Archive for the ‘Inspiration’ Category

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929 – 1968), American Clergyman, Civil Rights Leader and advocate for Non-Violent change

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr in Atlanta

Martin Luther King, Jr., was born in Atlanta, Georgia (USA) to religious parents.

As an exceptional student he skipped the ninth and twelfth grades at Booker T. Washington High School, and at age 15 enrolled at Morehouse College. In 1948 he received his B.A. in Sociology and then went on to Crozer Theological Seminary where in 1951 he got his Bachelor of Divinity.

In 1953 he married Coretta Scott and they eventually had four wonderful children.

He became pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in 1954 and received his Doctor of Philosophy in 1955, from Boston University.

Inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s success with non-violence activism, King visited Mahatma’s Indian birthplace. After spending some time in India he became convinced that the struggle of oppressed people – for justice, human rights, and the attainment of dignity, could best be served through non-violent resistance.

In 1957 the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) was born, with Dr. King as its president. They started out by supporting and leading non-violent action to desegregate the public bus transit systems in the southern United States. In time other civil rights issues were taken under their wing as the Leadership worked to foster better understanding between people, and to open the door of equality for everyone.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., served the public as spiritual and civil rights leader:

» Led the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott, to oppose the City’s policy of racial segregation on public transport systems.
» Helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957, serving as its first president.
» In 1961 with the SCLC stepped in to help the Highlander Folk School, recently shut down the state of Tennessee. This “Citizenship School” taught adults how to read so that they could register to vote and fill out driver’s license exams. After some time close to 10,000 teachers taught in these schools.
» In 1960 the Birmingham, Alabama, campaign was initiated, to encourage businesses to hire sales people without regard to race.
» In 1961 the SCLC led protest against segregation in Albany, Georgia.
» Led the 1963 March on Washington, where King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech.
» in 1964 Dr. King participated in the St. Augustine, Florida, and Selma, Alabama marches to civil rights.
» Received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 for his work to end racial segregation and racial discrimination through civil disobedience and other nonviolent means.
» Civil Rights Act of 1964.
» Focused on ending poverty and stopping the Vietnam War.
» American Liberties Medallion by the American Jewish Committee (1965)
» the Pacem in Terris Award, named after a 1963 encyclical letter by Pope John XXIII calling for all people to strive for peace.
» the Marcus Garvey Prize for Human Rights by Jamaica (1968)

Dr. King was assassinated on April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee.

» Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977
» Honored with Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, established as a U.S. federal holiday in 1986.
» Awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 2004
» Received the Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album for his Why I Oppose the War in Vietnam (1971).

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Some inspiring words from Martin Luther King, Jr.

“I’ve Been to the Mountaintop,” speech presented on April 3, 1968, the day before his assassination:

Thank you very kindly, my friends. As I listened to Ralph Abernathy in his eloquent and generous introduction and then thought about myself, I wondered who he was talking about. It’s always good to have your closest friend and associate say something good about you. And Ralph is the best friend that I have in the world.

I’m delighted to see each of you here tonight in spite of a storm warning. You reveal that you are determined to go on anyhow. Something is happening in Memphis, something is happening in our world.

As you know, if I were standing at the beginning of time, with the possibility of general and panoramic view of the whole human history up to now, and the Almighty said to me, “Martin Luther King, which age would you like to live in?” — I would take my mental flight by Egypt through, or rather across the Red Sea, through the wilderness on toward the promised land. And in spite of its magnificence, I wouldn’t stop there. I would move on by Greece, and take my mind to Mount Olympus. And I would see Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, Euripides and Aristophanes assembled around the Parthenon as they discussed the great and eternal issues of reality.

But I wouldn’t stop there. I would go on, even to the great heyday of the Roman Empire. And I would see developments around there, through various emperors and leaders. But I wouldn’t stop there. I would even come up to the day of the Renaissance, and get a quick picture of all that the Renaissance did for the cultural and esthetic life of man. But I wouldn’t stop there. I would even go by the way that the man for whom I’m named had his habitat. And I would watch Martin Luther as he tacked his ninety-five theses on the door at the church in Wittenberg.

But I wouldn’t stop there. I would come on up even to 1863, and watch a vacillating president by the name of Abraham Lincoln finally come to the conclusion that he had to sign the Emancipation Proclamation. But I wouldn’t stop there. I would even come up to the early thirties, and see a man grappling with the problems of the bankruptcy of his nation. And come with an eloquent cry that we have nothing to fear but fear itself.

But I wouldn’t stop there. Strangely enough, I would turn to the Almighty, and say, “If you allow me to live just a few years in the second half of the twentieth century, I will be happy.” Now that’s a strange statement to make, because the world is all messed up. The nation is sick. Trouble is in the land. Confusion all around. That’s a strange statement. But I know, somehow, that only when it is dark enough, can you see the stars. And I see God working in this period of the twentieth century in a away that men, in some strange way, are responding — something is happening in our world. The masses of people are rising up. And wherever they are assembled today, whether they are in Johannesburg, South Africa; Nairobi, Kenya; Accra, Ghana; New York City; Atlanta, Georgia; Jackson, Mississippi; or Memphis, Tennessee — the cry is always the same — “We want to be free.”

And another reason that I’m happy to live in this period is that we have been forced to a point where we’re going to have to grapple with the problems that men have been trying to grapple with through history, but the demand didn’t force them to do it. Survival demands that we grapple with them. Men, for years now, have been talking about war and peace. But now, no longer can they just talk about it. It is no longer a choice between violence and nonviolence in this world; it’s nonviolence or nonexistence.

That is where we are today. And also in the human rights revolution, if something isn’t done, and in a hurry, to bring the colored peoples of the world out of their long years of poverty, their long years of hurt and neglect, the whole world is doomed. Now, I’m just happy that God has allowed me to live in this period, to see what is unfolding. And I’m happy that He’s allowed me to be in Memphis.

I can remember, I can remember when Negroes were just going around as Ralph has said, so often, scratching where they didn’t itch, and laughing when they were not tickled. But that day is all over. We mean business now, and we are determined to gain our rightful place in God’s world.

And that’s all this whole thing is about. We aren’t engaged in any negative protest and in any negative arguments with anybody. We are saying that we are determined to be men. We are determined to be people. We are saying that we are God’s children. And that we don’t have to live like we are forced to live.

Now, what does all of this mean in this great period of history? It means that we’ve got to stay together. We’ve got to stay together and maintain unity. You know, whenever Pharaoh wanted to prolong the period of slavery in Egypt, he had a favorite, favorite formula for doing it. What was that? He kept the slaves fighting among themselves. But whenever the slaves get together, something happens in Pharaoh’s court, and he cannot hold the slaves in slavery. When the slaves get together, that’s the beginning of getting out of slavery. Now let us maintain unity…

… Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. And I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.

I Have a Dream

“I Have a Dream,” speech, presented on August 28, 1963, Washington, D.C.

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation. [Applause]

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity.

But one hundred years later, we must face the tragic fact that the Negro is still not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize an appalling condition.

In a sense we have come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.” But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all of God’s children. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment and to underestimate the determination of the Negro. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor’s lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to the South. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with a new meaning, “My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.”
And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous peaks of California!

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and every molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

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Excerpt from “Where Do We Go From Here,” presented on August 16, 1967, in Atlanta, Georgia.

