Swami Kriyananda

This work is dedicated to our mentor Swami Kriyananda (J. Donald Walters) who was a direct disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda. His mission in life was to make the teachings of the great master known to the world. He travelled and lectured worldwide on the subject of how to live yogic teachings in daily life. He established spiritual communities on three continents, composed some of the finest music and wrote more than 100 books on diverse subjects, highlighting the relevance of the higher Vedic teachings in all walks of life, whether they are businesses, schools, communities or families.

His work is the foundation of our offering to the world- Living Wisely. Following is a short collection of his quotes on some everyday titles which give us a flavour of the teachings we share at this forum. Living wisely is all about developing right attitudes in life and our offerings are a help in this direction. You may click on the title to uncover his quote on your topic of interest or need.

One of the most difficult lessons in life is to learn to accept things as they are. Instead of learning to come to grips with a thousand individual challenges, make the supreme effort to accept divine presence unconditionally in your heart. Accept all that comes in life as coming from His hands. He will give you what is best for you, if you live for Him alone.
You have within yourself the power to overcome all adversity. Were utter failure to crash upon you like a giant wave, know that God’s law is ever benign and just. Place yourself in His hands, and everything must turn out eventually for the best.
Fulfilment lies only in reaching up toward perfect awareness. To achieve it we must be alert in everything we do. For in the flow of increasing wakefulness lies the joy we all are seeking.
If you are angry, it may be only because your idea of how things ought to have been has been outraged. Reflect on how many views can be held on any subject. Seek the rest point in yourself, midway between the pair of opposites. Dwell there calmly. In inner stillness you’ll be able to address every issue effectively.
Look for qualities to appreciate in others. What you see in them is a reflection of what you are in yourself. The more you appreciate others, the more they will return that feeling-like the strings of a musical instrument, which vibrate in sympathy with kindred notes elsewhere.
Even if you are not attached to anything, meet life with cheerful expectation. Whatever comes, greet it with a smile. A cheerful attitude will magnetically attract to you, in every circumstance, the best possible results.
Man needs to become aware at the source of his awareness, at his deepest core, Soul. Through this awareness, his enjoyment even of the surrounding world becomes intensified a thousand fold.
When bargaining, seek benefits that are mutual. If you express yourself generously, the other person will usually, of his own accord, meet you halfway.
Your breathing is a reflection of your mental state. As you watch it, you will find yourself becoming inwardly calm, and your stillness, in turn, will deepen your joy.
My ‘’bottom line’’ for many years has been not money, profit, or outer success of any kind, but inner peace. I’ve refused to allow myself to become so stressed as to sacrifice that true wealth. From inner peace have come enlightened decisions.
Calmness comes with determination to live ever happily in the present moment, relinquishing the past, and not worrying about the future, but placing our lives firmly in divine hands, and knowing that He is fully in command.
View challenges as stimulants to your inner growth. If you maintain your integrity, others may accuse you of betrayal, but it is to yourself you must remain true. If you can preserve your will unbroken, you will always in the end, come out victorious.
If you want to improve your circumstances, work first on improving yourself. To desire better treatment from others is, in a sense, to enslave yourself to them. Become a cause in life, not an effect. Self-dependence is independence, and a mark of true heroism.
Honour your commitments, even those you make to yourself. If you view even your casual commitments as promises, you will gain such a power of truth that your mere word will have support from the universe.
Seek upliftment in the company you keep. Others’ magnetism will affect you, whether for good or evil. Make it a point to mix more with people who radiate goodness.
Think of others not as your competitors, but as your colleagues, even when working in the same field of endeavour as they. A thousand rivulets, conjoining, become a mighty river. Thus, indeed, are great civilizations born.
Never complain, no matter what you have to endure. Misfortune lies in your perception of things, not in things themselves. One positive lesson to be learned from every loss is calm detachment. Another is to become more whole in yourself.
Concentration is the secret of success in every undertaking. Concentration should not involve mental strain. When you really want something, it is difficult not to think about it! Concentrate with interest on whatever you do, and you will find yourself absorbed in it.
