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Timeless Wisdom Of Swami Chinmayananda - Great Lessons For Life

A collection of great life lessons - the timeless wisdom of - Swami Chinmayananda


Daily prayer and meditation are all wonderful therapeutic agencies in building up peace and happiness within an individual.

A mind held at concentration brings into view the deeper thoughts that were till then hidden from it due to its own fluctuations.

The joyous expansion of mind experienced in prayer, and the hushed silence and restful inner dynamism experienced in meditation are the sculptors that fashion our character and conduct.

Great ideas are conceived only by alert minds held steady in meditative pose, in unbroken concentration and dynamic vigil.

We are bound by wrong thinking. Clinging to bondages hinder us from progressing.

You are looking for water in the desert. Poor desert! It does not have water to give you. If it had, it would surely give. All it has is a mirage. It is not the desert’s fault. You are looking for water where it does not exist.

You want happiness from this world? But the world is like the desert. It does not have any happiness to give you. You are looking in the wrong direction.

If you want happiness – take a right about-turn and look within.

What we regularly encourage and consistently cultivate in our mind – this determines our character formation, and ultimately, our destiny. Evidently, an intelligent choice of thought changes the character pattern in us – placing, thus, the entire destiny of our life in our own hands.

We must keep our mind constantly open to all helpful suggestions. There are always rich mines of healthy ideas lying broadcast throughout life’s fields; only we ignore them, refusing to explore them fully.

We must, as the most important thing, discover in ourselves an expectant, helpful, unselfish attitude towards the world of beings and happenings around us.

Confidence in oneself, quietness within, serenity in the mind, poise in the being, and a ready willingness to serve others moulds the healthiest personality.

Our mind receive impulses from the external world and we respond directly without the guidance or control of the intellect which is the officer in charge within our body politic.  Consequently, there is confusion and chaos within, leading naturally to dissatisfaction and discontentment in life.

The mind is defined as a flow of thoughts, just as a river is a flow of water. The banks of the river guide and direct its flow and when the banks are not firm, the water runs amuck. So too, when the intellect of man is not firm and determined, the mind functions as it wants and man is tossed hither and thither by the vicissitudes of his environment and circumstances. To keep the intellect firm and determined and to be constantly guided by the dictates of such an intellect is the training imparted by religion.

Materialism is wonderful, no doubt, but it burdens man with endless anxiety and craving to possess more, to acquire and aggrandize and to indulge with slavish attachment.

In recent times, more people are killed by worry than by work.

Man in his present misconceived civilization has learned to waste himself and his precious time in the inevitable trifles and tension that beset his life.

To the attentive and the vigilant, life is a glorious opportunity with possibilities to reach the perfection of civilization.

Learn in life to discriminate between the serious and the trifling, the permanent and impermanent, the full and the empty occupations, and employ our precious life span in seeking and striving to acquire and gain the momentous, the lasting the full.

Right thinking is a habit that can be cultivated. Substitution of positive thoughts and flooding the mind with creative ideas are methods by which we can flush out the floor of the mind, littered as it is now with the filth of incomplete thoughts and decaying ideas.

Having recognized a thought as negative or wrong, do not waste time in upholstering it to look neat and attractive, but reject it immediately and totally.

Just as a well-fed baby lies cheerfully kicking its limbs in the air and smiles and laughs unto itself, all the while having its eyes fixed upon the light of wall lamp, so too, must one learn to go about the business of life and yet uninterruptedly watch the mind within.

Each thought, word or deed should emerge from you, bearing the seal of your own recognition; post a portion of your attention as a sentry on the high watch-tower within the intellect. Let it be a silent observer of the day long business in the tumultuous within, and estimate the motives, intentions and purposes that lie behind your thoughts, words and deeds. This is Introspection.

The intelligent philosophy of the Rishis advises man to live in harmony with the situations in life and steadily work on to meet them with discretion and constant application. When we live thus for a period of time, a subjective poise develops, giving us inward peace and tranquility which thereafter, remains unaffected by external threats and onslaughts.

The success and joy in one’s life are measured by the extent of control one has over the inner subjective confusions.

