Skip to main content


Swami Tapovanam Quotes and Teachings - Swami Tapovan

Swami Tapovanam (1889-1957) was a contemporary of Swami Sivananda. Swami Chinmayananda had studied under Swami Tapovan. Here are quotes and teachings of Swami Tapovanam from various sources.

Whether he lives in meditation or engages himself in action, it is all the same. Since he sees everything homogeneous, he cannot fall from the state of Supreme Peace.

The Sannyasin who finds happiness in Self wastes no thought over the past of the future, does not rejoice over achievement or bemoan failure.

He is a Mahatma who keeps the tongue, word and the mind perfectly under control and patiently withstands all provocations.

He alone sees truly; who sees the eternal, unattached, pure, wise and free Self in every creature and in everything.

Let your mind delight immersing in the thought of God. That is the goal. That is the never waning happy state. That is the ultimate object of birth in human form. All good deeds, reading and listening to holy lives, contact with saintly people etc, all serve to achieve the end. Once it is gained there is nothing more to be gained.

Swami Tapovan Quotes and Teachings


Sitting in solitude Sannyasin mahatmas find supreme joy in the Lord.

Living in the midst of social life householder mahatmas find joy in the supreme Self. To them transactions of daily life bring no happiness. Yet they engage themselves in them as in a job carrying no reward or as in the sports of a child.

Attachment and aversion are not altogether different. When attachment is frustrated, it turns to aversion.

Everything has its own place in the economy of the Universe!

We have to achieve happiness and peace not by renouncing the world but by remaining fixed in the thought of the Supreme Self, by possessing unbreakable faith.

Tapas means turning pain into pleasure.

The wise have said that the best wealth is happiness.

The really poor man is not the one who lacks money but he who lacks the joy of the heart.

However wealthy a man may be, he cannot eat gold and silver. Then why to entertain love for money?

What is the purpose of money except for the maintenance of one’s body?

The greatness of material wealth is evanescent, charming at start but sorrowful at the end. On the contrary, the wealth arising out of the realization of Truth is everlasting, uniformly beautiful and Blissful.

He who sees not the hoarded gold in his house and goes about begging for pieces of copper is similar to one who seeks happiness outside himself – he will never find satisfaction.

One who sees God everywhere and in everything, what is there to gain for him by pilgrimages?

God is a great string puller, all moving and non-moving things are bound together into a garland by Him with the cord of attachment. The flowers may wither away but the thread remains intact.

Every man ought to throw himself in the mercy of God who is the embodiment of happiness, abandoning desires for the enjoyment of worldly pleasures.

The omnipotent, supreme God, just to please his devotees, assumes some form at times and in certain places.

Internal renunciation is the secret of lasting happiness.

Never forget God, that is, even in the giddy whirl of daily duties remember Him without a break.
When as a result of long periods of Sadhanas, mind becomes clean, be sure realization of Self is not far.

It is a spiritual life every wise man desires, not a worldly one. The dog and the pig lead a sensuous life. Is it a sign of wisdom to run after a life of the senses? Certainly not.

The ignorant ones who pursue sensuous pleasures, alas know not, because of their ignorance, what a miserable life they are leading.

The path to reach the Truth can indeed be walked by all those who have the divine accomplishments. In reaching the Truth, caste and status in life are no bar at all. He who has the thirst for the nectar of Truth, whoever he be, may drink freely at the well of knowledge and become contented. O mind, contemplate constantly upon the well of Truth, the Lord of Badri. (Source: Hymn to Badrinath, III:4)

Discrimination is the result of commonsense.

On the fulfillment of a desire there is a sense of satisfaction. But the momentary pleasure is so mixed up with pain and sorrow that our ancient rishis consider it as poisoned, though dainty food.

Swami Tapovanam On Bhakti

It is in vain to waste one’s time considering which God to worship. Worship Him in any form. It is the sincerity of devotion that matters.

Worship your chosen ideal with constant thought, repetition of holy names and meditation.

Give up pride and egotism and devoutly immerse yourself in the thought of God. Love without faith and sincerity is naught.

The first and foremost means of God realization is Love – love of the Lord all unsurpassed. Love of God purifies the mind and easily leads to mental concentration.

Swami Tapovan On Grace

Grace of the Self, grace of God, grace of the Guru and grace of the scriptures – those who have gained these four realize truth and rejoice beyond the shadow of fear.

Of these, grace of self means self-effort. God helps those who help themselves.

By the grace of God an aspirant comes into contact with a Guru who is established in Brahman.

And through the grace of the guru he learns the secrets and puts them into practice.

