the works in this set of translations–the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, and the Dhammapada, are the earliest and most universal of messages like these, sent to inform us that there is more to life than the everyday experience of our senses. The Upanishads are the oldest
Some excerpts from Indian Spirituality:
You are what your deep, driving desire is.
As your desire is, so is your will.
As your will is, so is your deed.
As your deed is, so is your destiny. [Brihadaranyaka IV. 4.5]
We live in accordance with our deep, driving desire.
It is this desire at the time of death that determines
what our next life will be. We will come back to earth
to work out the satisfaction of that desire.
But not those who are free from desire; they are free
because all their desires have found fulfillment in
the Self. They do not die like the others; but realizing
Brahman, they merge in Brahman. So it is said:
When all the desires that surge in the heart
are renounced, the mortal becomes immortal.
When all the knots that strangle the heart
are loosened, the mortal becomes immortal,
Here in this very life.
As the skin of a snake is sloughed onto an anthill, so
does the mortal body fall; but the Self, freed from the
body, merges in Brahman, infinite life, eternal light.
“The Self is one, though is appears to be many.
Those who meditate upon the Self and realize the Self
go beyond decay and death, beyond separateness and
sorrow. They see the Self in everyone and obtain all
“Control the senses and purify the mind. In a pure
mind there is constant awareness of the Self. Where
there is constant awareness of the Self, freedom ends
bondage and joy ends sorrow.”
“The Self, pure awareness, shines as the light
within the heart, surrounded by the senses. Only seeming
to think, seeming to move, the Self neither sleeps nor
wakes nor dreams.
When the Self takes on a body, he seems to assume
the body’s frailties and limitations; but when he sheds
the body at the time of death the Self leaves all these
The human being has two states of sonsciousness:
one in this world, the other in the next. But there is
a third state between them, not unlike the world of
dreams, in which we are aware of both worlds, with
their sorrows and joys. When a person dies, it is only
the physical body that dies; that person lives on in a
nonphysical body, which carries the impressions of his
past life. It is these impressions that determine his next
life. In this intermediate state he makes and dissolves
impressions by the light of the Self.
In that third state of consciousness there are no
chariots, no horses drawing them or roads on which to
travel, but he makes up his own chariots, horses, and
roads. In that state there are no joys or pleasures, but
he makes up his own joys and pleasures. In that state
there are no lotus ponds, no lakes, no rivers. It is he
who makes up all these from the impressions of his
past or waking life.
It is said of these states of consciousness that in
the dreaming state, when one is sleeping, the shining
Self, who never dreams, who is ever awake, watches
by his own light the dreams woven out of past deeds
and present desires. In the dreaming state, when one is
sleeping, the shining Self keeps the body alive with the
vital force of prana, and wanders wherever he wills…
“All this is full. all that is full.From fullness, fullness comes.When fullness is taken from fullness,Fullness still remains.”–O M shanti shanti shantiKnowing the senses to be separatefrom the Self, and the sense experienceto be fleeting, the wise grieve no more.Above the sense is the mind, abovethe mind is the intellect, above thatis the ego, and above the egois the unmanifested Cause.And beyond is Brahman, omnipresent,attributeless. Realizing him one is releasedfrom the cycle of birth and death.He is formless, and can never be seenwith these two eyes. But he reveals himselfin the heart made pure through meditationand sense-restraint. Realizing him, one isreleased from the cycle of birth and death.When the fives senses are stilled, when the mindis stilled, when the intellect is stilled,that is called the highest state by the wise……if one is not established in this state,the sense unity will come and go…When all desires that surge in the heartare renounced, the mortal becomes immortal.When all the knots that strangle the heartare loosened, the mortal becomes immortal.This sums up the teaching of the scriptures.As a caterpillar, having come to the end ofone blade of grass, draws itself together andreaches out for the next, so the Self, havingcome to the end of one life and dispelledall ignorance, gathers in his faculties andreaches out from the old body to a new.Who is the One in all? Know One, know all.That through which one enjoys the wakingand sleeping states is the Self. To know Thatas consciousness is to go beyond sorrow.Those who know the Self as enjoyerof the honey from the flowers of the senses,ever present within, ruler or time,Go Beyond Fear. For this Self is Supreme!
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