficult ... [When we pray,] “God, remove those gunas [bad qualities] which make you seem so far away, out of reach”—that God who has bestowed those gunas as well as this desire (to be rid of them) is HIMself praying. ... If God is fulfilling so many desires when prayed to, why does HE leave only this one unfulfilled? When will it be fulfilled? When the taruna (opportune moment) has come. When HE feels it necessary.
[Q: Do you mean that the vices, which had been obstacles to that remembrance, cease to be obstacles? Or is that remembrance still there, even though they are obstacles?]
How can they be obstacles if that remembrance is there? ...
[Q: That means they don’t function in one who has full remembrance, doesn’t it? So he has no need to think that God is making him do wrong, has he?]
Yes, that’s right. When there is the full remembrance that HE alone is doing everything, only if he feels differently does it appear to him that he is doing wrong. (T 153-5)
Continue doing what you think best, but with the understanding that HE impels all effort. The success or failure of “your” effort is HIS. Do not attribute to yourself what is not yours. All is HIS. Because you attribute success to your efforts and failure to HIS indifference, you are tossed between pleasure and pain. When everything is HIS, why should you be disappointed by failure or elated by success? (T 216)
[Q: My mind remains unsteady. What shall I do?]
Free yourself from prohibitions, then all these perplexities will not exist. Experience whatever happens to you, and think, “God is making it happen.” The more restrictions we impose on ourselves, the more they pursue us. ... The mind runs after whatever is prohibited. Restlessness gives way to calm when the thought arises, “God is causing everything to be done.” (T 156-7)
Worry is the result of thinking that you are the doer. (B 8)
Whatever is done is done by That only. Whatever we might call it—God, Force or Nature—we only do as it impels us. [Visitor: Do you mean that there is nothing like my effort?] If you think you are the doer, then do it. I don’t dissuade you from it. [Yet,] in my view, there is nothing like your effort. The effort is what is apparent; the impulse (the inspiration or the cause) is incomprehensible. Our legs walk; but the force that makes them walk is incomprehensible. Therefore we think that our legs are moving. ... Even though there is nothing like our effort, it appears as though it were there. It is not so to you only; it is the case with all.
[Visitor: Do you want me to sit and do nothing, relying on Time that does everything at the appointed moment?]
I am not rejecting the one and accepting the other. I only say that even sitting quiet with folded hands does not rest with you. Even though it is evident that there is nothing that is ours and nothing that we do, That itself would prevent us from sitting quiet and would induce all other actions that we call ours, in us. ...
[Visitor: Do you say that Fate or Preordination should be accepted?]
It is there, whether we accept it or reject it!
[Visitor: What is your opinion regarding disciplines or spiritual endeavors?]
I think that even spiritual endeavor is possible only when That inspires it. ... You might wish to adopt one of the several paths of spiritual discipline meant for you. But you fail to practice it. Why? I don’t say that even the failure to practice the same is yours. Even in case you successfully accomplish, I don’t consider it to be your effort. The one that had inspired you to practice is also responsible for your failure to do so. (LT 98-100)
[Q: You say that all actions are God’s ... If all were to think along these lines, wouldn’t the world become full of idlers?]
Even the thought to sit idle must be given by HIM.
[Q: But how can God help unless there is some percentage of human effort?]
Even that effort must be given by HIM. (T 126-7)
For us to do anything at all, the urge must spring from the Śakti within us. We behave as that Śakti impels us. ... Neither sin nor virtue are in your hands.
[Q: Are you asking everyone to act in whatever way his mind prompts him (sic) to act?]
Let him act differently if he can help it. He can execute a different idea only if it occurs to his mind. I think he can act only in accordance with the commands of his mind, and he doesn’t know where those commands come from. He doesn’t know where the desires upon which he acts come from. ... That which drives this whole creation is ... Śakti. IT makes you write a story; IT may make another attempt something else. THAT alone is the power that enables any agent to do anything. I don’t think there is more than one such initiative. (T 2, 5-6)
[Q: How should I lead my life? ... I must know.]
I do not teach. Self-control is not acquired through hearing lectures. We cannot do as we are told. Time alone discloses what must be done (kartavya). We must do whatever HE causes to be done. (T 135)
[Q: After committing a wrongful act, can I atone for my sin by praying and confessing my mistake?] Thereby it appears as though committing sinful acts and atoning for them are both in our hands. If it were the case that you could make your sins disappear by reciting a few mantras then you could indeed do both: to sin or not would be in your hands. Then which of your actions are you to control, and how? Any such control must come from your inner self. But you are unable to control yourself. That is why I say your actions are not in your hands. If you say that you can control yourself, then it follows that sin and virtue are in your hands. If you say that you cannot, it follows that something unknown is compelling you to act as you do. (T 8)
Only if God wills for him to do so can man think to “propose” something in the first place. There is nothing that he can conceive independently of God. (MA 227)
[Q: Did you adopt any particular sādhanā (spiritual discipline) or mode of enquiry?]
I didn’t adopt any, but I don’t say that it is wrong for you to adopt something. I don’t say that this or that sādhanā is great and pre-eminently suitable for one and all... Whatever is possible (sadhya) for someone is most suitable and valuable for him. Adopt whatever is possible for you. To each according to his urge. ... I don’t mean to discourage you from effort and sādhanā. When the urge to work and do sādhanā arises in your mind, you can’t do otherwise than endeavor and seek. (T 10)
Sādhanā and seeking arise only if it is thought that there is something other than all this [the universe]. I never think about achieving something that is not already here and now. ...In my view there is no God other than THAT which exists already as all this [universe]. I’m not endeavoring to attain some strange thing existing in some strange place beyond all this. Verily, all we see, all this beautiful creation is God. I don’t feel that I have to close my eyes and seek to visualize something instead of seeing all this beauty revealed here before us. In my view, all of you, and all this appearing to one and all is Reality. ... We may be able to think that God alone created all this, but we cannot readily understand that all this is God. This world isn’t burdensome as far as I am concerned. ... For me, this world is itself Reality, and there is no need at all to shut it all out in order to realize some Reality elsewhere. (T 11, 9-10)
[Q: You had no guru, nor did you follow any particular path. Why, then, are all these religious customs and festivals observed here?—such as rituals, worship services, devotional singing, chanting of mantras, etc.)]
I may not have observed any such customs, but I encourage others to observe them, for they do tend to impress upon the mind a respect for the value of things ... They are the means of developing in our minds a sense of the Divinity of this creation. ... Of course, if you perceive the Divinity in everything, there’s no need for these customs. Rituals drop away when you are firm in your faith that all is God. On the other hand, if you derive satisfaction from them, why should you cause yourself needless dissatisfaction by denying them? Yet they need not be done unwillingly, from a sense of compulsion, just because somebody has prescribed them. (T 18-20)
Where is the question of a good way to [realize] Ātman [the Supreme Self], when everything you see is That? (M Sept. 1966, 4, 10)
All [true spiritual doctrines found in Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, etc.] appear the same to one who practises; they appear separate only to one who pounds tables. Don’t all religions have the saying, “Love all”? (T 59)
What does it matter which religion one embraces, so long as one can bow before God with all his heart? (VM 55)
I don’t believe what people say; I believe what they do. (MA 233)
Release from illusion is Brahman. Illusion means attachment. (M June 1966, 1, 39)
Experiencing whatever comes, without getting tarnished by it, that alone is renunciation. Renunciation is not being afraid of anything. To forget “me” and “mine” is also renunciation. (T 162)
[Question: “Mother, how can I get rid of my ego?”]
It is not by thinking of the ego that you get rid of the ego. But put your mind on God and the ego will take care of itself [i.e., it will dissolve].
Meditate for the sake of meditation. If you hanker for results in meditation, this very thought of result hampers your meditation. (M May 1969, 2, 39)
Man’s [problematic] destiny depends not on [the] zodiac, but on attachment and hate, which are rooted in “I.” (M May, 1985, 2, 6)
Giving people everything they ought, in their best interest, to receive is what constitutes true love; giving what they, in their ignorance, ask for, is indulgence and callous disregard of their welfare. (MA 355)
Feel happy over what takes place. Don’t worry over what doesn’t. (VM 79)
Happiness is not [having] children; happiness is not money; happiness is not health. A millionaire may not be able to find joy at his dining-table; a poor man with his watery soup may. Happiness arises in the mind, not in the possessions. It is the mind that thinks “I have,” or “I lack” (T 221)
A mind which thinks, “This is my due; it is sufficient,” is happy and contented; a mind which thinks otherwise experiences suffering. To want anything that is not available is sorrow. Contentment is happiness. (T 221)
If you are fully satisfied at all times with what all you see and what all you do, it is deliverance (mukti). (M Nov. 1972, 9, 32)
[Q: What is mokṣa (spiritual liberation)?]
The attitude, “All these opposites [pleasure-pain, “right”-”wrong,” heat-cold, light-dark, heaven-hell] are HIS forms,” arises, and remains permanently. ... There is no approaching it [mokṣa]—wherever you are it is there. Feeling, “That ONE has ITself become both,” alone is mokṣa. ... Accept graciously whatever is available. ... I feel that all forms are HIS, that HE became, and is, everything. You take only one (of a pair of opposites to be God). I feel both are HE. ... God exists, not only as pure water, but even as foul water; not only as food; but even as faeces. ... Were there no opposites (dvandvas), there would be no Creation. Creation is the opposites. (T 174-5)
[Q: Life is full of troubles. When will salvation (mukti) be gained?]
When you feel that life is not at all troublesome. “Trouble” is only another name for what is disliked. When we are completely satisfied, whatever we see and whatever we do, it is salvation. The bhāva (attitude) which does not feel “I do not like this; that is better,” is what is required.
[Q: What must we do to get the bhāva that we don’t want anything?]
There is nothing you can do to get it; it comes if HE gives it. (T 222)
There is no Teacher greater than circumstances. (M March 1967, 10, 17)
Bowing your head down whatever the criticism leveled against you by others is itself sādhanā [spiritual discipline]. There is no sādhanā greater than that. (M Dec. 1968, 9, 36)
[Q: Ammā, what sādhanā (spiritual practice) did you do?]
None, my child. I did not even light a lamp before the family shrine for my own benefit. I simply enjoyed every experience, whether it was good, bad, or indifferent. (T 219-20)
Contentment is liberation. (B 6)
There is great joy in life if there is patience and the willingness to adjust. It is natural patience that is required, not cultivated patience. When there is natural patience, suffering is not felt to be suffering. (T 217)
Pain is no pain if it is experienced with joy. (M Sept. 1966, 4, 25)
There is an invisible Śakti which drives you. ITs Decision (nirnaya) cannot be infringed. So, whatever comes to you—joy or sorrow, victory or defeat—receive it graciously without letting it stick to you, experience it without letting it perturb you. (T 218)
What happens in this Creation is not determined by people’s wishes. (T 210)
You cannot escape the pleasant and the painful experiences allotted you in this drama. ... You may imagine a hundred possibilities, but, finally, you experience only “what is to be” for you. No one can take from you, or give you, other than “what is to be” for you. Śakti is the sole cause for a fall, an escape, or an injury. Nothing is in our hands. (T 214)
Laughter alone should permeate life. While playing, if you have a fall, will you not laugh? (VM 59)
I feel that whatever may be the origin of all these atrocities and misguided ways in the present-day world, they must have come to provide us all with the opportunity to look within and reverently keep in mind that supreme Śakti. I think that all this distress issues forth in order to enhance faith and to promote our turning, in fear and reverence, Godward. (T 23)
If HIS compassion (karuṇā) were not there, we would not exist. All we do is due to HIS compassion. In my view both pleasure and suffering are due to compassion alone. (T 248)
In my view, there are not the two, “grace” and “curse.” All is grace.... Sufferings are as much a matter of grace as joys are. ... In my view, “grace” means giving what is necessary at each time and place. God knows better than we do, what is needed. Whether it be pleasure or suffering, HE gives only according to the need. In HIS view even sufferings are necessary. ... Whether you are saved from suffering, or have to undergo that suffering, the cause is grace alone. (T 246-248)
Worship the Deity of Patience—sufferings are all that need be offered. (T 217)
I say both “good fortune” and “misfortune” are only our imaginings [based on dualistic perceptions of “what IS”]. (T 213)
[Q: What is the way to salvation, Ammā?]
Happily experiencing hardships, without regarding them as hardships, is the way to salvation. Thinking that HE who gives everything gives us hardships, and experiencing everything with contentment is the way to salvation. When experienced joyfully, suffering ceases to be suffering. (T 219)
The Self must be known through the Self alone. (M Aug. 1966, 3, 18)
To the question, “Who am I?” the reply is the thread of the Garland. When the bead is pulled aside, the I-thread is discovered. (M Feb. 1967, 9, 8)
Knowing the Self is, after all, knowing God. (VM 49)
One who knows himself knows ALL. When identity is attained with the Doer (God or Self) the act (of Creation) and its cause will be known. (VM 48)
Attachment for some denotes human nature. Attachment for all denotes Godhead. (LT 104)
The appearance of duality [me-you, inner-outer, painful-pleasurable] is Ignorance. All appearing as One is [Supreme] Knowledge (Jñāna). (LT 107)
Māyā [delusion] is seeing the duality of Creation without feeling its ONEness. That is where problems arise. (T 72)
Bheda ([false] differentiation) is the cause of badha (suffering). (T 223)
Brahmānanda [the bliss of Reality] is the firm, unchanging attitude which views equally whatever comes. Brahmānanda is the state which does not perceive dualistically. When the feeling becomes firm that happiness and sorrow are both THAT, something arises, and that is itself brahmānanda. (T 224)
To see one in anything and everything is concentration. (B 13)
Indifference towards birth or death is immortality. (B 24)
Death is only transformation, not annihilation. (M Feb. 1967, 9, 21)
The subject of the state after death is irrelevant. If the truth about birth that had already taken place is known, what is to happen will be known. (LT 106)
In my opinion, there are not many [spiritual] experiences for anyone. The lasting realization that ALL is one, persisting at all times and under all circumstances is the only [true] experience. (VM 56)
All creatures—from the smallest to the biggest—are equally capable of attainment. (LT 106)
[Against rigid caste-thinking:] My caste is that of the sperm and the ovum. (MA 351)
We neither object to using the utensils which they (the “lower” castes) make, nor to eating the grain which they grow and harvest, but we [i.e., “higher” castes] do object to sitting down with them to eat. ... We look down upon latrine cleaners. We keep excreta in our bodies, but despise those who clean it up! We will not touch them, even when they are dying. (T 204-5)
(Ammā talks about herself:)
My life is infinite, my history limited. (MA 240)
Nothing makes me happy or sad. I feel that I am all. “I” does not mean “Anasuya,” but the I in all. (T 223)
I am the beginning and I am the End. ... Reality itself is my state. (M July 1966, 2, 20)
I am not anything now that I was not before: from birth onwards, I have been ever the same. (MA 345)
I am the “I” that has become all “I’s.” ... I am that “I” for which there is no “you.” (MA 345)
[Question: “How is it that you remember all the people who came to you?”]
The shepherd knows all his sheep individually; he even remembers the price he paid for each one of his flock. When even the shepherd remembers his sheep, shouldn’t the Mother remember her own children? ... I remember so well, because these things don’t strike me as having occurred a long time ago. All past events seem to me to be happening at this very moment. (MA 351-2)
[Q: Do you know the future?]
If Eternity is known, there is nothing like future. (M Oct. 1966, 5, 13)
It is not correct to say, “Mother of the Universe.” The Universe is itself the Mother. ... Only That which is all is Mother. The wise one is he who has equated himself with it. (MA 346)
Mine is the state of knowledge-ignorance; I do not know what I know. (LT 70)
I am never alone; all are in me. I am ever aware of all ... I am turning the whole world over in my mind. (MA 346)
Not teaching anything is my teaching. (LT 105)
[Q: Do you have a message for people?]
