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From Scriptures

Click on underlined words to open paragraph

Readings from the scriptures

Nine Duties that Are eternal

Calamity overtakes him who is

Readings from the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna

The Ramayana of Goswami Tulasidas

The distinguishing traits of the good and the wicked

These vices are regarded as very powerful foes of all creatures

How to win the hearts of kinsmen, friends and foes?

What is that one act, by accomplishing
which with care, a person may become
the object of regard with all creatures
and acquire great celebrity? 

In what kind of man or woman does the
goddess of prosperity always reside?


Selections from Prayers and Meditations
Compiled from the scriptures of India

What the excellent behaviour is of good and chaste women
Transferred to Page Women


Nine duties that are eternal
From the Mahabharata, Santi Parva, LX

The suppression of wrath, truthfullness of speech, justice,
forgiveness, begetting children upon one's own wedded wife, purity of conduct, avoidance of quarrel, simplicity, and maintenance of dependants, these nine duties belong to all the four orders equally.

Calamity overtakes him who is
From The Mahabharata, Udyoga Parva Section XXXII

Sanjay said (to Dhritarashtra ):- "Calamity overtakes him who is deficient in wisdom, or who is of low birth, or who is cruel, or who cherishes hostility for a long time, or who is devoid of energy, or is of a bad disposition, in fact he who has such marks.

It is by virtue of luck that a person takes his birth in good race, or becomes strong, or famous, or versed in various lore, or possesses the comforts of life, or becomes capable of subduing his senses, or discriminating virtue and vice that are always linked together.

What person is there, who attended upon by foremost of
counselors, possessed  of  intelligence, capable of discriminating between virtue and vice in times of distress, not  destitute of the  rituals of religion, and retaining the use of all his faculties, would commit cruel deeds?".

Readings from the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna

Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa said:
"The feeling of 'Thee and Thine' is the outcome of Knowledge. 'I and mine' comes from ignorance. Knowledge makes one feel : 'O God! Thou art the Doer and I am Thy instrument. O God! To Thee belongs all - body, mind, house, family, living beings, and the universe. All these are Thine. Nothing belongs to me.'

An ignorant person says, 'God is there - very far off.' The man of Knowledge knows that God is right here, very near, in the heart; that He has assumed all forms and dwells in all hearts as their Inner Controller."

Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa Said:
"There are different levels among the devotees of God: superior, mediocre and inferior. All this has been described in the Gita.

The inferior devotee says, 'God exists, but He is very far off, up there in heaven.'

The mediocre devotee says, 'God exists in all beings as life and consciousness.'

The superior devotee says: 'It is God Himself who has become everything; whatever I see is only a form of God. It is He alone who has become Maya, the universe, and all living beings.
Nothing exists but God.' "

From Other Scriptures

Sri Rama asked Hanuman:
"Hanuman, what attitude do you cherish towards Me?"

Hanuman answered : "O Rama! When I think I am the body, You are the Master and I am Your servant, when I think I am the jivatman (embodied individual soul), You are the whole and I am a part ; but when I have the Knowledge of Reality, I see that you are I and I am You."

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Sri Ramacharitamanas
The Ramayana of Goswami Tulasidas
Extracts from Uttara-kanda- 126 to 129

Shambhu (Shiva) spoke to Uma: "I have thus repeated the most sacred narrative (The Ramayana), by hearing which one is freed from the bonds of worldly existence and comes to have devotion to the lotus feet of the All-merciful Sri Ram (The Lord), who is a wish yielding tree to the suppliant. Again they who listen to this narrative attentively are absolved of sins committed with the mind, speech or body. Devotion to Sri Hari (the Lord) can be easily attained by men who constantly listen to this story with faith.

This story should not be repeated to a perverse knave, who does not listen attentively t the story of Sri Hari; nor should it be recited to a greedy , irascible or lustful man who worships not the Lord of all animate and inanimate creation. It should never be repeated to a Brahman-hater.