… Let us be dissatisfied until America will no longer have a high blood pressure of creeds and an anemia of deeds. (All right)

Let us be dissatisfied (Yes) until the tragic walls that separate the outer city of wealth and comfort from the inner city of poverty and despair shall be crushed by the battering rams of the forces of justice. (Yes sir)

Let us be dissatisfied (Yes) until those who live on the outskirts of hope are brought into the metropolis of daily security.

Let us be dissatisfied (Yes) until slums are cast into the junk heaps of history (Yes), and every family will live in a decent, sanitary home.

Let us be dissatisfied (Yes) until the dark yesterdays of segregated schools will be transformed into bright tomorrows of quality integrated education.

Let us be dissatisfied until integration is not seen as a problem but as an opportunity to participate in the beauty of diversity.

Let us be dissatisfied (All right) until men and women, however black they may be, will be judged on the basis of the content of their character, not on the basis of the color of their skin. (Yeah) Let us be dissatisfied. [applause]

Let us be dissatisfied (Well) until every state capitol (Yes) will be housed by a governor who will do justly, who will love mercy, and who will walk humbly with his God.

Let us be dissatisfied [applause] until from every city hall, justice will roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream. (Yes)

Let us be dissatisfied (Yes) until that day when the lion and the lamb shall lie down together (Yes), and every man will sit under his own vine and fig tree, and none shall be afraid.

Let us be dissatisfied (Yes), and men will recognize that out of one blood (Yes) God made all men to dwell upon the face of the earth. (Speak sir)

Let us be dissatisfied until that day when nobody will shout, “White Power!” when nobody will shout, “Black Power!” but everybody will talk about God’s power and human power. [applause]

And I must confess, my friends (Yes sir), that the road ahead will not always be smooth. (Yes) There will still be rocky places of frustration (Yes) and meandering points of bewilderment. There will be inevitable setbacks here and there. (Yes) And there will be those moments when the buoyancy of hope will be transformed into the fatigue of despair. (Well) Our dreams will sometimes be shattered and our ethereal hopes blasted. (Yes) We may again, with tear-drenched eyes, have to stand before the bier of some courageous civil rights worker whose life will be snuffed out by the dastardly acts of bloodthirsty mobs. (Well) But difficult and painful as it is (Well), we must walk on in the days ahead with an audacious faith in the future. (Well) And as we continue our charted course, we may gain consolation from the words so nobly left by that great black bard, who was also a great freedom fighter of yesterday, James Weldon Johnson (Yes):

Stony the road we trod (Yes),

Bitter the chastening rod

Felt in the days

When hope unborn had died. (Yes)

Yet with a steady beat,

Have not our weary feet

Come to the place

For which our fathers sighed?

We have come over a way

That with tears has been watered. (Well)

We have come treading our paths

Through the blood of the slaughtered.

Out from the gloomy past,

Till now we stand at last (Yes)

Where the bright gleam

Of our bright star is cast.

Let this affirmation be our ringing cry. (Well) It will give us the courage to face the uncertainties of the future. It will give our tired feet new strength as we continue our forward stride toward the city of freedom. (Yes) When our days become dreary with low-hovering clouds of despair (Well), and when our nights become darker than a thousand midnights (Well), let us remember (Yes) that there is a creative force in this universe working to pull down the gigantic mountains of evil (Well), a power that is able to make a way out of no way (Yes) and transform dark yesterdays into bright tomorrows. (Speak)

Let us realize that the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice. Let us realize that William Cullen Bryant is right: “Truth, crushed to earth, will rise again.” Let us go out realizing that the Bible is right: “Be not deceived. God is not mocked. (Oh yeah) Whatsoever a man soweth (Yes), that (Yes) shall he also reap.” This is our hope for the future, and with this faith we will be able to sing in some not too distant tomorrow, with a cosmic past tense, “We have overcome! (Yes) We have overcome! Deep in my heart, I did believe (Yes) we would overcome.” [applause]

March on Washington

Quotes from Martin Luther King, Jr.,

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.

I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.

Let no man pull you low enough to hate him.

If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.

Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.

Intelligence plus character-that is the goal of true education.

Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

Those who are not looking for happiness are the most likely to find it, because those who are searching forget that the surest way to be happy is to seek happiness for others.

If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.

I have a dream that one day little black boys and girls will be holding hands with little white boys and girls.

Wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows.

The choice is not between violence and nonviolence but between nonviolence and nonexistence.

Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.

The time is always right to do the right thing

People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.

We must live together as brothers or perish together as fools.

Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy to a friend.

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Martin Luther King, Jr., serves as a model and inspiration to all people promoting non-violent resistance to social issues. His spiritual background and upbringing gave him a perspective on how best to promote social change. We are forever indebted to Dr. King for showing us the value of human life, and how we can all live together in harmony as brothers and sisters.

Practice meditation everyday to grow in non-violence, happiness and peace.

Posted by on February 18th, 2011 Comments Off on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929 – 1968), American Clergyman, Civil Rights Leader and advocate for Non-Violent change

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (1917 – 2008), Transcendental Meditation, and the Spiritual Regeneration Movement

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was born as Mahesh Prasad Varma, in the city of Jabalpur, India. From an early age he was interested in spiritual matters and regularly visited saints and other sadhus.

He became a disciple of Swami Brahmananda Saraswati in 1941, but continued his studies at Allahabad University where in 1942 he graduated with a degree in Physics. After getting his degree he became the Swami’s full time student and secretary.

The Swami had recently filled the northern Shankaracharya (spiritual leader) seat of Jyotirmath in the Indian Himalayas. At the age of nine Brahmananda left home is search of the spiritual path. At age fourteen he found his chosen master and lived most of his life in the forests, remaining in silence. At age 70 he accepted the Shankaracharya seat. He is reverently known as “Guru Dev” to Maharishi.

After the passing of his beloved Guru Dev in 1953, Maharishi retired to the caves of Uttar Kashi, high in the Himalayan Mountains. In 1953 he “felt” that for some reason he needed to travel to southern India, so he left his home and journeyed to the south not knowing what to expect. Some people saw him and asked that he speak about spiritual matters. He reluctantly agreed. News quickly spread that a “saint” from the Himalayas was visiting, and so one lecture after another was setup. Maharishi just went with the flow feeling that it was natures need.

Beginning in 1955 Maharishi began to introduce the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique and other related programs and initiatives to the world. In 1957 the Spiritual Regeneration Movement was born in Madras, India. He spent time touring and teaching in many of the cities of India.

His first global tour began in 1958. He visited Burma, Thailand, Malaya, Singapore, Hong Kong and Hawaii. Every step along the way people greeted him with love and enthusiasm. He didn’t plan it, but one thing led to another. He would often get on the plane not knowing who, if anyone was going to meet him at the next destination.

In 1959 while in San Francisco, the movement was rename The International Meditation Society. His meditation technique, from Guru Dev and the tradition of Masters, became then known as Transcendental Meditation.

In 1961 he visited Austria, Sweden, France, Italy, Greece, India, Kenya, and England. He appeared on the BBC, and in that same year held the first TM teacher training class in India. There were 60 students.

In 1962 he visited Europe, India (again), Australia and New Zealand. He also completed the book; The Science of Being and Art of Living.

