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Swami Tejomayananda Thoughts – Sayings – Wisdom and Advice

A collection of thoughts, saying and wisdom and advice of Swami Tejomayananda of Chinmaya Mission.

First we must understand that we are born in this world and we have to live our own life. It is not possible to live the life of another person. This is a simple statement with far reaching implications. Primarily we must take responsibility for our life and secondly learn to mind our own business.

Generally we do not hold ourselves accountable for the sorrows of our life. We shift blame onto somebody, some place or event since it is much easier to pin the cause of our unhappiness on something other than ourselves.

We spend our time wanting to, and trying to change the people we encounter in life and also the world itself! However our best intentions and efforts do not meet with much success, because we are unable to change anyone.

If we understand this one simple point, we will not longer need to meddle in the affairs of others. We can then concentrate on the work of changing or improving our own lives because the only life we can change is our own. The greatest service anyone can do to this world is to mind his or her own business and change him or herself.

That which is auspicious, purifies our mind and creates peace and love within us.

An inauspicious sight creates revulsion and agitation and abusive words create anger.

A beautiful sunset elevates us and a macabre sight depresses us.

About fifty years back we found that every Indian home had pictures of Gods and Goddesses in every room. Presently children wake up to rock music, have WWF heroes and pictures of rock stars pasted in their rooms. They dress, speak, think and act like heroes they idolize. With minds filled with desires, agitations and restlessness, we find them unprepared for the studies that they have to undertake.

Svasti means wellbeing. Many a times we really do not know what is good for us. We may desire things which may even harm us. So we pray to the all-knowing and graceful Gods, to become our ‘well-wishers’ and bless us for our ‘well-being’ rather than become ‘wish-fulfillers’ and give us desired things which may harm us.

As the thoughts, so the mind. Pure thoughts make it pure and impure thoughts make it impure.

A sorrowful mind, with stress, depression, tension, anger, dejection, negative attitudes or with hurtful and harmful thoughts is impure. A mind without these is pure. A pure mind is content, cheerful, peaceful and happy.

An impure mind, like a river in spate is constantly agitated, restless, stormy, distracted, willful and stubborn. A pure mind, free of these is steady, attentive and calm.

Success comes only to a person who is well disciplined in his life, for without discipline no success is possible.

The Vedas tell us to be steadfast in our duties whether they are only simple, daily duties or duties enjoined on us by others. Do not consider what others are doing or not doing; be only concerned about fulfilling your own duty.

We should not indulge in prohibited karmas, meaning actions that are below our human dignity, such as stealing or killing. Prohibited actions are generally motivated by desires that force us to do anything to anybody to satisfy the desire.

Often we ask, “Why are you binding us?” “Why are you giving us all these injunctions and commandments?” The rishis and the Vedas reply, “We are not binding you because you are already bound by all your likes and dislikes, desires and anger. We are actually releasing you from your bondage.

We can only start a journey from where we are and progress in steps, leaps or bounds. The first stage on the spiritual path is the state of ignorance or bondage.

Spiritual ignorance is not related to one’s educational background.

One could be a highly qualified professional but spiritually ignorant; or be an illiterate and still be highly evolved spiritually.

The one who is bound is not even aware of being so, and if told by others, he laughs at their ignorance!

The bound person ignores the Supreme and respects only material prosperity. Even if he believes in the Lord, he prays only for fulfilling his desires.

One should not plunge into action without thinking. It leads to chaos. Sugriva spotted Ravana, strolling on his terrace. He got so carried away that he attacked him straight away. Sugriva was no match for Ravana. Sugriva somehow managed to return safely to Sri Rama. Even though Sri Rama praised him for his devotion, He also chided him for his hasty action, which could have caused great harm and would have damaged the morale of the entire army. He emphasized that it was important to plan the strategy of attack first and then act, and not the reverse.

We should think carefully about the consequences of our action and the time, effort and resources required before undertaking an action.

To be successful, plan out the work, keeping the ultimate and intermediate goals in mind. Think well about the consequences and requirements of the task. Mobilize the resources and actualize your plan.

When we undertake any activity we are bound to face obstacles. The most important quality required to face these obstacles is fortitude or patience.

Consistent pursuit even when the body and mind are tired is true patience.

To hold on to the activity in hand even in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles is true patience.

Some do not even start a task at the thought of obstacles. Many give up when face with obstacles, whereas some feel challenged by obstacles, enthusiastically and patiently face them to complete the task.

Sublimation of the ego is the aim of spirituality

The Taittiriya Upanishad gives the anatomy of the intellect as comprising the five elements — sraddha, rtam, satyam, yog, mahat.

The first aspect, shradha, is made up of the words “sradh” meaning truth and “dha” meaning that which holds. Thus shradha is that which holds the truth. It implies that our thinking must be rooted in faith. Is it not true that even a rationalist has faith in his own sense organs and intellect? Mere logic cannot lead us anywhere. Certain basic premises have to be accepted before we proceed with our inquiry.

With shradha as the foundation, when we inquire deeply and arrive at an understanding of the truth, it is called rtam. Rtam should be followed by satyam, the manifestation of that truth in our lives. Yog means the mind should be absorbed in that truth, that there should be a deep conviction that guides our lives.

Only a person who has conviction enough to apply the results of her inquiry in her daily life is a true intellectual.

