Home - Random Quotes from Swami Nirmalananda (Abbot George)

Random Quotes from Swami Nirmalananda (Abbot George)

Jonathan Mahoney and Swami Nirmalananda Giri
Our friend Jonathan Mahoney, who has hosted a number of podcasts with Swami Nirmalananda, has gathered a large number of quotes from his writings and podcasts which he found valuable. So we are sharing them with you.

  1. “It is possible to dissolve or work out karma through meditation. As can be imagined, this process may take a long time to get through. It is possible to clear the debris out in one lifetime, but diligent application is needed.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  2. “The only true sadhana is the turning inward of the mind and the perception of the inmost spirit.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  3. “Consider the lives of saints. So many of them have been great sinners, even murderers, or incredibly ignorant, and yet we see them instantly enter into the state of holiness or rocketing to it in a short time. The reason is simple: they had never committed a sin in their eternal lives. Like David, they awoke and found themselves with God.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  4. “If the Self is seen, immaterial as it is, it will appear as an oval light, in the shape of a human thumb.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  5. “Ishwara (He of qualities, saguna Brahman) controls and guides the evolution of all creation through his divine power (Mahashakti) that is Maya. All that is done is done by Him in union with Maya, for Brahman (nirguna) the transcendent never acts.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  6. “We should neither be satisfied with past good or unhappy about past evil. None of that has anything to do with the Self. It should be forgotten, left behind, and the Self entered and made our only abode. This is wisdom.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  7. “… we are moving toward that union (of Paramatman and jivatman) every time we intone Soham with the breath.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  8. “In Christianity this is conveyed by the symbolic terms Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The “Son” is the Mahat Tattwa, the Presence of God within creation. This is the aspect of God that is communicable and knowable to us. It is the intermediary between the individual spirit lost in the maze of relative existence and the transcendent Reality, the Father. Those who love God in his approachable aspect become united to him and also become “sons of God” in their journey to perfect identity with the transcendent Father. Love is the uniting force: love arising from the spirit.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  9. “It has long been my experience that sleeping with the head toward the north (the feet pointing south) can cause a magnetic conflict or disturbance in the body, adversely affecting sleep and even causing nervousness and restlessness. This is also the experience of many yogis I have known.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  10. “The more you meditate the more benefit you will receive, but you should not push or strain yourself… There is a special benefit in meditating three hours.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  11. “A good way to get yourself habituated to the constant japa of Soham is to do japa while you are reading—simply looking at or scanning the page rather than verbalizing in your mind. (This is the secret of speed reading.)” — Swami Nirmalananda
  12. “Sometimes we have to be our own father and mother… and ultimately our own god.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  13. “The more we walk the farther we travel; the more we meditate the nearer and quicker we draw to the goal.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  14. “Just keep hoping, and just keep praying, and know that in time everything will come about as it should, when it should.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  15. “Everything is vibrating energy–including the mind. What we eat is absorbed in the form of energy into the various levels of our being. Some energies are life-sustaining, some are life-inhibiting and some are even life-destroying. Animal flesh, alcohol, nicotine, and mind-altering drugs consist of destructive energies, and so do other forms of food and drink, including sugar, coffee, tea (non-herbal) and “junk food.” If we take them into our body we not only harm our body, we distort our mind and greatly hinder any attempts at increased and clear-sighted awareness.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  16. “There are many sad forms of humanity, but none is sadder than those who have turned away from higher life and spent a lifetime in shame and regret, condemned by none other than themselves.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  17. “Nevertheless, Ishwara is intimately connected to all things while remaining separate from them. Ishwara is present in all things as the universal Witness, and is nearer to us than anything can be, for Ishwara is the Self of our Self, the Paramatman within which our Atman exists.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  18. “Again, the mind is a liar. It will tell us anything we want to hear or do not want to hear–whichever is the way to perpetuate its control over us.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  19. “So a great deal of yoga practice is purification and correction of the subtle energies of the mind (manas) and intellect (buddhi). Naturally we are hoping for meditation to produce amazing and uplifting experiences that make good reading, and they do come in time, but first we have a great deal of simple housekeeping and remodeling to do. The yogi is engaged in a complete reconstruction of the many aspects of his being, in the correction of ages-long distortions and obscurations. It takes a long time and can be tedious, but the healing process always is.