In 1964 he toured the World for the fourth time. In 1967 he presented a talk at Caxton Hall in London, which was attended by George Harrison’s wife. In 1968 the Beatles spent time with Maharishi at his center in Rishikesh, India.

In 1972 the World Plan was introduced with the following seven goals:

1. To develop the full potential of the individual
2. To improve governmental achievements
3. To realize the highest ideal of education
4. To solve the problems of crime, drug abuse, and all behavior that brings unhappiness to the family of man
5. To maximize the intelligent use of the environment
6. To bring fulfillment to the economic aspirations of individuals and society
7. To achieve the spiritual goals of mankind in this generation.

In 1972 the pioneering research done by Dr. Keith Wallace on Transcendental Meditation opened the floodgates to further scientific discovery. Prior to that only a few Buddhist monks were available for participation in research, but in the 1970’s the rapidly growing number of TM practitioners made finding subjects easier. The study also conclusively showed for perhaps the first time that the rest gained during the practice of TM was deeper than that of sleep.

Since then more than 600 scientific studies verifying the wide-ranging benefits of the Transcendental Meditation technique have been conducted at 250 independent universities and medical schools in 33 countries.

In 1974 Maharishi International University was established in Fairfield, Iowa. In 1995 the school was renamed to Maharishi University of Management.

Advanced TM Techniques and the TM Sidhi program (1976) are also available.

In the year 2000 Tony Nader was named to be Maharishi’s successor. Dr. Nader has a medical degree from the American University of Beirut where he studied internal medicine and psychiatry. He received a Ph.D. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the field of brain and Cognitive Science, and has worked as a clinical and research fellow at the Massachusetts General Hospital, a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School.

After the Maharishi’s passing in 2008, Dr. Nader was given the title “Maharaja Adhiraj Rajaraam.”

Today Peace Palaces and TM centers can be found in almost every country of the world. More than 6 million people have learned Transcendental Meditation and about 40,000 students have been trained as teachers.

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The TM Technique Defined:
The Transcendental Meditation technique is a simple, natural, effortless process practiced 15-20 minutes twice daily while sitting comfortably with eyes closed. It is unique among techniques of meditation, distinguished by its effortlessness, naturalness and profound effectiveness.

TM does not require:
Any belief system, special diet or change in life style, concentration or mind control, or special ability / mental aptitude. Anyone can do it.

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from the book – The Science of Being and Art of Living

Experience shows that Being is bliss consciousness, the source of all thinking, of all existing creation. It lies out of all relative existence where the experiencer or mind is left awake by itself in full awareness of itself without any experience of an object. The conscious mind reaches the state of pure consciousness which is the source of all thinking. The almighty creative intelligence of the absolute is the source of all intelligence. Being is the source of all power. It is the source of all nature and all the natural laws which maintain the different forms and phenomena in creation.

The essential nature of Being is absolute bliss consciousness. Without the knowledge of the fundamental of life, absolute bliss consciousness, life is like a building without a foundation. All relative life without the conscious basis of the Being is like a ship without a rudder, ever at the mercy of the tossing sea. It is like a dry leaf on the ground left to the mercy of the wind, drifting aimlessly in any direction the wind takes it, for it has no roots to anchor it. The life of the individual without the realization of the Being is baseless, meaningless, and fruitless …

…There is one law of the universe which never changes, and there are innumerable laws which are responsible for all the changes in creation. The law that never changes ever maintains the integrity of the ultimate, essential constituent of creation. So this cosmic law is such that it never changes; yet, even while it never changes, it keeps on bringing forth newer and newer laws at different strata of nature. This results in the different states of creation, the different forms and phenomena …

… We have seen that Being lies beyond the subtlest stratum of creation in the transcendental field of absolute existence. In order to experience this transcendental reality, it is necessary that our attention be led in a concrete manner through all the subtle strata of creation. Then, arriving at the subtlest level, it must transcend that experience to know the transcendental Being …

… Life is the light of God, the expression of Divinity. It is divine. It is the stream of eternal Being, a flow of existence, of intelligence, of creativity, of purity, and of bliss …

… The laws of nature cannot be deceived; the reaction will come. If a man is jealous of you, you will find, when you search your heart, that you have been jealous either of him or of someone else sometime in the past. Be kind to him, and the surroundings will be kind to you; be loving to him, and the surrounding will be loving to you; begin to doubt, and the surrounding begin to doubt you. If you hate, the surrounding begin to hate you. If the surrounding begin to hate you, do not blame the surroundings; blame your own inner conscience …

… The all-permeating eternal existence of the Being is the basis of the body, mind, and surroundings of the individual, as the sap is the basis of all branches, trunk, leaves, and fruit of the tree. But when the sap fails to reach the surface levels of the tree, then the outer aspects of the tree begin to suffer and wither away. Likewise, when the Being is not brought onto the conscious surface level of life the outer aspects of life begin to suffer.

… If health and harmony are to be enjoyed in life, somehow the transcendental value of Being must be brought out and infused into all aspects of life – body, mind, and surroundings …

… Speech is the expression of both the heart and mind together. Therefore, for the speech to be right, it is necessary that the man be right in his heart and mind …

… Joyfulness is a quality that cultivates and spreads love. And again, that is the result of the overflowing love of the heart. Joyfulness, love, kindness, and tolerance should be cultivated. With all these qualities comes the contentment and overflowing love of the heart and mind which is the basis of good social relationships …

… When the individual as risen to cosmic consciousness, all his thoughts and actions are part of the cosmic purpose. Then, whatever he does, speaks, and thinks help the process of evolution. They help to neutralize the unnatural influence created by those minds that are not integrated…

… Nature moves on and on in evolution, and this process of creation is eternal. It is therefore not possible to bring nature to the level of the transcendental Being. But, because the eternal ever-changing field of nature is eternally permeated by the state of Being, it is possible to make the transcendental Being vibrate in the surroundings. This is possible by eliminating the disharmony that might be radiated by the individual who is not cosmically evolved. This disharmony should be properly understood…

… The bliss consciousness of the absolute Being and the relative joys of the variety of creation should be lived hand in hand. This means the fulfillment of life in cosmic consciousness…

… The fulfillment of religion lies in gaining for man a direct way to God realization and all that is necessary for making him a complete man, a man of fully integrated life, a man of great intelligence, creativity, wisdom, peace, and happiness…

… The ultimate fulfillment of psychology lies in enabling the individual mind to attune itself and remain tuned with the cosmic mind, in bringing a fast coordination of the individual mind with the cosmic mind, so all of the activity of the individual mind is in conformity with cosmic evolution and with the purpose of cosmic life…

… The fulfillment of philosophy lies in making a man realize that the transitory values of day-to-day coexist with the permanent and imperishable values of eternal life…

To the lotus feet of Shri Guru Dev, Swami Brahmananda Saraswati, Bhagwan Shankaracharya, Jyotir-Math, Himalaya, and as blessing from him this book is presented to all lovers of life desirous of enjoying all glories – Worldly and Divine.

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Maharishi Mahesh Yogi at Lake Louise Canada, 1968

The depth of the lake and the ripples, and the beautiful reflection of the glacier, reminds me of the story of inner life. The mind is deep like a lake, the ripples on the surface represent the consciousness mind, the activity of the mind on the surface. And the whole dept of the lake is silent. And that is the subconscious mind, which is not used by the wave.