Sensitivity to others is a way of self expansion. One truly achieves freedom in himself when he can respect their realities, because he is wholly at peace with his own.
Courage comes from living in the awareness of divine presence within, and in the realization that He is the sole Reality. Live more in Him, for nothing and no one can touch what you really are.
Be courteous equally to friends, foes, and strangers. Courtesy will win you respect and cooperation, and courtesy to friends will preserve that slight distance between you which keeps friendship ever fresh, alive, and interesting.
Before making an important decision in life, enter your inner temple of silence, and there consult your higher Self. If your mind is focussed, you may get your answer in your heart as a deep calm intuition, almost instantly.
If you feel impelled to defend a principle, never do so under the influence of anger. Defend your beliefs joyously! Dharmic -which is to say, righteous-causes should be defended righteously. And joyous non –attachment is the only way to mount that defence.
No good end is ever reached without devotion. No true success is achieved unless the heart’s feelings are involved. Will power itself is a combination of energy and feeling, directed toward fulfilment.
True discrimination is not the product of reasoning. It is soul-intuition. To discriminate clearly, mediate first and ask your super conscious to give you understanding.
Resolve difficulties by raising your level of consciousness. Keep your mind focussed at the point midway between the eyebrows: the seat of super-consciousness.
Be grateful for life’s disappointments! Give them to God, and in the end you will always find that they were the best thing that could have happened to you. Disappointments are life’s way of opening up for you new windows of opportunity.
Dare to dream greatness. To dream greatness is not a presumption, if one aspires to do great, noble deeds that will inspire others. Try, above all, to fulfill God’s will for you. Ask His help in your efforts to help others.
Eat either alone or in uplifting company. When one is eating, he places himself in a frame of mind to absorb energy. He is then more open than usual to the vibrations around him. Always eat in harmony.
If your emotions become upset, drink the antidote to every emotional poison; kindness. Disturbed emotions can affect the whole body; the digestion, the nervous system, the heart rate, the breath, even one’s mental clarity. Is it really worth all that trouble over things you probably couldn’t change if you tried to?
Encourage others in their efforts to improve themselves. But remember, they don’t owe it to you to be better than they are. That debt is one they owe only to themselves.
Faith and energy go hand in hand. The greater one’s faith, the greater his will power. And the greater his will power, the greater his flow of energy.
Enthusiasm is the spirit of joy channelled through the power of the will. To achieve joy, one must be keenly enthusiastic in everything one does!
Even-mindedness bestows clarity of perception, which is the ability to see things as they really are, undistorted by emotional bias. Many people confuse progress with outward change. Progress, however, should mean above all progressive understanding.
“Fame and wealth,’’ Yogananda used to say, ’’are like prostitutes: loyal to no man.’’ In the end those two goals, though all but universal, bring only disappointment. If fame comes unsought, use it for the benefit for others, rather than to bolster your own pride. Whether well known or unknown, you are the same person.
Never allow yourself, out of hurt feelings, to close your heart’s door to anyone. Locking it will only cause you pain. You can no more control how others treat you than you can the weather. How you behave toward them, however, is yours to control. Rather than let any hurt block your heart, ask yourself, “Is there any point in suffering twice?”
Foods convey distinct vibrations, which affect one’s consciousness. Eat only foods that are rich in life-force and energy. For human beings, fresh fruits and vegetables are the best. Don’t eat foods that are excessively stimulating or excessively bland.
Forgiveness is the sword of victory! When we forgive those who seek to hurt us, we rob them of their very power to do us harm. Let no outward circumstance condition your inner happiness.
Treat your friends as though you had much to learn from them. There is no surer way of losing a friend than to let him feel you need nothing from him.
Most people think of generosity as merely the giving of material benefits to others. However, much more satisfying is a generous spirit: a willingness to let the other person shine, even if it means being eclipsed oneself; a happiness in his good fortune, even if it means personal loss for oneself.
Be graceful in your movements. Awkward or jerky gestures reflect, and also induce, disconnected thinking. But grace of movement will help bring a smooth flow to all your thinking.
Give others credit, where possible, in the anecdotes you tell. Not only will they appreciate the inclusion, but your generosity will loosen the grip of your ego on yourself. Ego is the hidden cause behind all human suffering.
