Conversations with Swami Turiyananda – Part 3

Recorded by Swami Raghavananda and translated by Swami Prabhavananda

Swami Turiyananda (1863-1922) was the monastic disciple of Sri Ramakrishna who, Ramakrishna said, embodied perfectly the renunciation taught in the Bhagavad-Gita. Swami Turiyananda preached Vedanta both in India and in America, and by the example of his spiritual greatness inspired many monks and householders to devote themselves to spiritual life.

Swami Prabhavananda, the founder of the Vedanta Society of Southern California, had the privilege of associating with him on a number of occasions. He said that the Swami was powerful like a lion, and at the same time a loving and affectionate teacher. He tells the following incident about Swami Turiyananda, which took place shortly after Swami Prabhavananda had joined the Ramakrishna Order.

“On my way to the Himalayas I stopped in Benares. There I fell ill with chicken pox, and Swami Turiyananda would not let me proceed to Mayavati. I had a high fever. Every day the Swami used to come, sit on my bed, and put his hand on my forehead. I begged him not to visit me because I was afraid he might catch the disease, but he came nevertheless. One day he said to me: ‘Ask a boon!’ So I told him: ‘Maharaj, please do me the favor and don’t come and sit on my bed any more.’ He seemed disappointed, and said: ‘Oh why did you ask for that!’ But he respected my wish. From that day on he would visit with me, talking from the door.

After the healing process had progressed and I had taken my first bath, I went to the door of Swami Turiyananda’s room and bowed down to him. Many people were visiting him, and I did not want to enter and risk infecting others, as that stage of chicken pox is very contagious. But the Swami insisted that I come in. The crowd stood aside for me, and Swami Turiyananda addressed them: ‘Anyone who is afraid of contagion may leave.’ No one dared to move. Then Swami Turiyananda placed his hand on my shoulder and said, ‘Abani, where is there no contagion? But through the Divine Mother’s grace, fire loses its power to burn and water loses its power to drench.’”

The spiritual talks of Swami Turiyananda which follow probably took place in Almora or in Benares between 1915 and 1917. They were witnessed and recorded by Swami Raghavananda, a disciple of Swami Brahmananda, who died on June 10, 1957. Swami Raghavananda first came in contact with many of the direct disciples of Sri Ramakrishna as a college student. After passing his M.A. and law examinations, he joined the Ramakrishna Order in 1913 at the age of twenty-five. He assisted in the preparation of the authorized Life of Swami Vivekananda and later was editor of the journal Prabuddha Bharata. In 1923 he sailed for the United States where he preached Vedanta for four years. On his return to India he spent some time with M., the author of Sri Ramakrishna’s Gospel. The rest of his life was passed mostly in the Himalayas in intense spiritual practices.

Swami Turiyananda frequently quotes from the Gita and the Upanishads in these conversations.

Read Part 2.

SWAMI TURIYANANDA: “The wise do not teach spiritual precepts unless they are asked to do so; they hide their wisdom. They impart knowledge only when there is genuine earnestness in the seeker. They do not enter into arguments. Spiritual teachers are like physicians: First, they have to diagnose at the disease of the patient, then they administer the medicine.”

“You think it is enough to understand intellectually that the world is unreal. That is not right. Once you have accepted this truth mentally, you must actually apply it in your life. Then only will you get immediate results.”

“You feel that living on alms is not important for a monk. But remember, it is great training to free a person from pride or egotism.”

“Remember how Sri Ramakrishna took a rupee in one hand and mud in the other, and then threw both away! Isn’t that a unique example? Think of the effect! The action immediately created a permanent impression in his mind. He was not satisfied with practicing discrimination only mentally. In the Upanishads we read: ‘Perform austerity only after formal initiation.” The commentator explains that spiritual disciplines are not effective unless formal vows are taken by the religious aspirant.”