A message? I have nothing of that name. I have not given anything as a message—as if I ever thought that we are doing, or can do, anything! That which makes things happen and that which happens—that is the message.... If you can do it, eat what you have with contentment, give to others with loving care, and have faith that God is doing everything. (T 192)
Your well-being is my happiness. (MA 349)
Nobody in the world ought to experience poverty. The aspiration [of Ammā] is that everyone should joyfully eat and then just wander about. (T 209)
I can see even if one is in another place; no boundaries can limit my knowledge. You must come here to see me, but I am always looking at you.... Suppose a mother has two children, and one of them stays with her, while the other lives far away. The one who is close to her might enjoy her personal care more, but her attention is focused on the one who lives far away. (MA 353)
You can never fall from my lap. (MA 346)
What is a mother’s nature? Let the son be good or wicked, let him be ugly or leprous—whatever is his state, and even if his nature changes later, even if he abuses his mother, her attitude towards him does not change. That is a mother’s nature. ... The child is never at fault in the mother’s eyes. It is in spite of his faults, and perhaps because of them, that she loves him and corrects him. ... A mother is incapable of seeing any wrong in her child. ... If you are unable to improve yourself, can I, as a mother, simply abandon you? If I did so, I would not be your mother. (MA 350-1)
According to the time and circumstance, I may seem angry, but I never actually feel anger toward any of you. The day anger grips me, I will no longer be the Mother. (MA 355)
I will gently reprimand one who is considered to be “bad.” I do administer medicine when there is a disease. However, I can’t abandon a child just because he happens to be naughty. My way is to reprimand, and at the same time to coax the child and draw him near me. ... Punishment from Mother is inconceivable... I have come to save, not to punish. (MA 355-6)
Śyāma Mātāji (1916-99; Vedānta-Bhakti; Uttar Pradesh):
In devotion, all are equal. No one is high and no one is low. Men, women, children, the rich and the poor, the old and the young, all are equal in the path of devotion. All can pray. God is for everyone, and all are children of God. (118) 
The non-dualism of the path of devotion is very strange. It is not a theory but it could be experienced in practice that God and His devotees are absolutely one. (85)
The essence of the teaching is the chanting of the holy name of God. Take his name, he will provide everything that you want. ... Chanting of [the] Lord’s name at all times is the supreme path of Self-realization. (57, 115)
All beneficial desires are fulfilled by taking the holy name of God and all bad desires are conquered. (117)
At the time of death it is impossible to think of God, but one who forms the habit of taking God’s name incessantly everyday does take this name at the time of death. (119)
Satsang—the company of the good—is conducive to the love of God. Hence it is essential to seek a saint and be in his company. ... The greatest obstacle in the path ... is bad company. The aspirants should avoid the company of wicked persons. That company spoils the mind. It creates evil desires and devilish temperament. (115, 118)
The body is the embodiment of bone, flesh, and blood ... It is not good to covet the body. The wife, the son and the friends, they are all selfish. Be free from their attachment. The world is destructible, it originates and gets destroyed. Those who are attached to the fickle bond of worldly pleasures shall have to suffer the miseries of birth and death. So believing, be detached, worship the divine at all times and chant his holy name. (54)
The detachment from the sensuous pleasures is at the root of the beginning of sādhanā [spiritual practice]. (116)
The desires are deeply rooted. It is most difficult to uproot them from the mind, but the fire of realizing God burns all desires. (119)
One should not waste one’s time in idleness. Life is precious. One should not indulge in gossip and seeing degrading pictures and dramas of low taste. (115)
The devotee should always guard against this: he should never be egoistic, nor be proud, nor insult anyone, nor should he be angry. He should be very humble and tolerant. (118)
When a person turns to God, he finds worldly pleasures trifling and insignificant. (119)
We should transform the worldly love into divine love. In worldly love, the mind by sheer attachment to the worldly becomes materialistic, [but] in love for God it becomes spiritual. (119)
Celibacy purifies the intellect, heart and soul. Those who acquire progress must observe celibacy. ... For a married man [or woman] to be monogamous is a sign of celibacy. (115)
Intense longing is the basis of God Realisation. (116)
When the aspirant is steady in his sādhanā [practice], he desires God-realisation. At that stage God tests his devotee. When the devotee passes successfully through the test God appears in a human form and blesses the devotee. (116)
The chanting of God’s name and singing his praise generate the occult powers, but the devotee is not after them. (116)
Be merciful to all the living creatures in the world. (116)
The devotee should be humble, gentle, and generous. Generosity is the principal attribute on the path to the divine. (120)
The world is God’s creation. Everything is his manifestation. We are only his humble servants. This attitude of mind results in absolute peace. (121)
Be firm, concentrate your mind; have intense longing for God. If you walk one step towards God, He will take a hundred steps towards you. Therefore, follow the yoga of devotion enthusiastically. You will surely realise God one day. (121)
It is certain that God will not forget us though we forget God. (118) 
[Śyāma Mātāji’s Poems and songs:]
Oh Śyām [the dark-blue-hued Kṛṣṇa], Listen to my request ...
You rest peacefully in a soft bed, decorated with flowers—
I spend the sleepless nights being miserable and lonely.
If I do not tell you, whom shall I complain to?
In making love, You have won, I am defeated.
Now appear before me, let me drink the nectar from your eyes.
“Śyāma” [Mātāji] surrenders to you, her body, mind and soul. (30)
Tell me, what have you done to me?
You have made me mad in your love.
You are residing in my heart.
Why is it that you have to be searched everywhere?
Why do you give me this pain?
My heart is fluttering without you.
I have gained you. Yet, I am looking for you.
What a game you are playing with me.
You blessed me with emotion of love.
You are making a love-poem
“Śyāma” is mad after you. (134-5)
“Śyāma” [Kṛṣṇa] is one with “Śyāma” [Mātāji].
Śyāma is her intimate lover.
One who is in deep devotion,
Gets his love divine! (49)
Please answer me,
How is lover [viyogi] inferior to yogi?
Yogi besmears his body with ash,
Lover’s heart has become ash, being burnt in pangs of love.
Yogi wears coloured clothes [such as the ochre robe]
Lover clothes the body and mind with garments of love.
Yogi tries hard to be in samādhi [trance],
Lover’s every move is in deep samādhi.
Yogi lives in a hut;
Lover’s heart is a holy hut—a temple for the Divine.
Yogi undergoes physical pains;
Lover endures mental pains [of longing].
Yogi chants mantra,
Lover’s entire consciousness is merged in the love.
Yogi wishes to see the eternal light;
Lover hankers after eternal union.
Śyāma has no relative;
Śyāma [Kṛṣṇa] is her only resort.
If you have any mercy O Śyāma! do not delay in coming to me.
(This was sung by Mātāji’s bi-located form at a Bombay concert while she was elsewhere) (51-2)
I am living under your shelter. / You have accepted me,
I have surrendered to thee. / I am a tiny cuckoo,
You are the branch; / I am a flower garden,
You are the gardener; / I am a budding flower,
You are the Spring; / I am surrendering you / My body, mind, and soul.
My Lord! You have made ablaze my love.
Transmitting a ray of life and love to my soul!
You have put me on the right path. / I am full of vices and defects,
You are my protector, / You are my leader, / You are my master.
“Śyāma” is your companion. / You are her helper. ...
I drink [the] nectar [which]
You are offering, my Lord! (130-1)
I have come for worship. / Your devotee has come for worship.
I have opened the doors of the heart,
I have brought all necessary articles of faith.
“Chandan” [incense] from the moon, / Flowers from the night,
Rice from the stars, / Smile from the flowers,
Coolness from the breeze.
I have brought / The light in the lamp of the heart.
The garland of my hands.
O Master of my soul! / Our Love is Old;
I have loved you for many births
You are the ocean, / I am the wave,
I ever reside in your heart.
I shall become [a] second Meera [saint Mīrabāī]
I have taken this birth
To love you as Meera did
“Śyāma” offering everything to the Lord
Has become the master of the Universe. (126-7)
Mohan [Kṛṣṇa] has come to my home!
Listen, Oh! my dear friend!
Mohan has come to my home!
I am liberated: the bondage of a
million births has been shattered.
I am ignorant, stupid: I do not know
how to welcome him.
The master has condescended to visit
the servant’s home. ...
Listen, Oh! my dear friend!
Mohan has come to my home!
I lost my consciousness, I am over-joyed.
I could not utter a word;
I became dumb; tears began flowing from my eyes;
Listen, Oh! my dear friend!
Mohan has come to my home.
I cannot describe the greatness of my Lord!
“Śyāma” [Mātāji] meeting “Śyām” [Kṛṣṇa] became bewildered.
Mohan has come to my home. (99)
Hear my story. / It is my love-story.
Look! Whom I have loved!
In my dream / Came that son of King Nanda [i.e., the child Kṛṣṇa]
With his cowherd friends.
His eyes of Lotus, / His honey talk, / His light footsteps,
I kissed his feet, / I embraced him to my bosom, / I gave him my love,
He rewarded me with his caresses.
I sang a song, / He hugged me.
I became shameless in his love.
My “ŚYĀMA” did come.
Śyāma [Mātāji] reached her goal,
She realised him, / Her bonds of life and death
Are now shattered. (132-3)
Your love is puzzling;
Very difficult to follow it.
What is the use of understanding it?
It is vain to get involved in thy love.
Your play is curious!
Your līlā [divine sport] is inscrutable!
This entire world is delusion!
It is a mirage! a māya! / It is a dream! ...
You are there in everything.
You are the sun. / Rays are the manifested Universe.
I have no experience [or understanding] of thy mystery. ...
“Śyāma” has acquired the divine sight;
She unfolds thy mystery.
She knows thy LIGHT,
And its inner meaning. (129-130)
The people of the world have become miserable.
They have passed through many
Hardships, obstacles, difficulties.
They have forgotten your teaching.
They have lapsed into sensuous pleasures.
They have lost their soul.
They have been the victim of lust and anger.
They are suffering under the burden of their sins.
“Śyāma” has surrendered to you, my Lord!
She is living by your grace! (123)
Know this for certain:
What is mine? and what is thine?
Nothing belongs to you,
Nothing can go with you.
Know this for certain:
Life will ooze away,
As water drips away,
As stars disappear in the twinkling.
Know this for certain:
All your possessions will stay here.
Even the kings and their courtiers had to go.
Know this for certain:
All worldly pleasures are transitory. (124-5)
Forsake the love of the world.
If you wish to love God,
Forsake the love of the world.
No one is your friend here,
All are selfish,
Forsake the love of the world.
Why do you tie yourself with this bond?
Be free from the attachment.
Forsake the love of the world.
Be in the company of the sages,
Be engrossed in the devotion of the Lord.
Meditate on Him...
Forsake the love of the world. ... (125)
Do not be proud of this body,
In the end it will perish and be one with dust.
Do not be proud of your wealth and prosperity,
In the end it will be worthless.
You take so much pains in nursing the body,
Why are you negligent of worshipping!
When the leaf gets separated from the tree,
It could never be united with the tree again.
You are not afraid of sinful deeds,
And are indulging into falsehood and trickery.
God, who resides in the hearts of every being, witnesses it; ...
Truth will ultimately triumph,
Untruth could never be concealed
“Śyāma” declares that those who follow the path of righteousness,
Will be successful in the end. (46)
Śrī Dharm Devī (1927?-?; Vaiṣṇava bhakti school; Lahore-Uttar Pradesh):
[Swāmi Rāmdās of Kerala interviewed Śrī Dharm Devī when she was 11 years old and elicited the following spontaneous replies:]
Q: What makes you talk?
A: It is Krishna who talks through me.
Q: What is to be done for realising God?
A: Seek the society of saints and do kīrtan [devotional singing].
Q: How to know a saint?
A: By the Light he radiates and the deep impression he makes on you by his words.
Q: What is the sādhanā [spiritual practice] for getting the Darśan or the vision of Krishna?
A: Love is the way. Lay your intellect at his feet and love Him with all
your heart and you will attain Him.
Q: Do you mean intellect is useless?
A: No, intellect is useful in discriminating the real from the unreal [the changeless from the changing] and making Krishna your goal. After that, lay quietly the intellect at the Lord’s feet. Do not worry by trying to understand Him by its help. The Lord wants the undivided love of your heart. ...
Q: Which is the greater vision? The vision of Krishna in His Avataric [embodied] form or the vision of Him everywhere and as everybody in the universe?
A: Certainly, to behold Him as all and in all is the greatest vision. 
[Dharm Devī told Major General Sharma:]
Shut your eyes and empty your mind. ... Henceforth you have to do nothing [i.e., no deliberate spiritual practices]. I shall do everything.
Do not touch my feet [the traditional way of paying respect in India] as I am only a bit of earth; only pay respects to God.
All paths lead to God, some short, some long, and some circuitous. All will eventually reach Him. 
Mātāji Krishnābāī (1903-89; Advaita Vedānta/Parābhakti school; Kerala):
[Addressing her Guru, Papa Rāmdās, identified with the Absolute:] Papa, you are indeed compassion personified. Within only three years of this child’s entry into your divine presence, you enabled her [age 28] to realise your static, changeless, and infinite Being. Just as the feeling of “I”-ness in me pervades all parts of my physical being from head to foot and yet this “I” is distinct from the body, so also I came to know that I am at once the Universal Consciousness and the transcendental Truth. (4) 
Ultimately you made me renounce myself, your form and the entire cosmos and I became one with the eternal Truth beyond name, form and movement. This spiritual summit I reached through your infinite grace. (35)
After realising your supreme Being, when my mind came down to external consciousness—which was till then making me think that I was a mere body—it now granted me the experience that the whole universe was myself and that I was also beyond it, and it [the mind] attained true bliss. (184)
Now I love all beings in the universe, as they are myself. Even if there are shortcomings in some of them, since they are myself, I cannot possibly be unloving towards them. (90)
I tell all those who praise me, that they should come and stay near me. Then they will know me well and will stop praising me. 
[Once a man came to Rāmdās’ Ānandāśram near Kanhangad, Kerala, and began to pay seemingly endless homage to Mātāji; he kept going on and on about her greatness. Mātāji asked him, “Have you had lunch yet?” “No, Mātāji,” he answered. Mātāji told him, “Well, please go and eat something; you’ll feel much better.”]
Godāvari Mātāji (1914-90; Vedānta/Bhakti school; Mahārāshtra):
The highest state Man can aspire to is to be one with God. Effort can make even God descend on earth, or those of the earth attain heaven. (SL 25) 
God is infinite Bliss. A devotee is able to realize Him through the recital of His Name. Just as you require some conveyance to go from one place to another, in the same way you require some conveyance to take you to that Divine Bliss. Recital of His name is that conveyance. ...The best way to restore peace and purity to one’s [troubled mind] ... is by uttering God’s Name (in any form) incessantly—both silently and loudly and with deep concentration. (SL 117)
Let people praise you or let people blame you. You keep your mind on God.... You must think like this: you are the Ātman [Supreme Self], you are not the body. You are God. By concentrating on God, you become God. You are beyond the pairs of opposites, praise and blame [pleasure and pain, etc.]—which do not exist in reality. This is Advaita—beyond duality. (DS 62)
When another person is stricken with misery or misfortune, you sympathize and help but you are usually not overwhelmed as you would be with your own personal sorrows. This is because you look upon another’s misery as a witness. Likewise should one learn to look upon one’s own adversities as “śakṣi” [witness]. (DS 52)
Restless is our heart, until it rests in God. (DS 51)
Wisdom lies in annihilating desire... (DS 32).
Progress is assured the moment one establishes even the most casual contact with the Saint. (DS 51)
He who takes over and endures the suffering of humanity is the Guru. He who takes over the unfinished task of the Guru is the disciple. (DS 32)
Whenever we look at Nature’s Beauty, we do not pay attention to stones, thorns, and barren bushes, but we look only at the entrancing beauty of the scenery. So we should love our Guru in the same way, with intense love for His basic and matchless beauty, without any regard for His apparent faults and shortcomings. (DS 31)
Worldly life is full of miseries and calamities. One has to struggle to overcome the difficulties. But if you take the refuge of Saints, they will protect you. They not only fulfill your worldly desires, but help also to attain Mokṣa or Kaivalya [spiritual liberation]. If you are devoted to Sad Guru single-minded, you may become a Kalpataru [wish-fulfilling tree] yourself. (SS 3)
Develop divine virtues. Shun demonic qualities. Increase Sattva Guna [the quality of balance and harmoniousness] and eliminate Rājo-guna [restlessness] and Tamo-guna [inertia]. Have compassion for the creation. Increase devotion to God. Thereby, God will manifest in you. (SS 3)
One has to make ceaseless efforts for self-realisation. ... [The] Grace of God will descend on you, if you become its worthy recipient. (SS 10)
You cannot eliminate ego all of a sudden. It will vanish gradually. If you remain conscious of the Divine Power that has created this world, there will be no ego. ... Pray to God daily at least for five minutes, requesting to grant you strength to relinquish ego. Thereby, you will eliminate ego, gradually. (L 74)
By bhakti [devotion] you achieve everything. Without bhakti, you cannot acquire anything. Bhakti means pure Love. ... There are different kinds of bhakti. You may do pūjā [ritual worship], nāmasmaraṇā [remembrance of the divine Name] or meditation. Do whatever you like to achieve the goal of life. (L 105)
True Bhakti means intense and self-abnegating love for the Divine. A dedication of all your actions to God or Guru is the true essence of devotion. (IG 44)
The secret of happiness lies in serving God almighty with joy and abandon. (IG 43)
The true essence of God is bliss. Therefore, by surrendering at His lotus feet you too can partake of the Supreme Ānanda [Bliss]. (IG 44)
Contentment is the harbinger of mental peace and happiness. Speak with love to everyone, and take great care not to hurt the feelings of others. (IG 44)
Instead of looking for faults in others, it is far more profitable to concentrate on one’s own shortcomings. (IG 43)
Since childhood my mind had a leaning towards the spiritual life. Hence that invisible power brought me to the holy feet of my Sad-Guru [Upāsanī Bābā Mahārāj, d. 1941]. He removed the bondage of māyā [delusion, ignorant sense of duality and multiplicity] and led me to the realm of everlasting happiness. (SL 14)
With the help of a sadguru we can become conscious of God’s Omnipresence.
