Skip to main content


Swami Krishnananda Quotes and Teachings

Swami Krishnananda (1922 - 2001) was a saint associated with the Divine Life Society, Sivananda Ashram, RishikeshIndia. These quotes and teachings of Swami Krishnananda are on various topics and from various sources.
  • The Avatara is a perpetual activity of God who manifests Himself at every juncture or critical situation (Yuge, Yuge) in the life of the world. The Avatara is the recurring reminder of God to man that it is impossible for the undivine to triumph over the essential goodness and divinity immanent in creation. It is the cry of humanity that summons God in the form of the Incarnation. When the need is felt, it is responded to properly by God.
  • Brahma-Vidya is the art and the science of educating oneself in the manner of correctly perceiving the world as such, including one’s own self in the totality of relations, so that no partial vision of things can be regarded as a passport to the concept of the Absolute.

    Divine Life Society Swami Krishnananda Quotes

  • The true philosophic method should not be lopsided, should not be biased to any particular or special dogma, but comprehend within itself the processes of reflection and speculation and at the same time be able to reconcile the deductive and inductive methods of reasoning.
  • The powers that we seek, the joys that we expect, do not come from anywhere other than our own selves. All the powers are inside us, just as tremendous energy is hidden in an atom. It does not come from outside, from somewhere else. It is there inside and has only to be released by adopting certain procedures. If it is not released, it will seem like nothing; it is a meaningless particle of matter about which nobody will bother, in spite of the fact that it is charged with such power and impregnated with incredible energy.
  • The nature of the experience of space and time depends upon the manner in which the consciousness happens to be objectively modalised. Persons who are in a depressed state of mind or who are in deep sorrow are apt to feel that, a moment of time is like a year, while those who revel in happiness would feel contrary. Space and time are ultimately conditions of consciousness and are not independent of it. In the dreaming state, experiences ranging over thousands of years can be undergone in a moment's time, while at the same time, the mind in this state can also project a moment's experience into a history of several years. In the state of intense spiritual contemplation and Samadhi, space and time are transcended, and only pure consciousness reveals itself. In this consciousness, the entire universal cycle is said to appear and disappear within the millionth part of a moment.
  • When we are friendly or when we are inimical, we are not encountering a person or a thing; we are encountering a circumstance which cannot be identified with the physical location of a person or a body. We are face to face with some situation which cannot be identified with a solid object.
  • When we are happy or unhappy, we cannot attribute it to the presence or absence of some physical object.
  • It is, again, a condition that has arisen, a condition that cannot be seen with the eyes, and we use this word again and again without knowing what it means.
  • “I am in a very bad condition” or “I am in a prosperous state” are glib statements whose meaning is not so clear.
  • This is the reason why we cannot easily be happy in this world; if it had been so easy, we would have purchased it in one minute with all the dollars and pounds that we have. That cannot be done because the physical appurtenances and configurations in the form of people and things are not the thing that we have lost.
  • When a person has lost his power—he has resigned or retired from a very powerful position — he has lost something. What has he lost? He is the same man that he was. The retired man is the same man that he was while in that position. This thing that he has lost is that which he cannot see with his eyes, but it can make him utterly restless and put him out of gear. One can even go crazy if he is demoted and thrown down from a high pedestal. This pedestal is not a physical seat; it is a concept.
  • Your energy becomes less and less as you desire things more and more. Whoever wants things, loses energy; whoever is one with things, becomes filled with energy. One who is united with things has no desire for things; this is the way one becomes filled with energy.
  • When things stand outside us, they take away our energy; if they are one with us, they give us energy. This is the secret of Yoga. Nothing should stand outside us; everything should be one with us. You cannot be a friend of anybody when that person is outside you. A person has to be one with you in thought and being; then he is a real friend. This is how you can be a friend of all things, even God Himself.
  • When you become the very things that you want, all energy comes in. This is the secret behind success. You have to intensely feel that you already have what you want. Then things will really come to you, without your asking for them. This is how energy increases. Yoga is the technique by which you do not run after things, but things, by themselves, will come to you. You have not only to know a thing but also be it.
  • Name, fame, greed are the very skin of the person, and to peel the skin is very difficult. It requires a perfection of spirit in one’s own self.
  • What is to be a religious person? It is the planting of the consciousness of God in one’s own heart.
  • All religious studies, any kind of religious way of living, is preceded by a moral and ethical purificatory process. It is not easy to be religious. Going to a temple, fasting, sleeping late in the night, rolling the beads—this is not religion. Religion is the consciousness of God, and to the extent one is conscious of the presence of God, to that extent one is religious. It has nothing to do with political activity, social welfare work, and so on. Though there is no objection to it, it cannot be identified with religion. Religion is not one way of living, it is the only way of living, and it must inundate the whole personality of the person.
We are a moving cosmic operation taking place, and really we do not exist by ourselves.

But there is a kind of ego, an assertion of the individuality of an otherwise mere floating bubble. The bubble is asserting its individuality, which makes it feel that it is existing as a person; but it is not existing. It is blown off by the operation of another force, and that blowing off is called death. The force can blow another way, and it is called rebirth. Every action, birth, death or experience is an operation of the centre of the cosmos. We do not exist here. The ego, or ahamkara, is the reason why we understand nothing. This great stigma on everyone will not allow us to think properly.