“Therefore I say: First detach yourselves completely from all worldly things. A piece of gold remains gold, whether it lies in mud or anywhere else. Similarly, once you have realized God, it does not matter where you live. But if anybody claims that one can be transformed without total renunciation, that person is a liar. ‘By renunciation alone one attains immortality.’ Know this: ‘You cannot find the All unless you give up all.’ With firm determination, like Nachiketa, you have to face death itself.”

“Keep watch over yourselves! Struggle to improve yourselves and do not try to reform others. Stick to your own ideal!”

“At one time I felt so near to realization of the Absolute that with a little more struggle, perhaps for a year or so, I would have attained that Reality. But then a great desire arose in me to cultivate the devotee’s attitude toward the personal aspect of God, so I went to Vrindaban. I used to ask the religious aspirants in that city about their visions and spiritual experiences. Only Gangamata satisfied me. She taught me this truth: Associate with holy people, and never give expression to your own spiritual mood.”

“When I was your age, I was an extreme Vedantist. My one idea at that time was to attain nirvana. I used to consider that the supreme goal. But Sri Ramakrishna scolded me again and again, and gave me another ideal. He pointed out that the path of knowledge was not my way. He made me a devotee instead. But if I wish I can reach the Absolute. I still remember the occasion when the Master disciplined me.”

November 20. The conversation turned to Nag Mahasay [a great household-disciple of Ramakrishna, whom Swami Saradananda had visited on his deathbed].

SWAMI TURIYANANDA: “Swami Saradananda wrote to me: ‘Nag Mahasay was greater than any of us monks. I saw him go into nirvikalpa samadhi again and again. Signs of ecstasy were visible on his body. He came back from nirvikalpa to normal consciousness, and then finally gave up in body in samadhi.’”

“Mr. X has a very suspicious mind. He never sees good in anyone.”

“Give up the idea that you are a man or a woman. Think of yourself as the Atman [God immanent]. While I was in the West, the idea of sex was completely erased from my mind. I did not see any difference between men and women.”

“Nothing matters as long as your conscience is clear. We know that there is a Being above us who knows the truth from the untruth.”

“I spit on name and fame! What good are they? In a few days you are dead and gone!”

November 22.

SWAMI TURIYANANDA: “I don’t think I ever slept longer than three or four hours a night. The first part of the night I used to pass in meditation. Then I decided that sleep was a great obstacle. So I used to sit up and watch my train of thought. As a result, my mind began to discriminate continuously between the Eternal and the non-eternal. And then I could not sleep any more. I thought to myself: Am I losing my mind? I began to pray that I might sleep. But within me there was a current of joy as if someone was saying, But didn’t you want to discriminate like this? Then, for about a year, I regularly sang the following song: ‘O Mother, make me mad with love for Thee. What shall I do with reasoning or knowledge?’ This soothed my mind and brought me back from the realm of the Absolute to the personal aspect of God. If I had had a little more patience, I would have been merged in the Absolute.”

“You see, I took a vow that I would not lie down on my bed. Whenever I felt very sleepy, I used to keep on sitting and doze a little. Others thought I went to bed and slept all night, but I sat up and meditated.”

“From my early boyhood days I never could stay in bed when there was a little light in the sky. There is no doubt that I was a yogi in my past birth.”

“When I was a boy I believed only in self-effort. My attitude was: It is I who have created this world. By my own will I was born, and by my own will I shall go beyond birth and death. This was my firm belief. In those days I would not have listened even if Brahma and Vishnu had told me otherwise.”

November 23.

SWAMI TURIYANANDA: “I have meditated much on the teachings of the Gita, which contains the essence of all scriptures. Sri Ramakrishna said about me that I was a monk according to the precepts of the Gita.

“This world is a slippery place. Unless one is careful one is apt to fall. If you control the tongue and the sexual instinct, you will live happily wherever you may be. How often one sees that people cannot live together in peace! They speak ill of one another or quarrel. And how many control the sex instinct?”

November 24. His life in the Shanti Ashrama, near San Francisco.