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  20. “The more we refine our interior perceptions through purification and meditation, the more we will come into the sphere of the angels, so that at the end of this incarnation, as Jesus said: “they may receive you into everlasting habitations” (Luke 16:9) beyond the bonds of recurrent birth and death to continue our evolution through angelic forms. Consequently we need to increasingly live and move with the angels to prepare ourselves for the great step beyond humanity into the “everlasting habitations” of angelic evolution.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  21. “For the yogi there is a single question: What is or was the lasting effect of an experience, if any? Did it impart knowledge and wisdom or did it leave me asking What Happened To Me?… Another question to ask is: Have I learned anything from this experience, or do I just have more questions?… I would advise you to forget experiences that do not come with understanding, and put your attention on those that give you insight and practical knowledge.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  22. “We have been chosen by God, the Living Father, to evolve throughout our incarnations within relative creation, within physical, astral and causal worlds, until we attain to his perfect likeness, participating in his infinity which he shares with us, yet which is always his exclusively. We become godlike but never become God. We will be gods within God.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  23. “We must never let go of the vital question: Who am I? We must do all we can to find the answer–not from others or from our intellectual ponderings, but by direct experience of ourselves as pure spirit.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  24. “As Yogananda once pointed out, we already have God’s blessing, but we lack our blessing for spiritual life.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  25. “In other words, however we may approach God, He will respond and fulfill our spiritual needs, loving us as His own being. It is all a matter of the disposition of our inmost mind and heart.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  26. “This is why we read so much of men and women who were spiritually awakened and redirected in the midst of their folly and wrongdoing. Some have stepped from darkness into light in the very act of evil–which they turned from in gladness. Many have found God present in the depths of degradation… This we can know: whatever path anyone is now following, however foolish or negative it may seem, it is fundamentally God’s path. It is the way we walk it that gets us in or out of trouble.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  27. “As with evil spirits, high spiritual vibrations dispel Satanic influence and those leading a spiritual life need not give either Lucifer or Satan a thought, though it is good to be aware that they may intervene in the life and minds of ignorant human beings around us.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  28. “Sri Ramakrishna said that he saw within himself two persons (purusha), the man of evil (papa purusha) and the man of good (punya purusha). One of them, he said, must kill the other–there is no peaceful coexistence possible.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  29. “It is better to be alone than to be in worthless or detrimental company.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  30. “A practice centered on an external “god” such as Shiva, Durga, Ganesha, etc., which is really only a symbol or portrayal of one or more aspects of God, or on an avatar such as Rama and Krishna, is by its and their nature partial and therefore limited and cannot lead to Self-realization and liberation in the Infinite. Gods and avatars only exist for us in samsara. Parabrahman, the Supreme, is beyond samsara and cannot be revealed through concentration or worship on either gods or avatars. To realize God we must get beyond all that which God is beyond.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  31. “Never believe the threats of spirits. It is all noise and bluff. But never laugh, mock or speak with contempt or hatred to them, because that can empower them. And besides, it is wrong to do because they are God’s children also. Just be calm and refuse to be affected by them. On occasion simply ignoring them can make them leave because it unsettles their ego and frustrates them. I must admit that sometimes I have gotten rid of a spirit simply by saying: “If you don’t go away I will bless you,” or: “If you don’t go away I will pray to God that he will deliver you from your evil.” Neither of these appeal to truly evil spirits.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  32. “If something does not feel right and you think some kind of negative entities (or even wandering negative energies) are around, begin gently intoning Om over and over aloud. The intoning of Om aloud is recommended because the vibrations will affect everything in a room, including the walls.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  33. “As I have said, the yogi may have such experiences because of some previous life karma. Usually, though, japa and meditation draw that which is good and repel that which is evil. If evil (in the form of entities or energies) approaches and japa and meditation are maintained calmly by the yogi, then it leaves, dissolves or is transmuted.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  34. “According to this view, if a person has evolved through all the levels of relative existence and attained the transcendental state of perfect liberation (moksha) and entered into total union with Brahman, the Supreme Consciousness, and elects to return to any of the levels of relative existence, including that of earth, to help others attain liberation, that person, when he incarnates, is an avatar, an incarnation of God.