But if, the wave could deepen and incorporate more silent levels of the water, the waves would become the waves of the ocean, the mighty waves. This is what happens in transcendental meditation. The surface activity of the conscious mind deepens and incorporates within its fold the depth of the subconscious. And with practice, nothing remains subconscious. The whole subconscious becomes conscious. And a man starts using full potential of the mind…

**

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi on “What is Transcendental Meditation (TM)” 1970

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi:
Transcendental Meditation (TM) is a very natural procedure of experiencing the finer state of the thinking process and to arrive at the source of thought, which is the pure field of creative intelligence; pure awareness, unbounded awareness is at the source of thought. And through the practice of Transcendental Meditation, the awareness reaches that source of thought. One feels relaxed, one feels happy inside. The bodies anxieties disappear.

Transcendental Meditation is a practice for 15 to 20 minutes morning and evening; and everyone feels fresh throughout the day; more vital more energetic. So Transcendental Meditation is a procedure for enrichment of life, for betterment of life, for more success and more progress and more joy of life.

Question: Which is the technique used to teach Meditation?

The technique is taught in seven stages. A man is told how much physically he’ll become better, mentally he’ll become better. His behavior will improve. All this anger and anxieties, they will disappear. So a man is told in the beginning what benefits he gets. And then he’s told how reliable is the practice of Transcendental Meditation (TM). For the last fifteen years I’ve been teaching throughout the world. Seven, eight hundred thousand people now are practicing Transcendental Meditation in different countries. So it’s a reliable thing. People should know that it is something which is reliable, something which is simple; everyone can do it, and the effects are great. And when they know this, they want to practice it.

**

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi on “How Transcendental Meditation Restores Balance in Society”

Question: How does TM help with stress and aging.

MMY:
Large amount of scientific research has shown that release from stress is the first effect that comes from TM. It just quiets down the mental activity and releases stress. This in terms of the Vedic literature is called balance. Stress means imbalance; imbalance in the relationship of mind and body. Mind and body relationship gets strained and through TM it gets rebalanced…

**

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi on “Why is it important to practice Transcendental Meditation.”

Question: I’m trying to ask some basic questions because our readers don’t have the understanding of what’s going on; so I’m going to have to go back to the beginning.

Maharishi: No no, your readers want basic things. Because if you control the base, everything will be self-controlled. Your readers are intelligent in this country.

Question:
I just want to know, basically, what is TM, and why should people practice it?

Maharishi:
TM takes the mind, the conscious mind, to Transcendental Consciousness. This Transcendental Consciousness has come-out to be known as, Unified Field of all the Laws of Nature. Now, Transcendental Meditation is the first step to opening the door of all possibilities; because it takes human awareness — takes the human conscious mind — to be that which the physics has declared to be the Unified Field of all the Laws of Nature. Now, why should people practice Transcendental Meditation? The reason is that everyone wants to fulfill one’s desires; and if one has this technique to think from the Unified Field, then one would be thinking from that ground where all the Laws of Nature are active. In order to get the support of Nature, we want absolutely everyone in the world to practice Transcendental Meditation.

§§

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi speaks about Love in a 1967 recording:

Love is the sweet expression of life. It is the supreme content of life. Love is the force of life, powerful and sublime.

The flower of life blooms in love and radiates love all around. Life expresses itself through love. The stream of life is a wave on the ocean of love. Life is expressed in the waves of love, and the ocean of love flows in the waves of life.

What a comfort love brings to the heart. The heart tickles with the thought of love, and waves of life begin to roll on the ocean of love.

Love is highly sensitive. It is the most delicate power of life. And life is a most dynamic expression of love.

The silent force of love knows no barrier. It takes the life from the ruggedness of mountains, to the roughness of the sea, and there, in silence of wilderness, and even so in the noisy horizon of the sea, the vast expansion of the unbounded love from a distance brings a breeze cool and fresh to cool the heart and soothe the pangs of separation.

Let not the din of the world, and the thick and thin of life disturb the fullness of love in us. Let us be full of grace, and full of light.

No drop of precious love is ever wasted. For every drop of love flows the unbounded ocean of bliss. And the ocean of bliss unfolds the love divine and fills the heart.

The divinity of the heaven dwells in our hearts as love. Love in the heart of man is the shrine of God on Earth.

With age and experience, the tree of love grows. It grows with the growth of life and evolution, and finds its fulfillment in the eternal love of the omnipresent God, which fills the heart and overthrows the darkness of ignorance.

Love as love is universal. Personal love is concentrated universal love.

Simple, innocent, natural, normal state of love, without inhibitions, is a divine quality, which is the natural quality of graceful life.

Love shall save us from wrong, and guide our part in life. Love shall forever shine on our way, and the light will guide our steps whether we go slow or fast.

The light of love shall forever be with us on our way. Love shall forever be the anchor of our life. We shall be in love, and love shall be in us. We shall live in love, shall grow in love, and shall find fulfillment in love eternal.

§§

Quotes from Maharishi Mahesh Yogi:

Whatever we put our attention on will grow stronger in our life.

When we think of failure, failure will be ours. If we remain undecided, nothing will ever change. All we need to do is want to achieve something great and then simply to do it. Never think of failure for what we think, will come about.

Happiness radiates like the fragrance from a flower, and draws all good things toward you. Allow your love to nourish yourself as well as others. Do not strain after the needs of life. It is sufficient to be quietly alert and aware of them. In this way life proceeds more naturally and effortlessly. Life is here to Enjoy!”

The whole purpose of life is to gain enlightenment.
Nothing else is significant compared to that completely natural, exalted state of consciousness.
So always strive for that.
Set your life around that goal.
Don’t get caught up in small things, and then it will be yours.

Having the Kingdom of Heaven within you, you have no right to suffer in life; you only have to enjoy the grace of God.

Consciousness is the basis of all life and the field of all possibilities. Its nature is to expand and unfold its full potential. The impulse to evolve is thus inherent in the very nature of life.

We are not responding to this instant, if we are judging any aspect of it.
The ego looks for what to criticize. This always involves comparing with the past.
But love looks upon the world peacefully and accepts.
The ego searches for short comings and weaknesses.
Love watches for any sign of strength. It sees how far each one has come, and not how far he has to go.
How simple it is to love, and exhausting it is always to find fault, for every time we see a fault we think something needs to be done about it.
Love knows that nothing is ever needed but more love.
It is what we all do with our hearts that affects others most deeply.
It is not the movements of our body or the words within our minds that transmit love.
We love from heart to heart.

The goal of the Transcendental Meditation Technique is the state of enlightenment. This means we experience that inner calmness, that quiet state of least excitation, even when we are dynamically busy.

It (prayer/wisdom) is not through logic but through love; it is not through words but through a wordless state called meditation-a state of no mind.

All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think, we become.

Enlightenment is the normal, natural state of health for the body and mind. It results from the full development of consciousness and depends upon the perfect and harmonious functioning of every part of the body and nervous system. When one is using the full potential of the mind and body in this way, every thought and action is spontaneously correct and life-supporting. This is life free from suffering; life lived in its full stature and significance.

§§

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi dedicated his life to teaching Transcendental Meditation to the World. He humbly proclaimed that this ancient wisdom (TM) was revived by his master Swami Brahmananda Saraswati, and that he was just a conduit for spreading the message.