They alone are qualified to hear Sri Ram's narrative, who are extremely fond of communion with holy men. They alone are fit to hear it, who are devoted to the feet of their preceptor, and are lovers of propriety and votaries of the Brahmans.

The story of Sri Ram wipes out the sins of the Kali age and
removes the impurities of the mind."

Sri Ramacharitamanasa
The Ramayana of Goswami Tulasidas

The distinguishing traits of the good and the wicked

The conduct of saints and the wicked is analogous to that of sandal-wood and the axe. The axe cuts down a sandal-tree, while the sandal-tree in its turn perfumes the axe by imparting its virtue (fragrance) to  the axe. For this reason, sandal-wood (in the form of paste) finds its way to the head of gods (as tilak on the images of gods), and is loved by the world so much; while the axe has its metal edge heated in the fire and beaten with a hammer as punishment.

Saints as a rule have no hankering for the pleasures of the senses and are the very mines of amiability and other virtues. They grieve to see others in distress and rejoice at the sight of others' joy. They are even-minded and look upon none as their enemy. Free from vanity and passion, they are conquerers of greed, anger, joy and fear. Tender of heart and compasssionate to the distressed , they cherish guileless devotion to the Lord in thought, word and deed...... They never swerve from the control of their mind and senses, religious observances and correct behaviour and never utter a harsh word.

Now hear the characteristics of the impious, association with whom should be scrupulously avoided; for their company ever brings woe, even as a wicked cow ruins by her company a cow of noble breed.  The heart of the wicked suffers terrible agony; for they ever burn at the sight of others' prosperity. Wherever they hear others reviled, they feel delighted as though they had stumbled upon a treasure lying on the road. Devoted to sensuality, anger, arrogance and greed, they are merciless, deceitful, crooked and impure. They bear enmity towards all without rhyme or reason; they behave inimically even with those  who are actively kind to them. They are false in their dealings (lying is their stock-in-trade).  They speak honeyed words just like the peacock that has a stony heart and devours the most venomous snake.

Malevolent by nature, they enjoy other's wives and other's wealth and take delight in slandering  others. Such vile and sinful men are demons in human garb.... Devoted to their own selfish interests, they antagonise their kinsfolk, are given up to sensuality and greed and are most irascible. They recognise neither mother nor father nor preceptor nor the Brahmans; utterly ruined themselves, they bring ruin upon others. Overcome by infatuation they bear malice to others and have no love for communion with saints nor for the stories relating to Sri Hari. Oceans of vice, dull-witted, and lascivious, they revile the Vedas and usurp others' wealth. Though bearing malice to all, they are enemies of the Brahmans in particular; and full of hypocrisy and deceit at heart, they outwardly wear a saintly appearance.

Such vile and wicked men are absent in the Satya and Treta Yugas; a sprinkling of them will appear in the Dwapara, while multitude of them will crop forth in the Kali age.

Related articles: 

Divine Wealth
Kali Yuga

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These vices are regarded as very
powerful foes of all creatures

From the Mahabharata
Santi Parva, Sec.CLXIII
Translated by Sri Kisari Mohan Ganguli

Yudhishthira said: Tell me, O thou of great wisdom, everything about that from which spring wrath and lust, and fear and loss of judgment, and inclination to do (evil to others), and jealousy and malice and pride and envy, and slander and incapacity to bear the good of others, and unkindness and covetousness.

Bhishma said: These vices are regarded as very powerful foes of all creatures. These approach and tempt men from every side.They goad and afflict a heedless man or one that is insensate. Indeed, as soon as they (these vices) see a person, they assail him powerfully like wolves jumping upon their prey. From these proceed all kinds of grief. From these proceed all kinds of sin.Every mortal should always know this.

I shall now speak to thee of their origin, of the objects upon which they rest, and of the means of their destruction. Listen first, O king, with undivided attention, to the origin of wrath truly and in detail.

ANGER springs from covetousness. It is strengthened by the faults of others. Through forgiveness it remains dormant, and through forgiveness it disappears.

As regards LUST,it springs from resolution. Indulgence strengthens it. When the man of wisdom resolutely turns away from it, it disappears and dies.