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  35. “Read one chapter of the Gita each day. The concepts and truths it contains are so lacking in Western religion that it is easy to pass over them and let them slip or get pushed into the background of your mind if you just read it once or only occasionally (which will be end up being never, eventually). If people read the Gita daily with intelligent attention, they could not be fooled by the glitter gurus.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  36. “Those who ingest meat, alcohol, drugs, or nicotine are extremely susceptible to obsession. The sad truth is that nearly every person in the modern world is obsessed to some degree.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  37. “Yes; Soham includes Om. But Om does not include Soham. (Sivananda said that Om is extracted from the Soham mantra.) For purification and elevation of external factors in our life, Om is the ideal mantra. For inner realization, Soham is the ideal mantra.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  38. “Christ” and “Christ Consciousness” are designations of Ishwara, the Lord, the personal creator aspect of God (Brahman).” — Swami Nirmalananda
  39. “The Father is Brahman the transcendent absolute; the Son, the Only-Begotten, is Ishwara, the guiding consciousness within creation; the Holy Spirit is the Holy Breath, the intelligent Light from which all things are formed, Maha Shakti or Prakriti, the Mother aspect of God. The Trinity is not “three Persons” but three modes of existence in relation to the evolving consciousness that is the Self or Atman. God is absolutely One, but can manifest in a myriad ways.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  40. “We are all Christs by nature, but to manifest that nature requires the most exalted spiritual status. For us to attain that condition, God extended or emanated Himself as Ishwara, the Son of God, the Christ.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  41. “Beginning as an atom of hydrogen, we evolve through all the forms of life and ultimately transcend them all through the agency of the Mother Tao. Nothing is done except through, and essentially by, the Tao. We are the Tao and the Tao is us. As the agent for our union with the Tao, it is the Tao that is our Mother.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  42. “And most painful of all: that one has been an utter fool–and often more than once. But it is better to realize and act on the truth than to remain in the prison of willing delusion.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  43. “The most accurate analysis of the nature of love is to be found in Swami Yukteswar Giri’s The Holy Science, where he demonstrates that love is a positive magnetic attraction which brings that which is separated into union with the attractor. In spiritual life this union is a merging of identities in which the individual Self, the atman, experiences the Divine, the Paramatman, as the infinite Self of his finite Self.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  44. “In a recorded talk Yogananda said that looking back on his life there is one thing he has learned above all: God never forsakes the devotee. How could he? It is not in his nature to do so. God, “the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17), is our hope because “If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.” (II Timothy 2:13).” — Swami Nirmalananda
  45. “He keepeth himself in the love of the Lord, and the wicked one toucheth him not.” This is the secret of divine protection. If we keep elevating our vibration, especially through yoga practice, negative people will drop out of our life (sometimes not without a final attempt to drag us back down) and other negative people will just not “see” us at all. Blessed isolation!” — Swami Nirmalananda
  46. “The principle is that those who have dug themselves into a hole can climb out if they have a competent teacher. This is true for all. The sole factor is their intention and will.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  47. “We need to listen, learn, and apply. And that is all.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  48. “For no matter how trivial a desire, decision or action, if unfulfilled or undissolved it will bring a person back to incarnation.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  49. “Yoga is not just a mechanical practice; it presupposes the vast body of metaphysical principles known as Sanatana Dharma, the Eternal Dharma, that is the basis of all true religion. Intelligent practice of yoga is not possible without knowing and adhering to those principles.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  50. “Before, we were unaware that we were creating the future, but now we do know, and can take complete charge of our destiny. The best thing, of course, is to “fry” the karmic seeds through yoga sadhana… This is fundamental truth: we create our future totally–no one else. This is why karma must be grasped fully and kept in mind at all times in order to have a right understanding of where we are, what we are, and why we are… Just to turn to God and holy people for help is powerful karma… Thought is the most powerful tool of the human being and creates the most powerful form of karma, especially in the form of samskaras and vasanas that determine our life path from life to life.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  51. “As many of us have experienced, when a great blessing and spiritual opportunity is about to come into your life, there arises the intuition and expectancy that Something Big is about to happen.” — OCOY.org
