Swami Abhedananda.

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to liim. The husband will not touch the


dead body of his wife, he will not love it
when her soul has departed from it. People
love their children, not for the children's sake,
not for the material form of their children,
but it is for the sake of the Atman, the Self,
that the children are loved. " When a mother
loves her child, do you think that she loves
the matter that m^akes up the face or the
body of the child? No, it is the Self that,
dwelling behind the material particles, gives
the child its form and attracts the soul of
the mother. Love cannot exist on the mate-
rial plane; it is the attraction between two
souls on the spiritual plane of the Self. When
people love their friends and relatives, that
attraction of the souls lies at the bottom of
the expression of their true love.

"Verily wealth is not dear, O beloved, that
thou mayst love wealth, but that thou mayst
love Atman, the Self, therefore wealth is dear,"
The center of love is the Atman or Self.
When we love wealth or property, our attrac-
tion is toward the omnipresent Self, whether

VKDAXTA riuLusuriiv.

we arc conscious of it or not. \Vc love

animals, like dogs, horses, birds, not because

of their material forms, but for the Alman,

the Self, which resides \\ilhin them. In this

manner Yajnyavalkya showed that wherever

there is true love there is the expression of

the real Self or Atman. "None, O beloved,

loves an animal for the animal's sake, but

for the sake of the soul of the animal. " The

dead material body of an animal cannot

inspire love in our souls. "People love the

priests (BrS.hmins), the warriors (KLshatriyas),

the celestial worlds (Lokas), the bright

spirits (Devas), the Scriptures (Vedas), and

all other animate and inanimate objects, not

for the sake of those objects, but it is for the

sake of the Self (Atman) that each of these

is loved."

When a person loves another for the sake

of his own lower self or ego, it is an extremely

selfish love; but when that love is directed

toward the Self or Atman which dwells in

another person it is no longer selfish; it


gradually leads to Divine Love. In ever}-
thing abides the one Self or unchangeable
spirit which attracts our souls. We do not
know the nature of that Self or Atman toward
which all love, whether selfish or unselfish, is
directed, and from which all love proceeds,
whether for wealth, property, or material ob-
jects. A miser loves riches, but he knows
perfectly well that riches mean nothing but a
medium of exchange, that they only bring
certain pleasures and comforts of the body.
He is attached to his lower self, and for
that reason he loves wealth which enriches
his ego. The lower self of such a man is
the center of attraction, and ever}^thing that
brings happiness to it is very dear to him.
"Therefore, O Maitreyi, the Self (Atman)
is to be realized, to be heard, to be thought
of, to be meditated upon. O beloved!
When the Self has been heard, thought
of, meditated upon and realized, then all is
known." Thou shouldst know the true na-
ture of that Self, which is the center of all


attraction, from which all love proceeds and
toward which it is directed. It should be
heard and meditated upon constantly; when
the mind is concentrated upon it, its true
nature will be revealed. By the realization
of the true Self, through constant hearing,
concentration and meditation. Self-knowledge
and immortality will be gained.

Y^jnyavalkya continued thus: If a person
loves and cares for another only for his ma-
terial body and possessions, the lover is
abandoned by the loved one. If we care not
for the Self of another but love the dead matter,
believing there is no soul in the person, do
you think that person will be pleased? No,
that person will desert us instantly. If we
love a priest (Brihmin) knowing that there
is no Self in him, we shall be abandoned by
him. He will immediately leave our com-
pany. If we go to a king, thinking that
there is no Self in him, that he is only a mass
of dead matter, we shall not be loved by him,

but on the contrar}' we shall surely be for-


saken by him. He will drive us out if he
realizes that we love him not for himself but
for his material possessions. "For the same
reason, he who knows there is no Self in the
heavens, in the gods (Devas), in the Scriptures
(Vedas), in animate and inanimate objects,
shall be abandoned by each one of these."
If we think of a departed friend, believing
there is no soul in him, we shall surely be
deserted by him. If we love God, knowing
Him as a mass of insentient matter, without
loving His spiritual, Divine and immortal
Self or Atman, He will never come to us;
we shall be forsaken by Him. Thus we can
understand that whosoever knows anything
elsewhere than in the true Self or Atman is
and should be abandoned by everything,
because ever}^thing exists as related to the
Self. "The Self is all and all is the Self."
Whatever we see, perceive or think of, is in-
separably connected with the Self (Atman);
it is one with the Self, and is in reality nothing

but the Self.