Swami Tapovan On Spiritual Practices

The liking for spiritual practices and exercises therein should show steady progress. The ways of the mind should be watched and tested from time to time. One must check up and see every year, every month, every day, how far one’s exercises are fructifying, how far passions like love and hate, and vain thoughts are subsiding and how much the mind delights in the thought of God.

The main use of Japa, Dhyana and other modes of worship is to win God’s grace and the resulting purity of mind – purity of the mind means the cleanness and peace of the mind on the cessation of its mischievous activities arising out of the attachment to sensuous life. The more the mind gets purified the more it delights in Japa, Dhyana etc. The more one’s spiritual exercises progress the more purified one’s mind gets. So spiritual effort and mental purity should advance steadily hand in hand.

Swami Tapovanam On Dharma

That Dharma which remains homogenous and unchanging in all good persons and in all good affairs, irrespective of time and place, alone is Sanatana Dharma.
Dharma is not for the pleasure of the doer, nor is the doer for the pleasure of Dharma.
Who will not feel happy over what urges him to perform his dharma?
As qualifications differ, duties too differ.

On Samadhi

The mind must be raised higher and higher to a state where all thoughts are checked. The state is called Samadhi.

When all activities of the mind cease, what remains, what shines by itself, is the Truth, the Self, the Supreme Self.

It is impossible to explain Samadhi or the Self that is of the nature of Samadhi, so as to make it intelligible to others. Experience alone can make any person to understand it.

Thoughts on the Hindu concept of Sannyasa – Swami Tapovanam

The fourth ashram of Sannyasa is noblest as it concentrates itself on the realization of Truth both by observation and propagation.
Renunciation is not the last refuge of an idler; it is the state of having done all that is to be done by way of what is good, pure and propitious.
For Sannyasins, the capital is liberty.
If by wandering as a mendicant one can become a sannyasin, all beggars should be sannyasins.
The very purpose of the life as a Sadhu is the emancipation from the sorrows of worldly existence.

On Desire

  • Desire is the seed of all fear and sorrow. The root of ‘samsara’ is desire.
  • Worldly desires are of the nature of bondage, they are also its cause, tying down a man with no visible chain, he cannot go beyond the end of tether. Yet he is proud of his freedom.
  • The first thing that true seekers of happiness have to do is to conquer desire.
  • It is impossible to exhaust desires though enjoyment. So the only way to overcome them is through right thinking.

Swami Tapovan on Nature

  • The sight of the wonderful landscapes and objects of nature purifies the soul, the beating improves the quality of gold.
  • Uncommon natural phenomena are a means to withdraw the mind from external things and to project it Godwards.
  • To appear fresh every second is the true nature of beauty.

Swami Tapovan on Following Hindu Customs

We need not follow a loathsome custom simply because it is ancient. Only after due testing and necessary modifications should one accept a custom. This is a principle to be borne in mind.

Think how customs get the better of man and enslave him! Even the intelligent man ought to know that customs are made for man, not man for customs.

Swami Tapovan Advice to Householders and Worship of Chosen Deity

To worship a chosen deity is not only more easy, it is also more suited to the times. A householder’s life is mainly one of action and those in that state of life ought to do their best to keep their actions pure.

Take a vow not to do anything impure or forbidden by the scriptures even to save your life; use your wisdom to perform every action as an act of divine worship without caring for its fruit, thus making all actions pure, uncontaminated by the desire for reward. This should be the first sadhana for every aspirant.

To achieve this, control over the senses and mind is absolutely essential. Purity of action is the very foundation of all spiritual exercises. If one can’t perform good deeds how can he aspire for the far loftier steps of devotion to God and realization of Brahman?

One can worship one’s chosen deity with good deeds and moral conduct. Repeat the mantras of the deity worship His image, meditate upon Him. By such acts of devotion and by the performance of good deeds (of course without desiring their fruits), one ought to purify one’s mind and concentrate. 

Only a mind shorn of all impurities, of likes and dislikes becomes entitled to follow the path of jnana whose nature is self-enquiry. The sole means of liberation is the immediate knowledge of the Self, arising out of the enquiry of the Self. That is the goal. There it is we have to reach step by step.

Remember God at all times. It is no spiritual life to spend a few minutes in the morning and evening thinking of God and devote all the other hours to the thought of sensuous pleasures. Think of the Lord in the midst of work, never for a moment forget Him.

Swami Tapovan Thoughts on How to Realize Brahman and Secure Liberation

For a worldly man, wealth and other sense objects produce recurring grief, yet his mind clings to them – that is the great maya! This indiscretion should be overcome by discriminating thought. When the Avidya is destroyed, pursuit after sense objects will cease. This is the vairagya recommended to men in the scriptures.

