With Unswerving Steadfastness

Swami Prabhavananda, The Eternal Companion: Brahmananda—His Life and Teachings


A while back, through reading the spiritual works of Christopher Isherwood, I became acquainted with his guru, Swami Prabhavananda, who was a devotee of Brahmananda, who was  the spiritual son of Sri Ramakrishna.  The following  excerpts are some of  what the teacher offered his students.

“So you must not give up meditation even though you may not get any apparent results. You must be regular in your practice.” 21  

“Rare indeed is he who attained unalloyed bliss!  Only that man who is free from all cravings can find unending joy.”  36

“The only purpose of life is to know God. Plunge deep into the sea of bliss and become immortals. Attain knowledge and devotion, then serve God in mankind. Work is not the end of life. Disinterested work is a means of attaining devotion. Meditate, meditate, and dive deep within. Know that God alone is real. Keep at least three fourths of your mind in God. It is enough if you give one fourth to service. Work and worship.”  52

“Merely to see the Holy Mother and to serve men is not enough. It is most necessary to practice renunciation and discrimination, and to live a contemplative life.”  109-110

“Remember him constantly; do not waste any more time in worldly thoughts. Struggle! Struggle hard to control the out-going mind and fix it on God. When you can do this, you will realize what joy there is in spiritual life, what fun it is.” 111 

“Keep your mind fixed in God. It is not always easy to keep the mind steady in God while working; the ego creeps in. But never be discouraged by your failures.” 113

“Free your mind from cravings and attachments. Practice spiritual disciplines, and your mind will become pure and steady.”  121

“The easiest method of realization is to remember God constantly.” 122 

“And without achieving perfect concentration nothing can be accomplished in the spiritual life.” 126

“Collect the scattered forces of the mind, and direct them toward the one Reality. This is the great task of the spiritual aspirant.”  142 

“There is nothing more purifying than his name and meditation upon him.” 159

“Always practice your disciplines with unswerving steadfastness and let not a single day pass without them. Whether you like it or not, sit down at the appointed hour every day.”  170 

“As you sit down to meditate, think of the cravings of the mind as mere dreams. See them as unreal. They can never attach themselves to the mind. Feel that you are pure. In this way purity will gradually fill your mind.” 194

“Keep the company of the holy; listen to their teachings and mould your life after their pattern.” 195 

“The longer you practice, the more your mind will become one-pointed towards God.”  200

“Read only sacred books. Those books which do not evoke love and faith in God are useless. They only make a man vain of his learning.” 226

“Spend two-thirds of your day in the practice of japam and meditation, and the rest of the time in the study of sacred books and in self-analysis. The more intensely you analyze yourself the more you will understand the condition of your own mind, and you will be able to eliminate the subtler cravings.” 230 




Whenever [Brahmananda] looked at you, you felt the he was probing the depths of your innermost nature, and that he knew all your weaknesses and failures. But somehow you did not mind this being known through and through, because those eyes were so full of mercy and love.  — Swami Prabhavananda



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