Here it may be asked: How is it possible
for us to realize that evcr)'tliing is the Self?
To explain this Yajnyavalkya gives the fol-
lowing illustrations: "Now as the sound of
a drum, when beaten with a stick, can l^e
diflerentiatetl from other sounds by referring
it to the drum or to the drumstick, which is
the source of the sound, and not by any other
means, so the existence of a particular object
can be differentiated by referring it to the
Self (Atman) which is the source of all knowl-
edge and consciousness and without which
nothing can be known." "As the sound of
a conch-shell or a pipe when blown cannot
be differentiated without referring it to the
shell or to the pipe, as the sounds of a lute
when played can be known only by referring
them to the lute; as these particular sounds
are but various manifestations of one com-
mon sound, so the one common Self or Atman,
which is the Reality of the universe, ai)pcars
through the varieties of names and forms

which we perceive with our senses." "As


from the one source of fire, when kindled
with damp fuel, gradually emanate clouds of
smoke and flame which did not exist there
before, so verily, O beloved, from the one
great Being, the Self (Brahman), the com-
mon source of knowledge and intelligence has
been spontaneously breathed forth all the
knowledge that we possess, such as the four
Vedas (Scriptures), the various branches of
science and philosophy, and everything that
exists in this world as well as in celestial
realms. "

Ordinarily we ascribe scientific knowledge
to particular individuals, but in reahty every
kind of knowledge that we find in different
people, — scientists. Yogis, and philosophers,
— has proceeded from that one source, the
Self. As from one fire proceed smoke, sparks
and flames, so from this one Infinite Self have
come out all the sciences, philosophies and
spiritual truths described in the different
Scriptures of the world, as also the truths of

art and history. The knowledge which we


possess and make use of in our daily life is
the expression of that absolute knowledge
which is eternal, one, indestructible and un-
changeable, and which brings immortality to
the knowcr, who realizes the Self.

At the beginning of the cosmic evolution all
phenomena as well as all knowledge evolved
from this one Infinite Self or Brahman. Just
as a human being naturally breathes out the
air that has entered his lungs, so the latent
energ)' of the Brahman spontaneously breathed
out knowledge and all phenomena which had
potentially existed in it before the evolution
of the universe. Again, at the time of disso-
lution these return to that Infinite Being and
remain latent as the energ)- of the Brahman
in the same manner as rivers, streamlets,
brooks and all waters that exist anywhere
will eventually flow into one ocean. The
ocean of the Infinite Brahman is the final
goal as well as the source of all knowledge
and phenomena of the world. "As the

source of all taste is in the tongue, of all


touch in the skin, of all smells in the nose,
of all colors in the eye, of all sounds in the
ear, of all percepts in the mind, of all knowl-
edge in the inteUigence, so the source of all
intelligence is the Self or Atman or Brahman."

Thus Yajnyavalkya explained to his wife
how the Infinite Self is the Beginning and
end, the Alpha and Omega of everything.
At the time of evolution everything comes out
of it and during involution or dissolution
everything goes back to the same source of
all. The Infinite Self, Atman or Brahman, is
one mass of inteUigence without a second;
there is no duality or multiphcity in this one
substance. "As a lump of salt has neither
outside nor inside, but it is a mass of taste,
so indeed the Absolute Self has neither outside
nor inside, but it is altogether a mass of in-
teUigence, unlimited, beginningless and end-

This infinite Being appears in two aspects,

the universal, which is called Brahman, and

the individual, which is caUed the Self or


Atman. As the source of individual con-
sciousness, it manifests itself in various forms
•when it is connected with our body and senses;
but when it leaves this material body, the
senses cease to perceive their objects and the
elements return to their causal states from which
they arose. After death one cannot perceive
the objects of senses. "O beloved! Verily I
say unto thee, although the Self is a mass of
intelligence having departed from the body,
it possesses no particular consciousness of a
mortal. " The expression of intelligence on
the sense-plane stops after death.

