Wisdom from Swami Vivekananda

Look Into My Crystal Ball

The soul of man is like a piece of crystal, but it takes the color of whatever is near it. Whatever the soul touches… it has to take its color. That is the difficulty. That constitutes bondage. The color is so strong, the crystal forgets itself and identifies itself with the color. Suppose a red flower is near the crystal: the crystal takes the color and forgets itself, thinks it is red. We have taken the color of the body and have forgotten what we are. All the difficulties that follow come from that one dead body. All our fears, all worries, anxieties, troubles, mistakes, weakness, evil, are from that one great blunder — that we are bodies [the physical identity]. This is the ordinary person. It is the person taking the color of the flower near to it. We are no more bodies than the crystal is the red flower.

— Swami Vivekananda

See also: You are deathless, birthless, You are the infinite spirit (Bhagavad Gita 2.22- 30)

(Photo by Jennuine Captures)

The kitten attitude

adoration

How many times do we worry about lack of clarity in our understanding of reality and about our purpose in life! How many times we wonder why we are put up in such miserable circumstances! We try hard to find out the cause of our misery whenever we go through bad times, as if by finding the cause we can set things straight… (curiously, we never try to find the cause of our happiness, we just go about enjoying the happy times). Can we really trace down the cause of whatever happens to its very origin?

The truth is, we can never precisely find out the cause of everything that happens. We may satisfy ourselves with different astrological theories, scientific theories, but none of these is infallible. At a particular time or a particular circumstance a theory may seem to make sense, but at some other time, it looks incapable. That’s because the field of human perception is very limited. What we see, what we hear, what we perceive as the world is only a tiny fraction of the totality of what really is. The moment we think we have figured out the secret of all life, something totally unexpected happens and we are baffled.

Then, what is the way? The way is to accept that we can’t know everything, and then accept things as they are, drive away all our worries and do our best according to our current level of understanding.

Ramakrishna Paramahamsa says,

Well, give God the power of attorney. If a man entrusts his affairs to a good person, will the latter do him any harm? With all the sincerity of your heart resign yourself to God and drive all your worries out of your mind. Do whatever duties He has assigned to you. The kitten does not have a calculating mind. It only cries, ‘Mew, mew!’ It lies in the kitchen contentedly if the mother cat leaves it there, and only calls the mother, crying, ‘Mew, mew!’ It has the same feeling of contentment when the mother cat puts it on the soft bed of the master of the house.

(The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, chapter 32)

The reality is too big for us and we can’t know all her secrets. A calculating mind only ends up in frustration. So it’s better to resign yourself to God (or nature or reality or whatever you call it) and drive all worries out of your mind.  If there is anything you need to know, it will be revealed. Be sincere, enjoy all that happens. All that happens, just happens.

Also read: The entire universe is yours!

(Photo by Malingering)

Why fear?

Graceful Morning

I died as a mineral and became a plant,
I died as plant and rose to animal,
I died as animal and I was Man.
Why should I fear? When was I less by dying?
Yet once more I shall die as Man, to soar
With angels blest; but even from angelhood
I must pass on: all except God doth perish.
When I have sacrificed my angel-soul,
I shall become what no mind e’er conceived.
Oh, let me not exist! for Non-existence
Proclaims in organ tones, To Him we shall return.

— Rumi

(Picture by h.koppdelaney)

Contemplation

melting into presence

Don’t follow past thoughts, don’t anticipate the future, and don’t follow illusory thoughts that arise in the present; but turning within, observe your own true nature and maintain awareness of your natural mind, just as it is, beyond the conceptual limitations of past, present, and future.

— Garab Dorje, the earliest Dzogchen master.

(Photo by AlicePopkorn)