Forgiveness is the principal virtue of a saint. (SL 118)
[Mani Sahukar writes of an insight presented by Godāvari Mātāji during a discussion with some devotees and visitors concerning the spiritual path of devotion to God:] Mataji corrected a misconception that had taken root in the minds of some of us. We were led to believe that the bhakta’s [the devotee’s] ideal was to preserve a separateness from God even in the final realization, so that the bliss attendant on such a fulfilment could be enjoyed uninterruptedly. But Mother maintained that this was a wrong belief. There can be no perfection unless and until there is absolute and total merging in the [aspect of] God of the bhakta’s choice, declared Mother. A complete union with the Divine alone is yoga. Without this merging, the sādhanā [spiritual practice] and the attainment remain incomplete. In any case, even if the perfected bhakta wished to remain aloof, he [she] would not be able to do so; he would be irresistibly swept into the current of universal oneness. It is true that after attaining this supreme identification some great souls do emerge again to glorify themselves, as it were! [—maintaining an attitude of “devotion to God,” knowing themselves not to be separate from God; this is sometimes called “parabhakti,” the supreme devotion.] This is all a divine līlā [play, sport], says Mother, perpetuated for the benefit and beneficence of those pilgrims who are still on the path. Meera became Krishna—“but how would you have known of her ecstasy had she not emerged again to sing about it in so many exquisite bhajans [songs]?” Mother asked us... Godavari Mataji tells us always to make Love the very basis of our lives. ... “Do not be afraid to give, and give without any demands,” Mother urges, and it will all come back to you in a richer measure; for Love is its own Eternity. (SL 38-9)
[Sahukar spoke of Mātāji’s bliss and sense of humor, and her disinterest in promoting any cult of “sorrow and suffering” or any heavy, grim path of austerity:] When asked whether one could not attain liberation through renunciation and austerities, Mother replied: “Certainly, one can, that also is a way, but it is not my way.” “Why select the roundabout route, through pain and briars, when there is such a radiant path through sun-lit glades and lovely valleys leading with all speed and joy to the Lord?” “Life is so difficult, as it is, for most people,” Mother says with deep feeling. “I have not the heart to impose any more tapas [austerity] on those who look up to me for guidance.” “Be sincere in your sādhanā [spiritual practice], establish Him in your inner shrine [of the heart], and yet enjoy life in all the glorious opportunities it affords you.” ... “Surely the spirit can rise to sublime heights without any mortification of the body.” (SL 57, 72)
Follow any of the wholesome and well trodden [spiritual] paths of Karma [service], Jñāna [wisdom], or Bhakti [devotion]. ... Select any of these paths according to your aptitude, or work out and adopt an intelligent integration of these three mighty yogas [paths of union with God]. (SL 64)
A casual visitor said: “I am an Advaitin [non-dualist]. I consider Brahman [the Supreme Reality] as the only Entity. Those who worship God are believers in duality—a worshiper and the worshiped. [Sage] Shankaracharya has pronounced that there is nothing but Absolute Reality.” Mother said patiently, “Even if what you say is the whole truth, the worshiper ultimately merges in the Absolute or God and his bhakti attains its pinnacle. Yours is the Jñāna Mārga [path of wisdom] and theirs is the Bhakti Mārga [path of devotion] but eventually the goal and the attainment are one and the same in both these paths. (DS 31)
Śrīmātā Gāyatrī Devī (1906-95; Vedānta school; India-United States):
[Excerpts from her first two sermons given in America at age 21, the first ever by a female Hindu teacher in this country:] 
What is peace? Do we really know what peace is? Is it something outside ourselves? Can we attain it by coming to a church and contacting some one who has it? ... Some of you will say that you know what peace is,—”When we have very few difficulties to meet ... we have peace.” Can we ever expect to be without misfortune, difficulties and problems? Can we expect the world not to thwart us? We cannot. If we wait for that condition we shall not know any peace at all. There are, however, some people who have great peace and who always carry it even in the chaos and turmoil of the world. How do they keep it? There is a greater peace ... born in our soul and which only comes when we know that God is there. That inner, higher peace is born of the understanding of life and its meaning; it comes when we take our misfortunes and troubles easily, thinking that the Hand which has often bestowed upon us great blessings has also given us these times of trial, and if we take them easily, surrendering our will to Him, then we can have that peace. ... Peace is the keynote of all higher wisdom. It opens the door to all great knowledge. As a body of water unless still cannot reflect any object, so to a mind constantly in turmoil nothing that is lofty can come. The Upanishads [ancient scriptures of India, written between the 8th to 3rd centuries BCE] ... show how man whom we know to be full of limitations and faults,—how he can, overcoming these, ascend to the realm of perfection; how man who is a separate, individual soul, can lose his separateness and enter into the great, infinite consciousness of God and Truth. They show us the Unchangeable behind all that is ... changing, the Reality behind all that is unreal, that Unmanifested behind all that we see as manifested, the great Immortality beyond death. ... The great message of the Upanishads ... shows not only the bigness, the infinitude of God, but it tells us that it lies within the power of man to reach That. ... Does the one who has experienced this great realization become proud or arrogant? ... Never. When man realizes his great heritage, his only desire is to give to others. ... When the seers of the Upanishads came to that supreme consciousness, they cried out to all mortals: “Arise! Awake! Awake from sleep! Arise from spiritual lethargy, from fear, from doubt of your higher Self. Awake and realize!” We cannot grasp it. The words fall flat on our ears, because we have not that awakening. In the same way the voices of all the great masters have cried and been lost. How many really heard the call of Christ or of Buddha or any of the might ones” How many followed them? It is not by going to a church or reading Bibles that we can attain what Christ or Buddha attained. It lies in the soul—a path within ourselves, which we are to follow—a path of humility, a path of love of God, of consecration to an ideal, a path of purity. It is not difficult to follow it; we make it difficult because we move away from it. We do not want it. But once we realize that it is the greatest need of our life, that it is our goal, our end, then it becomes easy. We must strive, practice, hunger for it. We must make our life simple and full of love, free from all lust, selfishness, pettiness. Be humble—want nothing. We are too proud, we are too egotistic. ... One who is really wise, who realizes how insignificant he is in proportion to the great universe, to the Great Spirit, cannot be arrogant or egotistic. Three things are needed if we are to have any spiritual life: purity, humility and faith. ... I wonder if we are really happy. Can any one of us say, “I am happy every day, every moment, every second; I have unchanging happiness?” None of us can say it. There is no such happiness, because we have not reached the source of happiness. ... We do not let the Divine Spirit, the Divine part of ourselves, govern us. We fall under the sway of our lower self. But we can make ourselves free from these things if we try. ... If we say, “I will be identified with God, these things are nothing,” then we can make ourselves free. The first time we try, it will be difficult, next time easier, next time still easier. ... There must grow within us a yearning for the pure expression. For when we begin to year, we are able to rise above the world of selfishness, of personal desire and longings, to follow the path that Christ and Buddha followed and which the sages of India proclaimed. It is the path which leads to that world [of experience] where dwell unchanging exaltation and abiding peace.
Many great personages have been born in this world who have found their way to Reality, and have shown us definite ways to go ... On the surface those paths seem different, but they are all born of one motive and lead to the same goal. We, with our narrowness of mind, quarrel; we say, “My path is the only path, my way is the only way.” But if we knew how to see deep down, we would find that there is only one Path, one eternal path, leading the soul to God. ... What is the path of God? To me it is not anything that man has created through his own calculation ... It is an invisible path, ... a path of inner living and striving. It does not mean merely following a religion in a superficial way, or going to a church, or taking up a creed. ... One who can really put into practice the divine qualities pertaining to Godhead, making them true and real in his life, that one is treading on the path to God. And what are those qualities? One is love—love, not as we know it, at every step asking for some return, seeking some gain, but the divine love that burns up man’s iniquities, destroys all his imperfections, and consumes his whole life... Then there are wisdom, understanding, righteousness, truth, peace, and poise. These are the qualities one has to cultivate while following the Path of God. These may seem abstract to us; we may feel that we cannot enter into these qualities suddenly. True, we cannot. We have indulged in altogether a different life. We have been absorbed by the world. Therefore if we now desire to live a life of God, a spiritual life, we shall have to strive and struggle for it; we shall have to overcome many things. Again and again we may fall down or stumble or make mistakes, yet if we hold our Ideal before our eyes, we shall not be discouraged nor give up. A child, before it learns to walk, falls down many times, but always it gets right up and tries again. We can do the same. ... It may seem difficult, and it is difficult; but what is not difficult in this life? Everything worthwhile that a man wants to attain is difficult. Man has to work for it, give his time, his life, everything to it. ... The man of the world who desires earthly treasure, the gems and jewels which the earth holds in her bosom, cannot have them unless he struggles to attain them. In the same way, we cannot have the brightest gem, the jewel which is our birthright, our treasure, unless we work and mine for it. ... We do not have to make a new path for ourselves, because we have great lives as our model. We are going to tread the path that Christ went on, the Buddha walked, and all other inspired souls have followed. ... Why do we not remember them and what those great personages went through? Think of Buddha, who had to meditate [six] ... years to attain enlightenment. And can we imagine what Christ did during his years of preparation! ... We have to live a life like theirs. Live spiritually—that is the secret. What made Christ so great? What made Buddha a Buddha? Why does the whole world worship them? It is not that they were preachers and spoke big things. It is because they were the embodiment of the Ideal. They became what they preached; they were the thing itself. It is for us to know that secret and follow that path. There is nothing mysterious or mystifying about it. It is the simple path: the path of love, of faith, of humility, of self-surrender, the path of losing oneself in a greater reality, leaving nothing for oneself, and losing self-will, desire, longing, to fulfill just one aim. We cannot achieve this, however, so long as we are absorbed by outer things. If we desire a greater way for our life, we shall have to open the spiritual eye and wake up... Why are we here? Do we ever ask ourselves this? Do we ever want to find out? Man has no end of curiosity. He is constantly asking questions, constantly trying to penetrate all the mysteries of the universe. But when it concerns himself, he is silent. Why does he not seek to discover why he is here? ... Has this question no answer? It has. The answer is given by all great ones. We are born into this world to know That from which we have come, to find out the one Reality which is the cause of our being. We are to realize It, to make It real and living in our life. ...With most of us our spiritual interest is very superficial. We think that if we go to church once a week and hear a minister, or sometimes read from the holy scriptures, we are doing a great deal ... But our God is then a mental concept. ... We should make Him the God of our heart and soul. He should be the living element in our daily life. ... We must cry unto Him every day: “I take shelter in Thee. Help me, lead me, give me love and devotion for Thee. Make me Thine own.” There is nothing else we need to ask.The secret of living is giving—giving ourselves to the Highest, giving ourselves entirely to the Ideal. Often we think that spiritual life would deprive us of all our pleasure and happiness... Some people have an idea that it is a measured thing, determined by rules and regulations. That is not the kind of life that leads one to God. God-life is a spontaneous, genuine, natural life, constantly unfolding its inner qualities, unfolding its secrets. As a flow opens under the rays of the sun, bestowing its beauty and fragrance on all, in the same way, when our life is brought under the direct rays of the great sun of Truth, the Great God, we unfold our inner being. In every one of us there is an infinite storehouse of fragrance, beauty, sweetness, mellowness, and tenderness. Why then do we shut our doors? ... Let us open ourselves to the rays of that sun, that He may mold and make us beautiful in the truest sense. Life could be so wonderful. It could not only glorify us, but through us be a blessing to others. In order, however, to give ourselves openly to God, we have to be free—free from bondage, mental and physical, from worldly ties and material desires. This means, first of all, eliminating that little self of ours, which is constantly trying to lead us astray by bringing in a sense of I and mine, by producing in us self-will, egotism and pride. These have to go; they have to be lost in our higher Self, a greater reality.
Christ said man must be born again. Not physically, but into a new world, a world of spirit. It is this that Christ called the kingdom of heaven, and it is not outside. It is in our own soul. We must learn how to enter it. Unless we know how to enter the inner sanctuary of our being, we can never have any peace, or real happiness, or poise, or rest, because in the outer world there is nothing abiding. We are all looking for peace, for happiness, running after this and that, but we come back again and again empty-handed. Our senses may be gratified for a while, but it never lasts; in fact, adverse reaction follows. Enduring happiness or peace comes only when a soul knows how to connect itself with the Cause of its being. We must learn not to depend so much on the outer world, but to go more within—within our soul, where dwells the great effulgent Being we call God, which is our higher Self—and there place ourselves in His hands and let Him lead us on our way. He is the abode of all blessedness. It is very nice to talk about these things; but they are mere words unless we put them into practice. We must make them living.... That which is immortal and eternal in us can never be satisfied with that which is changing and fluctuating. It is this desire for expansion, for greater life, that leads us on, that show us the way.... Some people take up the spiritual life because they are ambitious. They would like to be a Christ or a Buddha, because they think that then they would have great power. God should not be sought for any personal advantage. We should seek Him because we cannot do without Him. Without God our life is empty, it is in vain. Let not any ambition or desire for gain prompt our search. Ambition does not make a man great. Vanity, arrogance, and pride do not constitute greatness. Think of Christ or Ramakrishna—where lay their power? In their lowliness, in their humility. They did not ask men to worship them. They only wanted to glorify the Father or the Mother in every word, in every action. “Not I, but Thou, my Lord!”—that was their motto. We should absorb the spirit of their words. We must learn how to be humble; humility is the stepping-stone to all spiritual living. It does not mean that we have to depreciate ourselves... It means we must feel that without the support of that Life, our life is nothing. Without the background of God, man is insignificant. We must surrender to Him and fill ourselves with His power.
The other day I had an experience ... Sitting on the patio suddenly my eyes fell upon the grass, and I saw something sparkling. It seemed like a diamond, but as I looked closer I saw it was a little dewdrop. It was glowing in the sunshine, and looked like a star. ... If we could only feel, each one of us, that we are like the dewdrop! No matter how insignificant it may be, the world needs it; it brings blessing to the grass, it moistens the earth. If in the same way we could live our life very humbly, very simply, not looking for gain, name, or attention, but silently surrendering all to Him—still, pure crystal, really sanctified like that dewdrop which was shining in the morning sun! If we could be like that, what blessings would we not know! We cannot all be big rivers. We cannot all be great streams. But we can be dewdrops. When we become pure, the sun will shine on us and through us; then our insignificant life will become full of glow, full of radiance. There is no need to be great. We can be His. That is all we need in our life, nothing more, nothing less. (30-44)
In our Vedic literature [of India] ... we come upon the saying: “Truth is One, One without a second.” ... The One desired to express Himself, Itself. So He burst forth like sparks from a fire. Though One, He manifests through the minute and the vast, through the form, and He vanishes into the formless. The One who is Absolute, Infinite, Eternal—that One performs His līlā, His play, through the drama of life. (317)
When we attain this consciousness [of oneness with God and with one another] through love and surrender of our little self to the Great Being, when we achieve this love, then we can truly serve everyone. Giving our all, we lose nothing. We remain full, full to the brim. (329)
Mā Jñānānanda Sarāswatī (contemporary; Advaita Vedānta school; Madras/Chennai, India):
[Regarding the state of samādhi, or transcendental unitive meditative absorption, which would come over her, Mā Jñānānanda tells her interviewer that it is an experience without content and yet is not empty; it is complete fullness:] In that state I used to ask myself, “Where am I?” Then I would try to think of myself at some point, but I immediately felt myself to be at the opposite point. In short, it is a feeling of being simultaneously everywhere. But there is no perception of the physical world. The physical world is dissolved in the unity. ... In my early journeys into samādhi I sometimes saw the moon shining on a completely darkened ocean. ... I also experienced, and still experience, a blinding white light in this state.
[Q: Do you find the public life of the spiritual teacher distracting?]
There is no distraction for one who is completely realized. ... But premature publicity is very dangerous. It can increase conceit and arrogance and also egoism. Without the Divine Command one should not teach.
[Q: Can the guru communicate directly with the hearts and minds of the disciples?]
Quite a lot depends on the state of mind, or consciousness of the disciple. Through faith, complete surrender, and openness on the part of the disciple I am fully accessible. One thought from such a disciple penetrates my own consciousness, and the response is instantaneous. I may be anywhere. The disciple may have difficulty in seeing me physically, but that doesn’t mean that help and communication are not available.
My teaching is the same for everyone. It is summed up in the principles of absolute truth, purity, dharma, and ahiṃsā. Truth contains them all, but purity emphasizes moral perfection or morality, while dharma, or righteousness, has more to do with responsibility to duty. Of course, ahiṃsā means nonviolence. All who wish to practice complete self-surrender—my way of niṣkāma karma [desireless action]—must adopt these principles.
One must surrender completely to God. There is no alternative. In the morning one should spend some time in prayer and meditation in whatever form is suitable to one’s chosen deity. Then one should turn one’s attention to the day’s work or activity. ...They should be done in such a manner that the mind’s attention may still be focused on God. The object is always to surrender completely to God. I suggest various paths, depending on temperament. Not everyone is ready for self-enquiry [the subtlest, fastest way] or for the practice of deep religious teachings. If one has not achieved a good deal of self-control at the lower level and doesn’t have some degree of mental discipline, then such attempts are mere mockery. They can lead us into delusion. ... So, use your simple prayer and try to purify your mind. ... God realization should be one’s entire goal in life, and everything else should be secondary. All else in the world pales alongside God realization. As you come closer to it, the valuable things of the world will draw you less because they will be less attractive. You should become aware of the passage of life from childhood on to old age. Nothing lasts—the joys, the sorrows. So much is fated—the result of past karma [consequences of past egocentric action]. We cannot avoid anything. But the attitude toward events, the type of attention we give to them, these are within our control. That is where we exercise our freedom. 
Ammā Mātā Amṛitānandamayi (1953- ; nondual Vedānta; Kerala):[Her song of Realization upon merging in the awareness of the Divine Mother:]
Once upon a time, my soul was dancing
In delight through the path of Bliss.