On hearing this, Maitreyi replied: "O wise
lord! Thou hast bewildered me by thy state-
ment, 'This mass of intelligence possesses no
particular consciousness after death.' How can
it be?" Yajnyavalkya answered: "O be-
l)vcd! I do not say anything bewildering; im-
perishable is the nature of the Self (Atman)."
For thy enlightenment I will explain it to
thee. "The Self is deathless and immortal

by nature. So long as there is the duality of


the perceiver and the object of perception, so
long one sees, perceives the other, one smells
the other, one tastes, touches, thinks, and
knows the other." The individual Self per-
ceives sense-objects so long as it remains on
the plane of duahty or relativity. The per-
ception of sight is possible only when the seer
is related to an object of vision. If we are
not related to that which we call odor hovv'
can we smell it? The ego can hear a sound
or taste a savor by coming in direct relation
with those objects of sensation. In this man-
ner it can be shown that all perception and
sensation require the relation between the sub-
ject and object; but when we go into deep
sleep we do not see, hear, taste, smell or
perceive anything. These objects exist on
the sens-e-plane, but when we are above and
beyond it and have gone to that plane where
there is neither sight nor odor nor smell nor
taste, how can we see, hear or perceive any-
thing? All individual souls, who are in the

state of dreamless sleep, become equal in their


realization; \vc cannot distinguish the soul of
a nian from that of a woman so long as he or
she is in sound sleep; then it is impossible
to dilTcrentiate them. Similarly, in the state
of Samadhi or supcrconsciousness, where there
is neither duality nor multiplicity, but the
infinite ocean of intelligence, what can be seen
or heard or smclled or tasted ? Where there
is neither relativity nor any object of per-
ception, how can one touch or know or think
of anything? "How can one know that by
which one knows all this?" Is there any
power of knowledge, by which we can know
the Self, who is the knowcr of all? No;
because the true Self alone is the Knowcr of
the universe.

If we seek to know the Self within us what
will be the best method? By right discrimi-
nation and analysis we can different iate the
knowcr from the object of knowledge. In
this process of discrimination we must men-
tally reject everything outside of the knower

l^y raying "Not this, not this." Thus when


all objects of knowledge, including all sensa-
tions, perceptions, thoughts, feelings and
other mental and intellectual functions are
removed by right discrimination, the all-know-
ing Self is reahzed in Samadhi. The Self or
knower cannot be comprehended by intel-
lect; it is incomprehensible. The Self cannot
perish; it is immortal. The Self cannot be
destroyed by anything; it is unchangeable.
The Self is unattached; it is not touched by
any object. The Self is unfettered; it is free.
It does not suffer; it is beyond all suffering.
It does not fail, it is always the same.
"How, O beloved, can such a Knower be
known and by whom ? Thus far, O Maitreyi,
the true nature of the Self can be described;
and beyond this is the realization in Samadhi
(superconsciousness) which brings the attain-
ment of immortality. He who has reahzed
the Self, has become immortal. The loiowl-
edge of that Self, which is the source of all
love, the source of intelligence, existence and

all that is blissful, makes one attain to im-


mortality." Thus saying, Yajnyavalkya, the
great seer of Truth, retired into the forest,
devoted his time to meditating upon that
eternal. Self, and, ultimately reahzing his
true nature in Samidhi, he gained immortal

Self-knowledge being the goal of Ufe, by
that alone we can understand the universe,
how it has come into existence, why it stands,
and where it will go after dissolution. By
knowing our true Self we can know what will
become of all phenomena at the time of
^general involution, and if we wish to become
immortal, we must know this Self or Atman;
there is no other way to immortahty.

"I know this great Atman, radiant like the

self-effulgent sun and beyond the darkness of

ignorance. By knowing Him alone one crosses

the ocean of death; there is no other way;

there is no other way."

How to be a Yogi. C^^^h Edition.)


I. Intrcxluctory. III. Science of Breathing.

II. What is Yoga? IV. Was Christ a Yogi?

I2mo, l88 pages. Portrait of author, frontispiece.
Clulh, SI. 25. Postage, 8 cents.

*' For Christians interested in foreign missions this book is o'
moment, as showing the method of reasoning which they must be
prepared to meet if they are to influence the educated Hindu. To
the Orientalist, and the philosopher also, the book is not without
interest. . . . Swimi Abhedananda preaches no mushroom creed
and no Eurasian hybrid ' theosophy.' He aims to give us a com-
pendious account of Yoga. Clearly and admirably he jaerforms his
task. In form thf. little book is excellent, and its English style is
good." — New York Times Saturday Review of Books, Dec. 6, 2903.

