Sessions with Ashram Residents

by Swami Krishnananda

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Book Code: EK59
359 pages
ISBN: 8170522552
Book Dimensions: 8.50 x 5.50 x 0.75 inches
Shipping Weight: 430 grams

Table of Contents

Publisher’s Note 5
Session 1: A Message of Divine Delight and Divine Life 11
Session 2: The Cohesiveness of the Universe 17
Session 3: The Tapasya of Swami Sivananda 32
Session 4: The Not-Self has to become the Self 45
Session 5: India’s Ancient Culture and the Discoveries of Modern Science 60
Session 6: The Infinite in Us has to Respond to the Infinite Above 64
Session 7: The Beauty of God 73
Session 8: The World Proceeds from Bliss to Bliss 77
Session 9: Training the Mind 84
Session 10: Hegel’s Concept of Absolute Universality 87
Session 11: Thinking as God Thinks 93
Session 12: The Life of a Householder is Integral 100
Session 13: Consciousness Alone Exists 111
Session 14: Everything is God Operating 120
Session 15: Guruji Sri Swami Sivanandaji’s Blessings 127
Session 16: The Vaishvanara Vidya 131
Session 17: What We Really Want 146
Session 18: Meditation on the Subjectivity or the Object 149
Session 19: An Action is a Vibration 160
Session 20: Sankaracharya’s Commentary about Prakriti and Purusha 174
Session 21: The Self is the Friend and the Enemy of the Self 187
Session 22: Meditating on the Expansion of Consciousness 198
Session 23: Desire is a Phantasm 217
Session 24: Becoming the Whole Universe 223
Session 25: Our Participation in an Organisation of Divinities 239
Session 26: Controversies in the Brahma Sutra 249
Session 27: No Contradictions in the Brahma Sutra 259
Session 28: The Art of Handling Irrelevant Thinking 269
Session 29: Liberation in the Eternal Being 287
Session 30: Total Thinking 305
Session 31: Meditation According to Patanjali 316
Session 32: Renunciation and the Fulfilment of Desires 331
Session 33: The Method of Becoming 340
Session 34: Seeing Yourself as Parallel with the World 345
Appendix: Twenty-One Practical Hints on Sadhana 356

Publishers’ Note

तद्विद्धि प्रणिपातेन परिप्रश्नेन सेवया।
उपदेक्ष्यन्ति ते ज्ञानं ज्ञानिनस्तत्त्वदर्शिनः॥
tadviddhi praṇipātena paripraśnena sevayā |
upadekṣyanti te jñānaṁ jñāninastattvadarśinaḥ || (4.34)

Know that Supreme Being by prostrating, serving and asking questions with humility to the enlightened ones. They will instruct you in that Knowledge.

Following the divine injunction of Srimad Bhagavad Gita, the Ashram residents started visiting Worshipful Sri Swami Krishnanandaji Maharaj on Sunday mornings in the year 1997 with their queries and doubts regarding spiritual path. Pujya Sri Swamiji Maharaj lovingly answered their queries, clarified their doubts and gave informal talks on various subjects. These Sunday morning sessions with Ashram residents cover a wide range of topics, some of which cannot be found elsewhere in Pujya Sri Swamiji Maharaj’s talks.

We are immensely delighted to bring out our new publication ‘Sessions with Ashram Residents’ by Worshipful Sri Swami Krishnanandaji Maharaj. The book consists of series of special talks that Worshipful Sri Swamiji Maharaj gave to Ashram residents on Sunday mornings between January 1997 and December 1998.

We hope that this book will prove an enlightening reading for all spiritual seekers.


Session 1


There are three great principles which govern everything, namely, the ideal, the organisation and the law. We may interpret these principles as either God, creation and the system of the operation of everything in the universe, or we may bring it down to a more practical level of human life, a facet which has been beautifully enunciated in the form of a prayer under the aegis of Buddhist psychology, this prayer being: buddham saranam gacchami, dhammam saranam gacchami, samgham saranam gacchami.

Actually speaking, there was no concept of organisation in India, especially in religious circles, until Siddhartha Gautama, Buddha, felt the need to bring together all his followers into a hierarchy of operation arranged systematically by degrees and stages so that his principles, his ideals, his teachings, for which he stood, lived and died, may find expression in the day-to-day lives of people, especially his followers, his disciples.

The ideal is conceptual, philosophical, spiritual and transcendental at the same time. But the organisation is what generally goes by the name of the system of the operation of this great ideal. We say that God created the world. Let it be. But the world that God has created is an organic manifestation, a systematised expression and a holistic presentation of the presence of God in the space-time world of expression.

We can see God in every little bit of operation in this world. There is an organisation which God has created. This body of operation is this universe in the form of the fourteen realms of being. There are fourteen levels of density of the expression of the creative process: seven above and seven below, systematically. God’s existence itself is an example of the most systematic ideal conceivable, and so wherever there is a systematic presentation, an aesthetic vision, a perception of beauty, etc., we feel happy. Happiness, satisfaction and delight of any kind are an expression of God Himself. Unless the organisation of the perceptual process is able to reflect the organic existence of God Himself, we will not see beauty in anything in this world, and nothing can satisfy us.