SWAMI TURIYANANDA: “While I was in the West, the Lord made me do his work. I felt that I was but an instrument in his hands. Whenever an inquirer came and asked a question, I used to see the face of the Lord, and the answer seemed to come directly from him through my lips. And the seeker would leave satisfied.”

“I taught a class on the Gita there with great enthusiasm. At the Belur Math I also used to teach the Gita. I would explain one verse and remain absorbed in its meaning for a long time. Once a well-known scholar came and asked me many difficult questions about Vedanta, and through the Lord’s grace he received simple solutions to his problems.”

“At the Shanti Ashrama, people with strong individualities and different natures lived together harmoniously. I had to look after them for almost twenty-four hours a day. They had regular work to do, study class twice each day, four times meditation, and the rest of the time I used to converse with them on God. Early in the morning I would go to each cottage and wake everyone by chanting OM, OM. I gave impartial love to all.”

“Have confidence in yourself! The mind must be made steady. Analyze it and find out if it wants what is right or if it is only trying to deceive you. As you continue to analyze in this manner, you will gain confidence in yourself. But remember, you cannot really do the Lord’s work unless you control your senses.”

November 27.

SWAMI TURIYANANDA: “During meditation some try to make their minds a blank. But how is that possible? The mind is teeming with desires and cravings. As soon as you drive one thought out, many other thoughts crowd in. Only people who are inclined toward atheism follow such a course. The best way is to develop love for God by meditating on him constantly. In this way the mind is purified of all cravings.”

November 28.

SWAMI TURIYANANDA to a monastic disciple: “You are living within your shell. Expand! See yourself ‘in all beings and all beings in your Self.’ Expand until you reach the goal, which is to see the Self in all.”

“You must feel that the person who blames you is yourself and the person who praises you is also yourself. You won’t lose your good qualities just because somebody speaks ill of you. So let them criticize. ‘This truth I have learned, to remain undisturbed by the praise or blame of others. I shall remain undisturbed by the praise or blame of others. I shall gaze at your face, O Lord, and try to walk the path of righteousness.’”

“It is no good making a show of humility in order to impress other people. Some persons externally appear very humble, but inside they compare themselves with others and feel superior. This is another form of egotism. They are only concerned about the good opinion of other people.”

November 29.

SWAMI TURIYANANDA: “The bank of the river Narmada is a peaceful place where many yogis live. They are genuine holy men and live in great austerity. When I was staying there I used to practice breathing exercises, because I had heard from Sri Ramakrishna that one should perform such practices while living on the bank of the Narmada. I used to do these exercises three times a day. My health was better there.”

“At one time I thought I would spend the rest of my days by the Narmada, but then I decided to go to Rishikesh. First I went to Ujjain. I became sick and was unconscious for three days. When I regained consciousness, I saw a doctor sitting at my bedside. From Ujjain I went to Ajmir, than to Pushkar, and finally reached Vrindaban, where I stayed for six months. From Brindaban on my way to Hardwar and Rishikesh, I saw the Ganges at Roorkee. I was so attracted by the river that I felt like diving into it. I accompanied several holy men on this trip—men of great renunciation. After I reached Rishikesh, I went on a pilgrimage to Badrinath.”

“The practice of excessive physical mortification and of harming the body in any way stems from tamas [delusion]. People may point out that Sri Ramakrishna used to rub his face against the ground and thus mortified his body; but he was in an ecstatic state at that time. His yearning for God was so intense that he completely forgot the world and his own ego.”

“To practice spiritual disciplines in a haphazard, lazy way means that there is not that earnest desire to attain God. Practice must be performed with eagerness, in a systematic, orderly manner. One must not be guided by mere emotion but use one’s intellect as well.”

“While I was traveling, many a time I saw wild animals on the road. They would notice me and then walk away. This is how the Lord protects his children.”

“When we took sannyas [the final monastic vows of renunciation] and uttered the prayer ‘Free from ignorance, the root of all evil, may I realize myself as the light of pure consciousness, the self-luminous Brahman,’ how our minds were exalted! All physical consciousness had vanished. The body was inert. But, you see, one must first have that inner renunciation before one takes the formal vows. Sannyas does not mean just wearing an ocher cloth.”

