Meditation has been laid stress upon by all religions. The meditative state of mind is declared by the Yogis to be the highest state in which the mind exists. When the mind is studying the external object, it gets identified with it, loses itself. To use the simile of the old Indian philosopher: the soul of man is like a piece of crystal, but it takes the colour of whatever is near it. Whatever the soul touches … it has to take its colour. That is the difficulty. That constitutes the bondage. The colour is so strong, the crystal forgets itself and identifies itself with the colour. Suppose a red flower is near the crystal and the crystal takes the colour and forgets itself, thinks it is red. We have taken the colour of the body and have forgotten what we are. All the difficulties that follow come from that one dead body. All our fears, all worries, anxieties, troubles, mistakes, weakness, evil, are from that one great blunder — that we are bodies. This is the ordinary person. It is the person taking the colour of the flower near to it. We are no more bodies than the crystal is the red flower.
The practice of meditation is pursued. The crystal knows what it is, takes its own colour. It is meditation that brings us nearer to truth than anything else.
— Swami Vivekananda – Washington Hall, San Francisco, April 3, 1900
Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa
Truth is one; only It is called by different names. All people are seeking the same Truth; the variance is due to climate, temperament, and name. A lake has many ghats. From one ghat the Hindus take water in jars and call it “jal”. From another ghat the Mussalmāns take water in leather bags and call it “pāni”. From a third the Christians take the same thing and call it “water”. Suppose someone says that the thing is not “jal” but “pāni”, or that it is not “pāni” but “water”, or that it is not “water” but “jal”, It would indeed be ridiculous. But this very thing is at the root of the friction among sects, their misunderstandings and quarrels. This is why people injure and kill one another, and shed blood, in the name of religion. But this is not good. Everyone is going toward God. They will all realize Him if they have sincerity and longing of heart.
— Ramakrishna – The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna – p. 423
They call Him Emptiness who is the Truth of truths,
in Whom all truths are stored!
There within Him creation goes forward,
which is beyond all philosophy;
for philosophy cannot attain to Him:
There is an endless world,
O my Brother! and there is the Nameless Being,
of whom naught can be said.
Only he knows it who has reached that region:
it is other than all that is heard and said.
No form, no body, no length, no breadth is seen there:
how can I tell you that which it is?
— Kabir – Songs of Kabir – LXXVI (transl. Rabindranath Tagore)
(image source: poemhunter.com)
The inherent contradiction of human life has now reached an extreme degree of tension: on the one side there is the consciousness of the beneficence of the law of love, and on the other the existing order of life which has for centuries occasioned an empty, anxious, restless, and troubled mode of life, conflicting as it does with the law of love and built on the use of violence. This contradiction must be faced, and the solution will evidently not be favourable to the outlived law of violence, but to the truth which has dwelt in the hearts of men from remote antiquity: the truth that the law of love is in accord with the nature of man. But men can only recognize this truth to its full extent when they have completely freed themselves from all religious and scientific superstitions and from all the consequent misrepresentations and sophistical distortions by which its recognition has been hindered for centuries.
— Leo Tolstoy – A Letter to a Hindu
I look deep into my heart,
to the core where wisdom arises.
Wisdom comes from the Unnamable
and unifies heaven and earth.
The Unnamable is always with you,
shining from the depths of your heart.
Her peace will keep you untroubled
even in the greatest pain.
When you find her present within you,
you find truth at every moment.
She will guard you from all wrongdoing;
She will guide your feet on her path.
She will temper your youth with patience;
She will crown your old age with fulfillment.
And dying, you will leave your body
as effortlessly as a sigh.
— Psalm 121 – Stephen Mitchell – A Book of Psalms: Selected and Adapted from the Hebrew
(found in the non-duality highlights)
What is age? Is it the number of years you have lived? That is part of age; you were born in such and such a year, and now you are fifteen, forty or sixty years old. Your body grows old and so does your mind when it is burdened with all the experiences, miseries and weariness of life; and such a mind can never discover what is truth. The mind can discover only when it is young, fresh, innocent; but innocence is not a matter of age. It is not only the child that is innocent -he may not be- but the mind that is capable of experiencing without accumulating the residue of experience. The mind must experience, that is inevitable. It must respond to everything -to the river, to the diseased animal, to the dead body being carried away to be burnt, to the poor villagers carrying their burdens along the road, to the tortures and miseries of life- otherwise it is already dead; but it must be capable of responding without being held by the experience. It is tradition, the accumulation of experience, the ashes of memory, that make the mind old. The mind that dies every day to the memories of yesterday, to all the joys and sorrows of the past such a mind is fresh, innocent, it has no age; and without that innocence, whether you are ten or sixty, you will not find God.
— Jiddu Krishnamurti – The Book of Life
Enquire: ‘Who am I?’ and you will find the answer. Look at a tree: from one seed arises a huge tree; from it comes numerous seeds, each one of which in its turn grows into a tree. No two fruits are alike. Yet it is one life that throbs in every particle of the tree. So, it is the same Atman everywhere.
All creation is that. There is beauty in the birds and in the animals. They too eat and drink like us, mate and multiply; but there is this difference: we can realize our true nature, the Atman. Having been born as human beings, we must not waste this opportunity. At least for a few seconds every day, we must enquire as to who we are. It is no use taking a return ticket over and over again. From birth to death, and death to birth is samsara. But really we have no birth and death. We must realize that.
— Sri Anandamayi Ma – Ananda Varta