Be grateful always- to others, to life, to God. Express appreciation for everything. Appreciation and gratitude- even for such tests as suffering- will attract to you the blessing of increasing abundance.
Moods, grief and sorrows of every kind cannot be reasoned away. They have their own reality, and their own magnetic attraction. The only way to cure them is to change our level of awareness by learning to concentrate at the point between the eyebrows.
Happiness is the attitude of mind, born of the simple determination to be happy under all outward circumstances. Happiness lies not in things, nor in outward attainments. It is the gold of our inner nature.
Good health is a radiant state of inner wellbeing. It comes naturally after the mind has been cleared of every shadow of unwillingness, fear and doubt; when one has learned to say yes to life; and when one has learned to love!
Strive always to be a channel for high thoughts and inspirations. Never cooperate with anything petty or mean. Remember, the universe is, for each human being, both a mirror and an affirmation. One who entertains high thoughts will himself be, ennobled.
Even when threatened by disaster, if you are steadfastly honest and truthful you will not only survive: you will flourish.
Humility is not self-deprecation; it is self forgetfulness! Humility is self acceptance, and self-honesty. You have a right to all power if you seek it in Infinity, and if you never hold the thought that it resides in your little self.
Keep a sense of humour, especially when things don’t turnout as you hoped. Life is a play. Often, indeed, it is a tragicomedy. You will enjoy it best if you can remain unaffected. Even if the play ends in tragedy, it may help to purify your heart, and to expand your consciousness.
You are not your body. You are not your thoughts, or desires, or changing personality. Your body has a certain age, but you are ageless! Your body may tire or become unwell, but you yourself, the fatigueless soul, cannot tire, can never know disease! Feel that, through all outward changes, you, the immortal soul, remain the same.
Don’t try to impress others by your cleverness. Win them, rather, by your sincerity.
Always listen inwardly for the voice of wise counsel. If you keep yourself fully open, you may hear suggestions even in the wind.
Inspire others more by your vibrations than by your example. An act of kindness may not be understood in the spirit you intended, but vibrations of kindness will influence people’s feelings, changing them from within. Kindness is a vibration of consciousness, and therefore has no boundaries.
Don’t confuse intelligence with cleverness. True intelligence isn’t only cerebral. Its roots lie in clear feeling. Cleverness usually indicates only narrow feelings.
Introspection means to behold oneself from a center of inner calmness, without the slightest mental bias, open to what may be wrong in oneself-not excusing it, but not condemning either, and detachedly accepting guidance, when it comes.
Intuition is simple because it involves direct perception, and is not a process of joining thoughts and ideas together painstakingly like pieces in a jigsaw puzzle. Learn instead to approach your problems by withdrawing to your own center. Never feel that you have your answer until you have reached, in your heart, a sense of its perfect rightness.
True joy is not an emotional state. It is not that which one feels when some desire is satisfied, or when everything at last goes well. It is inward; it is of the soul. Be calm in yourself, even minded and cheerful through the gains and losses of life. Then in calm deep meditation feel the joy of the soul.
Kindness is the recognition that all our truly our own. For those of broad sympathies, the very universe is home!
Make it a point today, to laugh at least three times from your heart. Such laughter is the strongest antidote for disease, depression, and corroding sorrow of every kind.
One finds love not by being loved, but by loving. The more we forget ourselves in giving to others, the better we can understand what love really is.
If you want loyalty from others, give them your loyalty first. Loyalty to friends, to ideals, to commitments is like a rudder: it holds the barque of life true to its course.
Your magnetism depends on two things: your strength of will, and your level of awareness. Let your influence be like a golden aura of light, surrounding you wherever you go. Project it invitingly to others.
Never defend your mistakes. People do that only to protect their pride. The more readily you admit an error, the easier it will be to change yourself. Thus will you win release altogether, eventually from ego-consciousness.
Moods are like waves: no matter how tall a wave, the ocean level never changes. Live at that point, inwardly, where nothing can affect you.