ENVY of others proceeds from between wrath and covetousness.

It disappears in consequence of compassion and knowledge of self. In consequence of compassion for all creatures, and of that disregard for all worldly objects (that knowledge brings in its train), it disappears. It also arises from seeing the faults of other people. But in men of intelligence it quickly disappears in consequence of true knowledge.

LOSS OF JUDGMENT has its origin in ignorance and proceeds from sinfulness of habit. When the man whom this fault assails begins to take delight in (the company and counsels of) wise men, the vice at once and immediately hides its head. Men see conflicting scriptures. From that circumstance springs the desire for diverse kinds of action. When true knowledge has been gained, that desire has been allayed. The grief of an embodied creature proceeds from affection which is awakened by separation. When, however, one learns that the dead do not return (whatever the grief one may feel for them), it subsides.

INCAPACITY TO BEAR OTHER PEOPLE'S GOODproceeds from wrath and covetousness. Through compassion for every creature and in consequence of a disregard for all earthly objects, it is extinguished. MALICE proceeds from the abandonment of truth and indulgence of weakness. This vice disappears in consequence of one's waiting upon the wise and good.

PRIDEin men, springs from birth, learning and prosperity. When those three, however, are truly known, that vice instantly disappears.

JEALOUSYsprings from lust and delight in low and vulgar people. In consequence of wisdom, it is destroyed.

From error (of conduct) inconsistent with the ordinary course of men, and through disagreeable speeches expressive of aversion, SLANDER takes its rise. It disappears upon a survey of the whole world.

When the person that injures is powerful and the injured one is unable to avenge the injury,HATE shows itself. It subsides through kindliness.

UNKINDNESS proceeds from a sight of the helpless and miserable persons with whom the world abounds. That sentiment disappears when one understands the strength of virtue.

COVETOUSNESS in all creatures spring from ignorance.
Beholding the instability of all objects of enjoyment, it suffers destruction.

It has been said that tranquillity of soul can alone subdue all these faults.

How to win the hearts of kinsmen, friends and foes?

From the Mahabharata, Santi Parva, Sec. LXXXI

Narada said:
Use a weapon that is not made of steel, that is very mild, and yet capable of piercing all hearts. Sharpening and resharpening that weapon correct the tongues of your kinsmen.

The giving of food to the best of your power, forgiveness, sincerity, mildness, and honour to whom honour is due, these constitute a weapon that is not made of steel. With soft words alone turn away the anger of kinsmen about to utter cruel speeches, and mollify their hearts and minds and slanderous tongues.

Nothing but intelligence and forgiveness, restraint of the senses, and  liberality are present in a person of wisdom.

What is that one act, by accomplishing
which with care, a person may become
the object of regard with all creatures
and acquire great celebrity?

Santi Parva, Sec. LXXXIV
Translated by sri Kisari Mohan Ganguli

Vrihaspati said:

Agreeableness of speech is the one thing by practising which a person may become an object of regard with all creatures and acquire great celebrity. This is the one thing which gives happiness to all. By practising it, one may always obtain the love of all creatures.
The person who does not speak a word and whose face is always furrowed with frowns, becomes an object of hatred with all creatures. Abstention from agreeable speeches makes him so.

That person who, upon beholding others, addresses them first and does so with smiles succeeds in making everyone gratified with him. Even gifts, if not made with agreeable speeches, do not delight the recipients, like rice without curry. If even the possessions of men be taken away with sweet speeches, such sweetness of behaviour succeeds in reconciling the robbed. A king that is desirous of even inflicting chastisement should utter sweet words. Sweetness of speech never fails of its purpose, while, at the same time it never pains any heart. a person of good acts and good, agreeable, and sweet speeches, has no equal.

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In what kind of man or woman, does the
goddess of prosperity always reside?

This question was asked by king Yudhishthira, and the answer is given by Bhishma in the Mahabharata, Anusasana Parva, Sec XI.