Today more than 6-million people practice TM. It is an exemplary transcending meditation technique, and well worth your while to investigate further.

Posted by on January 25th, 2011 Comments Off on Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (1917 – 2008), Transcendental Meditation, and the Spiritual Regeneration Movement

Paramahansa Yogananda (1893 – 1952), Kriya Yoga, and the Self Realization Fellowship

Paramahansa Yogananda

Paramahansa Yogananda was born on January 5, 1893, in Gorakhpur, India. His birth name was Mukunda Lal Ghosh. He came from a devout Bengali family.

He was always interested in spiritual matters. At age 17 (1910) after some searching he met and became a disciple of the revered Swami Sri Yukteswar Giri. He spent the next ten years in his master’s hermitage under his tutelage.

Master Sri Yukteswar wanted Yogananda to finish his studies, so he continued and graduated in 1915 from Calcutta University. After graduation Mukunda took formal vows as a monk, in the monastic Swami Order, at which time he received the name Yogananda.

In 1917 he established a school for boys (yoga and spiritual studies) and in 1920 set out for Calcutta to fulfill his destiny of bringing Eastern spiritual values and disciplines to the West.

After arriving in Boston (Massachusetts) in 1920 he presented “The Science of Religion,” at the International Congress of Religious Liberals. He then established the Self Realization Fellowship whose purpose is to disseminate knowledge of yoga and meditation world wide. In 1925 the international headquarters of the Fellowship was established on Mt. Washington, near Los Angeles (California).

He continued to travel and lecture (1924 – 1935). In 30 years he taught more that 100,000 men and women the techniques of Kriya Yoga.

In 1935 Yogananda returned to India to be with his guru. Sri Yukteswar passed over on March 9, 1936.

In late 1936 he returned to the United States where he remained for the rest of his life.

The teaching lineage of Kriya Yoga goes back to Jesus Christ, Bhagavan Krishna, Mahavatar Babaji, Lahiri Mahasaya, Swami Sri Yukteswar, and Yogananda.

His successors are Rajarsi Janakananda (James J. Lynn), who met the Guru in Kansas City in 1932; and Sri Daya Mata who had attended his classes in Salt Lake City in 1931.

Sri Daya Mata has recently left her mortal frame, on November 30, 2010.

§§

First published in 1946, and revised later, “Autobiography of a Yogi” is a fascinating and beautiful tale about the life of Yogananda. Although he has written many books, this will always stand out as a landmark composition.

From, “Autobiography of a Yogi”

Among his many adventures were time spent with the Saint with Two Bodies (Swami Pranabananda), the Perfume Saint (Gandha Baba), the Tiger Swami (Raja Begum), and the Levitating Saint (Nagendra Nath Bhaduri).

His experience of cosmic consciousness is wonderfully portrayed in the book …

“Poor boy, mountains cannot give you what you want.” Master spoke caressingly, comfortingly. His calm gaze was unfathomable. “Your heart desire shall be fulfilled.” Sri Yukteswar seldom indulged in riddles; I was bewildered. He struck gently on my chest above the heart.

My body became immovable rooted; breath was drawn out of my lungs as if by some huge magnet. Soul and mind instantly lost their physical bondage and streamed out like a fluid piercing light from my every pore. The flesh was as though dead; yet in my intense awareness I knew that never before had I been fully alive. My sense of identity was no longer narrowly confined to a body but embraced the circumambient atoms. People on distant streets seemed to be moving gently over my own remote periphery. The roots of plants and trees appeared through a dim transparency of the soil; I discerned the inward flow of their sap…

An oceanic joy broke upon calm endless shores of my soul. The Spirit of God, I realized, is exhaustless Bliss; His body is countless tissues of light. A swelling glory within me began to envelop towns, continents, the earth, solar and stellar systems, tenuous nebulae, and floating universes. The entire cosmos, gently luminous, like a city seem afar at night, glimmered within the infinitude of my being. …”

§§

From, “Man’s Eternal Quest”

You will also understand how the invisible man is “tied” to the physical body – by attachments, the mental and emotional chords of desires for certain experiences on the physical plane. When by deeper meditation you can untie those cords, he will be free and you will know that you are a real image of God. Seek out the invisible man who is help captive in the jungle of physical sensations and matter…

Don’t be sensitive about the body and material concerns, nor let anyone hurt you. Keep your consciousness aloof. Give goodwill to all, but develop a state of consciousness wherein nobody can ruffle you. Try to make others happy every day. Share your wisdom with others. Do not permit yourself to lose interest in life. Learn everything about one thing, and something about everything. Realize that the more you seek, the more you will find; the realms of thought are infinite. The moment you think you have attained everything, you have circumscribed yourself. Search on and on, continuously, and in the valley of your humbleness will gather the ocean of God’s wisdom…

Man is sunk in a dream of ignorance, imagining that he is suffering with illness and sorrow and poverty. Once when King Janaka, a great Indian saint, was deep in prayer, he suddenly exclaimed, “Who is in my temple today? I thought it was myself, but I see the Eternal is there. And the little self, this body-bundle of bones, is not I. It is the Infinite that is in my body. I bow to Myself. I offer flowers to Myself.” Someday that realization will come to you, and you will no longer think that you are mortal, a man or a woman, you will know that you are a soul, made in the divine image, “and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you…”

The man of cosmic consciousness is a happy man. He doesn’t limit his love to a few, excluding everyone else. So should you make the whole world your own family. Will you remember? This consciousness is with me every moment. I have no cast, no country – I feel that all are mine. Love all men as your brothers, love all women as your sisters, and all older people as your parents. Love all human beings as your friends…”

Man can change his outer and inner nature by concentration. A person of strong mind can be whatever he wants to be. The limited human personality can be greatly expanded by meditation. When you close your eyes and feel the vastness of the soul within you, and when you can make that consciousness enduring, then you will have the personality that God intended you should have. The experience of the wakeful state has become predominant in your consciousness. But at the time of deep sleep, when man is granted freedom from the limitations of flesh, you are in touch with Truth, with your real personality. Your attitude changes with the subconscious and super conscious realization: “I am infinite. I am a part of everything…”

Millions of people never analyze themselves. Mentally they are mechanical products of the factory of their environment, preoccupied with breakfast, lunch and dinner, working and sleeping, and going here and there to be entertained. They don’t know what or why they are seeking, nor why they never realize complete happiness and lasting satisfaction. By evading self-analysis, people go on being robots, conditioned by their environment. True self-analysis is the greatest art of progress …”

The only difference between consciousness and matter, mind and body, is rate of vibration. Vibration is the motion of energy. How did this motion originate from the Cosmic Intelligence? All the vibrations in the ether are manifestations of the Intelligence-guided cosmic energy. Spirit as the unmanifested Absolute is without vibration of motion. Spirit manifested as the Creator is God the Father. The Creator first stirred His still Spirit with the motion of thoughts; thus God the Father’s first projection of creation was cosmic intelligence motion, or vibration of thought…”

§§

This quote from Yogananda needs further explanation:

Paramahansa Yogananda, “The man form is higher than the angel form; of all forms it is the highest. Man is the highest being in creation, because he aspires to freedom.”

Human beings have a unique opportunity to realize and attain Enlightenment. Although living the absolute value of life on the individual level is available to other beings, those that reside in the higher worlds (Devas, Maruts, Vasus, Angels, etc.) are so enthralled by it’s beauty and splendor (very much more so than the earth’s) that they cannot bring themselves to leave it, under any circumstances. So they do not strive for Enlightenment.

