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Atmananda Krishna Menon Quotes and Teachings

Sri Atmananda Krishna Menon (1883-1959) was a modern-day Advatin. Here are a collection of his quotes and teachings from various sources. The thoughts have been collected over a 10-year period.

To the individual soul (ego) everything is outside. To God, everything is inside. To the Sage there is neither inside nor outside. He is beyond both.

Human effort consists of creating bondage for oneself, clinging fast to it, and wanting to become free without giving up bondage itself.

Thoughts Sayings of Atmananda Krishna Menon

Memory is a false witness, because it was not present at the time of the activity reported as being remembered.

The truth is now and here. So it is everywhere. If it is not first found now and here, it will be found nowhere else and at no other time.

Self-forgetfulness is the cause of the creation of the world, and self-remembrance or withdrawal to the Self is the destruction of the world.

One realizes neither as a direct result of renunciation, nor as a direct result of action; but only through the deepest conviction that one is not a doer even when engaged in incessant activity, and that one is not a renouncer or non-doer even when one takes the role of a sannyasin or in deep sleep. So realization depends on the perspective alone, and not upon any external manifestation.

Diversity is only in objects. Consciousness, which perceives them all, is one and the same.

When an ordinary man – who believes himself to be the body – sees an object, he sees and emphasizes the object part of it and ignores completely the most important factor – consciousness. But when a Jnyanin sees the same object, he sees it not as object but as consciousness itself. He emphasizes only the consciousness part of it, and feels that it is the Self. Thus to him, every perception doubly reaffirms his knowledge that he is Consciousness. It is experience of the Truth itself, repeated as often as there are thoughts or perceptions.

The word ‘I’ has the advantage of taking you direct to the core of your self. But you must be doubly sure that you will no longer return to identification with the body

Form is nothing but seeing.

By reducing objects into Consciousness or happiness, you come only to the brink of experience. Reduce them further into the ‘I’-principle; and then ‘it’, the object, and ‘you’, the subject, both merge into experience itself. 

When you find that what you see is only yourself, the ‘seeing’ and ‘objects’ become mere empty words.

The ordinary man is a slave of the mind and follows implicitly its dictates, as long as he is enamoured of sensual pleasures. But when you begin to turn away from the mind and start looking inward, the mind becomes bewildered and is ready to follow your footsteps faithfully, like a slave.

Activity and inactivity are ordinarily conceived to be opposite terms. But in fact there is no direct connection at all between them. Activity and inactivity are related directly only to me, the ‘I’-principle, which is their common background. It is only through me that activity and inactivity can even indirectly be connected.

Equality or oneness is the attribute of the Ultimate. It is established only when you reach the Ultimate, transcending body, senses and mind.

A mantra is a harmonious sound or group of sounds, with or without a superficially intelligible meaning, but capable of creating and applying some definite and potential energy if properly uttered. When Truth flows out of a Sage spontaneously, whether in prose or in poetry, it is a perfect mantra. All attempts to correct it in accordance with standards of rhyme or reason are nothing short of sacrilege and mutilate the mantra, sometimes producing even adverse results. Therefore, accept it as such or reject it.

Atmananda Krishna Menon

Quotes and Teachings on Love and Misery – Atmananda Krishna Menon

Misery is love itself. But how? Let us examine misery. Take any experience of misery. You say the thought of your departed father creates misery. But does it always do so? If your father, when living, was cruel and inimical to you, the thought of his demise would hardly make you miserable. Therefore it is clear that it was not the thought of the father that was the cause of the misery, but it was the thought of your father’s love that was the real cause.

But love is attributeless and indivisible. It is wrong even to call it father’s love, and it has been proved that the thought of the father was not the cause of misery. Therefore it was love and love alone that was the cause of the misery, if it could ever have had a cause. But you experience only one thing at a time – love or misery – and therefore there can be no causal relationship between the two [as different things]. 

Hence it is love that expresses itself as misery and not your father [that causes it, as something different from love]. The father is forgotten in love. To find the source of misery, you must go beyond body and mind. If you emphasize body and mind, you are fixed in the expression of Truth. The substance is beyond. 

Misery and happiness are both expressions. Love pure is the background of both. When you cling on to love, objects vanish. But when you cling on to objects, love is not perceived as such. 

Where there is no love, there is no misery. So love goes into the make of misery; misery is love itself. It is the illusory concept of time that makes love appear as misery. If you separate love from misery, misery is not.

Atmananda Krishna Menon Teachings on Reality and Thought

When you ask why, when, where etc., in relation to the Reality, you take it for granted that why, when, where etc. are more real than Reality itself. This position is absurd. Therefore no such question can be asked, relating to the Reality.

All Upanishadic methods try to eliminate you from the Anatma and to establish you in the Atma. But here according to the direct method you are shown that you can never get away either from your own shadow or from your reality. You are only asked to look deep into what you call Anatma, and see beyond the shadow of a doubt that it is nothing but Atma the Reality.

Thought must have an object, but Consciousness has none.

Atmananda Krishna Menon – Deep Sleep and Realization

Deep mental activity generates heat, which keeps off deep sleep. Cold in its intensity wakes you up. Deep sleep brings on a sense of happiness and peace with it. This experience we get only in the absence of all mental activity. When we direct our mind to this happiness aspect of deep sleep, we feel a sensation of gentle coolness, which wards off all sense of negation in sleep.

So we get to our real nature by relaxing our mind from all forms of activity, and at the same time not losing sight of the happiness and peace experienced in deep sleep.

This positive aspect saves us from the probable shroud of negation and slumber. We should not allow the mind to be active and at the same time we should see that it does not become inactive.

In other words: Sleep knowingly. Thus, deep sleep can be utilized directly for establishing oneself in the real center.

Sri Atmananda Krishna Menon Thoughts on Time

Time is believed to be composed of the past, present and future. Of these three, the past is past only in reference to the present and the present is present only in relation to the past, future is future only in reference to the present. So all three being interdependent, even for their very existence, it has to be admitted by sheer force of logic that none of them is real. Therefore, time is not.

Experience is the only criterion by which the reality of anything can be decided. Of the three categories of time, past and future are not experienced by any, except when they appear in the present. Then it can be considered only as present. Even this present – when minutely examined – reduces itself into a moment which slips into the past before you begin to perceive it, just like a geometrical point. It is nobody’s experience. It is only a compromise between past and future as a meeting point. Thus present itself being only imaginary, past and future are equally so. Therefore, time is not.

Teachings on Love – Atmananda Krishna Menon

If you love another for his or her gross and external qualities alone, that love is of the lowest type.

But if you love the other knowing that it is the life principle alone in the other that you love, then that love becomes sublime.

And lastly, if you love the other knowing that it is that which transcends the attributes - body, senses and mind - that you love, there the otherness vanishes at once. That love is the most sublime, and is the Absolute itself.

Your love is directed only to the real substratum or Self. You happen to love the qualities in one, simply because they belong to the substratum you love. You love, because love is the real nature of the real Self and you cannot help loving even for a moment.

Genuine love absorbs everything into you, and then duality dies. But in conditioned love, or gratitude, duality persists in giving and taking.