The life of harmony can be lived by rising above our limited egocentric view of things and happenings, and expanding our mind to accommodate a constant awareness of the totality of the world, the entirety of mankind and the vastness and wholeness of the universal problems.

To live a life of harmony, is to recognize oneself, at every moment, to be a member of the entire humanity living in a composite universe and merge one’s life with the resonant cadence of the whole, and bring about a fascinating melody of harmonious existence.

Man can change his destiny not by wishing for it but by working for it.

A problem in life is a challenge to be faced. The outer problems, created by the arrangement of happening and the pattern of the available environment are all actually interpreted by the mind, and judged by the intellect. Then only responses arise from us towards them.

If accumulated knowledge adds to form proficiency, the ability to translate that knowledge into action in the appropriate fields is known as efficiency.

Daily prayer and meditation are all wonderful therapeutic agencies in building up peace and happiness within the individual.

Desires are never quenched by enjoyment, it rather inflames them as clarified butter does fire.

The principle is simple you can never solve a problem as long as you are in the problem. Get out of it.

In our modern society, for every successful man, we watch hundreds who are disappointed, dejected and broken down. As on a grinding stone, people get themselves crushed in the competition of the modern material world and its market place. Yet all the spiritual literature of the world unanimously declares that this need not be the tragedy of the human race – if the individual members know the art of diligently using their own abilities and efficiencies.

The great Rishis have asserted emphatically that a certain amount of knowledge of the inner spiritual constitution of man will give him more mastery over his own life.

Man in his present misconceived civilization has learned to waste himself and his precious time in the inevitable trifles and tensions that beset his life. But to the attentive and the vigilant, life is a glorious opportunity with possibilities to reach the perfection of civilization.

Let us learn in life to discriminate between the serious and the trifling, the permanent and the impermanent, the full and the empty occupations, and employ our precious lifespan in seeking and striving to acquire and gain the momentous, the lasting, the full.

If we are efficient in meeting our own world – if we have ready dexterity, decisiveness, firm will, balance, equanimity, and right understanding – no situation in life can break or enslave us.

In our preoccupation with conquering nature and subduing her to serve us, we have ignored our own inner monstrosities.

Unless we learn to master our inner life, the outer scheme of life, however efficient and perfect, cannot but bring sorrow and unhappiness.

Our physical, mental, intellectual and spiritual personalities must be blended into one harmonious whole. The mind is able to view life as a whole. Meditation is the technique for achieving this harmony. It is the highest spiritual discipline. Through mediation we come to experience peace within ourselves. Internecine wars between desires end. Conflicts between duties no longer torment us. The mind is able to view life as a whole.

In spiritual growth, there can be no progress without steady and sincere practice.

One begins to yearn for the Supreme Truth only after one has sufficiently lived through experiences of joy and sorrow.

Only after passing through the dingy caves of self-arrogating, egoistic acts can the jiva emerge into the open expanses of selfless love. To break the shackles of our selfish cruelties and desire-prompted meanness is in itself the regaining of our native freedom and contentment, leading, in due time, to a recognition of the essential oneness of all creation.

The path is doubtless rugged, but only in the early stretches. The journey ends in a brilliant realization of love, tolerance, satisfaction, perfect equilibrium and abiding peace.

Love, no doubt, is the only solution for man’s problem of existence.

At present there are very many unconscious misunderstandings in our vague concept of love. We usually demand that we must be loved by others, rather than wanting to love others.

We generally wait for others to love us, and if we don’t get their love, we are unhappy, sad, and feel rejected, unwanted.

To love others is an art and we must know its theory and practice, its methods and techniques, in order to master the art of giving love.

In love the problem is not whom to love, but it is of how to love. Love is an ability, a capacity in our minds, which is to be systematically cultivated.

The secret of success behind all men of achievement lies in the faculty of applying their intellect in all their activities without being misled by any surging emotions or feelings. Religion offers the technique of development of this faculty and leaves the choice of man to make or mar himself and his progress.

In order that we may maintain a healthy relationship with the world and not fall under the suzerainty of the exigencies of life, the maintenance of healthy and powerful mind-and-intellect is of utmost importance. This means that our emotions must be chaste and our intellectual discrimination subtle and clear.

