Indian-born spiritual teacher, author and translator and interpreter of Indian religious texts
Eknath Easwaran (December 17, 1910 – October 26, 1999) was an Indian-born spiritual teacher, author and translator and interpreter of Indian religious texts such as the Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads.
Easwaran was a professor of English literature at the University of Nagpur in India, and in 1959 he came to the United States as a Fulbright Scholar at the University of California, Berkeley where he taught courses on meditation. In 1961, Easwaran founded the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation and Nilgiri Press, based in northern California. Nilgiri Press has published over thirty books that he authored.
Easwaran was influenced by Mahatma Gandhi, whom he met when he was a young man. Easwaran developed a method of meditation – silent repetition in the mind of memorized inspirational passages from the world's major religious and spiritual traditions – which later came to be known as Passage Meditation.
FreedomTo be secure everywhere is the mark of sophistication, to be unshakable is the mark of courage, to be permanently in love with every person is the mark of masculinity or femininity, to forgive is the mark of strength, to govern our senses and passions is the mark of freedom.
LifeLoveMindEvery human heart has a deep need to love - to be in love, really, with all of life. This is the kind of love that comes when the mind is still. . . . Be still and know that we are all God’s children; then you will be in love with all.
MindWhen the mind is still, we can become an instrument of peace.
WarInternational war is the sum total of millions of individual wars, raging in the minds of the people, between what is selfish and what is selfless. To the extent that you and I develop selflessness in our own hearts, to that extent we contribute to peace in our family, community, country, and world.
MindAt the beginning of every winter people are careful to install storm windows. These extra panes of glass protect their houses against the bitter winds. We do something very similar to protect our minds through the practice of meditation.
MindImagine a hot tub for the mind. That is what meditation is; it can bathe your mind in relaxing thoughts.
MindWhenever you are angry or afraid, nervous or worried or resentful, repeat the mantram until the agitation subsides. The mantram works to steady the mind, and all these emotions are power running against you, which the mantram can harness and put to work for you.
MindEventually, meditation will make our mind calm, clear, and as concentrated as a laser which we can focus at will. This capacity of one-pointed attention is the essence of genius. When we have this mastery over attention in everything we do, we have a genius for life.
MindWe have no need to teach pure motives to the mind. All that is necessary to make the mind pure is to undo the negative conditioning to which it has been subjected; then we will be left with Pure, Unconditioned Awareness.
MindHaving come to realize in the first stage of meditation that we are not our bodies, in the second stage we make an even more astounding discovery; we are not our minds either.
LoveLove is so exquisitely elusive. It cannot be bought, cannot be badgered, cannot be hijacked. It is available only in one rare form: as the natural response of a healthy mind and healthy heart.
BeautyLifeMindAn unhurried mind brings the capacity to make wise choices every day - choices of how we use our time, of where we place our resources and our love. I am not just talking about avoiding the rat race, but about a life full of an artistic beauty - a life that has almost vanished from modern civilization, but is quite within the reach of everyone.
MindThere are three kinds of violence: one, through our deeds; two, through our words; and three, through our thoughts. …The root of all violence is in the world of thoughts, and that is why training the mind is so important.
MindA calm mind releases the most precious capacity a human being can have: the capacity to turn anger into compassion, fear into fearlessness, and hatred into love.
BeautyIn the Confucian tradition is a simple formula that appeals to me deeply: 'If there is righteousness in the heart, there will be beauty in the character. If there is beauty in the character, there will be harmony in the home. If there is harmony in the home, there will be order in the nation. If there is order in the nation, there will be peace in the world.' I urge everyone to reflect deeply on these words, as simple as they are profound.
As meditation deepens, compulsions, cravings and fits of emotion begin to lose their power to dictate our behavior. We see clearly that choices are possible; we can say yes or we can say no. It is profoundly liberating.
My grandmother lived in a universe filled with life. It was impossible for her to conceive of any creature - even the smallest insect, let alone a human being - as insignificant. In every leaf, flower, animal, and star she saw an expression of a compassionate universe, whose laws were not competition and survival of the fittest but cooperation, artistry and thrift. . . .
The ancestor of every destructive action, every destructive decision, is a negative thought.
This is the central principle of meditation: we become what we meditate on.