“The more dispassionate you become, the happier your life will be. That is to say, with dispassion comes immediate peace. Cravings only lead you to sorrow and misery.”

“There is nothing worse than a guilty conscience. What relief and what peace there are in the knowledge that one is free from guilt!”

November 30.

SWAMI TURIYANANDA: “From my boyhood on I had a longing for freedom. I used to feel that I must not depend on anyone for anything, that to depend on others is misery. I told myself: ‘Why should I depend on others? I am neither blind nor lame.’ Sometimes we saw Swamiji [Swami Vivekananda] doing every detail for himself. But there are others who only talk about such things; they never lift a finger. How difficult it is to recognize the ego and to control it!”

“Keep holy company! It does not matter if you get specific instructions or not. A casual remark from the lips of a holy man can drive away your ignorance.”

“I am telling you the truth when I say that I am in my own element when I live on alms, having only one piece of cloth, and passing my days meditating and singing the praises of the Lord. I don’t care for comfort and luxury. The greatest joy is experienced when the mind is completely absorbed in the Lord. You see, my wants are few, so I am not dependent on anybody. I lived that kind of austere life for many years, and I experienced supreme bliss.”

“Learn to grow love for God. Take delight in thinking of Him. Then dispassion, discrimination—all the virtues—will come to you naturally. Let the current of your thought go to Him always. Feel that you have no other refuge but God. I spent much time alone, practicing spiritual disciplines day and night. I used to chant prayers, meditate, and study. In the mornings I used to study the Upanishads, in the afternoons the Bhagavatam. Without such practices the character is not molded.”

“When I returned from the West, the news of Swamiji’s death was such a great shock that I felt I should also die. I left everything, went straight to Vrindaban, and stayed there for three years. Krishnalal [Swami Dhirananda] was with me. I disciplined him a lot, which directed his mind toward worship and meditation. What is meditation? It is to erase all cravings from the heart. Generally, people seek their own advantage—what they can get out of life. To renounce that is liberation.”

“A real scholar is he who has all kinds of information but interprets his knowledge in a new light. He has an opinion of his own.”

“‘O Lord, thou the supreme goal of all, I have no other support. Thou art my only refuge!’ God does not reveal himself until we take complete refuge in Him. As long as you have any other hope, you have no need of God, so he keeps away from you.”

November 3.

SWAMI TURIYANANDA: “Always be sincere and speak the truth frankly. In order to save their skin some people don’t tell the truth. But that is not right. Those who plan and scheme get caught in their own net.”

“Forgiveness is a great virtue. Learn to make everybody your own. Look upon all with an equal eye. Sri Ramakrishna used to say, ‘God in the lustful, God in the hypocrite,’—and he would see God in everybody.”

November 4.

SWAMI TURIYANANDA: “To seek one’s own advantage is not sattva [purity]. SattVic people are above thoughts of advantage and disadvantage. They keep their equanimity in the midst of happiness and sorrow.”

“A person who fears that work may create difficulties and involve him or her in discord with others, and therefore tries to avoid work, is tamasic [deluded].”

“I used to have one fault: When I met people I would first see their weaknesses. From the standpoint of a spiritual aspirant this is wrong, although from a worldly point of view it may be all right. I used to meet many strangers, and there was no opportunity to associate with them intimately. But from a single clue I could read the character of an individual, good or bad; and I was usually correct in my judgment. Later I overcame this fault. It was my habit from childhood to analyze my mind and study its weaknesses.”

“Swamiji at one time told me: ‘Live the ideal life. The Divine Mother has shown me that by doing so you will accomplish a hundred times more good than I.’ I didn’t believe it. But then in all seriousness I plunged into the Lord’s work and the work succeeded. If I had not associated with great souls like Swamiji and others, what would I have been but perhaps a wandering monk? I would have had some sort of realization, no doubt, but not what I have today.”

