Swami Turiyananda’s Teachings
[Swami Turiyanandaji was one of the disciples of Bhagavan Sri Ramakrishna. A illumined spiritual master since birth, an embodiment of austerity, Swami Turiyanandaji worked in India and the United States, spreading the message of Vedanta all over. His life itself was his message.]
DISCIPLE: “I would like to live a contemplative life.”
SWAMI TURIYANANDA: “Everybody works. The important thing is to awaken the Divine Mother within oneself. Of course you must also work. You may even have to go through drudgery if the Lord commands it. But never work for name and fame! You have renounced all that! Ah, what a wonderful spirit of self-surrender Swamiji (Swami Vivekananda) had! When he was seriously ill at Rishikesh and we, his brother-disciples, were watching over him, sad at heart, he said: ‘Mother, if it is your will, let me die.’
“Although the Lord made us his instruments and engaged us in his work, at least ninety per cent of our mind dwelled in him.”
There was a reading of The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. Swami Turiyananda remarked: “He who places too much emphasis upon diet is a fanatic. As one grows spiritually, one overcomes this tendency. Is our Lord only the Lord of the Hindus?
“God and mammon cannot be served at the same time. Those who try to compromise are still very much attached to the world. If you want to realize God, renounce all worldliness.
“Why should you care about public opinion? Good people never criticize others. It is only the wicked who speak ill of their fellow men. Ignore them! The idea of doing good to other people! First help yourself! The illumined souls alone are the true benefactors of this world. They know what is good for mankind. Having attained knowledge, they work for others. “You must rub your hands with oil before you break open the jackfruit.”
The study of the scriptures is important. It engages the mind in holy thoughts. But in a higher state even study is a distraction. When you are established in contemplation, it is best to let the mind be absorbed in a single ideal. At one time, when I was staying in the Himalayas, I used to study the Upanishads for eighteen to nineteen hours a day and to meditate on their truth. Through the grace of the Upanishads I had revelations.
You must struggle to meditate and to become deeply absorbed in Him. Try to develop intense devotion to God throughout your life.
You have to admit this truth: As long as you have physical consciousness, the Lord is the master and you are his servant. When you think of yourself as an individual soul, you are a part of Him. And when you realize that you are the Atman, the Self, you are He. In that state there is no sense of ego.”