Therefore, the law was also conceived at the same time. In Vedic language this principle of law is described as rita and dharma, or satya. In the concluding portion of the Rigveda we have a poignant, touching statement: rtam ca satyam cabhiddhat tapaso adhyajayata (R.V. 10.190). There was rita and there was satya. Rita is the law of God as He Himself is, independent of the creative process. God is something even if there is no creation. That something by Himself, the That which Is–bhutatathata or dharmakaya in the language of Buddhism–that is rita. The eternal time-transcending principle is rita, and when it manifests itself in the time process, it becomes satya. Hence, manifested law and eternal law are not two different things. The law of the world, the law of society, the law of the family, the law of government and administration are not different from the law of God. If they stand irrelevant to the law of God, and if one has no connection with the other, they will not succeed. The Roman Empire fell, the empire of Egypt fell, and the empire of the Mediterranean regions fell. There was a very strict law, of course, under Roman ordinance, but it fell in spite of that because it did not coincide with or set itself in harmony with the eternity of God. It was an outward beauty of an architectural structure, without a soul inside it. That is why the Roman Empire fell, and so is the case with all those empires that, grandiose as they appear to have been, are only in people’s memories by reading history books.

But life is not a mechanical presentation of a governmental system or any kind of secular presentation. There is no such thing as secular and there is no such thing as spiritual, one differentiated from the other. To speak of the secular and the spiritual is like speaking about the world and God as if they are dichotomised and one thing has no connection with the other. If we are to create a segmentation between the world and God, then we can create a segmentation between the spiritual and the secular, which does not exist.

The outward expression of an internal reality is the same as the principle that operates as the internal reality. Our body cannot live in a manner contrary to the demands of our soul. It will fall sick because the health of the physical system is nothing but the manifestation of the soul inside, which is an organic completeness. ‘Holism’ is a word that is sometimes used these clays. A complete perfection of every part of the organisation of the body is the symbol of what we call a buoyant, healthy physical frame, which is not possible by any kind of medicine or exercise. It is possible only by permitting this beautiful, organised, systematic rita and satya of the soul within us to permeate every cell of our body.

I mentioned that in Buddhist parlance three principles are emphasised: buddham saranam gacchami, dhammam saranam gacchami and sangham saranam gacchami. Wherever you want to achieve success, these three principles have to be in your mind. Without them, you cannot run even a family, let alone anything else. There must be an ideal or a purpose in the formation of the family. A purposeless family or a segregated, dichotomised and dissipated family cannot exist. The ideal or the principle behind the organisation of the family is the first principle. Then comes the method of organisation. What is the relationship between or among the members of the family? There is a father, there is a mother, there are children, brothers and sisters. So many people are there, one different from the other. What is the internal relationship among them? If this internal relationship is absent, there will be no happy family life. That internal relationship of an organised nature is possible only if the outward performance of the family manifests the ideal or the purpose of the existence of the family. Then there are regulations: do this and do that. That is the law. There are certain things which must be done, and certain things which violate the organic existence of the family. This principle can be applied to the district, to the state, to the nation, to the United Nations, and even to the whole cosmos and to our personal lives.

This is The Divine Life Society. This is an organisation conceived by the vast integrated mind of Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj, and we may apply the same principle here also. Whatever Swami Sivananda thought is the principle, the manner in which he conceived the operation of the departments and the functions of The Divine Life Society is the organisation, and the regulations necessary to maintain it in a stable form is the law. These are highly interesting things to conceive, applicable to individual life, family life, world life, universal life, and divine life. Everywhere this principle operates, the threefold commingling of these wonderful conceptual, spiritual, philosophical, integrating eternal principles.

Eternity masquerades in the form of world history. World history, right from the Palaeolithic Age till modern times, is a procession of various kinds of ups and downs and movements of human performance. They are all ultimately the movements of the fingers of God. If we can bring all these principles together into a concentrated point, we will find that the whole universe is God manifest, organisation manifest, eternity manifest, perfection manifest, freedom manifest, joy manifest, and a buoyant existence and a healthy life of every kind manifest.

We do not have any kind of negative concept of life in India. Isavasyam idam sarvam yat kim ca jagatyam jagat, tena tyaktena bhunjitha, ma grdhah kasyasvid dhanam (Isa 1). Here we have enunciated, in this first verse of the Isavasya Upanishad of the Yajurveda, the same principle as buddham saranam gacchami, dhammam saranam gacchami and samgham saranam gacchami. What is the Buddha here? Isa, the Creator of the universe, is the Buddha here. Isavasyam idam Sarvam. Everything is pervaded by the principle of the Creator; yat kim ca jagatyam jagat: whatever is moving, whatever is not moving, living or non-living; tena tyaktena bhunjitha: live a happy, buoyant and satisfactory life; bhunjitha: enjoy life. The Upanishad does not say to suffer life. Life is not suffering. It is a joy, an abundance of God’s beauty and glory manifest in the form of even a little green leaf in the tree that is smiling before us. That joy is ananda-deva or sarvani bhutani jayante. Anandena jatani jivanti, anandam prayanty abhisamvisanti (T.U. 3.6.1): From joy the world came, by the joy of creation the world exists, and into joy it shall return. This is a message of divine delight, and this is the message of divine life.

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