Vairagya (dispassion) is the first step in the endeavour to realize God. A mind devoid of vairagya will not get concentrated upon godly sadhanas.

At the root of all evil is passion. It is what makes the mind unsteady. Destroy passion with wisdom and get established in dispassion.

Contract no attachment to anything. Welcome what comes, willingly give up what goes. There is no need to worry about either.

Live, live in the living present. Think not of the past or future.

If one attains this state of dispassion one’s mind will get fixed upon God. He will find joy in the worship of God. The blissful Lord is no longer far. Soon it will be possible to realize Him and secure liberation.

On Selfishness

What makes an action good or bad is the absence or presence of selfishness. Selfishness makes an action sinful and impure.

If one has no selfish consideration or motive for his action why should he be affected by its success or failure? Why should he be anxious about its outcome?

Leave off all selfish thought that defiles the mind; make the mind still and fix it upon the feet of God; sit in a steady posture as far and as long as possible and worship Him regularly; be like children 
living in the present worrying little about the past or the future; convince yourself by proper thought it is peace of mind that is the highest pleasure, not even the status of Indra (the king of Demigods).

A life of that kind is the true spiritual life; blessed and blissful it is coveted even by Indra.

Swami Tapovan Thoughts on Samsara

Men flock to sensuous enjoyments as crows flock to pick up crumbs of bread.

Samsara is the expansion of ego, the destruction of ego is what is called Liberation.
Path of glory lead but to the grave.

So long as man thinks that his body is the doer and the enjoyer, action will have its retribution – Samsara will continue.

Who can escape scalding if he touches fire? Similarly, if one meddles with sensuous pleasures, how can he escape pollution?

God helps those who help themselves – Swami Tapovan

Even as satisfaction of hunger is the perceptible result of eating, cheerfulness of the mind and sense of peace are the tangible results of devout worship. With regular uninterrupted practice of worship and godly life, cleanliness of mind and feeling of peace will grow from more to more. That miserable state in which common, paltry things upset the mind will cease. The bright cheerfulness of mind is covetable in life as beatitude is after death.

As a result of the unbroken contemplation of Self, sparks of Self-realization begin to flit about in the mind like flashes of lightning. Along with it a great feeling of joy pervades the mind. Objects of the senses and sensuous persons can no longer tempt or attract the mind now. In the early stages of sadhana however, aspirants must be careful about sensuous objects and those who are after them since they agitate the mind.

Grace of self means self effort. God helps those who help themselves. By the grace of God an aspirant comes into contact with a guru who is established in Brahman.

Tapovan Maharaj on the Greatness of Bhakti

Bhakti Marga is easier than Jnana Marga, Yoga Marga and Karma Marga. That is to say that it is easier to practice. Great discrimination is not necessary for Bhakti Marga. Nor do we have to take to the very difficult practices of control of breath and control of mind in this path. No money is required for it; nor does it need the practice of austerities like various Vratas. It does not depend on great excellence in actions.

The quality is not in caste and name is a great truth which can be followed by all, only in the path of Bhakti. There is no restriction to chant the name of Hari even for a lady having her periods, or a beggar or a man who burns the dead, or a sinner or a Brahmin who worships the fire.

Nandanar, who was a low caste, Shri Chaitanya, who was the best among the Brahmins, and Meerabai ,who was a woman, – none of them were prevented from becoming great Bhaktas.

Not only that the path of Bhakti does not advise people to go against nature by suppressing the mind and the sense organs but asks them to turn their activities towards the Lord.

Thus Bhakti Marga is a path which can be practiced by anyone with ease and which can lead a person to liberation. This is its greatness.

Story - Glory of Surrendering to the Supreme Truth

A man with his two sons was walking through a field. He was holding one of his children in his arm while the other clasped his other hand walking along with him. As they walked they spotted a kite in the sky. The one holding the hand of the father let go of it and started clapping his hands with excitement at the sight of the kite. Doing so he tripped and fell. Hurting himself he started crying loudly.

The other safe in the father's arm also indulged in joyfully clapping his hands with great excitement but did not stumble and get hurt.

The boy who tripped and got hurt represent self help with regards to spirituality and the other who was safe in the father's arm represents surrender.

When one indulges in self help in spirituality, one is caught up in the sense of doer-ship which further binds. But when one surrenders, he is on the road to freedom which bestows bliss.

If a man does not exercise his God-given intelligence to discriminate between the ephemeral and the eternal and realize the self through spirit of dispassion – it can only serve to torment him.