  52. “Soham literally means “I Am THAT,” “That” being the only reasonable designation of God (Brahman) who is beyond all concepts. Soham is both Christ Consciousness and God Consciousness. For they are essentially one.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  53. “Anubhava is the direct personal experience of the identity of the Jiva with Brahman. Atmasakshatkara is direct perception of the Self; realization of the true nature of the Self; Self-realization itself.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  54. “It is through him that we know there are nine ranks or “choirs” of superhuman beings: Angels, Archangels, Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues, Powers, Cherubim, and Seraphim. We call upon them in every celebration of Mass.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  55. “Actually, after doing their task, angels do not stay around to “see how it turns out,” but hasten on to their next work for God Who “giveth the increase” (I Corinthians 3:7).” — Swami Nirmalananda
  56. “How do we live with angels? Perhaps the first question to ask is how they live with us. Their thought is to serve God through assisting us. Nothing is too small for them, since they do it for love of God–and the distinction of large and small does not exist within the infinity of God.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  57. “Just think of that! We have present with us every single moment of our lives a spiritual guide and guardian whose whole function is to help us attain illumination.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  58. “No one need accept yoga. Just do it. As Yogananda pointed out, the critics and deniers of yoga are the ones that have no experience of it, because they do not practice it.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  59. “Certainly religion is important, even essential, but it is only a instrument. No one admires the piano or the violin, but rather the brilliant pianist and violinist. Religion is a tool to be used by the seeker; the seeker is not to be a tool of religion.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  60. “Like my nature he became that I might learn him, and like my form that I might not turn back from him. The purpose of this is that in time the two will become One.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  61. “From this we can realize that before we enter into relative existence God knows every silly and negative thought and deed we are ever going to think and do. Yet he loves us and provides for us even the things we need for those wrong thoughts and acts! This should give us hope when, regretting our past follies, we wish to turn around and tread the upward path out of the “valley of the shadow of death” in which such ways prevail. We need not dislike ourselves nor waste time in condemning ourselves. We need to become intent on reforming our minds and lives.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  62. “Just to turn to God and holy people for help is powerful karma.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  63. “In the Srimad Bhagavatam, the first human guru, Sri Dattatreya, describes how he had twenty-four gurus, including elements, planets, animals, insects and human beings. A guru is something or someone which gives us a push in the direction of higher consciousness, which teaches us to see farther and deeper than we have before.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  64. “I myself followed with total faith more than one false guru and practiced several worthless yogas that led nowhere. So I know your suffering… It was not any external person or factor that led you to seek God, but your own divine Self. Therefore I ask you to not let this discourage you. In similar situations, many people have simply given up the search for liberated consciousness, but that is a grave mistake. They were seeking God, and God is still there and still to be sought and found… Please only do what your heart, your inner Self, tells you.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  65. “The Christian life is a sacramental life, a life in Christ dependent on none but Christ and the good will of the disciple.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  66. “Each Christian is a direct disciple of the Lord Jesus as much as were the Apostles themselves.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  67. “If we really want to live and be good, we must strive to become god, for only in divinity is there life and goodness.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  68. “Only joy awaits the disciplined and purified initiate who follows the divinely-ordained path of his swadharma: the mode of life that accommodates and reveals his nature as divine spirit-self.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  69. “Even God does not trespass on the territory of human free will, although a host of ignorant and evil humans and discarnate intelligences are eager to do so. Yet they cannot utterly wrest the will power from anyone, and once a negatively-turned will is turned back to positive, no evil force has any lasting power over him.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  70. “We need to open our consciousness, our spirit, but a multitude of things are in the way: body, emotions, desires, mind, intellect and will: all of which have been distorted by our chaotic earthly experience.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  71. “The force of cosmic evil and delusion is called “the Devil” and “Satan” (Revelation 12:9). Devil (diabolos) means “false accuser” or “slanderer,” and Satan (satanas) means “adversary.” This terrible force, called “Mara” by the Buddhists and “Maya” by the Hindus, completely undermines us in many ways, not the least of which is to get us to adopt wrong ideas about ourselves.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  72. “This is the secret: the power of God is within us to accomplish all things.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  73. “In the realm of God, thought is act, as is shown in Genesis: “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light” (Genesis 1:3). With God, the willing is the doing.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  74. “Furthermore, evolution is a condition of the relative aspects of our being. Its only value to enable us to know our true Self by the development of Atmajnana. Since each one of us is totally individual, the way this all unfolds is equally individual. Yogananda said that the most important teaching in his autobiography was the statement of Swami Sriyukteswar Giri: “Everything in future will improve if you are making a spiritual effort now.”” — Swami Nirmalananda