Bhishma said:

Sree (goddess of prosperity said): I always reside with him that is eloquent, active, attentive to business, free from wrath, given to the worship of the deities, endued with gratitude, has his passions under complete control, and is high-minded in everything.

I never reside with one that is inattentive to business, that is an unbeliever, that causes an intermixture of races in consequence of his lustfulness, that is ungrateful, that is of impure practices, that uses harsh and cruel words, that is a thief, that cherishes malice towards his preceptors and other seniors, those persons that are endued with little energy, strength, life, and honour, that are distressed at every trifle, and that always indulge in wrath.

I never reside with these that think in one strain and act in a different one. I never reside also with him who never desires any acquisition for himself, of him who is so blinded as to rest content with the lot in which he finds himself without any exertion or with those that are contented with small acquisitions.

I reside with those that are observant with the duties of righteousness, or those that are devoted to the service of the aged, or those that have their passions under control, or those that are endued with cleansed souls, or those that observe the virtue of forgiveness, or those that are able and prompt in action, or with such women as are forgiving and self-restrained.

I reside with those women also that are devoted to truth and sincerity and that worship the deities.
I do not reside with those women that do not attend to household furniture and provisions scattered all around the house, and that always utter words contrary to the wishes of their husbands. I always avoid those women that are fond of the houses of other people and that have no modesty.

On the other hand, I reside with those women that are devoted to their husbands, that are blessed in behaviour, and that are always decked in ornaments and attired in good robes. I always reside with those women that are truthful in speech, that are of handsome and agreeable features, that are blessed and that are endued with all accomplishments.

I always avoid such women as are sinful and unclean or impure, as always lick the corners of their mouths, as have no patience or fortitude, and as are fond of dispute and quarrelling, as are given to much sleep, and as always lie down.

I always reside in conveyances and the animals that drag them, in maidens, in ornaments and good vestments, in sacrifices, in clouds charged with rain, in full blown lotuses, and in those stars that bespangle the autumnal firmament. i reside in elephants, in the cow pen, in good seats, and in lakes adorned with full-blown lotuses. I live also in such rivers as babble sweetly in their course, melodious with the music of cranes, having banks adorned with rows of diverse trees, and resorted to by Brahmanas and ascetics and others crowned with success. I always reside in those rivers also that have deep and large volumes of rolling waters rendered turbid by lions and elephants plunging into them for bathing or slaking their thirst. I reside also in infuriate elephants, in bovine bulls, in kings, on the throne, and good men.

Lakshmi resides in that house in which...

I always reside in that house in which the inmate pours libation on the sacrificial fire and worships kine(cow), Brahmans and the deities.

I reside in that house where at the proper time offerings are made unto the deities, in the course of worship.

I always reside in such Brahmanas as are devoted to the study of the Vedas, in Kshatriyas devoted to the observance of righteousness, in Vaisyas devoted to cultivation, and the Sudras devoted to the service of the three upper classes.

I reside with a heart firm and unchangeable, in Narayana, in my embodied self. In Him is righteousness in its perfection and full measure, devotion to the Brahmanas, and the quality of agreeableness.

I do not reside in my embodied form in any of these places that I have mentioned, except Narayana. That person in whom I reside in spirit increases in righteousness and fame and wealth and objects of desire.

Related articles:

Mahabharata-Santi Parva CIXL

Persons conversant with the Vedas have said that death and immurement are both painful. Life is dear unto all. All creatures are made miserable by grief and pain. All creatures wish for happiness. Misery arises from various sources. Decrepitude is misery.The loss of wealth is misery. The adjacence of anything disagreeable or evil is misery. Separation or dissociation from friends and agreeable objects is misery. Misery arises from death and immurement.Misery arises from causes connected with women and from other natural causes. The misery that arises from the death of children alters and afflicts all creatures very greatly.

Some foolish persons say that there is no misery in other's misery. Only he who has not felt any misery for himself can say so in the midst of men. He, however, that has felt sorrow and misery, would never venture to say so. One that has felt the pangs of every kind of misery feels the misery of others as one's own.

