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Swami Venkatesananda Quotes

Swami Venkatesananda (1921 - 1982) was associated with the Divine Life Society of Swami Sivananda. This is a collection of quotes of Swami Venkatesananda.

Everything in the universe is filled with the same energy, with the same intelligence, the same consciousness. Thus, the objects that we use in our life, the actions that we do with this body, the persons to whom our actions are directed, are nothing but the manifestations of God.

Constant vigilance is necessary in order not to lose sight of the goal. We have our feet planted firmly on the ground and let our heart and mind fly aloft in the realms of the infinite. We grasp the form and let the indwelling presence envelop our heart, our consciousness.

As long as we are unable to step out of the conventional attitude towards sorrow, it will continue. We are taught, conditioned and brought up with the concept that if someone insults you, you must punish him. We must try to get out of the group rut and try to look at this whole phenomenon from a different angle. Then it is possible for us to get a glimpse of the truth.

Whenever I read or speak about The Mahabharata, I am overwhelmed with a depressing thought. The hundred wicked Kauravas acted as one man, hardly ever arguing, hardly ever even disagreeing with one another and ever-willing to overlook their differences of opinion.

On the other hand, the five noble Pandavas spent too much of the time and energy arguing (almost bickering!) among themselves.  I can understand this, justify it, but cannot appreciate it. 'Good' people in the world are more eager to reform one another; they expose one another's faults in the name of truth, honestly, sincerity, etc.

Criticizing one another is considered a demonstration of moral courage. All that is excellent. But what they tend to forget the whole time is that they have forgotten the real problem: the wicked people multiply proliferously.

Swami Venkatesananda on Hindu Idol Worship

What is an idol but a piece of matter, from the point of view of an ignorant man, whatever may be his wealth, position or titles? Yet, the devotee feels the Presence of God within that material substance. The wise sage allowed him to 'play' (pray) with it, as a child might play with a doll.

The child gets its training in mother craft; the devotee gets to know that God indeed does dwell in even that piece of matter. Then, he turns around and sees the sun, moon, etc., and realizes that even as God is the Indweller of the idol, He is the indweller of the sun, moon, etc.

Why did not the sage advocate such a practice of the Presence of God, without prescribing idol-worship as a preliminary? For the simple reason that the human mind is more ready to associate Divinity, pure and untainted by prejudice, with the idol than to see God in the face of a child.

There is another important angle. Idol worship should lead us on to meditation on the Absolute. Without the first step of idol worship, meditation on the Absolute is impossible.

And, if we do not extend the frontiers of divinity beyond the idol, we may get stuck there. Hence, even in the method of worshipping idols, our ancient seers had introduced elements of adoration of the Nameless and the Formless Being.

In the 'mantras' they provided for the worship, they wove expressions like, ‘I bow to the All Pervading,’ ‘I bow to the Eternal’ which are obviously irrelevant to the personalized form of God (eg: Rama or Krishna, who are historical personalities) the devotee worships. 

Again, they declared that mental worship of the chosen deity was superior (when we are ready for it, of course!) to gross external worship, and that Para Puja (a way of adorning the Omnipresent God through all our thoughts, words and deeds) was superior to all other forms of worship.

Swami Venkatesananda on the Perfected Ones

The perfected ones have abandoned the illusion of duality of the observer and the object, and the consequent movement of thought. Their gaze is fixed and unwinking.

Though these sages are active in this world, they do not entertain the least notion of illusory existence.

They are firmly rooted in the abandonment of the relationship between the knower and the known.

Their consciousness is absolutely pure, purified of all images, concepts and notions.