*' * How to be a Yogi ' is a little volume that makes very interest-
ing; reading. The book contains the directions that must be fol-
lowed in physical as well as in mental training by one who wishes
to have full and perfect control of all his powers." — Record
Herald, Chicago, Feb. 28, 1903.

" The Swimi writes in a clear, direct manner. His chapter on
Breath will elicit more than ordinary attention, as there is much in
it that will prove helpful. The book makes a valuable addition to
Vedanta Philosophy." — Mind, June, 1903.

*'The book is calculated to interest the student of Oriental
thought and familiarize the unread with one of the greatest philo-
sophical systems of the world." — Buffalo Courier, Nov. 23, 1902,

*' ' How to be a Yogi ' practically sums up the whole science of
Vedanta Philosophy. The term Yogi is lucidly defined and a full
analysis is given of the science of breathing and its bearing on the
highest spiritual development. The methods and practices of Yoga
are interestingly set forth, and not the least important teaching of
the t'M.k is '.lie asseninii (jf how great a Vo^i was Jebus 01' Naz-
areth." — The Bookseller, Neivsdealer and Stafioiifr. Jan. T^, 1903.

" i I :s book IS well worth a careful reading. Condensed, yet
.' -Hr lid concise, it fills one with tlie desire to en-iiiate these Yoi:i-;
» aiiauuug spiritual perfectioo."— £//»/>', Kaiisas City, Dec, ifoe.

NOTE:- Postage is subject to Parcel Post rates according to zones

All orders received by and money orders and checks made
payable to


West Cornwall, Conn*

Great Saviors of the World

rVol. I.)




Cloth, ^i.oo net. Postage, 6 cents. Portrait
of each Savior.


I. Great Saviors of the World (Introductory.)
II. Krishna and His Teachings,

III. Zoroaster and His Teacliings.

IV. Lao-Tze and His Teachings.

"These studies are schol.nrly and comprehensive reviews of
historic fact. They are also broad and open interpretations of moral
and spiritual forces. The author's attiiude is reverent toward all.
His mini! is free. His speech is peculi.-^rly impressive. Surely, it
speaks well for the world that its people can look without bitterness
and jealousy upcn the fact that God has sent, and will send, many
Saviors into the world. This is a good study, tilted to opea the
heart and liberalize mind.''''— li^asAing ton Star. June 39, 191a.

"A valuable contribution to metaphysics." — Portland Oregonian,
June 23, 1912.

"The work is taken up somewhat in chronological order. . . .
The teachincs of the thinkers who form the subject of the lectures are
faithfully reported. The author holds no special brief for any of
those remarkable men but endeavors to state precisely what their
ideas were. The style of the author is interesting as well as perfectly
lucid." — Buffalo Neius, April 31, 1912.

Swami Abhedananda emphasizes the similarities in the teaching
of these great men. His aim is " to show that the fundamental teach-
ings of the founders of the great religions of the world have had the
same spiritual keynote and that the stories connected with their lires
and miraculous deeds are similar to those of Jesus Christ."— i"/. Paul
Piontir Press, August 4, 191a.

Press Notices. — Continued.

" He (author) attempts to explain their ideas accurately and pays
much attention to the leg-ends of the east relative to the origin of the
great leaders in sacred affairs." — Des Moines Capital, June s, 1912.

" It sets forth in picturesque language the principal events in the
lives of his heroes and gives a good concise idea of their teachings."
— The Indianapolis Star, May 26, 1912.

" Swami Abhedananda's discourses point to the essential harmony
of religions . . . and offer an unusual opportunity to study from
conemporaneous expressions the companion viewpoints of faith and
pure culture." — New York World, May 25, 1912.

'• The life and teachings of three great Sages, of whom the West-
ern world knows far too little, is treated in a wonderfully clear and
attractive manner. . . . Their illumined efforts in lifting up a new
ensign for the people of their respective countries are described by an
Oriental Scholar, who is perfectly titted for the task, and has familiar-
ized himself with the available records of their almost superhuman
labors. Each of these great souls is made to live again in the respect-
ive chapters of this engrossing work, very interesting side lights are
thrown on alleged inaccuracies, many abscure points are made plain,
and the underlying principles they set out to teach are conveyed in
simple, but scholarly style." — The Column, June, igia.