DISCIPLE: “But, sir, isn’t realization the supreme goal? Is there anything beyond it? You seem to make a difference between realization and your state of attainment.”

SWAMI TURIYANANDA: “Yes, there is a difference. There are degrees of realization. A rose is a rose, but there are four-petaled and hundred-petaled roses. Is there no difference? Swamiji gave us a higher ideal than realization for oneself; it is to expand the consciousness until you see yourself in all beings, and all beings in yourself.”

“’His heart is with Brahman, his eye in all things sees only Brahman equally present, knows his own Atman in every creature and all creation within that Atman. that yogi sees Me in all things, and all things within Me. He never loses sight of Me, nor I of him. He is established in union with Me, and worships Me devoutly in all beings. That yogi abides in Me, no matter what his mode of life. Who burns with the bliss and suffers the sorrow of every creature within his own heart, making his own each bliss and each sorrow: him I hold highest of all the yogis.’”

“Your idea of spiritual life is to meditate all the time with closed eyes: ‘Keep away from me! I want to meditate! No, no, no! that is not the ideal. Meditate with eyes closed and also meditate with eyes open. See Him everywhere! Your idea stems from selfishness. You are retiring more and more into your shell and becoming increasingly self-centered. You are afraid of failure and criticism. That is not right. You have to expand. You won’t sacrifice yourself for anything and yet you expect to have spiritual realization. Is that possible? Engage yourself now in the Lord’s work. Sacrifice yourself! Then divine visions will come to you, and you will reach the ultimate goal.”

November 6 or 8.

SWAMI TURIYANANDA: “Prana [the vital energy, of which breath is a manifestation] is the first cause of person’s downfall from the Truth. It is breathing that makes the mind restless. We have seen that when the mind has become calm after some time a subconscious impression suddenly rises to the surface; the mind comes down from its stillness with a breath, and one regains consciousness of the external world. But Sri Ramakrishna could rise above the vital energy in his meditation. His breathing would cease. One must rise above the vital energy.”

“It is better to be deceived by others and yet to remain unsuspicious of people. If one suspects others, one loses strength of character. Sri Ramakrishna used to say: ‘When the goal of spiritual life is reached, there remains only compassion in the heart.’ The illumined soul has compassion for every creature.”

The Swami spoke of Swami Brahmananda’s intense dispassion.

SWAMI TURIYANANDA: “Sri Ramakrishna said, ‘Know that Rakhal [Swami Brahmananda] has intense renunciation. His father is rich; he does not go to him. He lives here, gathers fuel from the woods, and cooks his simple food.’”

“When Maharaj [Swami Brahmananda] and I were in Vrindaban, he had only coarse bread to eat. He would dance in ecstasy, and say: ‘How can I express my joy to you?’ I used to think that he was suffering from want of good food.”

November 10.

SWAMI TURIYANANDA: “Continence is the essence of spiritual life. ‘Of all austerities, the practice of continence is supreme. He who practices it is verily a god, not a man.’ The illumined knowledge of Brahman comes naturally to a person who practices continence for thirty-two years. He who wastes this energy falls from the spiritual path and becomes dissipated.”

December 15.

SWAMI TURIYANANDA: “Don’t fritter your days away without an ideal. Always keep your ideal before your mind’s eye and analyze how far you are progressing towards it.”

December 16.

SWAMI TURIYANANDA: “I never depend on any human being. My only refuge is the Lord. If I were to depend on anyone, I would have to be afraid of him. I would rather put a knife to my throat than be afraid of a person. But the Lord always protects me; he does not let me depend on anyone but himself.”

“How to reach union with God? It becomes possible if for some time one can keep the mind absorbed in him. This is to say, your mind has to be raised to the plane where God dwells; then you will see him. Don’t let your mind think of anything but God. If you don’t talk, don’t stu dy any books, but keep your mind continuously in the Lord, then very soon you will be united with him. But every individual’s spiritual realizations are limited by his capacity. He can go so far in one life and no farther.”