At that time, all the inner foes such as
Attraction and aversion ran away hiding themselves
In the innermost recesses of my mind. /
Forgetting myself, I merged in a golden dream
Which arose within me. As noble aspirations
Clearly manifested themselves in my mind,
The Divine Mother, with bright gentle hands,
Caressed my head. With bowed head, I told
Mother that my life is dedicated to Her. /
Smiling, She became a Divine Effulgence
And merged in me. My mind blossomed,
Bathed in the many-hued Light of Divinity
And the events of millions of years gone by
Rose up within me. Thenceforth,
Seeing nothing as apart from my own Self
A single Unity, and merging in the Divine Mother,
I renounced all sense of enjoyment. /
Mother told me to ask the people
To fulfill their human birth.
Therefore, I proclaim to the whole world
The sublime Truth that She uttered,
O man, merge in your Self!” ... (MA 126-7) 
In order that Thou should dance within me, O Mother,
O Adorable One, I bow and surrender to Thee.
Existing as the Power of Life within the individual Soul,
If Thou should leave, all would become still.
O Universal Energy, the Self of Perfect Bliss, come, come.
O Supreme Light, remain never abandoning me.
Come, come, O Ocean of Knowledge, the Cause of the diverse Creation,
Embodiment of the Substratum of the Universe, Measureless Essence.
O Thou Atom of atoms, Who pervades the Universe ...
Whose brilliance equals millions of suns, Dweller within Myself,
That Mother alone is the only hope for getting merged in Her.
O Ambrosial Light, Ocean of Bliss,
May my mind merge in Thee forever. ... (A May/June 198¸ [18/19], 9)
Creation and Creator art Thou / Thou art Energy and Truth,
O Goddess, O Goddess, O Goddess! / Creator of the Cosmos art Thou,
And Thou art the beginning and end... /
The Essence of the atomic being (individual soul)
Art Thou, and Thou art the five elements as well... (MA 125)
O Devi, chanting the Name “Durga, Durga”
My mind has forgotten all other paths.
O my Durga, I want neither heaven nor Liberation.
I want only pure devotion to Thee. (MA 110)
O Devi, O Ambika, Beauty Personified,
O Thou Who art affectionate towards devotees,
May Thou dwell here in order to end
The sufferings of the devotees...
Thou standest as the Empress of all beings,
Thou art everything and its Protector as well... (MA 109)
I am the servant of every one of you. I haven’t got any special place to dwell. I dwell in your heart. (M 67)
Mother [speaking of herself] doesn’t want anything from her children except the burden of their sorrows and sufferings. (AC I 351)
I desire peace for the people. That is my happiness. (Talk, July 24, 1986)
Children, the mother who gave birth to you may look after matters relating to this life; [though] nowadays even this is very rare. But Mother’s aim is to lead you in such a way that you can enjoy bliss in all your future lives. (FMC 12)
Before Mother goes to sleep, she sends her mind to all her children. Mother will console them and only then will she go to bed. Some people are asking if Mother will remember them when she returns to India. See, Mother is raising cows and swans. Every morning they will go out and in the evening when they come back to the cowshed, Mother will count each and every one. If one is missing, she knows this and she will search for it. (A Sept/Oct 1987 [10-11], 12)
Mother is there within you. She is always with you. Sorrow will result if you think Mother is only this body. Mother is everywhere and within everyone. Therefore, don’t worry. (AC I 267)
Even if we do one hundred good deeds and make one mistake, people will forsake us. If we make one hundred mistakes and do even one good deed, God accepts us. (A Oct. 1986 , 1)
A perfect Man is filled with compassion when he sees a leper or such other persons. He never feels displeasure or disgust. Through concentration and divine power he can absorb the disease into himself. The sick people coming here may have been suffering from their diseases for 10 or 15 years. If I accept their diseases I need to suffer for only 5 minutes. [Yet close devotees know that Amma often suffers someone’s condition for much longer.] (M 74)
Mother’s purpose is to love and serve ailing humanity without any expectation. That is the work which has been entrusted to her. That is why she is here. ... Mother feels that everything is Her own Self, what then is the difference between Herself and others? ... When we think that everything is the same Supreme Self, then we can serve with love ... selflessly, without any expectations. When we have the realization that all is the same Supreme Self pervading all things, then we will stop all our bad habits like smoking, using intoxicating liquor and drugs, etc., and we will give up our luxurious way of life. Those who were spending huge amounts of money every month will reduce their expenses to a minimum; the rest they will use for serving others ... At the same time, they will enjoy a tremendous bliss, much more than ordinary people experience. Ordinary people are destroying their lives [through their attachments]. (A Nov. 1987 , 4)
[Q: Mother, I have committed many mistakes. What is the redress?]
Nothing particular is needed. It is enough if you meditate well. Mother has sought forgiveness from God for your faults. (AC I 234)
Mother is working all the 24 hours. Even while in the bathroom, Mother will read and write letters. ... She sees everything as Her own... the whole world is her house. Because of that attitude Mother gets immense energy. (A Nov. 1987 , 5)
It may be easy for you to love Mother, but that is not enough. Try to see Mother in everybody. Oh my children, don’t think that Mother is confined to this body alone. ... To truly love Mother means to love equally all beings in the world. ... Only when you have selfless love even towards an ant can Mother consider that you truly love her. (FMC 12-13)
Children, our duty towards God is compassion and love towards the poor and needy. (AC II 14)
One must love and serve every creature of this world as one’s own Self. Through our selfless service, we realize ourselves. It is we who gain. ... We shall be able to discover our happiness in the happiness of others. If one does not have love and compassion for others, years of spiritual sādhanā (practice) and austerities are of no use. ... Real service is extending help without expecting anything; that is when we serve out of real love and compassion. (A Nov/Dec 1981 [36/37], 1)
Children, each day when you move in the world do something to bring one other person happiness. Even if it is a small thing... If you can bring peace to someone’s heart then you will build a superhighway to God. Each day as you move about in the world, find one thing which you can do which will serve the Mother Earth and the animals. Collect a piece of litter or clear a small corner of land and plant a flower seed, etc. ... If we desire to merge in God’s Universal Consciousness then we must first try to love and serve the people while seeing God in each one. (A Dec/Jan 1988 [13/14], 3)
Children! You may ask, if God exists, where is He? Simply because we do not see Him with the external eyes, we should not exclaim “I see Him not, therefore He does not exist!” He is the One Truth and the Pure Self of all, of whom we are unaware. ... Due to the dullness of our mind we are unable to perceive the Truth. The mind should be controlled and made subtle and concentrated and in such a mind the Light of God will be reflected. He is all-pervading and resides in everything. (M 41-2)
[Q: Is there a God?] Why doubt? What is, is only God. [Q: Why then is He not seen?] What then is all this that is seen? What we see in different forms is God alone. [Q: Then why don’t I feel like that? What should be done to develop that feeling?] God’s real nature will be understood when the attitude of difference [“me” and “not-me,” likes and dislikes] in us is removed. ... The sun gets concealed by the clouds. In a like manner, God is concealed by the vāsanas [egocentric tendencies of like and dislike]. He becomes visible when the ... latent tendencies are removed. (AC I 44-5)
Children, to say that there is no God is like saying with one’s tongue, “I have no tongue.” (FMC 21)
When they [skeptics] say that there is no God, are they saying so after having searched for Him properly? ... What does it matter if one states an opinion about God [such as His being nonexistent] without searching for Him and attaining a proper knowledge about Him? ... Those who have seen God directly become witnesses to His existence. Their testimony does not become invalid simply because we have not seen Him. Those who have seen Him have also prescribed the way for others to see Him. It is not right to reject their testimony without following their advice on a trial basis, is it? (AC II 237-8, 317)
Īśvara (God) transcends speech and is beyond all limitations. He exists everywhere, in everyone. He is present in both animate and inanimate objects. One cannot say that God manifests in only a particular form nor can one say what He truly is. What is called Brahman [the Absolute] is ... God. The Absolute [God] is beyond all our conceptions. ... God is beyond qualities. ... However, to enable our intellect to grasp Him, we attribute certain qualities to God. These qualities can be seen reflected in great Mahātmas (sages). The qualities of God are truth, righteousness, love, kindness, compassion, self-sacrifice, etc. These qualities are God. When they grow in us we will come to know His real form [or essence]. Only when the ego is discarded will these qualities reflect in us. (A March/April 1990 [40/41], 2)
[Q: Can a human become totally identified with God or can he become God?]
He is God. There is nothing to become. But at present he is not aware of this great Truth because of his accumulated tendencies [the binding vāsanas of selfish likes and dislikes]. Son, even if it is said that God is in man, there is a Power transcending everything. That is the Supreme Reality. That Power is unique. That exists even beyond a Liberated Soul. The waves and the ocean are not essentially different, but the wave does not contain the ocean. The ocean stands as the substratum of the wave. (AC I 248)
God is all-pervading and has no attributes, but He reveals Himself according to how we conceive of Him. (FMC 21-3)
An actor takes many roles, but he remains the same. God is like this.... The different forms of God were set forth by the rishis [ṛṣis, ancient sages] to enable us to realize God by selecting names and forms according to our mental constitution, not that these are different Gods. The sages portray non-dual God in different ways at different times according to the taste and temperament of the people. ... Water may be called “vellom” in Malayalam and “pani” in Hindi, but does the colour and taste change? No! ... Christians call God Christ and Muslims call God Allah. Each person understands God according to his culture and worships as such. (FMC 114-6)
When we worship Rama, Krishna, or Christ, we adore the eternal ideals which manifest through Them. If They were mere individuals, nobody would have worshipped Them. When They are worshipped, a true seeker is not adoring a limited individual but the same all-pervading Cosmic Intelligence ... (AC I 135)
[Be] convinced that the Power which works through Mother, Rama and Krishna [and others] is One and the same. And that same Power is within us also. The same spiritual power should be seen in all deities in all the different forms of God. Also, the purpose of worshipping a particular deity, teacher or God is just to become one with his qualities. (A July 1988 , 1)
All the deities ... exist within us. One possessing Divine Power can manifest any of them by his mere will for the good of the world. (AC II 107)
We must have faith. ... But Mother doesn’t say that you must believe in God. It is enough to believe in one’s own Self. Our Real Nature should be known. Ātman [the Self] is eternal. The world is not eternal. You should become convinced about this. (AC I 391)
[To a skeptic:] All right, if there is no God, let it be so. Do we ever say that we do not exist? No. ... Therefore, study yourselves first.... You think that only that which can be seen and understood is you, that is, the body, mind, and intellect; but you are something more than that. ... That which gives you power, vigour, strength and the effulgence of life is something different. Modern science calls it energy and our Ancient Sages called it the Self, or God. You cannot deny Śakti [the Divine Power]. In reality, it is there that your real existence lies. That is the real “you.” To study yourself means to know that Self without which you have no existence, power or vigour. But that is very subtle; you cannot perceive it, but you can experience it. As you go more and more into it, you will get the power to understand that Self. But if you revel on the gross level, the subtle level cannot be understood. We reach God when we go in search of ourselves. (AC II 258-9)
Children, God-Realization and Self-Realization are the same. The ability to love everything, broad-mindedness, equanimity—this is God-Realization. (FMC 25)
There is the expansive “I” and the narrow “I.” Expansive “I” is the Pure Principle. ... The narrow “I” is the [ego] mind or jīva (individual soul).... That “I” which fills the whole universe is the real “I.” (AC I 359-60)
It is the same Consciousness which dwells in all living beings. (AC I 315)
Paramātma [the formless, transcendental Divine Self] is the platform or stage on which the drama of the world is being enacted. Without the stage there can be no drama but the stage still exists even without the drama. The Self is the Substratum on which all activities take place but It remains ever unaffected. It is inactive, It does nothing. (AC I 184)
The Self has no qualities. Always it is without change. ... It can be understood only through experience. (M 74)
If constant contemplation on your own real Self is done, the secret of Eternal Bliss will reveal itself to you. (M 52)
When an Incarnation (Avatāra Puruṣa) [like Jesus or Kṛṣṇa] says “I,” we will misunderstand and think that he is referring to that small little individual, but he is talking about the “I” which is the Supreme Principle. (AC II 57)
An Incarnation [Avatāra] is the descent of God Himself in human form.... Since everything is part of God, everybody is an incarnation. Jīvas [unenlightened individuals] are those who, not knowing that they are part of God, think “I am the body. This is my house, my property, etc.” ... Incarnations have a sense of fullness that others do not have. ... No limitations can be set for an Incarnation. The whole of God’s power cannot be confined to a human body of 5 or 6 feet, but God can work through this small body as He likes. This is the greatness of incarnated forms. ... Incarnations will be a great help for people to come closer to God [realizing their own Divine Nature]. God takes a body for our sake only. In reality, they [Incarnations] are not confined to the body, although it appears to us that they are. (FMC 29-30)
Those who say “Only our religion is true” are mistaken. ... There is no harm in having many religions and faiths but it is harmful to think that they are different and that one faith is higher and another lower. Do not see the differences, see the unity in them and the great ideals which they teach. What all religions show is how to develop compassion, love, faith, forbearance, endurance, renunciation, etc. That is what is important. Religion means expansiveness, the ability to accommodate anything and everything. Religion is the merging of mind where all differences disappear. (AC I 341)
What is known as matter is only at the empirical level. In reality, it is not there. Everything is one and the same Consciousness. (AC I 300)
The world can be perceived as the gross form of God. It is His Divine Play alone which is happening here. There is not a single place which is not holy here. Purity and impurity are our superimpositions. [Q: Oh, but what anāchāras (bad habits and customs) are there even in Bharata (India).] Do not judge things without knowing everything. The volition of the Eternal God might be there behind things which we consider to be anāchāra. (AC I 71)
God is both outside and inside the veil of “I” [separate self]; the veil of “I” is also God. ... Pure Consciousness alone is. (AC I 84)
All along we have been thinking that the body is real. This has caused sorrow. Now let us think in reverse order: Ātman is eternal, it is Ātman that has to be realized. If that thought becomes firmly fixed, our sorrows will be eliminated. Then there will be only true happiness. (FMC 96)
Life’s goal is Self-Realisation ... Identification with the body causes suffering and sorrow but when one cultivates the thought, “I am the Pure Self; I am in everything, everything is in me; there is nothing different from me; all of us are one, not many; why should I worry?” Then there is an end to all worries. (M 47)
Once the body-consciousness is transcended, then all differences disappear. Then there is only Oneness. The feeling of Oneness arises from the realisation of Pure Consciousness. (AC II 225)
Suppose a man gets angry with you for no reason. Even at that time a sādhaka [aspirant] should have the attitude to bow down to him realizing that it is a play of God to test him. ... Only he who prays even for the welfare of those who torment him can become a spiritual person. (FMC 61)
Let us take a vow that we will see only the good in others, however bad they appear to be. ... By hatred we slowly poison ourselves. The human body is composed of biological cells. As a reaction to hatred, each cell starts to die. By hating others we are committing suicide. (A Sept/Oct 1989 [34/35], 3)
[Speaking of political movements such as Marxism, etc.] People talk a lot but do very little. Talking and doing are two different things. Anybody can go on talking about the high ideals of life for days together, but if you observe his life, it will not have any connection with what he says. Such people cannot do any real service to society. The impact which they create among the people will be short-lived. Nobody will remember them after their death. Take the case of Rama, Krishna, Buddha, Christ and other such great souls. They lived aeons ago, but even today people remember them and worship them. Why? Because they lived the ideals which they spoke of. They could bring about great transformations, both in the minds of the people and in society. Even today thousands [billions] are inspired by them. They were not mere talkers but doers as well. They were not receivers [or takers] but givers of everything that they had. They were the real leaders... If somebody happens to scold us or quarrel with us, we will hate him and might even beat him due to our enmity towards him. Sages have no enmity towards anyone. They have no political party. They love those who oppose them. (AC II 20³-4)
[Q: Mother, just see how much this world has degenerated!]
Son, do not look at the world. Look within your own self and remove the impurities from your mind. Practice seeing only the good in others. When all the impurities are removed from your mind, then you will be able to help make others good. ... Only one who is completely freed from sorrow and impurities can free others from sorrow and make them pure. (AC II 100-1)
The prayer which is for the welfare of the world is the best. Give up prayers motivated by desire. Prayer should be free from desire. “Oh God, remove the sufferings of the world. Give a pure mind to all. Protect everyone.” Pray like this, my children. ... When we pray to make this world good we ourselves become good and the world also benefits. (A April 1987 , 1)
Liberated Souls, who have eclipsed all duality, perceive nothing as apart from their own Self. They are unattached and actionless [while in the midst of discharging actions beneficial to others]. ... Liberated Ones who have realised their True nature (Ātmasvarūpa) see nothing but Unity everywhere. All objects are known to them to be mere appearances. Until we reach that State, strict moral and spiritual disciplines should be followed and we should discharge our duties and responsibilities towards the world. (M 53)
Everything is the same for one who has attained Perfection. He can travel in any world. He will not have attachment to anything. He is beyond likes and dislikes. (AC I 189)
All yogas [spiritual paths] aim at samatva bhāva (attitude of equality). ...There is no God beyond that, whatever may be the path. That state should be attained. (AC I 358)
Equanimity is Yoga [Divine Union]. Once the attitude of equanimity is attained, grace will flow there continuously. Then there is no need of sādhanā [spiritual practice]. (FMC 36)
Self-Realisation is a state of perfect mental balance by which one can face all the situations of life without weeping over the painful and rejoicing [egocentrically] over the pleasant. Welcoming both pleasure and pain, while abiding in peace and going beyond them ... is Self-Realisation. (AC II 205)
A Jñāni [Self-Realized Master] knows that the body is not real. Descending a little from the plane of the Real, the Jñāni acts for the protection of the world. ... A Jñāni will do many things while being in the world, but will stand in the awareness of the Truth at all times. A Jñāni has no body-consciousness. He has only awareness of the Self. But others will feel [due to their ignorance] that he has a body. ... In the plane of Real Awareness there is no place for the world. The world merges in Satta [the Essence/Self]. Both within and without the same Consciousness. ... Such a person [that is, Jñānis alone can work for the protection of the world. Renunciation, feeling of equality, humility and simplicity are their trademarks. ... They can give up the body whenever it is necessary. ... There is no birth and death for a Jñāni. Everything is only apparent for him. For him there is nothing different from Brahman [Reality or Pure Awareness]. The body will exist for some more time even after one becomes a Knower of the Self. ... As far as a Jñāni is concerned, what is called a body [by others] is [for him] also Brahman. (AC I 40-3, 46)
Liberation [or Self-Realization] is a state of permanent bliss. That can be on earth itself. Heaven and hell are here itself. ... Those who live in the awareness of the Self are always blissful. ... In every action they discover joy. They are courageous. Performing only good actions they are not afraid of birth and death, nor are they worried thinking about punishment. Wherever they may be, they live established in the Truth. If a man of sacrifice is jailed, there also he will rejoice, singing the glories of God. His mind will be absorbed in meditation. ... Jail cannot bind him. ... Those who know Truth are unbound. Their happiness lies within themselves, not in any object outside. This state of mind is itself Liberation. (A May/June 1989 [30/31], 4)
[A devotee complains of not making any spiritual progress.]
