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Never ever compare anyone with anybody. One who is not satisfied with his own self cannot find satisfaction anywhere in the world.

Morari Bapu, Gujarati kathakaar, HINDUISM TODAY’S Hindu of the Year

Sri Ramakrishna once went to see a religious drama produced by his disciple. The curtain went up and a character started singing the praises of the Lord. Sri Ramakrishna immediately began to enter the supreme state of consciousness. The stage faded; the actors and actresses faded. As only a great mystic can, he uttered a protest: “I come here, Lord, to see a play staged by my disciple, and you send me into ecstasy. I won’t let it happen!” And he started saying over and over, “Money... money... money,” so as to keep some awareness of the temporal world. Eknath Easwaran (1910-1999), spiritual teacher, author

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If I cannot be the maker of my own fortune, then I am not free. But if this is not my first birth, I can take upon myself the blame for the misery of this life, which is the result of the evil I have committed in another, and say I will unmake it. This, then, is our philosophy of the migration of the soul: We come into this life with the experience of another, and the fortune or misfortune of this existence is the result of our acts in a former existence, and thus we are always becoming better, till at last perfection is reached. Swami Vivekananda, (1863-1902)

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When he sat me down beside him, in Jaffna, he just started right in on me, saying, “What do you think you’re doing jumping around the world like that, wasting your energy? What a waste! Why don’t you sit, quietly, and say, “Who Am I? Who Am I? WHO AM I?!” Dr. James George, a Canadian disciple of Siva Yogaswami of Jaffna and international diplomat having just returned from a world tour, recounting one of his visits with the Lion of Jaffna.

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Any religion can be compared to the attic of an old home. Unless the attic is regularly cleaned, it gathers dust and cobwebs and eventually becomes unusable. Similarly, if a religion cannot be updated or cleaned from time to time, it loses its usefulness and cannot relate anymore to changed times and people. Swami Bhaskarananda Saraswati (1833-1899), 19th-century sannyasin

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Why the pains of long pilgrimages? Why observances that emaciate the body? All the fruits anticipated from such austerities can be easily obtained by motiveless service to the guru. Kularnava Tantra, 2.1

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Achieving great powers brings with it two possible obstacles to achieving moksha—the thought of utilizing them and pride in having them. Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami, publisher of HINDUISM TODAY

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If Hindus really understood how deep into their soul their religion penetrates, if they knew how superior it is to any other spiritual path on the Earth today, they would not abandon it so easily but cherish and foster it into its great potential. They would not remain silent when asked about their religion, but speak out boldly its great truths. They would not hesitate to stand strong for Hinduism. Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (1927-2001), founder of HINDUISM TODAY

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DID YOU KNOW?

Three Types of Karma

Contributions from Swami Sivananda’s essay on karma

PRARABDHA, KRIYAMANA AND sanchita are the three foundational karmas that guide a soul’s cycle of life, death and rebirth. Prarabdha means “actions begun” or “set in motion.” These are the karmas we are living through right now because they were set in motion in the past. Kriyamana karma means “being made” and is all of the actions going on in our life right now only to return in the future. Sanchita means “accumulated actions” and is translated as the sum of all our karmas from this and past lives. Karma’s complex three-fold definition makes this Hindu law one of the cornerstones of our religion and can help clarify our current situation. In Vedantic literature, there is a beautiful analogy. The bowman has already sent an arrow; it has left his hands and he cannot recall it. He is about to shoot another arrow. The bundle of arrows in the quiver on his back is the Sanchita. The arrow he has shot is prarabdha. And the arrow which he is about to shoot from his bow is kriyamana. Of these, he has perfect control over the sanchita and the kriyamana, but he must surely work out his prarabdha. For that is the past and has begun to take effect which he must experience.”

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BASICS

What Are Hinduism’s Revealed Scriptures?

From Sivaya Subramuniyaswami’s Merging with Siva

THE VEDAS AND AGAMAS, REVEALED BY God, are Hinduism’s sovereign scriptures, called shruti, “that which is heard.” Their timeless truths are expressed in the most extraordinarily profound mystical poetry known to man.

Veda, from vid, “to know,” means “supreme wisdom or science.” Similarly, Agama, which names the sacred sectarian revelations, means “descent of knowledge.” The Vedas and Agamas are eternal truths transmitted by God through great clairaudient and clairvoyant rishis. They are Hinduism’s primary and most authoritative scriptures, expounding life’s sacredness and man’s purpose on the planet. These psalms of wisdom were disclosed over many centuries, memorized and orally conveyed from generation to generation within priestly families, then finally written down in Sanskrit in the last few millennia. The subtly symbolic language of shruti, the cherished word of God, is lyrical and lofty. In imparting religious practice, rules and doctrine, the Vedas are general and the Agamas specific. The Vedas extol and invoke a multiplicity of Gods through elaborate fire rituals called yajna. The Agamas center around a single Deity and His worship with water, flowers and lights in sanctified temples and shrines. The Tirumantiram lauds, “Two are the scriptures that Lord Śiva revealed—the primal Vedas and the perfect Agamas.”

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PHOTOS: SHUTTERSTOCK

 


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