Money, like matter, is only frozen energy. If you need to increase your income, know that the energy you put out is more important than specific schemes for earning. Energy will attract opportunity. Recharge your energy from its cosmic Source, and whatever income you need will be ever yours.
What makes a man noble is not land, money, or social position, but character. Be true to your word, generous in giving, kind when faced by any wrong, and courteous to all (even to the lowliest beggar). A truly noble man is one whose character is ever firmly upright.
Listen to the melodies birds sing: They express a happiness that is latent everywhere in Nature. Reflect then: You, too, are a part of that happiness. It is the first little “cheep’’ of omnipresent joy.
Don’t worry about other’s opinions; don’t be concerned with what anyone says or thinks about you -unless you think you might learn something by listening. Think in terms of what you give out to others, not of what you receive from them in return.
In addressing those who have spoken against you, say to them, “Thank you. You’ve helped me affirm that which alone is real to me: the joy of my own being.”
Be patient with people. Remember, it takes incarnations to emerge from the pit of delusion. Think how long it probably took you to reach your present level of understanding, and how long it often takes to rid oneself of even one major flaw.
After every deed that you perform, pause a little to enjoy the freedom of the Self within. Action, to be fully effective, must proceed from inner calmness.
If you emanate peaceful thoughts, they will surround you with a protective aura, and create a barrier against all negativity. Any agitation around you, then, will no longer be able to touch you.
Peace of mind is the result, not of money in the bank, but of prayer and meditation. Peace is like a weight less waterfall, washing away all worries, and bestowing a new, glad sense of confidence.
Perseverance can be difficult, for in every undertaking there is a certain amount of dull routine. Don’t be ruled, therefore by likes and dislikes, but do whatever has to be done. If it is right, let nothing intervene until the job is finished.
True politeness is not a mask. It is a reflection of the innate dignity of the soul. It enables a person to see in everybody, everywhere, the presence of our one common Father/Mother.
As we think, so we become. And as we think, so our lives and circumstances become also. Think positively in everything you do to attune yourself to the super conscious flow. One who is inwardly in tune with this grace, finds all things beneficial being attracted to him.
Keep your spine ever straight: it is the channel through which energy flows up to the brain. If that upward flow is weakened or impeded, your power to meet life’s challenges will diminish.
If you are poor, remember your karma can be improved. Poverty means that the normal flow of divine abundance has been blocked in your case, by certain past actions – perhaps of avarice, or selfishness, or indifference to the needs of others, or by scattering your forces heedlessly. You can remove that block by offering your energy into the divine flow.
The test of an ideal is whether it is practical or not. “Will it work?” is the preliminary question to, ‘’Is it true?’’ By practicality, we mature from the state of idle dreaming to become emissaries of truth.
Be restful in your heart. A quiet spirit will help you instantly to resolve problems that might otherwise require days, weeks, or even months of fretful pondering-and even then you wouldn’t be certain of the rightness of your decision.
Make contentment your criterion of prosperity. Wealth is primarily the consciousness of abundance. Poverty is the consciousness of lack.
Purity, innocence, and an absence of selfish motive: these together, form a diadem more brilliant than that displayed on any emperor’s brow.
In recreation, seek to re-create yourself. During every pause in your activity, seek in inner peace a renewal of your creative spirit. Withdraw into your inner temple of silence, and, there, focus on re-energising every thought, every feeling.
Don’t ask yourself, ’’How can I approach my tasks differently?’’ Don’t even ask, “How can I do them better?” until you have asked first, “What is the right thing to do, and the right way to go about doing it?”
Calm joyful feelings will steer you aright. If, on the other hand, your feelings are agitated or negative, they will emphasize your lower emotions, and will almost always be wrong. Even happy emotions can distort one’s judgement. Calm feeling is the safest condition for receiving right guidance.
To become inwardly free, live to serve others, rather than for personal gain. Service is magnanimity, and the prerogative of kings. But the more you work for personal gain, the more you will only beggar yourself.
Security is his alone whose faith rests in higher existence. This does not mean we should not be conscientious. But after doing our very best, we should leave the outcome in divine hands.
Self-confidence means living from within, living by truth rather than by opinion. It means living by what your higher Self inspires, not what your lower self desires.