Looking back into our past, we are helpless victims of our past actions but looking ahead of us, we become the architects of our own future. Human as we are, let us never look back for a moment but dynamically march forward creating a glorious future of magnificent achievements by rightly exercising the independent self-effort, which is a man’s prerogative.

We can impartially judge something only when we stand apart from it. Detachment cannot exist when we have a sense of intense ownership or possessivness. That is why an author or an artist consults reviewers for their opinions. Our attachments lend a false beauty to things; blinded with the pride of possession, we often fail to see the ugliness of cherished possessions.

Just as we, blinded by attachments and prejudices, fail to see the real nature of things and beings, so also do we, deluded by our lack of detachment, remain blissfully ignorant of our own weaknesses and faults. The divine life starts with the practice of detaching ourselves from our body, mind, and intellect, and impartially estimating the motives, intentions, and purposes that lie behind our thoughts, words and deeds.

Such impartial witnessing is called introspection.

Rest in Him who is ever the same in your heart and watch the parade of events in the stream of time.

A man firmly established in freedom is tranquil. His equipoise is never broken even when he is investing his entire energies on the world outside for the service of mankind.

You must be ready to accept all things as natural with quiet cheer.

A man of integrity is accepted, believed, trusted and befriended by all.

The spirit of Advaita is not to keep away from anything, but to keep in tune with everything.

Among men, it is he whose mind is ever fixed on Brahman; the best and noblest.

Anger is nothing but an attachment for an object, when express towards an obstacle between ourselves and the object of our attachment.

Wherever there is the concept of the ‘other,’ there is fear, restlessness, agitation, worry, anxiety, each following the other.

Desire is at the root of all actions, good or evil.

Act efficiently whenever you work. The results of action depend upon the very quality of action.

What we regularly encourage and consistently cultivate in our mind – this determines our character formation, and ultimately, our destiny. Evidently, an intelligent choice of thought changes the character pattern in us – placing, thus, the entire destiny of our life in our own hands.

We must keep our mind constantly open to all helpful suggestions. There are always rich mines of healthy ideas lying broadcast throughout life’s fields; only we ignore them, refusing to explore them fully.

We must, as the most important thing, discover in ourselves an expectant, helpful, unselfish attitude towards the world of beings and happenings around us. On all occasions let us bring into full play our stronger, more vigorous and most uplifting traits which we have within us today. When consciously brought into continuous play they grow, and such a positive nature, when asserted persistently and lived, adds to our mental resources and reserves.

Confidence in oneself, quietness within, serenity in the mind, poise in the being, and a ready willingness to serve others moulds the healthiest personality.

Earth is round earth moves not seen but true.

Sky is blue; sunset is golden seen but false.

Energy in the atom, vitality in the sun and gravitational force not seen but true.

Double moon, mirage waters, dreams and hallucinations seen but false.

World we see but not true. Truth we not but true.

No action is absolutely good or absolutely bad. Action itself is in a relative world, it is not in the absolute. Action is a relative manifestation of reality.

Ravana was a mighty power, but because of his inordinate desires, his mental vitality was retarded and inwardly he collapsed. I am not talking about the external collapse when he was vanquished.

That is not it. Mentally his peace was gone, his judgment was gone and he came to a point of even wanting to destroy the messenger of Rama. This was wrong. Although in his own way he was a great man, he should have respected ambassadors. He had lost his mental equipoise in the upsurge of passionate desire for another man’s wife. So it was morally wrong.

Steadfastness in devotion to knowledge – this ethical purity at the level of the heart cannot be brought about when the human mind is turned outward on to the flesh. Only when the mind is constantly held up in unison with the infinite song of the soul can it discover in itself the necessary courage to renounce its low appetites, clinging attachments, and the consequent foul motives gurgling from within itself.

Devotion to knowledge is thus the positive way to persuade the mind to leave all its low temptations. When a child is playing with a delicate glass curio, to save the precious object the parents generally offer a piece of chocolate, and the little child, anxious to get the chocolate, puts the precious thing down.

Similarly, a mind that is awakened to the serener joys of the Self will, naturally, never hang on to the sensuous objects and their fleeting joys.






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