The goal can be attained within two or three years. Detachment should be there. Do you know what kind of dispassion it should be? Intense. Lying in the midst of a blazing fire, would we not call aloud screaming, “Save me, save me!” Forgetting body, mind and intellect, is there a call, a complete surrender to God? When we come close to death, when death stands before us, is it not so? God should be called just like that. Not much time is needed to attain the goal if God is constantly called like this. (AC I 151-2)
Not much time is needed for God-Realisation. ... Liberation can happen in a moment. ... [Q: Is it possible to know God for those of us who are ordinary people?] Children, God is also ordinary at all times and therefore not difficult to know. But ... the ignorant ones who are drowning themselves in worldliness cannot know the Truth. Whoever it may be, he who has sincere interest can know and see [realize] God. (AC I 48-9, 365)
Liberation is freedom from attachments. (A July/August, 1989 [32/33], 23)
He is liberated who is desireless. The desire rising up from the feeling “I” and “mine” causes bondage. (AC I 47)
Cultivate vairāgya (detachment). If we are attached to the worldly objects then how will we ever get attached to God? (A March/April 1988 [16/17], 5)
If the desires are not controlled now, later they will control you and eventually they will swallow you. (AC I 138)
Enjoyment which is gained from worldly pleasures is like the enjoyment which one gains by scratching a scab. It is a pleasure when you scratch, but later it will become infected. It will again itch and become infected with pus. You may feel some temporary happiness while enjoying worldly pleasures, but later they will become the source of tremendous sorrow. (AC II 249)
Everything, even Supreme Bliss, is within you and unshakable faith will enable you to realise it in experience. The momentary pleasure derived from sensual objects is only a portion of the infinite inner bliss. ... It is our ignorance that prevents us from cognising this limitless treasure of Eternal Bliss. Remove the self-made dam of ego and ignorance from your mind and enjoy the continuous and unbroken flow of the Lord’s Grace. (M 53)
No saint or scripture says that you should not enjoy the pleasures of the world. But you are asked to exercise a certain amount of restraint while enjoying. Always maintain self-control and be the master of the external objects and circumstances. Do not let anything enslave or control you. (AC II 72)
Fascination for anything except God is dangerous. (AC I 195)
Whatever is seen is the projection of the mind. ... All that we see and experience in this world is a long dream. It is nothing but the jugglery of the mind. When we awaken into the state of God-Realisation, we will come to know this fact through direct experience. When there is no mind there is no world. In deep sleep there is no mind and therefore no “you” or “I,” day or night, wife or children, cars or television, yesterday or tomorrow. Immediately upon waking up, the sense of “I” comes and then everything else follows. The goal of spiritual sādhanā [practice] is to eliminate the mind which consists of [selfish] thoughts and desires. The Self is beyond all these. To know the Self, the mind should be eradicated. (AC II 273-4)
We must gain the strong conviction that this world is ever-changing, that Reality is something other than this. The objective world, these things and people, are not our eternal friends. When we leave this world nothing will come with us. Mother is not asking you to stop all of your actions. Do whatever you want but at the same time try to understand the ephemeral nature of the world. (A August 1987 , 5)
Those who get enmeshed in this world shall reap only sorrow and impediments. When one is able to discriminate between the transient and the eternal, one will be convinced that this transient world is only māyā [illusion]. Mother said that the world is māyā, but if we can perceive and imbibe the good in this world, then the world would not bind us. It will only help us to progress in the right manner. ... Therefore, instead of discarding everything as māyā, understand the principle behind each object and make use of it in life. Abandon the wrong side of things. The sages of old perceived the good in every object of the universe. Those who have overcome the māyā become the protectors of the world. ... Māyā exists only as long as the “I-ness” (ego) is there. ... When the “I” is not there, there is neither māyā nor this world. It is because the knowledge is imperfect that māyā seems to exist. After the dawn of enlightenment, Truth alone will be perceived. ... Child, creation (world) is there only as long as the [ego-]“I” consciousness is there. Otherwise there is neither creation nor jīva (the individual experiencer). Brahman [Divine Reality] remains as Brahman. ... Brahman always remains as Brahman itself. But the experience of That occurs only when all thoughts subside. (A Jan/Feb 1990 [38/39], 2-3)
In the beginning, the Guru will tell the disciple, who is a practitioner [still having attachments], “The world is an illusion. Rejecting it, become established in the Self.” It is to speed up the sādhanā [liberating spiritual practice]. But at last he [the practitioner] will understand that this whole world is part of God when he reaches Realisation. Then there will not be anything to reject, only to love and serve all. (AC I 54)
Those who have reached the state of Pure Consciousness will see That alone in whatever they see. Because we haven’t reached that state, we see only the chaff and not the Essence. (AC II 194)
The so-called difficulties of renunciation undergone in spiritual life will not be felt to be sufferings if our desire to reach the goal is intense.... Thinking of the Eternal Bliss attainable through God-Realisation, one will feel nothing as a cause of suffering. Therefore, always think of God. Do not go for imitation gold when the real thing is there. Why go seeking the excreta of a dog when nectar lies within us? (M 45)
A devotee, during his course of spiritual practice, may have to undergo different kinds of trials and tribulations. Destroying your sense of “I” and “mine,” He [the God-Self] may deprive you of all your wealth ... But the bliss that you experience will be infinite and inexpressible compared to which the sufferings are nothing. (AC I 291)
Some people relinquish everything for God. Some others accumulate everything for themselves. Those who accumulate will suffer. Those who give up will be joyful. (AC I 73)
One spontaneously renounces everything and takes to sannyās [a renunciate’s life] when one has had enough of worldly life. It is a natural process. Nobody can become a sannyāsin [through will-power]. It just happens. (AC II 259)
[Q: Both the desire to lead a worldly life and the desire to lead a spiritual life are desires. What is the difference between the two?]
There is no end to the desires of a person who leads a worldly life. It is like a never-ending circle; it goes on and on. The person toils and struggles to get all his desires fulfilled. In the process he dissipates all his energies and finally collapses. Even then, there still remains a chain of unfulfilled desires [necessitating rebirth]. ... The individual remains dissatisfied forever. But with a spiritual seeker it is not so. His one and only desire is to realise God. He does everything with that as his goal. He has no worldly desires to fulfill. He withdraws his senses from worldly objects and fixes them on the form of his Beloved Deity [or the Self]. ... Therefore, there is no dissipation of energy. All desires end in his desire for God. His desire is for the highest and if that desire is fulfilled, he can save thousands from the cycle of rebirth. He becomes like a tree giving shade and fruit to all humanity. He gives peace and tranquility to any person who approaches him. The desire of the person who runs after worldly objects is of a lower nature. He is always selfishly motivated. He can neither save himself, his family, nor society. He becomes an abode of chaos and confusion. But it is not only his own mind which becomes agitated; he creates the same agitation in the minds of others as well. ... [Thus,] the desires of a person immersed in the world destroy himself and others, but the desire of a spiritual person to realise God saves himself and also others from destruction. (AC II 270-1)
A real meditator can live even without food. Whatever nourishment he wants will be had from within. He is not a slave to food like a worldly person; he is master of it. During Mother’s period of sādhanā she lived for months without even drinking water. (AC II 269-70)
In the beginning stages, discipline is very important; without it we cannot attain the goal. When the goal is attained, you can surrender this discipline also at the Feet of the Lord. ... Mother does not want to restrict your freedom [with the āśram rules]. ... If rules and regulations are there now, then you can be fully free tomorrow. It is for tomorrow’s freedom that Mother is giving these rules and regulations today [such as meditating for a certain time each day, eating simple vegetarian food, talking calmly and sparingly, being tidy and clean, not smoking, avoiding bad company and careless mixing with the opposite sex, etc.] (A March/April 1989 [28/29], 1)
Understand that none of these things [or people] in this world are related to us. ... God alone is the Eternal Truth. ... What we have as our own is God alone. ... One should take refuge in the eternal God after thinking about all this with discrimination. (AC I 375)
When real longing to realise God comes, one spontaneously cuts off all bondages. He may even give up his wife and children or parents. ... A renunciate’s family will be protected and looked after by God. Whereas, aspirants who still have not developed that kind of vairāgya [detachment] must remain in the family and discharge their duties as best they can, surrendering everything to God. (AC II 93)
A householder is equally great [as a sannyāsin, or renunciate monk/nun] if he leads a detached life surrendering everything to God, accepting all his experiences, both good and bad as His blessed gift. But for most people it is difficult to lead a detached life while being in the family. Somehow or other one will get bound. Otherwise, one needs to have a tremendous amount of mental strength and detachment to lead such a life. A real householder should be able to renounce everything whenever he wants to do so. ... Ahouseholder should always have the awareness that worldly relationships are momentary and may break at any time. ... He should have the firm faith that all the actions in which he is engaged are just temporary work entrusted by God. Like a faithful servant he must be able to do everything without the sense of ownership. (AC II 212)
People in the olden days used to teach children what is permanent and what is impermanent. They taught that the aim of life is God-Realization. Children were given education which enabled them to know who they were. Nowadays parents encourage children only to earn money. (FMC 89)
Mother is not saying that wealth is unnecessary. You should earn wealth, but it is spirituality which teaches us the secret of how to use it. ... After understanding spirituality, earn wealth [if you are a householder], and let it be beneficial, not only to you, but to the world as well. Study spiritual principles well and then move in society, bringing about a change. (A Nov. 1987 , 2)
Movies which create a devotional mood are not very harmful, but other types of films should be avoided. Worldly films will create more negative vibrations in us. ... One of the causes for the degeneration of our culture is the cheap films that are produced and shown in public. People spend a lot of money, time and energy in seeing them without realising the tremendous bad effect created by such films. (AC II 165)
A spiritual aspirant should be very careful about the opposite sex. Like a whirlwind, only after it lifts you and flings you down do you realize the danger. (FMC 77)
Many sannyāsins [monks] become lecherous upon seeing a woman ... they see only the flesh; they don’t see the consciousness [God] which is responsible for the beauty and vitality. (AC II 158)
[Regarding the body:] What is it after all except a bag of stools, flesh, and blood? ... Try to pierce through and see the Real Thing which makes it beautiful and shining. That is the Supreme Consciousness. This is how you have to discriminate and detach yourselves from the body and the world of objects. Once you are convinced of the ephemeral nature of the so-called pleasure-giving objects, then you won’t desire them. There ends sorrow. (AC I 307)
[Q: Some Western psychologists say that spending time in solitude and meditation without being involved in worldly life is a mental disease.] ... Westerners are unable to think of a world forsaking material pleasures. Their slogan is enjoy life to the maximum; body, body, body. Some of them go a little higher, up to the level of the intellect. ... Those who live an exclusively worldly life are victims of the mental disease of worldliness. They waste most of their energy on trivial matters and have very little mental balance. A small problem is enough to upset them. They may even commit suicide out of desperation and are enslaved by sense objects. They have no real wisdom or peace of mind. A spiritual being conserves his energy and uses it to save thousands of worldly people from going mad by giving them peace and mental comfort. (AC II 278-9)
A Great Soul [mahātma] ... through intense spiritual practices ... controls and sublimates all his passions and with his purified vital energy, he sanctifies the whole world. (AC II 26)
By the power of his eyes he can bring others to spirituality. (M 70)
Children, you should discriminate while enjoying worldly pleasures. Through constant discrimination [viveka], you will reach a mental state where you can give up everything. Relatives, riches, sensual pleasures and the like can only give temporary happiness. They are all non-eternal. It is not the external objects which give us happiness. There are many people who have all the material pleasures but are still unhappy and discontent.... Understand that objects are ephemeral. Search for the eternal; that is the real source of happiness, the Self. Be satisfied with what you have. Renounce greed, selfishness and jealousy. If you can do this, in due course you will reach the state [of God-realization] where all desires end. (AC II 229-30)
Exhaustion of vāsanas [selfish tendencies of attachment and aversion] and destruction of mind [“a bundle of selfish thoughts”], both are the same. That itself is Liberation. ... The first vāsana in a jīva [“individual soul”] is derived from God, karma starts from this. From karma occurs subsequent births. The wheel [of rebirth] goes on revolving like this. Only through exhaustion of vāsanas can one escape this. Spiritual activities like satsang [company of the holy], bhajan [devotional singing], dhyāna [meditation], etc., will be helpful to exhaust vāsanas. (FMC 98-9)
There is a very subtle sheath [of life force] around our body. There is another sheath of thoughts surrounding that. Just like a tape recorder, this sheath of thought is made by picking up all actions done by thought, word and deed while we live. After death, these sheaths [composed of these vāsanas of selfish thoughts and tendencies], leaving the body, go up. According to the actions performed, each soul will reach its particular plane. (M 82)
The scriptures say that the departed soul will remain in the atmosphere for two or three years after death. ... When the relatives offer oblations to the departed soul with concentration, love, sincerity and a strong resolve, the departed soul will feel the effect and be uplifted and will gain peace or perhaps even a better birth. That soul ascends to the higher worlds when the relatives perform pūja [rituals] for its sustenance uttering the person’s name and birth star and thinking of his or her form. The relatives’ sankalpa [resolve] acts upon the soul similar to the wind blowing a bubble up into the sky. ... All of the aforesaid applies only to souls who are trapped in the bonds of attachment. Mahātmas [Great Souls] who have gone beyond all such feelings can act according to their own wish [in order to benefit sentient beings] after leaving the mortal frame. (AC II 66-7)
The next birth [for an unenlightened jīva, or soul] will be according to the thoughts one has at death. The jīva will go on accepting bodies [over life-times] until all desires are eliminated. ... Some jīvas, without much delay after death, accept other bodies according to their karma. Some others will wander around. It is for those that wander that the rituals are done by the relatives who are still living. By chanting certain mantras [sacred phrases] with concentration, it is possible for the wandering jīvas to get a higher birth and stop their wandering. But the case is different as far as a Liberated Soul is concerned. He will merge with the Absolute... (AC I 230)
[Regarding the performance of oblations, Ammā says:] As far as a real sādhak [spiritual aspirant] is concerned, he does not have to do any of these karmas [ritual actions on behalf of departed relatives]. (AC I 280)
A meditator’s proximity will give them [departed souls] much happiness. (AC I 234)
At the moment of death, only the unfulfilled and strong desires will come to the surface of the mind. Those desires will decide what you will become in your next life. If they are godly thoughts, then you will become a devotee, but if they are worldly thoughts, you will be again thrown into the world of vāsanas. That is why it is said that you should cultivate divine thoughts through practice. You cannot think of God all of a sudden, especially at the moment of death. Only if this thought is firmly fixed and established through constant practice will it come at that moment. (AC II 59)
Some people desire to live in heaven by performing sacrifices and charitable acts designed to produce good results. If they reach heaven after death they can stay and enjoy there only till the results of their virtuous acts are exhausted. (M 57-8)
Even heaven is not permanent. When the merit is exhausted, one will come down again. ... Whether in heaven or hell, the Self [Spirit] undergoes no change. (M 75)
[The actual fact is that] you are never born, you never die. Children, if the fan or fridge or light bulb breaks, the electric current is not destroyed. In like manner, the Ātma [Divine Self] in you is ever-existing. Fear not that you will die, don’t think of birth either. (A Sept/Oct 1987 [10/11], 10)
Knowers of God ... are not afraid of death. Instead, they will welcome death. They enter not the world of death but the world of God. (AC I 91)
Ātma Vidya [Knowledge of the Self] ... alone will lift us permanently and give us the strength to persevere under all circumstances and in all worlds. That is the fundamental thing to be learned. (A Oct/Nov 1988 [23/24], 5)
Having lived so many years thinking that we are the body, concentration will not be got simply by saying that we are the Self. We are lucky if we can get even one minute of one-pointedness [concentration]. ... It is very difficult. One can move forward overcoming everything if lakshya bodha [intentness on attaining the goal] is there. No obstacle will be a problem if we remember the Beatific Vision that awaits us. Nothing is a problem when we think of that. We should [therefore] try to control the mind through tyāga (renunciation). (AC I 390-1)
Concentration, that is what is needed. One who has concentration can conquer this entire world. ... Concentration should be increased somehow. It is possible through practice. (AC I 246)
Meditation and other spiritual practices are meant only for that purpose. (AC II 241)
Happiness is derived from concentration of the mind. ... Momentary happiness is experienced when we concentrate on momentary objects. What then will be the amount of bliss gained if concentration is attained on the Lord, the eternal repository of all glory? (AC II 233-4)
[Concentration] is difficult if one stays in the world. The mind will get dissipated. But it can be easily controlled if one comes to an āśram and lives under the guidance of a Sadguru. (AC II 260)
Where there is concentration, there is power (śakti). ... At present our mind is flowing out towards hundreds of sense objects. If the mind is controlled and focused on one point, tremendous power will be generated which can be used to do wonderful things. ... [Nevertheless, Mother warns against any egocentric use of supernormal powers, or siddhis, which may result of such concentration:] Siddhis have nothing to do with spirituality. ... People are after siddhis, the imitation gold, instead of knowing and understanding that Real Thing [the Self]. ... Do not go after those unworthy siddhis. Know the Self. Know who you are. ... There is nothing to gain by showing siddhis. ... Everything will be known spontaneously if you do sādhanā [spiritual practice]. Understand who you are. Know the Self. Then you can lead a life without attachment to anything. (AC II 205-7)
The Lord Himself will directly look after the needs of a true devotee and renunciate. If anyone doubts this, let them come to Mother. She will prove it from her own experience. (AC II 247)
A tapasvi [selfless master of concentration] becomes the very Self of everything. His will is universal. He can do anything and everything if he wills it so. Through rigorous spiritual practices, he becomes an unending storehouse of spiritual power. ... Everything necessary will come to the place where a tapasvi sits. ... Worldly objects are not a problem for him. He always experiences bliss in the vision of the real Gem. He is blissful even in the dirtiest place. Circumstances cannot enslave him. He is a master of them. Because he has overcome all sorrow and is completely peaceful, he is capable of giving peace and happiness to others, eradicating their sorrow and disappointment. (AC II 208, 210)
[Q: Mother, why do people suffer and become miserable?]