And finally, individual thinking must be rooted in the totality called mahat. You must be identified with the welfare of the whole.

We should have a vision of life in its totality. And in the light of that vision, all problems can be resolved easily. Whatever challenges we meet within life be it illness, emotional trauma, financial hardship, and so on, our response will vary according to our level of inner maturity and our vision of life.

Take ill health, for instance, one who has faith and inner maturity tends to be more accepting and will consider the illness as a temporary situation and suffer much less. While a person who lacks faith and who has a narrower view of life will be more fearful and suffer greatly at only the hint of a disease.

Once we know the art of clear and logical thinking, it becomes easier to deal with various situations that we encounter in life.

Success is not about becoming richer, wealthier and more knowledgeable while keeping everybody else ignorant and poor. Real success lies in helping everybody rise higher and higher.

When we speak of victory, there should be prosperity, continuous development and growth and abiding values. Only that kind of victory is true, meaningful victory.

In victory, there must be prosperity and wealth as well as continuous growth – no stagnation. They must be backed by abiding values. Many times, after wealth has been acquired, people forget the value of hard work. That is why a poor person works very hard and becomes rich, while his son, who has readymade wealth, does not understand the value of hard work and slowly loses everything.

If we have firm policies in life, that alone will take us to prosperity and victory. We may win in the short run, but without honesty or values, it will soon disappear.

– Swami Tejomayananda

Swami Tejomayananda on Kinds of Faith

Faith according to the scriptures is of different kinds – tamasic, rajasic and sattvic.

Sattvic is noble, rajasic is passionate and tamasic is indolent, dark and ignorant. Whatever we do is coloured by one of these.

Sattvic faith is that by which a person worships, performs austerity or sacrifices for higher goals. The person is able to rise above his or her little ego, prejudices, selfishness, likes and dislikes, and as a result worship righteousness, wisdom and goodness.

Rajasic faith motivates the person to become more and more ambitious, making him even ruthless at times.

People with tamasic tendencies worship those from the underworld. They have criminal inclinations and employ underhand means to achieve their goals.

Key to Success – Swami Tejomayananda

Respect, don’t suspect.

Be tender towards the faults of the other. Be strict towards your own.

Respect a person for what he ‘is’ rather than what he ‘has’.

If you don’t stand for something, you fall for everything.

Don’t tell God how big your trouble is. Tell your trouble how big your God is.

Think big, act wisely and show results. 

Swami Tejomayananda Thoughts on Devotion

Devotion is not a five-to-ten-minute engagement; rather it involves the whole being all the time.

Devotion cannot be limited by time or space and is not just the act itself.

All of us want to experience devotion in our hearts. We all have this innate yearning and initially a direction given by a guru, a saint or a scriptural injunction gives birth to a type of devotion called vaidhi bhakti. We try to develop the feeling of love for God, even though our minds feel uninvolved. Then, slowly, the attitude of love begins to guide all our actions naturally.

At this stage, our sadhana or vaidhi bhakti becomes prem bhakti. Love for the divine alone becomes the prime motivation, and this type of devotion fills the entire consciousness of the devotee. With that experience, a devotee then wants nothing, not even the promise of liberation! Even as devotees realize the highest, they continue to revel in that devotion and spend their life in loving service.

Devotion being the basis of all actions, the unconditional love that arises from it finds its own fulfillment.

Swami Tejomayananda on Idol Worship in Hinduism

The Vedas attach importance to ‘ishtdevta upasana’ or the worship of a chosen deity. And so Hindu temples have the idols of Rama, Krishna, and Shiva among others, for worship. These are not mere idols; they symbolize our ideals. Swami Chinmayananda said: ‘Every idol represents an ideal.’ Through ‘upasana’ a devotee develops deep love for his or her chosen form of the Lord.

Hinduism is widely perceived to be a polytheistic religion. The Upanishads clearly point out that there is only one God, one Truth. The different forms of Hindu gods and goddesses represent one God – His powers are expressed in different ways. This way, people can worship the form of their choice.

Swami Chinmayananda explains that some people conceive of God as master or ruler, while others think of God as the divine mother. Still others worship God in the form of animals.

The use of symbols in worship are meant for making the mind single pointed whereby we gain the very same qualities of the ideal we revere.

The need for religious symbols depends upon the individual. Symbols are used even today in high level management courses, where the method of instruction is primarily through visual means of graphs, charts, videos and slide-shows.

If the mind of the individual is subtle enough to understand a principle or a concept directly, he does not need the help of a symbol.

 Swami Tejomayananda Thoughts On Fear

Fear is an integral part of life and tends to increase with age but it is only a symptom and not the disease. Vedanta has analyzed it and says: ‘Fear arises at the empirical level from our attachments, our likes and dislikes’.

We fear that we will get what we dislike and loose what we like. For example diseases and the loss of life or wealth. Fear arises, as we want to hold on to things we are attached to and what we like. But the world is ever changing and transient.

The fear of losing all what one values and of getting afflicted by disease increases with age. A person who is free from attachments is unaffected by this. Bhartrhari says dispassion alone makes one fearless.

The subtlest cause of fear is alienation and the sense of otherness. There is no fear of oneself. Fear always arises from another. One who sees the Self in all is truly fearless.

Source - You Ask He Answers By Swami Tejomayananda