Therefore, you must seek deep meditation and expand your consciousness to the existence of everything in the universe so that when you think, you are thinking the whole universe at one stroke. You are not thinking any particular place – neither a place, nor a country, nor anything. The entire cosmic distance is yourself. In the Vaishvanara Vidya of the Upanishads it is said that you enter the cosmos, and the cosmos enters you, so that you do not exist at all. When you meditate, the cosmos meditates. The cosmos meditates on itself like a river entering the ocean, and there is no river afterwards. When the ocean thinks, it does not think like a river. The rivers are inside it. Though all the rivers are inside the ocean, the ocean does not think, “I am so many rivers.” It will not think like that. It thinks, “I am one mass of existence.”

Unselfishness is not loss of self. It is a transcendence of the lower self in gaining mastery through the higher self.

We are slaves from the point of view of the body, but masters from the point of view of the soul.

How can we have a daily routine which is inconsistent with the purpose of our life?

Distractions manifest themselves when there is no happiness in the mind.

…you will see that all the objects of the world are your own universal self.

Wisdom is not negation of anything.

All the objects of the universe are held together by an organic tie of harmony, which in Vedanta philosophy is called the Virat.

Every wave in the ocean is different from every other wave in the ocean, but at the bottom all the waves are connected by a single mass of water, so if we manipulate the bottom of the water, we are manipulating all the waves.

The whole universe is a single organism, and therefore, every thought is connected with every object.

There is a principle of thought behind the form of thought, just as there is a principle called wood or timber behind every form of furniture.

Though a chair is different from a table and a table is different from a desk, a bench, a door, and so on, yet they have an undercurrent of commonness among them that is timber or wood. Therefore, if we scratch the principle of timber, we have caught a table, a chair, and every blessed thing made out of it.

Suppose one wave in the ocean wants to control other waves; what will it do? It has to go back to its own source. It has to dive into its own bottom. And what is that bottom? It is the ocean. So the wave ceases to be a wave the moment it enters the bottom of itself, and it becomes the ocean. The moment it becomes the ocean, it is the master of all the waves, and not merely a single wave.

Life is a process of evolution. Towards what? Towards that from which everything has come.

From bliss Absolute we have come, in bliss Absolute are we rooted, and to bliss Absolute are we destined, so that the philosophy and culture of our land is a philosophy and culture of ananda, or bliss. It is not a message of pain, agony and distress. Pessimism is unknown to our culture. It is a culture of exuberant positivity of approach to God, who is the greatest of positivities.

It is a movement from joy to joy that we call the evolutionary process of the soul. It is a movement from lesser truth to higher truth, which is a better way of putting things than to repeat the old opinion that we move from error to truth.

In the glorious kingdom of heaven, which is within everyone, there cannot be error. Error is only misplacement of values. It cannot ultimately exist, and it cannot have an absolute value. Absolute error is unthinkable, and therefore, it cannot be. Absolute falsehood cannot exist.

Everything exists as a relative representation of God’s perfection; therefore, everywhere — even in the so-called erroneous movements of material, psychological and social forces — there is an element of God present, urging all these processes towards His Supreme Perfection.

Swami Krishnananda

Swami Krishnananda on How to do meditation on Om?

Om is not a word; it is a vibration. It is a name for universal vibration. The whole cosmos is vibrating like this, and it started the vibration at the time of creation. You are trying to concentrate on that in your mind. You feel the sense of a universal vibration everywhere, like an electric energy emanating from the top of the universe till your heart. It vibrates everywhere. Feel deeply that the universe is vibrating through you.

You are not one person sitting; you are only a little drop in the ocean of universal force, and because you cannot think it properly, one creates a symbol in the mind.

OmOmOm. If you chant like this, you must feel a thrill in the body, a vibration inside every cell of the body. All the pranas will do like this, shaking, as if some electric shock is given, and you feel as if you are connected with the universal energy. To create that feeling, you recite Om like that. You should chant it properly, not quickly, with deep thought and feeling from the middle of the heart, directly.

You start with a deep sonorous sound, and slowly it tapers off, like a ripple in water. When you throw a stone in water, it makes circles which will become wider and wider. Like that, you start the vibration here. Then you feel as if it is expanding little by little, by circles, until it reaches the top of the universe.

Swami Krishnananda on perception – inference and verbal testimony

Perception, inference and verbal testimony are the primary ways of right knowledge.

How do we know that there is an object in front of us? We acquire this knowledge through direct sensory contact. This is perception.

And when we see muddy water in a river, we suppose that there must have been rains uphill. This knowledge we gather by inference.

The words of others in whom we have faith also convey to us true knowledge as, for example, when we believe that there is an elephant in the nearby city, on hearing of it from a reliable friend, though we might have not have actually seen it with our eyes. This is Verbal testimony.

It is said in many Hindu scriptures that the sources of right knowledge are direct perception, inference and testimony or spiritual texts.