The capacity to be patient, to bear with others through thick and thin, is within the reach of anyone.
I have never been able to understand the compelling phrase, 'keeping up with the Joneses.' It does not matter very much whether I keep up with Tom Jones or anybody else; what is important is to keep up with myself by making my today a little better than my yesterday.
The spiritual life is a call to action. But it is a call to ... action without any selfish attachment to the results.
Activity is not achievement. It is not enough to rush about beginning a lot of things and keeping busy. A well-spent life is one that rounds out what it has begun.
God made the senses turn outwards, man therefore looks outwards, not into himself. But occasionally a daring soul, desiring immortality, has looked back and found himself.
Our deepest need is for the joy that comes with knowing we are of genuine use to others.
Everything beautiful has to be worked for.
As we get deeper, we move closer and closer to other people; we feel closer to life as a whole.
Don't think the purpose of meditation is to go deep into consciousness, wrap a blanket around yourself, and say, 'How cozy! I'm going to curl up in here by myself; let the world burn.' Not at all. We go deep into meditation so that we can reach out further and further to the world outside.
We become in part what our senses take in.
We can all learn to conquer hatred through love -drawing on the power released through the practice of meditation to throw all our weight, all our energy, and all our will on the side of what is patient, forgiving, and selfless in ourselves and others.
Wisdom may be perennial, but to see its relevance we must see it lived out.
By removing that which is petty and self-seeking, we bring forth all that is glorious and mindful of the whole.
Instead of looking at difficulties as deprivations, we can learn to recognize them as opportunities for deepening and widening our love.
The earth was our home, she would have said, but no less was it home to the oxen that pulled our plows or the elephants that roamed in the forest and worked for us. They lived with us as partners whose well-being was inseparable from our own.
As the web issues out of the spider, As plants sprout from the earth, As hair grows from the body, even so, The sages say, this universe springs from, The deathless Self (the Supreme Soul), the source of life.
Like Gandhi, like the Buddha, like all great spiritual teachers, Easwaran had no use for beliefs unless they generated actions. Doing, not saying, is what counts.
Mastery does not come from dabbling. We have to be prepared to pay the price. We need to have the sustained enthusiasm that motivates us to give our best.
Excitement and depression, fortune and misfortune, pleasure and pain are storms in a tiny private, shell-bound realm - which we take to be the whole of existence. Yet we can break out of this shell and enter a new world.
In memorizing the prayer, it may be helpful to remind yourself that you are not addressing some extraterrestrial being outside you. The kingdom of heaven is within us, and the Lord is enshrined in the depths of our own consciousness. In this prayer we are calling deep into ourselves, appealing to the spark of the divine that is our real nature.
It is not action or effort that we must surrender; it is self-will, and this is terribly difficult. You must do your best constantly, yet never allow yourself to become involved in whether things work out the way you want.
Whatever we have done, we can always make amends for it without ever looking back in guilt or sorrow.
To enjoy anything, we cannot be attached to it... What we usually try to do is capture any joy that comes our way before it can escape... We try to cling to pleasure, but all we succeed in doing is making ourselves frustrated because, whatever it promises, pleasure simply cannot last. But if I am willing to kiss the joy as it flies, I say, "Yes, this moment is beautiful. I won't grab it. I'll let it go."
Wherever people gather for selfless ends, there is a vast augmentation of their individual capacities. Something wonderful, something momentous happens. An irresistible force begins to move, which, though we may not see it, is going to change our world. In this lies the power and the meaning of spiritual companionship.
Through meditation and by giving full attention to one thing at a time, we can learn to direct attention where we choose.
When we try to get ourselves out of the way, we can understand much better the needs of the people closest to us.
The Lord is a good psychologist: he knows the way our minds run. Turmoil can be the Lord's way of tapping us on the shoulder and saying, 'Don't forget me.'
Meditation may require a lifetime to master, but it will have been a lifetime well spent. ... If you want to judge your progress, ask yourself these questions: Am I more loving? Is my judgment sounder? Do I have more energy? Can my mind remain calm under provocation? Am I free from the conditioning of anger, fear, and greed? Spiritual awareness reveals itself as eloquently in character development and selfless action as in mystical states.
When we are at home with ourselves, we are at home everywhere in the world. When we have found peace within ourselves, peace and love follow us wherever we go.
