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Dnyaneshwari Quotes

Dnyaneshwari is the oldest surviving literary work in the Marathi language. It is the translation of Bhagavad Gita in Marathi composed by Dnyaneshwar Maharaj(born 1275 – 1296 AD). This is a collection of quotes from Dnyaneshwari which was written when Dnyaneshwar Maharaj was just 16 years old.

To perform one’s duties properly is in itself the highest offering. Those who pursue this path are not touched by sin. It is only when one’s duties are neglected and one is inclined to do erroneous acts that one is caught in the cycle of life and death.

The performance of one’s duty is in itself the highest sacrifice (yajna) and the man who is devoted to such sacrifice is free from all bonds.

Whatever is born perishes and is later born again. This wheel of life and death has been going on perpetually from time immemorial like the cycle of sunrise and sunset. At the time of the big deluge these three worlds also get destroyed. Therefore beginning and end are inevitable. (2:159-161).

Prior to birth creatures have no form. They acquire it after birth. When they die they certainly will not reach another state but only the previous. The form you see between the birth and the death is the projection (an illusive image) of Brahman due to the influence of Maya. (2:164-166).

All creatures acquire a form due to the effect of Maya, therefore why should you shed tears over something which does not exist in the first place? Instead, you should think about the eternal Soul (Atman). (2:168-169).

Those who develop a love for this Soul (Atman) are not influenced by sense-objects. They become detached and dispassionate and live a hermit's life. With the Atman as their goal they observe constraints like celibacy and penance. (2:170-171).

Many have attained a state of steadiness of mind and by concentrating on that pure Self, have lost all thoughts about the material world. Many have developed detachment and become constantly engrossed with it (i.e. the Self) while singing its praises. Some have left their "I am the body" feeling while some have become one with it (The Self). Just as the river flow merging into the ocean does not revert, similarly superior yogis, once their intellect merges with the Soul become one with it and they are not reborn. (2:172-176).

The all-pervading Brahman exists within everybody. It cannot be destroyed even if you want to. It is the cause of birth and death of every creature therefore why should you feel sorry? (2:177-178).

Quotes from Chapter IV of Dnyaneshwari

You forget that both you and I have been born over and over again. At a suitable opportunity I take birth and I also remember what I did then. Though I am, as Supreme Brahman, free from the troubles of life and death, yet, resorting to My illusion (Maya), I am born. My indestructibility is not affected thereby and birth and death merely appear in Me, but are not there. My independence is unbroken, though I appear to be doing things, and though, those in error think that I am doing things. A mirror multiplies images, where there is only one. So I, who am without form, adopt My nature (Maya) and like actors in a play, I also appear to perform actions in a human form.

In each age since ancient times, I have imposed on Myself the obligation of protecting truth (Dharma). When sin destroys truth, I forget my formlessness and take birth.

I take the human form in order to assist My devotees, and when I am born, the darkness of error is dispelled. I destroy sin, and, removing the errors of the good, I make them hoist the flag of happiness. I destroy the hordes of the evil ones and I establish the sages on the throne of honour. I re-establish in society morals as well as truth. I light the lamp of discrimination and remove darkness in the form of thoughtlessness. For the good, it is light everywhere (Diwali). The happiness of Self becomes attainable to the whole world. Purified in mind and body, the sages secure supreme bliss. Mountains of sin are reduced to powder, when I am born and the sun in the form of good actions rises above the horizon. Only the wise ones know Me in My incarnation. I take birth for this great purpose.

He is truly free, who recognises that though I have no birth, I am born; though I have no actions, I am active. In the human form, he is still free from the body and when the body dies, he joins Me.

Such sages entertain no regrets for the past. Nor do they have any hopes for the future. They have no desires and they give no room for anger. Ever devoted to Me, their life is dedicated to My service and they find supreme satisfaction in the knowledge of Self. The light of asceticism is never dim; in them. They are the temple of wisdom. They purify the holy places. They naturally ascend to Me and in human form attain Me, so much so that there remains no distinction between Me and them. When brass is purified over and over again, until it becomes gold, what is the difference between it and gold? In the practice of Yoga, they make great progress. Their intelligence is lighted up by asceticism and by wisdom. They cannot go elsewhere. They must come to Me.

All the same I respond to their worship according to the nature of their worship. Every human being has a tendency to offer worship and this is directed towards Me, but those who are in error and whose intelligence is wobbling, do not realise the unity of Me, and run after many forms. Where I am one, they imagine many. Where I have no name, they give names to Me. Where I have no description, they set up little gods and goddesses. I, who am everywhere at all times and in equal strength, am differentiated by them as inferior and superior. Their intelligence being muddled, they create a hierarchy.