The sensualist imagines that by giving up his pleasures he would renounce happiness. But in fact, the more one restrains his senses and learns to live in the peace of the inner Self, the more he finds himself glowing with happiness, good health, and a radiant sense of freedom and well-being.
Rid yourself of all self-definitions. They block your awareness of yourself as the ever perfect soul. Self-definitions are like heavy luggage: difficult to carry and obstructive to free movement. The sooner you shed them, the easier you will find, by your openness to soul guidance, to advance toward freedom.
Make everything you do an act of self-giving. Thus you will combat natural egoism, and expand the boundaries of your reality to include the reality of others.
Service is ennobling. It is a way of offering our human littleness into a greater Reality. Service should not be given with the thought that one is serving people, merely. It should be given with an inward consciousness to the Spirit who resides in all creatures.
Include the success of others in your efforts to succeed, yourself. Better a stream that makes green a whole valley than an oasis surrounded by vast stretches of sand.
Smile with your eyes, not only with your lips.
Be “solution oriented,” not “problem oriented.” Problem consciousness only draws to itself more problems, as flypaper draws flies. But solution consciousness, like a magnet, attracts answers and shines a bright light onto every difficulty.
Sound and light affect our consciousness, for we (like them) are composed of vibrations. Be sensitive to the subtle effect of vibrations. Protect yourself from disruptive ones by listening to inspiring music, or by singing (even mentally) songs that are uplifting, and by surrounding yourself with calm, soothing, or brightly cheerful lights and colours.
True success means transcendence. It means finding what we really want, which is not outward things but inner peace of mind, self-understanding and, above all, the joy of our own being.
Gaze into the sun when it is near the horizon. (its rays, then, will not harm your eyes.) God through the Sun, sends out rays of power, endurance, and wisdom.
Reach out toward others with sympathy: Don’t wait for others to reach out first to you. Become a spiritual medic! Make a special effort to help people who are in psychological pain, or in spiritual doubt. You’ll be amazed at what a warm smile can do to melt the blocks of ice that encase so many grieving hearts.
Think of yourself as a student of truth, and of life; never as anybody’s teacher. If your duty in life is, in fact, to teach others, consider what a privilege it is to share with them what you’ve learned from life. Never feel that anyone owes it to you to accept what you tell him.
Face trials and obstacles courageously. You are a child of God! Your potential for greatness is infinite! A painting should be judged, not by any mistakes the artist makes while perfecting his work, but in its finished state.
Trust life, even if you cannot trust people. For human nature is unreliable. But, life itself is ruled by immutable law. Right action leads always, in the end, to victory.
Speak the truth kindly: never in a judgmental spirit, and never sarcastically. Speak it to be helpful, not to destroy another person’s self confidence.
Listen to your own voice. Try to expunge from it any qualities you don’t like. Sweeten it with kindness; brighten it with interest; soften it by heartfelt respect for others; warm it with consideration for their needs.
Wealth, if it comes to you, should be treated as a sacred trust. It is not really yours, even if you have worked hard to acquire it. Karma has given you riches as a means of helping other people. Remember a person may be poor financially, but rich in ways that preclude the possession of money. Appreciate others for what they are.
Willingness must be cultivated deliberately. It is an attitude of mind. Don’t wait for favourable circumstances to awaken willingness in you. Train yourself to say ‘yes’ to life! Often by this simple attitude you will find Success arriving, unexpected, at your door!
Seek wisdom more from experience than from books. When reading advice in a book, ask yourself, “Does this counsel resonate with my own experience?” If not, put it on “hold”. Don’t scoff at it, for it may contain truths you haven’t yet discovered for yourself. But accept nothing on blind faith. Only when a truth has been lived can it be wholly known.
Wish everyone the best, and whatever specific individuals do, life itself will always support you. Bless everybody, and you will yourself be blessed. We receive back from the world in exact proportion to what we give out to it, and with the same intensity.
Work should be done with a creative attitude-never for selfish gain, but in gratitude for the free gift of life, of sunshine, of water, of air-and in gratitude, simply, for our God-given power to be useful to our fellow man.