The Swami mentioned a boy whom he had seen only for a short time, and said that it would not be possible for him to progress any more in this life.

SWAMI TURIYANANDA: “It is not so easy to become a holy person. The ego must be annihilated. When it comes to receiving, be the last; but when it comes to giving, be the first.”

December 2.

SWAMI TURIYANANDA: “You must love the Lord. You may say, I don’t know how to love Him. But surely we know how to love! We love objects; we love riches; we love honor—all these things we know how to love.”

“If your mind dwells in God, He dwells in your mind. If you are indifferent to Him, He also will be indifferent to you. If you call on Him, he will remove all the obstacles in your path.”’

“Devotees do not pray for the vision of God. They only ask for devotion; they want to love Him. Whether He reveals Himself or not they leave to His sweet will. Arjuna prayed to Sri Krishna: ‘If you find me worthy of that vision, then reveal to me, O Master of yogis, your changeless Atman.’”

“Do we really want God? We may think so, but our minds are somewhere else. Yet sometimes God awakens that desire for Him in us. Have you ever become absorbed in meditation, forgetful of everything else, even of yourself? As long as you are not able to become absorbed in God, find out what the obstacles or distractions are. Struggle against them, and no matter where your mind wanders, keep watch over it. Do we really want God? You have renounced the world, no doubt. But why? Because you felt that there was suffering in the world. We are just seeking our own comfort. Where is that yearning? ‘If my mind does not become absorbed in the lotus feet of the guru, life itself is in vain.’”

December [?].

SWAMI TURIYANANDA: “There is a type of nondualism which does not believe that the creation is real. According to this school of thought the universe never has existed, does not now exist, and never will exist. Sri Ramakrishna used to say that this kind of philosophy can only be practiced in a mountain cave. It is to meditate on the true nature of the Atman.”

“Sri Ramakrishna did not allow everybody to practice the nondual aspect of meditation. What good is it to proclaim that you are one with the Absolute unless the universe has vanished from your consciousness? Sri Ramakrishna used to say: ‘You may say that there is no thorn, but put your hand out—the thorn will prick, and your hand will bleed.’ But with regard to Swamiji, Sri Ramakrishna said, ‘If Naren says that there is no thorn, there is no thorn; and if he puts out his hand no thorn would prick it, because he has experienced his unity with Brahman.” When Swamiji used to say, ‘I am He,’ he said so from his direct perception of the Absolute. His mind was not identified with his physical self.”

“Generally, people are fully convinced of the reality of this world only with their lips they assert that it is unreal. The owner and his garden, the Creator and his creation—thus should they look upon God and his universe with the attitude of devotees.”

“But there are some individuals who practice the ideal of union with Brahman and don’t talk about it. A gentleman does not go about announcing that he is a gentleman.”

“There is a state of attainment which we find mentioned in the Gita: ‘He knows bliss in the Atman and wants nothing else.” How can there be any pride when one has experienced the illumined knowledge of God? A spiritual aspirant should try to feel that he is already liberated.”

“’I have no other refuge but God.’ This must be our attitude. But how difficult it is! The rascal ego keeps cropping up. Only when we have received blow after blow, the ego perhaps loses its hold on us.”

“The control of the passions is a necessary practice of austerity, but genuine control does not come until one has the knowledge of God. When one has attained union with Him, the mind no longer runs after flesh; the craving has completely disappeared. ‘The abstinent run away from what they desire. They carry their desires with them. When a person enters Reality, that person leaves desires behind them.’

“The root of religion is to have firm faith that there is a Reality behind this world appearance. As long as a person is in ignorance and still asserts that or he or she is one with the Absolute, they actually identify themselves with their own ego, not with Brahman. They do not know that there is a Reality beyond their little selves. They are really a kind of atheist.”

“In spiritual life, through the practice of meditation and prayer there comes first a feeling of the presence of God. Then arises the struggle to reach Him.”