Even with devotion, the erring ones offer worship accompanied by many rituals to all sorts of gods. They do secure as a result of their worship, what they desire. But the secret of this is not known to them. There is no donor in this world other than one's own actions. Fruits are produced in this world only from actions. Whatever seed is sown in the field, the fruit is produced accordingly. Whatever image is held before the mirror, the reflection appears accordingly. Whatever word is pronounced in a valley, the echo answers accordingly. Whatever worship is offered, it all reaches Me, and according to the faith, the fruit thereof is produced.


The first hurdle is the misconception that one has to renounce the world and be a Sanyasi for taking up the spiritual path. The Gita teaches us otherwise and considers Sanyas as unnecessary.

The second hurdle is the fear that spiritual exercises would divert the mind from the duties of the office and impede success. This is also not correct. Spiritual exercises instill a discipline into one's person, remove fear and make one more efficient. In fact, many yoga and meditation techniques have been adapted for pacifying the mind and instilling a positive approach to life. Many executives pay high fees to attend such courses and workshops where these techniques are taught and find then beneficial. Even big commercial companies send their executives to such courses. The philosophy of the Gita goes much beyond that.

The third hurdle is the mental impediment about the availability of time. This again is baseless, for one can always find a few minutes in a day, even while travelling to work, to ponder over spiritual matters or read about it.

The fourth hurdle is the problem of how to go about it. Who would guide and tell whether the path taken is correct or not? and so on. The Gita answers many of these questions and suggests many paths which one may choose from depending upon one's personality.

(Source – excerpts from a commentary on Dnyaneshwari by Vishwatmak Jangli Maharaj Ashram Trust)

Dnyaneshwari on Steadfastness

A person in whom steadfastness occurs is the life of Knowledge. Even though the natural actions of his body go on externally his mind remains undisturbed internally. (13:485-486).

His mind does not get discouraged by calamities. He is not tortured by poverty or pain nor does he tremble from fear and sorrow. And he is not frightened even by the approach of death. His straightforward mind does not waver even under pressure from hope or pain or by the rumblings of various diseases. (13:492- 494).

His mind does not waver when he has to face slander, insult, punishment, desire, greed. (13:495-496).

Arjuna, this state is what is called steadfastness and whosoever has it ingrained in him is the treasure cove of Knowledge. (13:501)

A person with a steadfast mind takes care of his mind and does not allow it to go near sense-objects. (13:504).

He keeps a stern watch on the tendencies of his mind and deliberately controls his organs by self-control and self-restraint. Then by steadying himself in the three Bandhas. He fixes his consciousness in the central nerve Sushumna and steadies the meditation in Samadhi. Then his consciousness unifies with the Divine energy and merges in it. This is what is called controlled state of the mind.

Knowledge is manifested where it occurs. He whose commands are respected by the mind is the Knowledge personified. (13:508-512).

Dnyaneshwari Teachings on the Real Devotee

Those seekers who worship Me with whatever rituals and have surrendered
themselves to Me, attain Me. Arjuna, no other method will make a seeker attain Me unless he totally surrenders to Me. (9:366-367).

He who claims to know Me does not really know Me. He who boasts about his achievements is imperfect and immature. Similarly the Yajnas, penance and other rituals which people perform and boast about are not even worth a blade of grass for attaining Me. Vedas stumble while describing My nature and describe Me as "Not this and not that" making Sanaka and other sages confused about Me. (9:370-371).

One can attain Me only when he gives up all thoughts about how great and scholarly he is and becomes humble. (9:378).  

Therefore one must give up the love of the material body, consciousness about his qualities and pride about his possessions and surrender himself completely to Me.

Then, when with boundless love the devotee offers Me a fruit from a tree I anxiously spread My palms to receive it and eat it without even waiting to remove the stem. If he offers Me a flower, I should really smell it but overcome by his love I put it in My mouth and taste it. But why talk of flower? Even if he offers a leaf I do not bother to see whether it is fresh or dry and eat and savour it. And may be even that leaf is not available, but there is no dearth of water which is available free. But when that devotee offers that water with complete devotion, then even if it was free, I feel as if he has built immense temples for Me, given Me jewels more valuable than Kaustubha and served Me delicacies better than manna. You are aware how I devoured the fistful of rice brought by Sudama. I only look at the devotion and accept the offering without differentiating between rich and poor, big and small. Really speaking, fruit, flower, leaf etc. are only means of manifesting the devotion and are useless unless offered with the feeling of devotion. Therefore I am telling you a easy way. Do not permit yourself to forget Me. (9:382-397)