That is due to their karma phala (the results of their past actions). They are experiencing the fruit of their misdeeds. ... Now you are crying because of this and you blame God. ... All our misfortunes befall us due to our disobedience of the Divine Law. Suffering comes for spiritual upliftment. God punishes none. (A May 1987 , 1)
Some may say that God is a cruel Being Who has created this world full of sufferings. ... But God is not really cruel. He is compassionate only.... To blame God for our sufferings by attributing cruelty to Him is like blaming our mother for all the transgressions that we commit in our lives.... If everybody were willing to obey God’s words, there would not be any sorrow and we could live happily. (M 54-5).
God will not punish us. Out of His compassion, He will only give us opportunities to think, discriminate and act properly. (AC II, 43)
What a pity! All are living in their little world made of their own dreams. However much sorrow comes, these [worldly] people won’t properly turn Godward. (AC I 326)
A true devotee who has surrendered everything to the Supreme will not worry about the past or the future. For him whatever happens is God’s Will. He accepts everything as His prasād [sacred gift]. (AC II 38)
A true devotee is one who takes everything as God’s Will, both bad and good. In reality, there is nothing bad for him. Everything is seen as good and beautiful for a true devotee because for him, all is God so there is nothing to hate. Something is good and something else is bad only for a person who has likes and dislikes. But in the case of a real devotee, there are no likes and dislikes. He sees God’s Divine Hand behind every experience and every act. For such a person, is there anything that could be called “bad”? If he hates or dislikes something, it is the same as hating God, which is unnatural to him. In his world there is only love. To such a devotee, God is his servant. (AC I 177)
The lowest hell will become the abode of happiness if one’s mind is conquered and kept calm and tranquil. (A Nov/Dec 1989 [36/37], 1)
[Q: After how many years ... (will) the entire human race be turned into knowers of the Self? Would such a thing be possible?]
God’s resolve is not there for this to happen. Everything [e.g., ignorance and wisdom, pain and pleasure, sorrow and joy, wrong and right] must be there in the Creation. Otherwise, how could the līlā (God’s play) take place? (AC I 36)
Everything is His Will. Infinite and multifaceted is God’s play. (AC I 271)
We are caught in Māyā. Due to this we are agitated and worried.... Suppose we are dreaming and a tiger starts chasing us. We will be running and running, sweating and full of fear. Suddenly we wake up and realize it was just a dream, but we are drenched in sweat. This is how we are going on in the world. Through our ignorance we have forgotten the Eternal Truth, the Reality. ... Even when someone tells us about the Truth, we go on insisting “No! No!” and go on living immersed in the Dream. If we offer all our sorrows to God, in that way we can reach God. When we feel helpless—that kind of sorrow will lead us to God. Like in the dream. Only when we were filled with fear of the tiger did we wake up. Otherwise we would still be dreaming! Also, if while dreaming [i.e., immersed in worldly life] you realize that you are dreaming then you can enjoy the dream. Then you can even change the dream. (A March-April 1988 [16-17], 13)
Never think that “I am a sinner and have committed a lot of mistakes. I have strayed away from ... God.” All the sins we have committed in the past become a cancelled check once we surrender at the Feet of God. (A June 1987 , 5)
What is said in astrology is the result of the actions done in the past. The fruit of actions can be obstructed through other actions, i.e., actions dedicated to God. A stone which is thrown upwards can be caught before it falls down. Likewise, the course of the fruit of actions (karma phala) can be changed before fructifying. A horoscope will give way before God’s Will (sankalpa). ... Self-effort also is indispensable, doing spiritual practices like worship (pūja), japa [recitation of a Name of God], and meditation. (AC I 279)
Self-effort and grace are interdependent. Without one, the other is impossible. (AC I 136)
Even though Supreme Truth resides in all living beings, it will shine only through sādhanā. (FMC 74)
Children, there is no shortcut to God, sādhanā must be performed regularly and with devotion. It is our own effort which enables us to experience the Grace of God which is always being showered on us. Therefore, whatever spare time you get, use it to seek God. (A Dec/Jan 1988 [13-14], 7)
In order to raise oneself from identification with the body to the level of Ātman, the Supreme Self, one should feel the desperation of a person who is trapped in a burning house or one who is drowning in deep waters. Such a person will not have to wait long for the darśan (vision) of God. (FMC 27)
Children, at present we are zero watt bulbs—very dim, but through tapas [the “heat” of concentration, practice, austerity] we can become ten-thousand watt bulbs. ... Effort is needed, then light will come. (A Oct. 1986 , 3)
It is good for a spiritual aspirant to visit slums, hospitals, etc., at least once a month. These visits will help him understand the nature of life’s miseries and make his mind strong and compassionate. (FMC 74-5)
Children, if you are concerned about the suffering humanity, do sādhanā sincerely. With faith in God, purify your hearts and become selfless. Then, when you move in the world, others will also benefit. You will gain tremendous power and energy to go among the people and relieve their pain and give shelter. (A Dec/Jan 1988 [13-14], 9)
Although Jesus Christ was externally a man, internally He was a mother. ... He gave His life to love; He taught how to love. But when people try to convey His message they misinterpret it. If one wants to know His real nature then one must do intense austerities. No one is doing that and so they cannot possibly convey His teachings properly. ... Only those who perfectly follow the path of Jesus Christ can say what He is, others cannot. (A August 1987 , 5)
[Q: Isn’t it also said that everyone is an Incarnation (of God)?]
Yes son, in a sense everyone is, but that should be realised. ... Do you know how meaningless it is to say that everyone is an Incarnation? It is like saying that the coconut and the coconut tree are equal. The coconut tree is mature enough to give coconuts but the coconut by itself is not. The coconut may say, “I am also the coconut tree,” but is there any meaning in it? A coconut tree is contained [potentially] in a coconut, but it is not yet ready to bear fruits. ... Similar is the difference between an ordinary soul or person who simply declares that he is an Incarnation and a Mahātma [Great Soul] who is established in the Real. It is not enough to say, “I am an Incarnation.” One should be able to shower Grace on others and bless them. (AC II 56-7)
Spiritual Realisation can be attained only through the utter destruction of selfishness which veils the true nature of one’s real Self. (M 48)
We will not reach that Supreme Self if there is even an iota of selfishness.... Once the ego is surrendered then there are no selfish motives at all or separation from God. We will become a fountain of love and compassion. (AC I 145, 167)
The thought of “I-ness” and “my-ness” is the source of all the problems. (FMC 105)
Get rid of “I” and “mine” and consider everything as God’s. (AC II 102)
Grace will flow into us when we have the humble attitude “I am nothing.” (AC II 45)
Humility ... is the first and foremost quality that is needed. Humility means obedience, surrendering one’s ego and leading a life in submission to the Divine Will... (AC II 198)
Everyone says with pride: “I” do everything. In fact we don’t know who does things. That [Supreme Cause] is what is to be known. (M 72)
The thought that “I am the doer” should go. God is the doer. (AC I 49-50)
The wind of God’s Grace cannot lift us if we are carrying the load of desires and ego... (FMC 62)
Child, never do spiritual practices on your own. This is a serious matter.... There must be supervision. Even to gain worldly knowledge, a teacher is needed. When such is the case, how much more imperative it is to follow the advice of a Master while practicing the spiritual science, the king of all knowledges! (AC II 7)
Guru and God are within everybody, but in the beginning external gurus are necessary. After a certain stage they are not necessary. Afterwards one can grasp essential principles from each and every object and move forward. (FMC 19)
A real Guru [“Remover of darkness/ignorance”] ... always works with the vāsanas [reactive, selfish tendencies] of the disciples. He makes the disciple realise his negativities and helps him to eliminate them. A True Master never gives importance to siddhis [paranormal powers]. [Yet] he has all the powers needed under his sway. Even then, he will always remain simple and humble. A True Master is a Self-Realised Soul. One can see and experience all the eternal virtues like universal love, renunciation, patience, forbearance, endurance, etc., in him. He will have equal vision and perfect balance of mind in all circumstances. There will not be even an iota of selfishness in him. He will have no desires except the good and well-being of the entire creation. He will neither find fault with others nor will he criticize anyone. Peace and tranquility are his nature. Anger can never overpower him. If you see him get angry, that will only be for correcting and guiding others. His anger is another expression of his love. ... The real Master will appear to be angry but that is only an external show. His mind will not be affected by it. ... The Guru will have more of a servant-like attitude than the disciple. The Guru will have the attitude to transform the disciple by every possible means. ... The Guru will have tremendous patience. Even if the disciple commits serious errors, the Guru will patiently forbear and will give opportunity after opportunity for the śiṣya [disciple] to correct himself and become flawless. A real Guru will be like a true mother and a true father to the disciple. That means not only will he love the disciple selflessly and wholeheartedly, but at the same time, he will also be a good disciplinarian. (AC II 102-3)
Attachment to the Guru will withdraw the mind from all worldly thoughts and objects. It will help the mind to fix the thoughts on the Guru and thus steadfastness will slowly increase. ... Love is the force which binds the disciple to the Guru and it is the same love which makes him realise God. (AC II 281-2)
In most cases the disciple becomes too attached to the Guru’s external form and forgets about his all-pervasive nature. Attachment to the Guru’s form supported by the awareness of his omniscience and all-pervasiveness is the perfect attitude. ... If you take Mother as the body, then you cannot grow spiritually. Mother is not this body. She is her children’s Self. (AC I 120)
Latent tendencies [of selfishness, attachment, ignorance, anger, lust, pride, pettiness, etc.] are of a gross and subtle nature. We can somehow eliminate the gross tendencies because of their existing in the conscious mind, but the subtle tendencies which are lodged in the sub-conscious mind require great effort to root out and this is possible only in the Divine Presence of a real Guru or Realised Soul. A real Guru will bring out and cause to be destroyed all of the latent tendencies of the mind of the disciple taking into account his or her individual nature. (M 49)
[The Guru] will not allow an iota of ego to grow [in the disciple]. To check the growth of pride, the Guru may act in a very cruel manner. ... People who see the blacksmith forging a hot piece of iron with his hammer may think that he is a cruel person. The iron piece may also think that nowhere can there be such a brute. But, while dealing each blow, the blacksmith is only thinking of the end-product. The real Guru is also like this. (FMC 20)
The Guru will test the disciple in different ways. Only one who is endowed with strong determination can withstand all those tests and proceed on the spiritual path. But once those tests are passed, then the infinite Grace of the Guru will flow towards the disciple unimpeded. ... Children, there is nothing that the Guru cannot give. Guru is the Supreme Consciousness Itself. Selfless service and utter dedication are the two things which make one fit to receive the Guru’s Grace. (AC I 317-8)
If there is even a trace of ego in the heart of my children, I will wipe it out that very moment. I am ready to take any number of births for the sake of serving the devotees, but I cannot become the servant of ego. (M 70)
It does not matter which [spiritual] path you follow. It may be jñāna[wisdom], karma [(selfless) action] or bhakti [devotion]. It does not matter if you are one who meditates on the formless Self or one who meditates on God with form. What is needed first is to cleanse the mind. Without that, however much practice you do, it will not enable you to attain Perfection. Before we sow seeds, the weeds must be removed. Only then will we get a good harvest. Likewise, [the vāsanas,] negative tendencies, likes and dislikes, etc., must first be uprooted. Prayer and chanting of the Divine Name will enable us to attain that goal easily. Whether it is worshipping the Formless, or God with form, what we need is a pure resolve... The Realization of God ... needs a life-long practice. ... If we simply read and learn things, then there is no difference between us and a tape recorder. Whatever is recorded will be repeated. What we want is to apply all these scriptural statements to our lives and live them. ... Mother knows that you know all these things. Now what is needed is practice. The ego should be uprooted. [All] practice is for eliminating the ego. (A March/April 1989 [28/29], 3-4)
Mother’s darling children! Any sādhanā (spiritual practice) that you do benefits the entire world. The vibrations from your chanting mantra [Names of God and/or sacred syllables] and meditating will purify the atmosphere as well as your own mind. Unknowingly, you will spread peace and quietude to those you come in contact with. If you are concerned about the welfare of the world, then you do sādhanā sincerely. Children, become like the lighthouse that guides the ships which sail in the darkness. Shine the light of God in the world. (A Dec/Jan 1988 [13-14], 7)
Chanting a mantra with concentration will definitely create a change in Nature. At present, due to man’s over-indulgence and evil acts, Nature’s harmony has been lost. We have broken the laws set by Nature. ... In the olden days when people were truthful and good-hearted and worked together with mutual love and sincerity, Nature also favoured them with prosperity. It rained during the time when it was needed and only the necessary amount. The sun also shone in the same way. There was perfect balance between Nature and human beings. Whereas, now things have changed. Everything is chaos and confusion. Human beings act as they like. Morality, righteousness, truthfulness, mutual love, faith and sincerity have all been lost. The balance has been upset. Nature has stopped favouring selfish human beings; now She is reacting. This is a great threat to the human race. ... We will be saved only if we change. Meditation, prayer, chanting and other spiritual practices are the only salvation. This is not a punishment, but the way which God has provided to make us think, discriminate and act.... It is all because of the evil doings of human beings; no one else is to blame.... Group chanting and prayer is very powerful. It can change anything. The lost harmony of the human mind can be restored only through a selfless attitude supported by prayer, meditation, and chanting of mantras. First, the human mind should be harmonised, then the harmony of Nature will spontaneously take place. Where there is concentration [on God], there is harmony. (AC II 35, 337)
Mantras [sacred sounds or phrases, such as “Oṃ Namah Śivāya,” “Oṃ Klīm Kṛṣṇāya Namah,” or “Oṃ Śrīm Hṛīm Parā Śaktyai Namah”] will take us to the threshold of the Absolute Reality. Then there is only a small distance from there to the Supreme. ... With each inhalation and exhalation chant the mantra until it becomes continuous and spontaneous. Then you will reach a state of meditation where the mind will become still and the japa [recitation] will stop. ... There are some syllables or seed letters [such as “Oṃ,” “Hṛim,” “Klim,” “Śrim,” etc.] which are very powerful, and if they are uttered with full concentration they will create full power. They will awaken God within us. They will transform our unrefined nature into a regenerative one.... If one receives a mantra from a Perfect Master, one is at a great advantage. A Perfect Master has purified his vital force completely, he has sublimated his vital force. ... He or she is like an electric transformer which can transmit the power of electricity. We can imbibe their spiritual power through initiation into a mantra. (A July 1987 , 2-3)
Bhajan or devotional singing is a spiritual discipline aimed at concentrating the mind on one’s Beloved Deity. Through that one-pointedness, one can merge in the Divine Being and experience the Bliss of one’s True Self.... It matters not whether one believes in Krishna or Christ, Mother Kali or Mother Mary. A formless God or even a flame, a mountain or an ideal such as world peace can be meditated upon while singing. ... If bhajan is sung without concentration, it is a waste of energy. If sung with one-pointedness, such songs will benefit the singer, the listener and also Nature. Such songs will awaken the listeners minds in due course. Knowledge of the scriptures [including books on the lives and teachings of saints] is a must. Study is a sādhanā. It should not be to inflate your ego but to get rid of it. The scriptural statements and dictums will act as weapons to fight against mental conflicts and weaknesses which might arise during the course of sādhanā. (AC I 233)
Bhakti Yoga or the Path of Devotion is the path wherein the devotee will have the attitude that everything belongs to God. Nothing and no one is one’s own. In this path we are humble. The attitude of a servant, of being a nobody, will be there. (AC II 189)
[Yet] devotion without knowledge [the wisdom that sees everything as God] will bind us, it will not liberate us. ... Bhakti (devotion) rooted in jñāna ([supreme] knowledge) means to selflessly love God and to take refuge in Him being free from the illusion of the multiplicity of God. (FMC 36)
Bhakti without jñāna and jñāna without bhakti are both harmful. In fact, bhakti is the easiest and least complicated way. Anyone and everyone can follow it. Bhakti culminates in jñāna. The Lord of a true devotee and Brahman, the Absolute Reality of the jñāni, are both one and the same. ... Jñāna without bhakti is dry, and bhakti without jñāna is blind. (AC II 288)
Parābhakti (Supreme Devotion) is pure Vedānta [or wisdom]. A true devotee sees everything as pervaded by God. He does not see anything except God everywhere. When a devotee says, “Everything is pervaded by God,” the Vedāntin says, “Everything is pervaded by Brahman [Absolute Reality].” Both are one and the same. (AC I 55)
[Therefore:] Either imagine, “Everything is in me. All that is seen is my Self” or, considering: “I am nothing; all these are Thine,” dedicate everything to God. (M 73)
Practice devotion while knowing and understanding the essential principles of spirituality. The devotee’s attitude should be that God is all-pervading, omniscient, and omnipotent. All that we see is God. ... He who really loves God will worship Him, seeing everything pervaded by Him and serving others as His forms. ... Seeing God only in a particular form without understanding the real nature of Godhood is not true devotion. If God abides only in a particular form or place, being limited, He is no longer God. (AC II 240)
Whatever object you perceive, ... [have] the idea that it is your Beloved Deity. (AC II 292)
[Q: Mother, it is said that some devotees are deranged.] ...