So the message to us is – use this precious time wisely and meditate every day.

§§

Other quotes by Paramahansa Yogananda:

Let my soul smile through my heart and my heart smile through my eyes, that I may scatter rich smiles in sad hearts.

Remain calm, serene, always in command of yourself. You will then find out how easy it is to get along.

Success should be measured by the yardstick of happiness; by your ability to remain in peaceful harmony with cosmic laws.

The things you need in life are those that will help you to fulfill your dominant purpose. Things you may want but not need may lead you aside from that purpose. It is only by making everything serve your main objective that success is attained.

If you possess happiness you possess everything: to be happy is to be in tune with God.

Release for constructive purposes the power you already have, and more will come. Move on your path with unflinching determination, using all the attributes of success. Tune yourself with the creative power of spirit.

Build your inner environment. Practice Silence! I remember the wonderful discipline of the Great Ones. When we used to talk and chatter, they would say: “Go back into your inner castle.” It was very hard to comprehend then, but now I understand the way of peace.

No matter what you are doing, keep the undercurrent of happiness. Learn to be secretly happy within your heart in spite of all circumstances.

I will be calmly active, actively calm. I am a prince of peace, sitting on the throne of poise, directing the kingdom of my activity.

Giving love to all, feeling the love of God, seeing His presence in everyone… that is the way to live in this world.

All are waves on the same, one ocean, composed, as ocean water is, of the same substance: Spirit. Some of the waves are higher then others. Some waves don’t even want to distance themselves from the ocean. All waves, no matter how high, are in essence one and the same. The difference between the Guru and the disciples, then, lies only in their respective closeness to the ocean: in how conscious each one is of his essential reality. The greater the sense of ego, the taller the wave, and the greater, in consequence, the ignorance. The greater one’s awareness of the ocean as one’s soul reality, the smaller the wave, and also the less his sense of having a separate individuality.

The Spirit of God, I realized, is exhaustless Bliss; His body is countless tissues of light.

No action is ever an isolated event. Always, it invites from the universe a reaction that corresponds exactly to the type and the force of energy behind the deed.

Those who are unconquered in spirit are the real successes in life. If you can so train or condition your mind that you are content regardless of what you have or do not have, and if you can stand the challenge of all your trials and remain calm-that is true happiness.

The sun shines equally on diamond and charcoal, but the former has developed qualities that enable it to reflect the sunlight brilliantly, while the latter is unable to reflect the sunlight. Emulate the diamond in your dealings with people. Brightly reflect the light of God’s love.

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Paramahansa Yogananda, a Yogi in Life and in Death:

Mr. Harry T. Rowe, Los Angeles Mortuary Director, Forest Lawn Memorial Park (in which the body of the great master is temporarily placed), sent Self Realization Fellowship a notarized letter from which the following extracts were taken:

“The absence of any physical sign of decay in the dead body of Paramahansa Yogananda offer the most extraordinary case in our experience … No physical disintegration was visible in his body even twenty days after death… No indication of mold was visible on the skin, and no visible desiccation (drying up) took place in the bodily tissues. This state of perfect preservation of the body is, so far as we know from mortuary annuls, an unparalleled one …

§§

Aims and Ideals of the Self Realization Fellowship:

To disseminate among the nations a knowledge of definite scientific techniques for attaining direct personal experience of God

To teach that the purpose of life is evolution, through self effort, of man’s limited mortal consciousness into God Consciousness; and to this end to establish Self Realization Fellowship temples for God-communion throughout the world, and to encourage the establishment of individual temples of God in the homes and in the hearts of men.

To reveal the complete harmony and basic oneness of original Christianity as taught by Jesus Christ and original Yoga as taught by Bhagavan Krishna; and to show that these principles of truth are the common scientific foundation of all true religions.

To point out the one divine highway to which all paths of true religious beliefs eventually lead; the highway of daily, scientific, devotional meditation of God.

To liberate man from the three fold suffering; physical disease, mental inharmonies, and spiritual ignorance.

To encourage “plain living and high thinking:” and to spread a spirit of brotherhood among all peoples by teaching the eternal basis of their unity: kinship with God.

To demonstrate the superiority of mind over body, of soul over mind.

To overcome evil by good, sorrow by joy, cruelty by kindness, ignorance by wisdom.

To unit science and religion through realization of the unity of their underlying principles.

To advocate cultural and spiritual understanding between East and West, and the exchange of their finest distinctive features.

To serve mankind as one’s larger Self.

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Paramahansa Yogananda dedicated his life to teaching the wisdom of yoga and meditation to Western audiences. Many beautiful souls continue to bless this world thanks to his tireless efforts.

Posted by on December 7th, 2010 Comments Off on Paramahansa Yogananda (1893 – 1952), Kriya Yoga, and the Self Realization Fellowship

Kong Qiu (551 BC – 479 BC) known as Confucius, the Chinese social philosopher, and his teachings on morality, social relationship, justice and sincerity

Confucius

His teachings may be found in the Analects of Confucius, a collection of “brief aphoristic fragments”, which was compiled many years after his death. His ideas have been developed as a system of philosophy that has come to be known as Confucianism.

Confucius was 23 when his mother died. He was impacted by this event and spent the next three years in solitude studying philosophy. He explored the meaning of morality, its source, how it impacts the lives of common man, and began teaching and demonstrating those virtues in his own life.

In celebration of the human spirit, here are some inspiring thoughts from Confucius,

The Confucian Analects and other quotes:

A man who has committed a mistake and doesn’t correct it, is committing another mistake.
A youth is to be regarded with respect. How do you know that his future will not be equal to our present?
Be not ashamed of mistakes and thus make them crimes.
Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.
Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.
By nature, men are nearly alike; by practice, they get to be wide apart.

By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.

Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.

Do not be desirous of having things done quickly. Do not look at small advantages. Desire to have things done quickly prevents their being done thoroughly. Looking at small advantages prevents great affairs from being accomplished.

Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire.
Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.
Fine words and an insinuating appearance are seldom associated with true virtue.
Forget injuries, never forget kindnesses.
Have no friends not equal to yourself.

He who exercises government by means of his virtue may be compared to the north polar star, which keeps its place and all the stars turn towards it.

He who learns but does not think, is lost! He who thinks but does not learn is in great danger.
He who merely knows right principles is not equal to him who loves them.
He who will not economize will have to agonize.
Hold faithfulness and sincerity as first principles.
Humankind differs from the animals only by a little, and most people throw that away.
I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.

If a man remembers what is right at the sign of profit, is ready to lay down his life in the face of danger, and does not forget sentiments he has repeated all his life when he has been in straitened circumstances for a long time, he may be said to be a complete man.

If a man take no thought about what is distant, he will find sorrow near at hand.

If a man withdraws his mind from the love of beauty, and applies it as sincerely to the love of the virtuous; if, in serving his parents, he can exert his utmost strength; if, in serving his prince, he can devote his life; if in his intercourse with his friends, his words are sincere – although men say that he has not learned, I will certainly say that he has.

If language is not correct, then what is said is not what is meant; if what is said is not what is meant, then what must be done remains undone; if this remains undone, morals and art will deteriorate; if justice goes astray, the people will stand about in helpless confusion. Hence there must be no arbitrariness in what is said. This matters above everything.