  75. “Dump your family and get out of town.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  76. “There is no place in spiritual life for stupidity and sheep-wittedness. Believe me, there are no stupid yogis, for yoga develops the intellect as well as the intuition.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  77. “Purushartha: The four goals of human life: wealth (artha), desire (kama), righteousness (dharma), and liberation (moksha). The first is the economic value, the second is the psychological value, the third is the moral value, and the fourth is the spiritual value. Human effort; individual exertion; right exertion” — Swami Nirmalananda
  78. “How then can a negative person break the pattern of negativity and escape it? By thinking and acting with the intention to change from negative to positive. The admission of negativity and the resolution to turn from it can produce positive thoughts and deeds when the intention is to change the consciousness, not just the consequences. Without the desire for real change nothing worthwhile can take place in life.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  79. “No matter how many yogis there may be, Yoga and Dharma are always purely individual–in fact nothing can spoil Yoga and Dharma more than “groupism” or “movements.” The yogi is always an individual, always a whole, never a part. And so is a Sanatana Dharmi yogi” — Swami Nirmalananda
  80. “Peer pressure must never be an influence on us. Nor should unjust rules or laws have any effect on us. What is right must always be done.” ― Swami Nirmalananda (Swami Nirmalananda Giri)
  81. “There are many symptoms, but we have only one actually problem: we do not know and experience our individual being (jivatma) within the cosmic being (Paramatma). So all kinds of yoga gimmicks have been invented. But the only true yoga is that which immediately puts us in contact with the Self, even if only to a minimal degree at first. For that practice will keep on increasing our awareness until it is perfect. And that is the simple intonation of Soham in time with the breath.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  82. “When we understand—really understand—that every action has union with God as its core purpose and carry out each action with that perspective, then everything we do is genuine yoga, uniting us with God.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  83. “Our general health also contributes to our proficiency in meditation, so a responsible yogi is very aware of what is beneficial and detrimental to health and orders his life accordingly, especially in eliminating completely all alcohol, nicotine, and mind-altering drugs whether legal or illegal. Caffeine, too, is wisely avoided, and so is sugar.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  84. “The more we do meditation, the more karma is dissolved.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  85. “But the Lord has made our angelic guardians invisible so our will and sensitivity may be determined. And meditation is the best way to develop both will and sensitivity.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  86. “When the mind is filled with buzzing thoughts, yoga is the remedy, and when the mind gets distracted by thoughts when meditating, more meditation is the cure.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  87. “Meditation is the only thing that will soothe and eliminate all the disturbed thoughts and inner states. If we never sat to meditate until our mind was going to be calm than we would never meditate would we? And maybe that is the purpose of the deluding ego in convincing us that we should take such a mistaken attitude. So when any distracted or negative conditions arise in our mind and lives meditation is the key to peace and clear thinking.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  88. “Meditation has to become the heart, the dominant factor, of our life.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  89. “Except for the two most basic ideas that God exists and man is immortal, I do not think there is a single significant truth I know that did not come from Yogananda. And without his teachings those two ideas would never have been understood by me and made part of my life. He was and is a light unto my path, and I hope he will be the same for you.” —Swami Nirmalananda
  90. “The true devotee seeks God because he knows it is his nature and purpose, that God alone is his goal.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  91. “So it is: until we reflect God we do not seek or love him. A person’s seeking of God is proof that that God is drawing near to him. We never upstage God. He is always there before us.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  92. “Krishna has just explained to us that our actions must match our energy-nature, our prakriti. When they do, that is our swadharma, our self-dharma. Now he says that our actions, including our livelihood, must be consistent with our state of conscious, our swabhava, our self-nature. Our swabhava is our inherent psychic disposition, our psychological nature.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  93. “I would like to advise you to meditate for at least three hours in a single session whenever you can manage. Once you can sit for three hours you can sit for much longer.” — Swami Nirmalananda
  94. “Oftentimes we forget the maxim: “They also serve who merely stand and wait,” and do not give credit to those who were not front runners and “big noises,” yet without whose humble presence and effort the success would not have occurred or at least not have been such a great success.” — Swami Nirmalananda

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