That is not ordinary craziness but God-intoxicated craziness. If one has that, one has succeeded. In reality, who is mad, devotees or worldly people? A devotee, through his craziness for God, saves thousands and thousands of people from going mad after worldly pleasures and getting drowned in them and dissipating their energy. Whereas worldly people get completely caught up in worldly affairs and become unbalanced, thereby destroying their lives and the lives of others as well. Some commit suicide or fight with each other even over silly things. They dissipate their energy in smoking, drinking and other indulgences. Now tell Mother who is really crazy and which craziness is better? (AC II 7)
[Q: All this (talk of devotion) will seem primitive to a non-dualist.] ...
A real non-dualist will not reproach all this. For them, everything will be felt as different aspects of the same Truth. Those who walk the path of duality also ultimately reach Non-duality. ... Is it not enough to reach there some way or other? One person travelled by water. Another one by land. Both reached the same place. (AC I 76)
[For householders:] Out of 24 hours ... think of God for at least 2 hours.... Dedicate at least one day in a month to doing only spiritual practices like a vow of silence, japa and dhyāna [meditation]. Spend that day in a calm and quiet atmosphere where you can be away from all the family problems and other worries. (AC II 84-5)
A spiritual aspirant [living in an āśram] must meditate for at least [6 to] 8 hours a day. He must do physical work for one hour. He must reduce talking as much as he can. He must not dissipate energy by talking. He must try to destroy ignorance by looking inward. ... A Knower [jñāni] who has reached Perfection need not meditate. Once Perfection is attained, they will not see anything apart from their Self. However, in order to be an example to others, they meditate. (M 76)
When our mind is merged [in meditation] we experience bliss which is not derived from any external object. By meditation we gain not only bliss, but long life, health, intelligence, charm, strength and vitality. (FMC 45)
The aim is to gain one-pointedness. When concentration increases, thoughts decrease and when thoughts decrease, the mind and intellect will become subtler. This subtlety will help in having spiritual experience. Spiritual experience cannot be attained through the gross mind and intellect. Reality is subtler than the subtlest. ... To experience the Self or Ātman which is the subtlest of all subtle things, we should develop subtlety of mind. ... One cannot understand everything of life if one stays on the gross, external plane. There are many mysteries in this universe about which one cannot even imagine. To experience all those, one should go into the subtle planes of existence. [For instance,] Nature records all of our actions. Each of our words and thoughts subtly exist in Nature. The power born of the penance done by the Ancient Sages is also there in Nature. Even today Great Souls (Mahātmas) exist in their subtle bodies. They can be seen only if we reach the subtle plane ... The effulgence of the Self [which is beyond all planes, gross or subtle] will begin rising as our mind becomes more and more subtle. In that state we can see every atom of the universe. (AC II 167-8)
Meditation can be done by fixing the attention on the heart or between the eyebrows. ... Only those who have a guru’s presence should meditate on the point between the eyebrows. The reason is that during such meditation the head will become heated and headaches and giddiness may be experienced. ... The guru knows what should be done on such occasions. ... Meditation in the heart will have no such complications. ... Meditation will help free the mind from restlessness and reduce mental tension. ... The mind can be fixed on any part of the body or any object. Even a small dot can be meditated on. ... Those who have faith in Mother can meditate on the form of Mother [i.e., as Mother Mary or as Ammā, or the like] Those who believe in Christ can meditate on Him. For those who don’t have a favorite Deity let them meditate on a flame ... [or] a small dot... Those who like nature can meditate on the moon. Or imagine merging into a flowing river. ... One can imagine that he is merging into the Infinite, just as the river joins the ocean. ... Or envision a beautiful sky full of colors and merge with that. Or in your mind see a lake, try to forget your body; merge in that lake thinking only of that blissful world to come. Or you can imagine that you yourself are God and meditate on that. Children, making the mind concentrated is the real knowledge [of God]. ... If you like to meditate on flame that will suffice. Look at the flame of a candle in a dark room for some time. The flame should be steady. This flame can be meditated on in the heart or between the eyebrows. ... Meditation can also be done by imagining that the Beloved Deity [of one’s choice] is standing in the flame, but to meditate on the Beloved Deity standing in the sacrificial fire will be even better. Imagine that anger, jealousy, ego, etc., are burnt in the sacrificial fire. ...Imagine that you see each part of the Beloved Deity; beginning with the feet, move up to the head. Do the ritual bathing of God. Adorn the Deity with robes and ornaments. Feed Him or Her with your own hand. Through these visualizations the Beloved Deity’s form will not fade away from the mind. (combined from FMC 44-6, AC II 265, and A Dec. 1986 , 2)
The favorable time for meditation is in the morning up to 11 o’clock and after 5 o’clock in the evening. Immediately after meditation, one should lie down in savasana (corpse pose, completely prone) for at least 10 minutes before getting up. Even if meditation is done for only one hour, one should remain silent for at least half an hour afterwards. Only those who do like this will get the full benefit of meditation. (FMC 80-1)
[Also important is posture:] The spine is our centre. ... While sitting or standing, the spine should be kept straight. ... Do not lean [against anything] while meditating. (AC II 264, 180)
There is only one way to prove the existence of the Truth. Sit quietly and be calm. (AC II, 37)
In the beginning stages all the dullness [and sleepiness] will come up. But if you have alertness and enthusiasm you can overcome all this in due course. (AC I 257)
Bad thoughts might arise during meditation. Then you should think, “O mind, is there any benefit in cherishing these thoughts? Do these have any value?” ... Complete dispassion must come. Detachment should arise. The conviction that the sense objects are equal to poison should become firmly rooted in the mind. Always tearfully pray to God, “O Lord, please let me see You. You are my life; You are the Eternal One. Mind, why do you crave all these silly and meaningless things? They cannot give you the happiness which you thirst for. These are not the things which I asked you to seek.” Change will slowly come about through prayers to God and through questioning the mind. ... (AC II 188)
[Q: It is said that one should remember God always. How is it possible to think of God when one is doing some calculations or other work ...?]
Son, it is possible... We can surrender our action and its fruit at the Feet of the Lord. We can also remember Him by praying, “O Lord, make these calculations correct. You are the Power behind my memory... [etc.]” Thus, you can always remember God while at work. If it becomes a habit, then you can have thoughts of God while doing the calculations. If you find it difficult, then you should pray before doing the work, “O my beloved Lord ...Help me to do this work with the right attitude. This is Yours, not mine. I am doing it with Your power, not mine.” Then do the work sincerely with concentration and as best as you can without thinking of its fruit. ... When it is over, again pray, “O Lord, thank you for your blessings and guidance. I now surrender both the action and its fruit at Your Feet.” When this is practiced daily and constantly, it will become spontaneous. (AC II, 37)
Even if we are meditating upon some ... Deity, what we are actually meditating upon is our own Self, not on different deities. The pure Self is one and the same, there are not a thousand different Selves. (A Feb 1988 , 7)
[To someone not interested in meditating on forms of Deities:]
Even when you meditate on the form of a God or Goddess, you are not meditating on an external object but only on your own Self. ... Mother can understand your difficulty in following meditation on a form. Therefore, you can do one thing. Whenever you feel like it and get time, sit in solitude and try to visualise everything as pure light. [Or:] Look at the vast sky and try to merge in that expansiveness. [Or:] Look within and observe the thoughts and trace them back to their source. Give instructions to the mind such as, “O mind, why do you crave for these unnecessary things? You think that this will give you happiness and satisfy you. But it is not so. ... O mind, stop this wandering. Return to your source and rest in peace.” (AC I 199-200)
When you reach a certain stage, the form of meditation will drop off. When ... perfection is reached, there is ... no duality. No illusion. (FMC 41)
God, the Omniscient, Omnipotent and All-pervading, assumes a form for some time and then returns to His Formless Being when His purpose is fulfilled. (AC II 305)
All forms have limitations and possess only certain defined qualities. We should go beyond them to God, who in truth, is nirguna (attributeless). However, we can reach there only by clinging to a form. (AC II 192-3)
If one hasn’t any interest in meditating on a [Divine] form, he can do Self-enquiry [the path of wisdom, or jñāna-mārga]. But in this, one should be more cautious. Never waste a minute. Whatever work we do, we must contemplate: “Who am I?” (M 79)
We should discriminate thus, “I am not the body, I am the Self ... there is no need of sorrow.” ... Everything is within us. We are the Absolute Self. But it is not enough to merely say so. The feeling of being the Absolute should arise in us. ... Advaita [the spiritual way of nondualism] ... is not something that should be [merely] told or taught by another person. It should be experienced through sādhanā. What you see here in this ashram are those disciplines which will lead one to that understanding through experience. The brahmacharins must do six to eight hours of meditation a day. They must do all of the external work in the ashram. They must cultivate humility and a service mentality and develop love for each other [etc.]. They sleep very little. ... It is not enough merely to speak of Advaita [nondualism]. We are immersed in an illusion and think that that which is, is not, and that which is not, is. We see the world through the eyes of ignorance. We must know the difference between what is eternal and what is changing. At present we are asleep but the goal is to reach a sleepless state. As we do sādhanā, there come a state where there is no sleep. At that time we will remain conscious even during normal sleep. The body will rest but the Mind [Pure Awareness] will remain awake. To reach that state we should advance a great deal in sādhanā. When we awaken to God-consciousness, we will realise the world to be a dream. But now we tend to look outwards [with desire]. The Ancient Sages, on the other hand, looked inwards and became omniscient. (AC II 189-90, 242-4)
One who has known Brahman [Reality] will be fully alert even while sleeping. He knows that he never sleeps. He will be a witness to the sleeping state of the body. (M 68)
In the Supreme State, there is Perfect Bliss, there is no happiness or sorrow. “I” am not there; “you” are not there. It can be compared to deep sleep with only one difference: in the Supreme State there is full awareness. In deep sleep also, “you” and “I” are not there. But when waking up, the world is there, “you” are there, “I” am there. Sahaja Samādhi, or the Natural State [a kind of nondual, clearly aware “waking sleep”] is Perfection. (M 70)
[The Knowers of the Self, or Jñānis] have dissolved their mind completely through constant and intense spiritual practices as a result of which their mind is fully fixed on the Supreme. Because they are one with That, they can see everything as That. ... When they see an object, what they perceive is not the external appearance, but that which illumines it. For a goldsmith, all ornaments, in whatever shape, are nothing but gold. Likewise, for a Knower of Brahman [Reality], everything is nothing but Brahman. (AC I 180)
Children, sahaja samādhi [natural abidance in the Self] is perfection. One who is established in this state sees the divine principle in everything. Everywhere he perceives only Pure Consciousness, free from the taint of māyā [delusion]. (FMC 101)
Just as a rubber ball bounces back if it is aimed and thrown at a particular spot, a jñāni, having gone [at death, to the domain of pure formlessness], can return [to the world to help suffering souls] according to the sankalpa [pure resolve] which he made at the time of leaving his body. He would never think, “If I come back, I will have to suffer.” jñānis are ready to take any number of births for the upliftment of the world. (AC I 169)
Mathru Śrī Sāradā (1959 ; Advaita Vedānta school; Andhra Pradesh, India):
[The following tape-recorded passage was spoken intermittently by Sāradāmmā in Nov. 1978 (in answer to queries from her guru, Lakshmana Swāmi) while emerging from deep states of absorption in the Self the morning of the day of her complete, irreversible Self-Realization:]
I have no body. I have no “I.” I am not the body. How I am talking I do not know. Some power is talking through me. ... Even though I am looking, I am not looking. Where is the “I” to look. When the mind enters the Heart [absolute Reality] there is no “I” to tell that there is no “I.” ... Everything is peace and bliss. ... Even though I am seeing, I am not seeing. Even though I am talking I am not talking. Whatever I do I am not doing it because the “I” is dead. I have no body. All the nerves are filled with peace and bliss. All is Brahman [spiritual Reality]. All is bliss. In the veins, instead of blood, love and bliss are flowing. A great power has entered into me. ... I have no thought of doing anything. I have no fear of death. Before, I feared death,a but not anymore. I don’t care about death. I have nothing more to do. I shall give up the body. ... The body is inert, how can it die? My “I” is dead, what is there left to die? Why then fear death? ... I am everywhere. I am not the body. I have no body so I have no fear. I am immobile. Whatever I may do I am immobile. I am shining as the Self. Everything is a great void. How can I describe the Self in words? It is neither light nor dark. No one can describe what it is. ... Self is Self, that is all. (170-2) 
[10 days after her full Realization:] When I opened my eyes after realisation there was only peace inside and out. I knew that I was the Self and that when I uttered the word “I,” this “I” meant only the Self. Even though I may see, I am not seeing; even though I may hear, I am not hearing; even though I may talk I am not talking. When I wake up I am not really waking and when I sleep I am not really sleeping. Sleep, waking, and dream are passing before the Self but they cannot touch it. Whatever I may do I am not doing it. I have no sin and no virtue, no sleep and no waking, for I am always in the state of sahaja samādhi. Whatever I may do I am always in that state. If there is a mind then there is a world. If there is no mind then there is no world and no body. There is nothing except the Self and the Self has no name and no form. It is eternal peace. I am ever content. I have been able to gain the most valuable thing in the world, for all the riches in the world cannot buy or balance [equal] the Self. ... Everything is the Self and nothing is apart from it; this is my experience and I do not slip from that state. I am shining as the Self and there is no doubt about my experience. (188)
[Teachings given after she had stabilized in consciousness of the world after her Self-Realization:]
When the mind dies in the Heart [the Self, Reality] it is dead forever. It never rises again. I cannot say what my experience of this state is because it cannot be described in words. But I can say a little about how this affected me. There are now no worries, no fears, and no desires; the experience itself I cannot describe. (191)
The Heart is the Self and it is immanent in all things. It is the source of everything and it is neither inside the body nor outside. It is everywhere. (191)
Just before my Self-realisation I was aware of the “I”-thought going up and coming down from the head to the Heart-centre. It went up and down in a flash but I was still aware of it happening. ... When the “I” finally died... [there was] an overwhelming feeling of emptiness, openness, peace and bliss. I knew immediately that my “I” had died forever, and that’s why I wanted to give up the body. I knew that nothing mattered anymore because I had realised the Self. ... [Q: How did you know for sure that your “I” was really dead when it disappeared for the last time?] When I was in samādhi the mind only disappeared when my eyes were closed. As soon as I opened them my “I” would rise up again. Also, during the samādhi states there was this great feeling of constriction in the chest. This constriction was caused by the mind which was still existing in a latent form in the Heart. When the mind finally died there was no constriction in the Heart-centre and I was able to open my eyes without the “I”-thought rising up. ... I just knew that I had transcended waking, sleeping and dreaming, that I was the formless Self and that I no longer needed a body. That’s why I didn’t care about staying alive. I knew that nothing could affect the Self. I nearly died that day but I didn’t care. I knew that I was already beyond birth and death. (191-3)
I don’t see the world, I only see the Self. (199)
I have no mind. Jñānis have no mind. ... The mind is just an inert machine which only appears to work because the current of the Self animates it. When the mind dives into the Heart and is destroyed by the Self you realise that it was the Self which was animating the mind, and that without the Self the mind would have been inert and totally useless. Everything is done by the Self: looking, turning the head, talking, walking, etc. Before realisation you imagine that it is the mind or the body that is doing all this, but after realisation you know that it is the Self that does everything. (198)
I used to sleep a lot when I was young, but now I hardly need any sleep at all. Three or four hours a night is usually enough for me. ... Even when I sleep it is not the unconscious experience that most people mean when they talk about sleep. If somebody asks me a question I can answer it while I am still asleep. The Self never loses consciousness and it is always aware of the three states of waking, dreaming and sleeping passing before it, without being affected by them. (195-6).