The eye cannot see it; the mind cannot grasp it. The deathless Self (the Supreme Soul or God) has neither caste nor race, Neither eyes, nor ears, nor hands, nor feet, Sages, this Self is infinite, present in the great and in the small, Everlasting and changeless, the source of life.
Human relationships are the perfect tool for sanding away our rough edges and getting at the core of divinity within us.
Today, everything I do from morning meditation on - eating breakfast, going for a walk, writing, reading, even recreation - is governed by one purpose only: how to give the very best account of my life that I can in the service of all.
The real essentials of life - compassion, kindness, good will, forgiveness - are what is fundamental to living as a true human being.
It may sound paradoxical, but however tight our schedule, however many things clamor to be done, we don't need to hurry. If we can keep our mind calm and go about our business with undivided attention, we will not only accomplish more but we'll do a better job - and find ourselves more patient, more at peace.
When we truly are putting others first, we cannot but feel at peace with ourselves.
Beneath the surface level of conditioned thinking in every one of us there is a single living spirit. The still small voice whispering to me in the depths of my consciousness is saying exactly the same thing as the voice whispering to you in your consciousness. 'I want an earth that is healthy, a world at peace, and a heart filled with love.' It doesn't matter if your skin is brown or white or black, or whether you speak English, Japanese, or Malayalam - the voice, says the Gita, is the same in every creature, and it comes from your true self.
The things we think about, brood on, dwell on, and exult over influence our life in a thousand ways. When we can actually choose the direction of our thoughts instead of just letting them run along the grooves of conditioned thinking, we become the masters of our own lives.
When we go slower, we are more patient and when we are more patient we have a choice in how we respond.
Every angry thought makes it a little easier to get angry the next time, and a little more likely.
In the spiritual lore of India there is a story that the Lord whispered only one word in our ears when he sent us into the world: 'Give.' Give freely of your time, your talent, your resources; give without asking for anything in return. This is the secret of living in joy and security.
Lasting change happens when people see for themselves that a different way of life is more fulfilling than their present one.
Nothing really worth having comes quickly and easily. If it did, I doubt that we would ever grow.
Do not feed your ego and your problems with your attention. ...Slowly, surely, the ego will lose weight, until one fine day it will be nothing but a thin ghost of its former self. You will be able to see right through it, to the divine presence that shines in each of us.
We have to have a purpose greater than the endless struggle to satisfy personal desires.
When we meditate every morning we are putting on armor for the day's battle against our own impatience, inadequacy, resentment, and hostility.
When someone at peace and free from hurry enters a room, that person has a calming effect on everyone present.
Patience can't be acquired overnight. It is just like building up a muscle. Every day you need to work on it.
I like to remind my friends frequently how short life is. This is the important message of death: not a day to waste, not a day to quarrel, not a day to brood upon yourself. This is not losing the joy of life; this is gaining the joy of life.
Meditation is warm-up exercise for the mind, so that you can jog through the rest of the day without getting agitated or spraining your patience.
The Sufis advise us to speak only after our words have managed to pass through three gates. At the first gate, we ask ourselves, 'Are these words true?' If so, we let them pass on; if not, back they go. At the second gate, we ask, 'Are the necessary?' At the last gate, we ask, 'Are they kind?'
When mystics use the word love, they use it very carefully - in the deeply spiritual sense, where to love is to know; to love is to act. If you really love, from the depths of your Consciousness, that love gives you a native wisdom. You perceive the needs of others intuitively and clearly, with detachment from any personal desires; and you know how to act creatively to meet those needs, dexterously surmounting any obstacle that comes in the way. Such is the immense, driving power of love.
There is a close relationship between a house full of possessions and a heart full of desires, between a cluttered closet and a crowded schedule, between having no place to put possessions and having no priorities for our life. These are precious clues. They remind us to slow down, to live in the present, to reduce the desires that drain our vitality, to clarify priorities so we can give our time and attention to what matters most. Tragically, in the press of modern life, we have managed to get backwards one of life's most vital truths: people are to be loved; things are to be used.
We look at the world through our likes and dislikes, hopes and fears, opinions and judgments. We want everyone to behave as we think they should; otherwise we get agitated. But we are here to accept the world as it is, even as we work to make it better.