Ignorance is the night of the mind, but a night without moon and star.
In his errors a man is true to type. Observe the errors and you will know the man.
It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.
It is not possible for one to teach others who cannot teach his own family.
It is only the benevolent man who is capable of liking or disliking other men.
It is only the wisest and the stupidest that cannot change.
Men’s natures are alike, it is their habits that carry them far apart.
Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in getting up every time we do.
Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.
Respect yourself and others will respect you.
Study the past if you would define the future.
The essence of knowledge is, having it, to apply it; not having it, to confess your ignorance.
The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.
The superior man acts before he speaks, and afterwards speaks according to his action.

There are three things which the superior man guards against. In youth…lust. When he is strong…quarrelsomeness. When he is old…covetousness.

They must often change who would be constant in happiness or wisdom.

To be able to practice five things everywhere under heaven constitutes perfect virtue…[They are] gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness, and kindness.

To govern is to correct. If you set an example by being correct, who would dare remain incorrect?

To see what is right, and not to do it, is want of courage or of principle.

Tsze-Kung asked, saying, ‘Is there one word which may serve as a rule of practice for all one’s life?” The Master said, “Is not Reciprocity such a word? What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others.”

Virtue is more to man than either water or fire. I have seen men die from treading on water and fire, but I have never seen a man die from treading the course of virtue.

What the superior man seeks is in himself; what the small man seeks is in others.
When anger rises, think of the consequences.
When we see men of a contrary character, we should turn inwards and examine ourselves.
When you have faults, do not fear to abandon them.

When you see a good man, try to emulate his example, and when you see a bad man, search yourself for his faults.

Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart.

While the gentleman cherishes benign rule, the small man cherishes his native land. While the gentleman cherishes a respect for the law, the small man cherishes generous treatment.

While you are not able to serve men, how can you serve spirits [of the dead]?…While you do not know life, how can you know about death?

Without an acquaintance with the rules of propriety, it is impossible for the character to be established.

§§§§§

Meditation calms the mind and allows us to get more in touch with the source of good conduct, bliss consciousness. Continue your practice daily to spontaneously develop those cherished qualities.

Posted by on October 16th, 2010 Comments Off on Kong Qiu (551 BC – 479 BC) known as Confucius, the Chinese social philosopher, and his teachings on morality, social relationship, justice and sincerity

Tenzin Gyatso (born July 6, 1935) is the 14th Dalai Lama, Tibetan Buddhism monk, spiritual leader, teacher, author, poet and peace activist

Dalai Lama

In celebration of the human spirit, here are some inspiring thoughts from the Dalai Lama,

From Compassion as the Pillar of World Peace:

According to Buddhist psychology, most of our troubles are due to our passionate desire for and attachment to things that we misapprehend as enduring entities. The pursuit of the objects of our desire and attachment involves the use of aggression and competitiveness as supposedly efficacious instruments. These mental processes easily translate into actions, breeding belligerence as an obvious effect. Such processes have been going on in the human mind since time immemorial, but their execution has become more effective under modern conditions. What can we do to control and regulate these ‘poisons’ – delusion, greed, and aggression? For it is these poisons that are behind almost every trouble in the world.

As one brought up in the Mahayana Buddhist tradition, I feel that love and compassion are the moral fabric of world peace. Let me first define what I mean by compassion. When you have pity or compassion for a very poor person, you are showing sympathy because he or she is poor; your compassion is based on altruistic considerations. On the other hand, love towards your wife, your husband, your children, or a close friend is usually based on attachment. When your attachment changes, your kindness also changes; it may disappear. This is not true love. Real love is not based on attachment, but on altruism. In this case your compassion will remain as a humane response to suffering as long as beings continue to suffer.

This type of compassion is what we must strive to cultivate in ourselves, and we must develop it from a limited amount to the limitless. Undiscriminating, spontaneous, and unlimited compassion for all sentient beings is obviously not the usual love that one has for friends or family, which is alloyed with ignorance, desire, and attachment. The kind of love we should advocate is this wider love that you can have even for someone who has done harm to you: your enemy.

The rationale for compassion is that every one of us wants to avoid suffering and gain happiness. This, in turn, is based on the valid feeling of ‘1’, which determines the universal desire for happiness. Indeed, all beings are born with similar desires and should have an equal right to fulfill them. If I compare myself with others, who are countless, I feel that others are more important because I am just one person whereas others are many. Further, the Tibetan Buddhist tradition teaches us to view all sentient beings as our dear mothers and to show our gratitude by loving them all. For, according to Buddhist theory, we are born and reborn countless numbers of times, and it is conceivable that each being has been our parent at one time or another. In this way all beings in the universe share a family relationship.

Whether one believes in religion or not, there is no one who does not appreciate love and compassion. Right from the moment of our birth, we are under the care and kindness of our parents; later in life, when facing the sufferings of disease and old age, we are again dependent on the kindness of others. If at the beginning and end of our lives we depend upon others’ kindness, why then in the middle should we not act kindly towards others?

The development of a kind heart (a feeling of closeness for all human beings) does not involve the religiosity we normally associate with conventional religious practice. It is not only for people who believe in religion, but is for everyone regardless of race, religion, or political affiliation. It is for anyone who considers himself or herself, above all, a member of the human family and who sees things from this larger and longer perspective. This is a powerful feeling that we should develop and apply; instead, we often neglect it, particularly in our prime years when we experience a false sense of security.

When we take into account a longer perspective, the fact that all wish to gain happiness and avoid suffering, and keep in mind our relative unimportance in relation to countless others, we can conclude that it is worthwhile to share our possessions with others. When you train in this sort of outlook, a true sense of compassion – a true sense of love and respect for others – becomes possible. Individual happiness ceases to be a conscious self-seeking effort; it becomes an automatic and far superior by-product of the whole process of loving and serving others.

Another result of spiritual development, most useful in day-to-day life, is that it gives a calmness and presence of mind. Our lives are in constant flux, bringing many difficulties. When faced with a calm and clear mind, problems can be successfully resolved. When, instead, we lose control over our minds through hatred, selfishness, jealousy, and anger, we lose our sense of judgement. Our minds are blinded and at those wild moments anything can happen, including war. Thus, the practice of compassion and wisdom is useful to all, especially to those responsible for running national affairs, in whose hands lie the power and opportunity to create the structure of world peace.

From the 1st International Conference on Buddhism and Literature, February 15, 2001,

Shakyamuni Buddha attained enlightenment and taught in India over two thousand years ago, yet his teaching remains refreshing and relevant today. No matter who we are or where we live, we all want happiness and dislike suffering. The Buddha recommended that in working to overcome suffering we should help others as much as we can. He further advised that if we cannot actually be of help, we should at least be careful not to do anyone harm.

Part of Buddhist practice involves training our minds through meditation. But if our training in calming our minds, developing qualities like love, compassion, generosity and patience, is to be effective, we must put them into practice in day-to-day life. Being more concerned for the suffering of others instead of your own is truly to follow the spirit of all the great religions including Buddhism.

The purpose of Buddhism is to serve and benefit all sentient beings, including human beings. And therefore it is more important to think of what contribution we Buddhists can make to human society according to our own ideas rather than trying to convert other people to Buddhism. The Buddha gave us an example of contentment and tolerance, through serving others unselfishly.