Wherever I am there is no attachment to the past and no anticipation of the future. (199)
Although my experience of the Self never varies, sometimes awareness of the body and the world fluctuates. I have no interest in keeping this body and sometimes I go into a state of complete Self-absorption where the body and the world cease to exist. This body is a useless appendage for me. The Self does not need a body and sometimes the feeling arises, “Why should I keep it anymore? ... It is a sick, weak body, full of pain. Why should I prolong its existence?” When these feelings about the body arise, or when there is a great pain [often Sāradāmmā’s body absorbs the negativities of others and is terribly afflicted], then I withdraw into the Self. Sometimes I also do it if I am by myself... I direct attention within and there is a feeling that I can only describe as “closing up.” I cannot describe either the process or the experience even in Telugu [her native language] because one who has not realised the Self cannot possibly understand it. There are several stages or levels of absorption which I can withdraw to. In the first few stages there is a partial loss of body consciousness and the body feels like an inert lump of stone. All pain and touch sensations disappear... In these first few levels it is relatively easy to open the eyes and resume normal body consciousness again, but as I withdraw more and more, it gets progressively more and more difficult to reverse the process. After a long or deep period of Self-absorption [in formless Pure consciousness] it is sometimes very difficult to open the eyes and direct attention outwards rather than inwards; it often takes many attempts before I finally succeed. These periods of Self-absorption are so attractive that Swamy often has to plead with me to get me to come out of them. He knows that if I stay in this state for a long time there is a possibility that I might give up the body. The experience of peace, bliss and self-sufficiency is the same whether I am absorbed in the Self or not, but when I am freed from the shackles of the body, and when I know that in that state I need nothing, I am often most unwilling to resume body consciousness again. (189)
Sometimes people come here and try to question me and I tell them, “If you want to realise the Self then meditate in silence. Talking to me will not help you.” (185)
Words are not real, none of you here is real, the world is not real; nothing is real except the Self. (186)
The answer to most questions is the experience of the Self and this cannot be communicated verbally. (186)
Many devotees are filled with doubts and questions. They ask a question, get an answer, but this answer produces a new doubt and a new question. And so it goes on. It is not good to have so many doubts and so many questions. If they keep arising in the mind they should all be surrendered to the Guru, unasked. ... Devotees ... should try to keep their minds quiet and still. If they want to think about anything at all they should think about God and not about doubts and questions. (208)
If you want advice from me, I would suggest that you hold onto [meditate upon] the name and form of an enlightened one. ... Select a Guru for yourself and try to be aware of his [or her] name and form all the time. ... When you concentrate on God in the form of the Guru, he [God] pulls you into himself and finally destroys you so completely that there is nothing left but God alone. (215-6)
Jesus was undoubtedly a jñāni [one completely Self-realized] who had experienced the non-dual Self. But he lived in a culture and a time when he could not openly admit that he was in the same state as, and in fact not different from God. So he had to tone down his teachings in order to make them acceptable to the religious authorities of his time. Even so, he was executed because of some of the things that he said. If he had told people the truth about the Self he would probably have been crucified even sooner than he was. (218)
Because most people have never had a direct experience of the Self they think that blissful or peaceful states of mind are glimpses of the Self. The only real experience of the Self occurs when the mind enters the Heart. ...Most people who claim to have experienced the Self have not even taken their minds near to the entrance of the Heart-cave. And even if the mind does go into the Heart, there is still an “I” which is experiencing the bliss of the Self. The true experience of the Self only happens when the mind is completely absent, either temporarily, as in samādhi, or permanently, as in Self-realisation. Both of these experiences are very
rare. It is very difficult to make the mind go into the Heart. Mostly it is too afraid of its own death to even approach the entrance. The mental experiences of peace, bliss and stillness which devotees claim to
experience usually take place outside the Heart. They are all in the mind. People who think that these experiences are the reality of the Self are only deluding themselves. (196)
When one sits in meditation, the ego often rises simply because one is having a good experience. One can become very quiet and still and think, “I am having a good meditation. If I carry on like this I will surely realise the Self in this life.” Thinking that one is meditating well is just another manifestation of the ego. (212)
It is not good to think about realisation [of the Self] as an event in the future. Such things cannot be predicted. One should only be concerned with stabilising oneself in the peace and bliss of the present. Thinking about the future and predicting one’s future spiritual career are a waste of energy. (210-11)
So long as you set up the Self as a goal or target to be reached you will never experience it directly. The harder you try to get to it, the more it will recede away from you. You will only experience the Self when all desire for it has gone. (219)
To love all things equally, seeing the Self in all of them, is true love. ... It is love which binds the universe together and sustains it. Without love it would be nothing more than a collection of inert matter. ... All love is the same love, but love other than the love of God is a waste. When two people love each other and get married, what are they loving? They are loving each other’s minds and bodies. If a man loved the Self in his wife he would not grieve when her body dies because he would know that nothing has really happened to the Self. When two people marry and give all their love to each other they are building a wall around themselves. They have no love left for God or the Self, and because of this they can never see and love the Self, which is immanent in all things. Couples who only love each other can never realise the Self because they are preoccupied with their minds and bodies and have no love left for God. From a spiritual point of view the ideal man-woman relationship is one in which the couple live as brother and sister, and instead of wasting their love on each other, they give it all to God. (211)
It is not good to suppress desires as that gives them more strength. It is much better to surrender them all to God. (209)
In one’s search for God, one cannot reach God until one has made a great ... effort, until one becomes obsessed with the thought of God alone and until one has given up all attachments and relationships. Even then that is not enough. One must realise that no physical or mental effort can take one to God. One must give up, mentally and physically, all idea of reaching God and one must finally throw oneself at God’s feet and let him do whatever he wishes with you. When there is complete physical and mental self-surrender then God’s grace takes you to the goal. (219)
If you are always thinking about worldly things your mind becomes dirty. From a spiritual point of view the mind is like a mirror; it is only useful when it is clean. ... When the mind wanders among worldly things a layer of vāsanas (mental activities) forms on it which prevents it from reflecting or being aware of the light of the Self within. If you stop the mind from wandering and keep it turned towards God, then no outside influences can deposit any vāsanas on it. ... When a devotee first comes to a Guru, the Guru will look at his mind and see all the vāsanas that have accumulated on its surface. If the devotee stays with the Guru, the Guru will begin to test the devotee to see how strong and genuine his devotion is. ... When God or a Guru tests a devotee, good results always follow. When the Guru is cleaning the devotee’s mind, the devotee will start to experience blissful states. The devotee then thinks that he is making good progress and his ego starts to rise. When the Guru sees this he automatically produces new tests which curb the devotee’s rising ego. ... The Guru will test the devotee many times. If the humility is not there the devotee’s ego will react and he or she will fail the test. I was subjected to many tests during my sādhanā, sometimes to test my love and devotion and sometimes because my ego had reared its head. ... A devotee may feel that he is in heaven for weeks at a time because of good meditations or because he is feeling much love for the Guru. However, one angry word from the Guru, or a period of being ignored by him, and the heaven dissolves like a mirage. These tests put one’s spiritual progress into perspective. They inculcate humility and surrender in the devotee because they make him realise how shaky the foundations of his spiritual attainments are. They keep the ego under control by making the devotee realise his own shortcomings. Only when one’s love or equanimity remains firm through all such tests is one ready for Self-realisation. ... Some of the tests which Swamy gave me may appear to have been a little cruel or pointless, but one should not have the idea that Swamy was sitting in his room thinking, “I will test Sarada...” These tests were spontaneous manifestations of the Self. ... It was the Self which was testing me because I needed to be tested. ... The Self witnesses the result of each test and notes how pure, humble and egoless the devotee is. When the mind has been completely purified and such tests are no longer necessary, then the Self consumes and destroys the mind and realisation results. (201, 200)
When a person dies, all the karma [egocentric doing] he has accumulated is carried over into the next life. All of it must be experienced, both the consequences of the good actions and the consequences of the bad actions. The good karma does not wipe out the bad karma, nor does any amount of punya [merit] wipe out even the smallest piece of papa [demerit or sin]. ...There is a common belief that if a person dies thinking of God, then he will automatically go to heaven or get a good rebirth. This is not so. If a person has led a bad life and dies saying “Ram Ram,” then he will still have to experience all the consequences of his bad actions ... It doesn’t really matter how a person dies; it doesn’t matter whether he is conscious or unconscious, whether he dies while meditating or while committing sins. If he has not realised the Self he will be reborn again; if he is reborn again he will have to experience the consequences of everything that he has done before. ... If you completely surrender to the Guru, all your karma and all your punya and papa will be instantly burned up and you will be forever free of them. But for this to happen total surrender is required. (213)
Devotees may think that they want realisation, but their minds are not ready enough or pure enough to stand the shock. ... Devotees ask for grace to realise the Self, but most devotees are nowhere near ready for realisation; if they were given a large amount of grace the shock would kill them. For most people a preliminary period of mind purification, such as can be produced by japa [recitation of the name of God] or prāṇayāma [meditation on the breath] will be most useful. (214)
[Lakshmana] Swamy and I are in your Heart; meditate on us in the Heart and you will discover that we are not apart from you. When you look at our bodies you are only looking at an image created by your mind. Meditate on us in the Heart and you will discover that we are your own Self. ... Meditating in the Heart really means that you should make the mind go back into the Heart so that you can experience the bliss of the Self there. If you are thinking about anything, even mine or Swamy’s form, then the mind is still active. While the mind is still active it will not sink back into its source. If you can give up all thoughts and make the mind completely silent and still, then it will automatically sink into the Heart. Meditation in the Heart really begins when the mind rests quietly in the Heart, absorbed in the bliss of the Self. (220)
Śrī Mā (contemporary; Tantra school; Assam/Bengal-United States):
BE TRUE. Say what you mean and do what you say. If you are true, you will be without fear. If your conscience is clear, your heart will be silent. That is Peace... BE SIMPLE. Many words are a burden to the soul. The real message of your heart will be communicated by your actions. The words will only explain the actions. But they must agree, lest we become hypocrites who preach what we ourselves do not practice. BE FREE. Leave your selfishness behind. The people whose opinions are valued will love us for what we are, not for what we have. The respect which can be bought is as useless as a tree which bears neither flowers nor fruits. When the leaves will fall and the trunk whither, none will come again. TAKE REFUGE IN GOD. Neither your friends, relatives, relations or others will take you to heaven. Only Wisdom will be our salvation. CULTIVATE WISDOM. Learn from everyone, everywhere. Then use that knowledge which will bring you into harmony with the universe. DEVELOP DISCRIMINATION. Pursue only those desires which will make you free. Leave the ones which will get you into trouble. Know the difference and remind yourselves daily. Remember that the God you seek resides in every atom. You can offer respect to every atom, even while you maintain your own discipline inside. That you are a spiritual seeker is not something you need show outside. It will manifest in your behavior, without your having to try. If we are gentle, loving, kind and honest in our dealings, that is spiritual. Your spirituality cannot be hidden. Similarly, if one is full of fears, and trying to hide his inner emotions, such a person is not full of spirit. That is only ego. LET ALL OUR ACTIONS MANIFEST OUR LOVE. Work is visible love, the expression of love that we can see. People want realization, liberation, to become enlightened. Do not think it is something different from doing for others as you would have them do for you. SPIRITUALITY IS VERY SIMPLE. “I am everywhere,” says the sage. “I exist in every form of creation. If I hurt any form, I hurt myself. If I raise any form to a higher level, I, myself, find progress.” It is easy. 
The mantra [sacred phrase, for example, Oṃ Hṛim Śrim Dum Durgāyai Namah] is the essence of your being. It is the eternal you. You, your divinity, your Guru and God are all one in the mantra. As you repeat the mantra, remember your true self. Repeat the mantra frequently, and dive deep into meditation. The nature of the mind is attachment. As you repeat the mantra, allow the egotism of thought, all of those attachments of egotism and possession, of “I” and “mine,” to dissolve into the bliss of divine union. She [Durgā] is our Divine Mother. Her essence is Sat-Cit-Ānanda, Truth-Consciousness-Bliss. Just as the space within you is the same as the space outside of you, allow Her Infinite Grace to fill your world completely. Open up to that Grace and allow Her to dwell in your hearts. Recite Her mantra, and flow into meditation. Live with that divinity both in the day and in the night, and remember that I Love you.
Don’t forget to look at yourselves, and understand who you are. Why has God sent us to this world? Certainly He has a special purpose for us to take care of His work. But each of us is thinking only “Mine, mine, mine!” ... The mind is fickle. It is busy in the material world, trying to forget ourselves. ... How will it stop? It will stop when you strive for union. When you will unite yourself in one-pointed meditation... Do meditation every day—five minutes at least—whether you need it or not. ... Every moment we need to think that we, ourselves, and everything and everyone else is God. 
Make world peace. The Eternal Religion [Sanatana Dharma] is Pure Love, Pure Devotion, Pure Truth. ... Please, my children, stop fighting. We can only make Peace when our hearts are Pure, when we control our desires so we are not selfish. ... We cannot have World Peace without individual peace. Please, everyone must do his or her part. 
[If we develop] simplicity, truth, purity, faithfulness, tolerance, forgiveness, compassion, humbleness, peace and satisfaction ... our heart will be pure. We will enter into the perfect relationship with every atom. Then we will perceive the radiant light that resides within all being.
Our life is very simple, if we can be simple.
By means of Pure Devotion let the spirit of Divine Universal Love rise up among you. That Divine Universal Love will make the entire creation your family. Then you will know yourselves to be the Beloved children of God.
Beloved Children: I bless you with Love, with Light, with a strong Desire to learn the Way of Truth, of Harmony and Peace. That is the function of a Divine Mother, and that is the blessing I have come to share. You are the children of Infinite Grandeur, conceived in Beauty, born in Truth, raised in Love, educated in Joy. Your birthright is Peace, within and without. Oh what a delight as we share together in collecting our inheritance. Let us invest our wealth wisely; spread the abundance of all that the Divine Mother has entrusted to us; make it grow. ... My children, make it grow! That is the nature of Love—in order to make it grow, you must give it away. 
[I asked Śrī Mā (April 13, 1985) if her spiritual realization came suddenly or gradually. She responded, “It has always been the same.”]
Mother Meera (1960 ; Vedānta/Tantra school; South India-Germany):
[Q: When we ... look into your eyes in silence: What are you doing?]
I am looking into every corner of your being. I am looking at everything within you to see where I can help, where I can give healing and power. At the same time I am giving light to every part of your being, I am opening every part of yourself to light. When you are open you will feel and see this clearly. 
[Q: What is the best technique of meditation?]
There are so many techniques. Generally they confuse people. Quite often they increase people’s spiritual pride instead of destroying it. ... The best way is to remember the Divine in everything and to offer everything to the Divine.
Sādhanā [spiritual practice] can be done within family life. People should stay where they are and turn all their attention to the Divine and open to the Light. That is all and is everything. You don’t have to be near me physically to do my work. Wherever you are, if your aspiration is sincere, I shall be with you.
[Q: Should we follow gurus?]
It depends on the guru. ... Generally it is best to pray to the Supreme directly, or approach him through one of his Divine Incarnations. ... If any human guru is giving you teachings that bring you closer in your heart to the Divine, listen and be grateful and follow them. But be clear about the limitations of all human gurus. They can only point the way; they cannot take you there. If you want to see the Divine, why don’t you ask Him directly?
[Q: Can I reach the Divine through art or work?]
Don’t go to the Divine “through” anything... go directly. Realise yourself and see that everything you do is filled with light. Don’t live for your work only; live for Him and do your work in Him and for Him. If you surrender to Him truly, it will no longer be you who does the work but Him who does it through you. You will become a channel for His power and His will and His light. This takes time and a great purity of heart and motive.
[Q: What attitude should I have to my spiritual “experiences”?]
Be grateful. Offer them to “Him,” but never think yourself special or chosen. That leads to pride, and a proud man is far from God: Whatever experience you have had, however extraordinary, remember that there are further and greater experiences. The Divine Life is endless; the being of God is infinite. Remember the aim of our yoga is not “experience,” ... but the transformation of the whole life, a continual experience of Him, an unbroken ecstasy [ego-transcendence]. And be careful always; there are so many ways in which the vital and mental can imitate and pervert the spiritual. In ordinary consciousness, in which most people are, it is hard to tell where an “experience” comes from. The best attitude is wariness and humility. Rest nowhere and become attached to nothing—even your own deepest knowledge.
[Q: What should I ask you for?]
Ask for everything. Everything. Do not stop at peace of mind or purity of heart or surrender. Demand everything. Don’t be satisfied with anything less than everything. Our Yoga is the transformation of human life into Divine Life here on earth... God wants to give you everything—have the courage to ask for the humility to accept everything. You have my help always. ... I am working on all planes. I am working everywhere.
[Q: What should my attitude be to sexuality?]
The work is done fastest and most purely if you can live without sex and beyond desire. But very few manage that and for many it is extremely dangerous to try to transcend sexuality before they are ready. What is essential is not to renounce it, but to offer it.
[Q: What is my past life?]
Forget the past. Live in the present and remember the Divine.
[Q: Is it necessary to awaken the kuṇḍalinī (the subtle energy running up and down the spine and throughout the body)?]
When the Light descends in the body it is not necessary.
[Q: I read in a book that one can realise the Divine within an hour.]
With Divine grace one can realise the Divine within a second.
[Q: Who am I?]
Give up the “I” and you will know.