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Swami Visharadananda Quotes And Teachings

Swami Visharadananda is associated with the Ramakrishna Mission and this is a collection of his teachings and quotes. He is a monk of the dashanami tradition. He lives and teaches at Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Mahavidyapith, Prashanti Kutiram, near Jigani Industrial Area, Bangalore, Karnataka.

We like the ‘world’ because it makes us happy. As long as people make us happy, we love them. This fact is too hard to swallow, but it is the fact with most of us. People love one another because of their mutual usefulness. The day one ceases to be useful, he/she is discarded. A spiritual seeker should recognize this fact and accept it. 

We should acknowledge the reality of our mundane existence. For example, it is a common experience that an earning member gets more attention in a family than a non-earning one. The earning son is more useful and makes parents happy. They may not say it openly but even in a family, people are ultimately selfish. It sounds unfair, but it is a fact which cannot be ignored.

One can see people in their true colours when one is in real trouble. A true friend is one who stands by one’s side at the time of need. When we recognize this fact, then comes the question: why should we lose time and life for such people! In our scriptures we have the examples of seekers giving up those who are not concerned with our spiritual growth.

Source: Excerpts from an exposition of verses 7-11 of the 13th chapter of the Bhagavad Gita published in the Vedanta Kesari January 2010 Issue.

Avoid Relationships Turning into Bondage 

We strike a relationship with other but any relationship can become a bondage. What appears like a need at first becomes an obstacle later. Spiritual striving becomes possible only when one is free from attachment to the objects of desire (persons, things, situations, etc). Getting too much attached to things does not help anyone.

In household situations, people want others to be dependant on them, tied down to them. Even wife and husband want each other to be around and each is eager to look after the other! But most relationships are self-centered. In order to be free from insecurity, people come together. They want to fulfill their self created needs and when that is withdrawn, they cannot bear it. This is because by now, they have become deeply dependant on each other!

A true well-wisher is he who wants the person of his affection to be free, independent, strong, wiser, and ultimately a free person.

Thoughts on Fear and Expectations

While there are many problems in life, the problem of fear is one of the basic problems. Whatever we are afraid of, we carry it in our mind. If we are afraid of ghosts and scorpions, for instance, we carry them in our mind. We make them a part of our mental baggage effortlessly! It is as if a crowd is always on move with us, and wherever we go, this crowd is following us. It is the crowd of things we are afraid of.

Another thing that we carry with us is our expectations from others or from places. These expectations throw open the doors for other undesirable things.

Fear and expectations are the two doors through which the world enters our mind. If we do not sort them out, we cannot …lead a happy and peaceful life on earth.

Our attitude that makes us happy or unhappy

It is our attitude that makes us happy or unhappy. Attitude, in turn, is dependent on how we view things. If our view is based on a limited view of life, then we quickly become upset. We should think well before we jump to a conclusion. There is no one who is happy all through his life nor is anyone unhappy all his life.

Even Lord Rama and Krishna were no exceptions. Rama had to weep like an ordinary person. Even after he became the king of Ayodhya, Rama had to banish Sita to the forest, and later undergo mental suffering.

Sri Krishna too did not have continuously happy situations. How many times he had to fight the demons and adversaries! And then he had to be a part of the great war of Mahabharata. This understanding makes a person a tapasvi — a man of introspection and forbearance. (Source – Book titled – Human Values by Swami Visharadananda)

Thoughts on Bhakti

One has to become a devotee in the true sense of term. A true devotee is sincere to the core. Of course, one can pretend to be a devotee, putting marks on one’s body such as tilakam, chandanam, and vibhuti. But these do not matter to the Lord; a true devotee of God is one who is selfless and self sacrificing.

Bhakti is a relationship formed in the mind between oneself and God. Through Bhakti our mind learns to become subordinate to the object of devotion. In worldly life, our ego does not want to submit to anyone. Rather, it wants to take the driver’s seat. It wants to dominate, manipulate and exploit others. On other hand, in bhakti our ego learns to humble itself, by taking the back seat and submitting to God. It learns to keep its likes (raga) and dislikes (dvesha) aside, and fill the mind with holy thoughts.

We all have emotions. If we do not direct these emotions towards God, we will direct them towards the family and friends. Bhakti is directing our emotions towards God. It is depending on God instead of others.