Misery has a great value

Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa on misery

Kedar Nath Bandyopadhyay wrote:
One day I started for my office and crossed the Ganga (Ganges river) by boat, but due to some family trouble, my mind was very disturbed. It occurred to me that it would be better to go to the Master (Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa) than to the office, so I took another boat and landed at the temple ghat of Rani Rasmani

The Master was standing on the western verandah of his room, looking at the Ganga. As I walked up to him, he said: "What? You ran away from your office? That is not good. Live in this world like a crocodile. It lives under water, but sometimes it raises its snout above water, takes a deep breath, and again dives below the surface. People are submerged in their worldly life and they come here only when they are suffocating at home. Does anybody tread the path of religion without first undergoing sorrows and sufferings? Misery has a great value. It helps a person find the path to God."

The Master continued: "I know you are married. Do you have a mother?"

'Yes, my mother is still alive," I replied. He was silent for some time, and then he said: "All right, now stay at home. A little misery is good. It helps one to make progress in spiritual life. If there were no misery, would anyone chant the Lord's name?"

From the book 'Ramakrishna as we saw him'
By Swami Chetanananda, Advaita Ashrama)

From The Bhagavad Gita,Chapter 7, verse 16

The Blesssed Lord said:

Four kinds of virtuous men worship Me, O Arjuna, and they are the distressed, the seeker of knowledge, the seeker of wealth and the wise, O lord of the Bharatas.

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Selections from Prayers and Meditations
Compiled from the scriptures of India
By Swami Prabhavananda and Clive Johnson
From the book 'Prayers and Meditations'
Vedanta Society of Southern California

This is the sum of all the scriptures
There is no sight equal to learning, no austerity equal to truthfulness, no misery like passion, and no happiness equal to following the ideal of renunciation.

The secret meaning of the Vedas is truth; of truth, self-control; of self-control, freedom from all limitations. This is the sum of all the scriptures.

Purity of conduct is the greatest purity. To think of God continuously, to worship Him, to chant His name and sing His praises – this is the best way of attaining the highest good.

The Mahabharata

Lord make me so pure and strong

Lord make me so pure and strong
That all creatures may look upon me
With friendship.
And may I also look upon all creatures
with friendship.
Yajur Veda

Truth is one; sages call it by various names

Truth is one; sages call it by various names.
There is one God, one absolute Truth, and one Existence.

People of different countries worship the one God under various names and in different forms.

Each of these names and forms is a face of the Infinite, and is one with the Infinite.
-Srimad Bhagavatam

Home of the spirit

Even as river springs from different sources,
yet mingle in the ocean,

So all the Vedas, all scriptures, all truth,
though of diverse origin, come home to Thee.
-Srimad Bhagavatam

May we be united in heart

May we be united in heart
May we be united in speech
May we be united in mind
May we be united in duties
As did the wise men of old

May we be united in prayer
May we be united in goal
May we be united in resolve
May we be united in understanding

May we be united in offering
May we be united in hearts
May we be united in thoughts
May there be perfect unity amongst us.
-Rig Veda

Study and teaching of the Vedas

Pleasant indeed are the study and teaching of the Vedas!
He who engages in these things attains to concentration of mind,
And is no longer a slave to his passions;
Devout, self-controlled, cultivated in spirit,
He rises to fame and is a blessing to mankind.
-Satapatha Brahmana

The Infinite

As rivers flow into the sea and in doing so lose name and form,
even so the wise man, freed from name and form, attains the Supreme Being,
the Self-luminous, the Infinite
-Mundaka Upanishad

May my speech be one

May my speech be one with my mind,
and may my mind be one with my speech.

O thou self-luminous Brahman,
remove the veil of ignorance from before me,
that I may behold thy light.
Do thou reveal to me the spirit of the scriptures.

May the truth of the scriptures be ever present to me.
May I seek day and night to realize what I learn from the sages.

May I speak the truth of Brahman.
May I speak the truth.
May it protect me.
May it protect my teacher.