“All people are slaves to nature. Some have a natural tendency toward inertia, others toward activity. Nature makes us helpless, and helplessly under her rule we sometimes act, sometimes become silent and lazy, and sometimes go to sleep. Nature controls us instead of our controlling nature. It is just as if a minister had usurped the king’s throne. I used to weep and pray that I would not remain under the control of nature. First be a witness to the workings of nature. Then try to realize the Reality that is beyond nature.”

“From my boyhood on I used to feel that a power was always protecting me, just as a child, learning to walk, is protected by its mother. I felt that I would fall if it were not for that protection behind me.”

“What people call conscience or the voice of God is the power of the guru. As a general rule, people make the mistake of killing their conscience, otherwise this power would guide everybody.”

“Be true to yourself, then you will attain everything. Sri Ramakrishna used to say: ‘Make your lips and your heart the same.’ That is to say, be sincere in every way. It is difficult to be sincere, but people think it is very easy.”

December 5.

SWAMI TURIYANANDA: “When I used to meditate in Sri Ramakrishna’s presence, I experienced a sensation in my spine and would feel an energy rising. The body was like a desert land. The guru gave the holy name of God, and through its power the desert was transformed into a beautiful flower garden. Life was aimless. Since the guru touched me I have had an ideal to live for.”

“As long as your mind dwells on anything other than God, you cannot become a knower of Brahman. ‘Realize that pleasure and pain, gain and loss, victory and defeat—all are one and the same. Then go into battle. Do this, and you cannot commit sin.’ Do you know why people commit sin? A worldly person won’t stop at anything in order to gain some selfish end. But when they become selfless, they remain unchanged in pleasure and in pain. If we can renounce the sense of ego, then only do we overcome misery. Blessed is one who is happy in his renunciation. He or she finds joy in doing things for others.”

“The householder also has to renounce eventually. ‘By renunciation alone immortality is attained.’ The object of passing through married life is gradually to learn self-control, then to renounce altogether.”

“Sri Ramakrishna used to pray: ‘Mother, may these children of mine surpass me in spirituality.’ There is a saying: ‘Welcome defeat at the hands of the son or disciple.’”

“When I was twelve or thirteen years old I saw Sri Ramakrishna, my guru and Chosen Ideal, getting down from a carriage. He was reeling in divine intoxication. He reminded me of what I had read about Sukadeva—how some worshipped him with flowers and he was smiling, while others threw stones at him and he was smiling.”

“When I was practicing austerities at Langal, I became very ill. I was suffering from the last stages of anemia. But I was not anxious whether the body would survive or not. My mind was so absorbed in God that I did not care. Through the Lord’s grace I experienced many spiritual truths. Now, it seems, they are hidden.”

“Try to surrender yourselves to God, and he will do everything for you. God and humanity—there is a separation. Let your tears wipe out that separation. He will take you to himself. He is like a magnet drawing iron filings. People do not feel God’s attraction because of their evil deeds. ‘How hard to break through is this My Maya, made of the gunas. But one who takes refuge within Me only shall pass beyond Maya.’ So you see, everybody can take refuge in God and attain supreme illumination. Then why don‘t people do it? ‘The evil-doers turn not toward Me. These are deluded. . . . .’”

“What is samadhi? It is to raise the vital energy [prana] upward.”

“There are some great souls who are not concerned with their own happiness or suffering, but keep themselves busy doing good to others.”

“Meditation has to become natural. This means that the presence of the Lord is immediately felt in the mind, and he appears living, speaking.”

“Swamiji was an example of loyalty to his guru. There was power in Swamiji’s words because his heart and lips were one. He always held firmly to the truth.”

“Craving for enjoyment has to be fulfilled, otherwise seeds of desire remain.”

Read Part 4.

Conversations with Swami Turiyananda – Part 2
October 5, 2003
Christ the Messenger – Part 1
December 5, 2003
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Conversations with Swami Turiyananda – Part 3