" Swami's book will do infinitely more good at the present time
in the west than any book he could have written upon the different
schools of Vedanta." — Vedanta Universal Messenger, Dec, igu.

"It breathes the spirit of deep vision and profound learning and
one sees that the Swami is actuated by the spirit of his Master, Sri
Ramakrishna, that Synthesis of the Religious Consciousness. . . .
The quotations from learned authors, bearing relation to the historical
features of the Avataras with which the book is replete, shows how
diligently the Swami has prepared himself for his arduous task. He
has left nothing unsaid. — Awakened India, Nov., 1912.

"This collection of lectures by the well-known Vedantist con-
stitutes the first of a series of three volumes dealing with the same
subject. As the author indicates in his preface, the word " Saviour"
is used by him in the broad sense, and not as denoting "a Saviour
who saves from eternal damnation." The present volume deals with
the lives and teachings of Krishna, Zoroaster, and Lao-Tze, viewed
in the unifying light of the Vedanta. The many admirers of Swimi
Abhedananda's works will welcome this addition to the list, whilst
those who have not yet had the pleasure of becoming acquainted
with the grandeur of the teaehings of this religio-philosophy, through
the light of which "the Unity of the Godhead under variety of names
and forms" may be perceived, will assuredly read the book not only
with interest, but come from its perusal with the conviction that the
Swami possesses the happy gift of bringing to ligtit in an interesting
and attractive manner the harmony existing between the leading
world-religions." — Occult Review, July, 1912, London, England,

In the Press

Vols. II. and III.

Human Affection and
Divine Love



Flexible cloth. Price, 50 cents. Postage, 3 cents.

A suitable gift-book full of inspiring thoughts. It describes
the evolution of Love in its various stages — animal, human,
and divine ; and shows that love is not an emotional sentiment
as commonly understood but an attribute of our Real Self.

" BeautifoUy expressed sentences, on the idealism of love, reflected
from India." — Portland Oregonian, June 83, 191a.

"Never under any circumstances is divine lore an evil thing, but
is everlatting in its beneficent blessings. In this liti'.e book the author
contrasts the enduring beauty of the divine love with that of human
affections which if misdirected in its selfishness results in murder,
robbery and other crimes. His book is divided into two parts and the
latter includes numerous quotations to prove his argument."— i?//
Moisnes Capital, June 5, ign.

" It is written iimply and the mysticism in it is somewhat akin to
the mysticism of Maeterlinck, Emerson and of Thomas i. Kempis —
diflerent as they all are."— 5/. Paul Pionetr Press, Aug. 4, igu.

"A tiny book but containing a volume of profound thought wis-
dom and beauty. It was Drummond who wrote that the greatest
thing in the world was " Love," and since then love has somehow had
a greater significance and more exalted place in the world than it ever
occupied before. But even Drummond did not put it on the high
plane or give it such exquisite meaning as this writer has. He casts
away the material and shows that the love that exalts, the love that
worketh only good reaches through the material to the divine."— Or**
/»« Jemrmal, April a8, tgii.

Press Notices. — Continued.

" Human affection has ever been manifested in attachment to some
object, and the enlightened passages in this practical little volume
•bow the same tendency on the animal plane by means of a very fine
comparison. The nature and expression of Divine Love is also very
skillfully analysed, and a nice distinction drawn, between it and the
human quality. The author feelingly portrays an ideal behind both,
which might well be adopted by the individual, and typified in his
relation to others in daily life, with invaluable results to all. The
words of the Swami on "that Divine Love that knows no fear," but
realizes everything comes from God are uttered in a dteisive style that
will appeal to an army of souls, who to-day feel the truth of such a
principle. Those will be greatly helped by the plain and highly intell-
igent explanation of a great truth, in which the vividness of Oriental
expression is reproduced in Western terms by a master of both
languages. This especially applies to the closing chapter where aptly
chosen illustrations so dear to the oriental mind elucidate the two

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Online LibrarySwami AbhedanandaVedanta philosophy Self-knowledge [atma-jnana] → online text (page 7 of 8)