Om.. peace –peace – peace
-Aitareya Upanishad

None beholds Him with eyes

None beholds Him with the eyes,
for He is without visible form.
Yet in the heart is He revealed
through self-control and meditation.
Those who know Him become immortal.

When all the senses are stilled,when the mind is at rest,
when the intellect wavers not-then is known, say the wise, the highest state.
The calm of the senses and the mind has been defined as Yoga.
He who attains it is freed from delusion.
-Katha Upanishad

The good and the pleasant

The good is one thing; the pleasant is another.
These two, differing in their ends, both prompt to action.
Blessed are they that choose the good; they that choose the pleasant miss the goal.

Both the good and the pleasant present themselves to men.
The wise, having examined both, distinguish the one from the other.
The wise prefer the good to the pleasant;
the foolish, driven by desires of the flesh,
prefer the pleasant to the good.
-Katha Upanishad

City of Brahman

Within the city of Brahman, which is the body, there is the heart,
and within the heart there is a little house.

This house has the shape of a lotus, and within it dwells that which is to be sought after, inquired about, and realized.

What then is that which, dwelling within this little house, this lotus of the heart, is to be sought after, inquired about, and realized?

As large as the universe outside, even so large
is the universe within the lotus of the heart.

Within it are heaven and earth, the sun, the moon,
the lightning, and all the stars.

What is in the macrocosm is in this microcosm.

All things that exist, all beings and all desires,
are in the city of Brahman;
what then becomes of them when old age approaches
and the body dissolves in death?

Though old age comes to the body,
the lotus of the heart does not grow old.
At death of the body, it does not die.

The lotus of the heart, where Brahman exists in all His glory –
that and not the body, is the true city of Brahman.

Brahman, dwelling therein, is untouched by any deed,
ageless, deathless, free from grief,
free from hunger and from thirst.
His desires are right desires,
and His desires are fulfilled.

As here on earth all the wealth that one earns is but transitory,
so likewise, transitory are the heavenly enjoyments
acquired by the performance of sacrifices.
Therefore, those who die without having realized the Self
and its right desires find no permanent happiness
in any world to which they go;
while those who have realized the Self and its right desires
find permanent happiness everywhere.
-Chandogya Upanishad

That which is good

With our ears may we hear what is good.
With our eyes may we behold thy righteousness.
Tranquil in body, may we who worship thee find rest.
Om… Hail to the Supreme Self!
-Mundaka Upanishad

Sri Krishna to Uddhava
He indeed is rich who is rich in virtues

Calmness is a steady flow of the mind toward God.
Self-restraint is control of the organs of sense.
Patience is bearing the burden of life cheerfully.
Steadiness is overcoming the palate and the impulse of sex.

The highest charity is refraining from violence.
Austerity is the giving up of desire.
Valour is the conquest of one’s own self.
To know the truth is to see the oneness of the Self with God.

Truthfulness is true and agreeable speech
as exemplified by the sages
Purity is nonattachment to work.
Renunciation is overcoming the world.
Virtue is the treasure that men covet.
I, the Supreme Lord, am the sacrifice.

The greatest gift is the gift of knowledge.
The greatest strength is the control of prana.
Fortunate is he who meditates on My divine powers.
The highest profit is in devotion to Me.

Wisdom is removing false ideas of multiplicity
and realizing the unity of the Self.
Modesty is abhorrence of evil deeds.
Excellence of character arises from disregard of worldly considerations.
Happiness is the transcending of both pleasure and pain.
Misery is hankering after pleasures of sense.

Learned is he who discriminates between bondage and freedom.
Ignorant is he who identifies himself with the body.
The right path is that which leads to Me.
The wrong path is that which causes restlessness of the mind.

Heaven is the domination of sattva in the mind.
Hell is the predominance of tamas.
The teacher who has realised his oneness with Me is the true friend.

He indeed is rich who is rich in virtues.
Poor is he who is discontented.
Mean is he who is not master of his senses.
Godly is he who is not attached to objects of sense.
Divine is he who has overcome both good and evil.
-Srimad Bhagavatam

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