I am often asked whether the teachings and techniques of Buddhism continue to be relevant in the present day and age. Like all religions, Buddhism deals with basic human problems. So long as we continue to experience the basic human sufferings resulting from impermanence, attachment and wrong view, there is no question of its relevance. The key is inner peace. If we have that we can face difficulties with calm and reason, while keeping our inner happiness. The teachings of love, kindness and tolerance, the conduct of non-violence, and especially the Buddhist theory that all things are relative are a source of that inner peace.

From the Teaching in Dharamsala,

The Dalai Lama’s Instructions for life:

Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.

When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.

Follow the three R’s:
– Respect for self.
– Respect for others.
– Responsibility for all your actions.

Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.

Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.

Don’t let a little dispute injure a great relationship.

When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.

Spend some time alone everyday.

Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.

Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.

Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you’ll be able to enjoy it a second time.

A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.

In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation. Don’t bring up the past.

Share your knowledge. It is a way to achieve immortality.

Be gentle with the earth.

Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.

Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.

Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.

Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon.

Quotes for thought …

Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.

All major religious traditions carry basically the same message, that is love, compassion and forgiveness the important thing is they should be part of our daily lives.

I find hope in the darkest of days, and focus in the brightest. I do not judge the universe.

If you can, help others; if you cannot do that, at least do not harm them.

My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.

Sometimes one creates a dynamic impression by saying something, and sometimes one creates as significant an impression by remaining silent.

The purpose of our lives is to be happy.

There is no need for temples, no need for complicated philosophies. My brain and my heart are my temples; my philosophy is kindness.

We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.

Whether one believes in a religion or not, and whether one believes in rebirth or not, there isn’t anyone who doesn’t appreciate kindness and compassion.

Posted by on September 18th, 2010 Comments Off on Tenzin Gyatso (born July 6, 1935) is the 14th Dalai Lama, Tibetan Buddhism monk, spiritual leader, teacher, author, poet and peace activist

Thich Nhat Hanh, (born October 11, 1926) is a Zen Buddhist monk, teacher, author, poet and peace activist

Thich Nhat Hanh joined a Zen Vietnamese monastery at the age of 16, studied Buddhism as a novice, and was fully ordained as a monk in 1949. His approach has been to combine a variety of traditional Zen teachings with methods from Theravada Buddhism, insights from Mahayana Buddhism, and ideas from Western psychology – to offer a modern light on meditation practice. He has published more than 100 books.

In celebration of the human spirit, here are some inspiring thoughts from Thich Nhat Hanh,

From Going Home, Jesus and Buddha as Brothers:

The Buddha is not Buddha just because he was born in such and such a place, has a particular name, is the son of a gentleman called Suddhodana and a lady called Mahamaya, Siddhartha is a Buddha because in him there is the element of enlightenment. What is enlightenment? Again, an idea about enlightenment is not enlightenment. Look into yourself, and you know that enlightenment is something you may have within yourself. When you begin to understand, when you have been able to free yourself from a notion, that is enlightenment. And you have been enlightened so many times in the past. You have entertained illusions in the past. You have suffered because of these things and when you got out of these illusions and wrong perceptions, enlightenment was born in you. Don’t say that enlightenment is foreign to you. You know what it is. When you drink coffee, when you hold the hand of your child and walk, when you are really there, fully present and concentrated, you enjoy it more. You understand more of what is going on. That is mindfulness…

The First Mindfulness Training
Aware of the suffering caused by the destruction
of life, I am committed to cultivating compassion
and learning ways to protect the lives of people,
animals, plants, and minerals. I am determined
not to kill, not to let others kill, and not to condone
any act of killing in the world, in my
thinking and in my way of life…

Thich Nhat Hanh Reflects on Working Toward Peace:

How can I put into words the true nature of Great Compassion, mahakaruna?
When we begin to see that black mud and white snow are neither ugly nor beautiful, when we can see them without discrimination or duality, then we begin to grasp Great Compassion. In the eyes of Great Compassion, there is neither left nor right, friend nor enemy, close nor far. Don’t think that Great Compassion is lifeless. The energy of Great Compassion is radiant and wondrous. In the eyes of Great Compassion, there is no separation between subject and object, no separate self. Nothing that can disturb Great Compassion.

If a cruel and violent person disembowels you, you can smile and look at him with love. It is his upbringing, his situation, and his ignorance that cause him to act so mindlessly. Look at him-the one who is bent on your destruction and heaps injustice upon you-with eyes of love and compassion. Let compassion pour from your eyes and don’t let a ripple of blame or anger rise up in your heart. He commits senseless crimes against you and makes you suffer because he cannot see the way to peace, joy, or understanding.

Plumb Village, September 2009: Non-discriminative Wisdom. The bodies of the Buddha:

The Buddha is someone who can operate on the ground of non-discrimination. Whether you see the white color or the black color there is no discrimination. Whether you see a person with a Ph.D. degree or a person who has never been able to go to school, there is no discrimination at all. Inhabited by the wisdom of non-discrimination you do not suffer and you do not make the other person suffer. And that is the wisdom of non-discrimination; it is not an idea, it is not a notion it is a reality that you can observe. Just look at every cell of your body, just look at your right hand and left and you see that the wisdom of non-discrimination is acting, it is operating. It is a reality. It is not a hope, it is not a notion, an idea.

Do it like a Buddha, do it like an enlightened one because you have the seed of enlightenment within yourself. You have the seed of awakening within yourself. You can do it just like him; you need only to have that desire, that motivation. It is not impossible to be a Buddha. If you want to be a Buddha then you can be a Buddha. Mindfulness is the kind of energy that helps us to be aware of what goes on and the seed of mindfulness is within us. We are all capable of drinking our water in mindfulness. We are all capable of making steps in mindfulness, we are all capable of washing our bowl in mindfulness. You know that the problem is whether you want to do it, and you do it not only for yourself, you do it for the Sangha, for your ancestors and your children and their children. If you do it you get a lot of happiness and you will transcend birth and death by that practice. And birth and death are first of all notions that are in your head.

Quotes for thought …

Do not just look for what you want to see, that would be futile.
Do not look for anything, but allow the insight to have a chance to come by itself.
That insight will help liberate you.

Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts.

Because of your smile, you make life more beautiful.

The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.

People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child — our own two eyes. All is a miracle.

Life can be found only in the present moment. The past is gone, the future is not yet here, and if we do not go back to ourselves in the present moment, we cannot be in touch with life.

Live your daily life in a way that you never lose yourself. When you are carried away with your worries, fears, cravings, anger, and desire, you run away from yourself and you lose yourself. The practice is always to go back to oneself.

People deal too much with the negative, with what is wrong. Why not try and see positive things, to just touch those things and make them bloom?

Reconciliation is to understand both sides; to go to one side and describe the suffering being endured by the other side, and then go to the other side and describe the suffering being endured by the first side.

The practice of peace and reconciliation is one of the most vital and artistic of human actions.

A bodhisattva is someone who has compassion within himself or herself and who is able to make another person smile or help someone suffer less. Every one of us is capable of this.

Harm no person, animal, plant or mineral.

Posted by on August 22nd, 2010 Comments Off on Thich Nhat Hanh, (born October 11, 1926) is a Zen Buddhist monk, teacher, author, poet and peace activist