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Rare Quotes from a Rare Master
by Swami Krishnananda

3. From the Scriptures and Wise Ones

Manu Smriti says: One-fourth of one's knowledge comes from the Teacher, one-fourth from study, one-fourth from co-students and one-fourth by experience in the passage of time.

“Poison is not real poison. Sense-objects are the real poison. Poison kills one life, but sense-objects can devastate a series of lives.”

“He who is humbler than a blade of grass and more patient than a tree; who respects others but wants not any respect for oneself, is fit to take the name of the Almighty Lord.” This was the famous instruction of Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu.

“By excess of passion Ravana was destroyed; by excess of greed Duryodhana was killed; by excessive charity Karna came to ruin; excess is always to be avoided,” says a Hitopadesa.

“He is called a ‘man' who, when anger rises forcibly within, is able to subdue and cast it out as a snake casts away its slough with ease” said Hanuman to himself when he suspected that the fire he set through the whole of Lanka might perhaps have burnt Sita, too.

“By Pranayama one should burn all dross; by Pratyahara sever all attachments; by Dharana all distraction; and by Dhyana all undivine qualities.” — Manu

‘Tena tyaktena bhunjithah', is the exhortation of the Isopanishad. It means that our enjoyment in the real sense is possible of achievement only when we renounce everything. But what is this renunciation? It is implied in the earlier sentence of the verse, which states ‘Īśāvāsyam idam sarvam': All this universe is indwelt by the Lord. As such, desire for objects is an impossibility. This is true renunciation, which is also the true freedom and joy.

These persons do not get sleep, says Vidura to Dhritarashtra: Those who are sick, those who have been overthrown by others and are deprived of power and assistance from any side, those who are afflicted with lust, and those who are scheming to deprive others of their possessions.

“Each and every contact which the desireful nature establishes with the outer world is a piercing dart thrust into the heart of the person cherishing such nature.”—Vishnu Purana

The Mahabharata says that the Vedas are afraid of him who tries to approach them without a knowledge of the correct import of the Epics and Puranas. Here is a covert suggestion that the Absolute of philosophy should also include the variety and conflict of practical life, in order to be real and not merely an object of speculation.

“Our prosperity, our friends, our bondage and even our destruction are all in the end rooted in our tongue” says a famous adage.

The four noble truths of the Buddha that there is suffering, that there is a cause for suffering, that there is a way out of suffering and that there is a state beyond suffering are proof enough to show that he was not a nihilist in the sense in which the word is used today, but a practical man who had an eye to doing something than merely conjecturing about Truth and its realisation.

‘Sarvam paravasam duhkham, sarvam atmavasam sukham'—‘All dependence on persons and things is pain; all self-dependence is joy'. This has to be practised gradually, by rise from the grosser to the subtler, from the external to the internal.

Draupadi exclaims in the court of the Kauravas: “That is not an assembly where there are no elders; they are not elders who do not know Dharma; that is not Dharma which is not in consonance with truth; that is not truth which has crookedness behind it.”

“He who knows, knows not; he who knows not, knows.” This is a statement in the Upanishad, meaning that one who has realised the Truth has no personality-consciousness, and one who has it knows not the Truth.

The three great teachings of Sri Ramalingaswamiji were:
     “Be hungry”
     “Be alone”
     “Be vigilant”
These are great instructions in Sadhana.

“All the wealth and grains and cattle and gold of this world are not sufficient to fully satisfy the craving of even one person. Knowing this, one should resort to tranquillity,” says the Mahabharata.

Condemn not heat, when the sun burns; rain when it pours cats and dogs; or food when it is not to taste. ‘Tapantam na nindet'; ‘varshantam na nindet'; ‘annam na nindyat' are teachings of the Upanishad, for God works through all events and things.

Man is born with his death. The judge's order gets issued at the time of birth itself, but the born being cannot come to know of what is contained in the judgment. Thus, the date of one's death is never known, though it is fixed already at the time of birth. The conditions necessary for the death of a man are latent at birth, mature gradually in what is called life and fructify at the time of the actual passing. Hence it is said, ‘death is at the elbow', and the scriptures say that one should be virtuous always, as if one is already caught in the jaws of death.

“For the sake of the family an individual may be abandoned; for the sake of the village a family may be abandoned; for the sake of the country a village may be abandoned; for the sake of the Supreme Atman the world has to be abandoned.”