108 Discourses of Swami Brahmananda Saraswati

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Item Code: NAK934
Author: Paul Mason
Publisher: Indica Books, Varanasi
Language: Hindi Text With English Translation
Edition: 2015
ISBN: 9789381120040
Pages: 388 (Throughout B/W Illustrations)
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 8.5 inch X 5.0 inch
Weight 500 gm
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Book Description

Back of The Book

Swami Brahmananda Saraswati (1871-1953) is a very renowned and respected figure in contemporary Indian spirituality. He was held by Dr. Savepalli Radhakrishnan (1888-1975) as ‘Vedanta Incarnate’. Swamiji took sannyasa at the age of 33. For many long years he lived mainly in forests, dwelling in caves. On the order of his guru, he later became a little more accessible, and became well known for his spiritual radiance and knowledge. In 1936 he set up an ashram in Varanasi.

The Seat of Shankaracharya at Jyotirmath had been vacant for 165 years. When efforts were made to restore this most important peeth, Swami Brahmanand Saraswati was accepted by all as the ideal person to fill the post. After much persuasion he eventually allowed himself to be anointed Shankaracharya of Jyotir Math of Ist April 1941.

Shankaracharya Swami Brahmananda Saraswati was highly respected for his knowledge and realization. Swami ji travelled widely across India sharing his wisdom and reviving the religious and spiritual traditions wherever he visited.

We are fortunate in that many of Swami Brahmananda’s ‘upadesha’ (discourses or sermons) were transcribed, and published in the ashram newsletter of ‘Shri Shankaracharya Updesa’. Now these most important words of Shankaracharya Swami Brahmanand Saraswati are being made available in this special edition, both in their original Hindu and in English, with translation done by Paul Mason.

108 Discourses of Swami Brahmananda is so much more than a book of quotations, it is the exploration of the very meaning and purpose of human life. It is essential reading for anyone interested in Indian philosophy and spiritual practices.



On Thursday, 21 December 1871 (Vikram Samvat 1928, Margashirsha shukla dasami) in the village of Gana close to Ayodhya, Rajaram Mishra was born. After leaving home at the age of nine years old, he roamed in the Himalayan hills and eventually found his guru, Shri 108 Shri Dandi Swami Ji Krishanand Saraswati of Uttarkashi.

In 1904, at the age of thirty-three years old, at Triveni Ghat, Allahabad, his guru initiated him as a sannyasi and gave him the name of Swami Brahmanand Saraswati.

Swami Brahmanand was a 'bal brahmachari (lifelong celibate) who led a solitary life, living mainly in forests and jungles, taking shelter in natural caves. For food and drink he would take what nature offered, and supplemented his fare with the gifts brought to him by well-wishers who would seek him out.

In a chance meeting at the Kumbha Mela in Allahabad in 1930, his guru, Swami Krishnanand Saraswati, told Swami Brahmanand: "You have stayed a long time in the jungles and mountains. Stay near the towns now, so that some of the people can benefit."

So it was that Swami Brahmanand Saraswati became a little more accessible, and he became well known for his spiritual radiance and knowledge. In fact, so high was his spiritual reputation that he was nominated to take the most prestigious and powerful position in Indian society, that of Shankaracharya, becoming Shankaracharya of Jyotir Math on 1st April 1941.

Shankaracharya Swami Brahmanand Saraswati was highly respected for his knowledge and realisation. His ashram in Varanasi now became the official seat of the Shankaracharya of Jyotir Math, from where he organised the restoration of the peeth in Joshimath.

Swami ji also travelled widely across India sharing his wisdom and reviving the religious and spiritual traditions wherever he visited. Under his direction mahayagnas were performed.

Swami Brahmanandji attracted darshan seekers from far and wide, and many sought him out to be their guru. His teachings were clearly stated, being the teachings of Adi Shankaracharya, newly told with quotations from the Scriptures. The first President of India, Dr Rajendra Prasad visited him, as did Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (the first Vice-President of India & Second President) who referred to Swamiji as 'Vedanta incarnate'.

The guru was by now in his eighties and because of concerns about his health he stopped touring and stayed at his ashram in Varanasi. However, after some months, a decision was made to travel to Calcutta for a speaking engagement, and whilst staying there it was necessary for doctors to attend the guru.

Swami Brahmanand Saraswati breathed his last in Calcutta, on Wednesday 20th May 1953 (vaisakh shukla saptami 2009) and was returned to Varanasi for funeral rites and from Kedar Ghat was ferried to the centre of the river for final immersion in Mother Ganga.

Shankaracharya Swami Brahmanandji's disciples were many, and amongst his disciples were the famous Swami Karpatri and his protege Swami Swaroopanand.

Nowadays, images of Swami Brahmanand can be seen displayed around the world and across the internet. Swami Brahmanand was also the' Guru Dev' of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who propounded the system of Transcendental Meditation worldwide.

We are fortunate in that many of Swami Brahmananda's 'upadesha' (discourses or sermons) were transcribed, and published in the ashram newsletter of 'Shri Shankaracharya Upadesha'. The teachings were in Hindi, but since the Shankaracharya is a 'Jagad- guru' or 'World Guru' it is appropriate to make these teachings available in non-Indian languages. The task of translation is not an easy one, but I have endeavoured to be faithful to the words that were actually said by this revered teacher.

When I first chanced on these quotations of Swami Brahmananda ji, I decided there and then to learn Hindi well enough to translate these spiritual talks into English. Eventually I felt the confidence to start the process, and found such a wealth of guidance in Swami ji's teachings. It was clear he was an expert, for he not only understood the ways of the spirit he could teach them too, and very clearly. I studied each and every line word by word until the meaning became clear.

An English translation of the Hindi text of his teachings and biography was self-published by Premanand as a three-volume set, as 'The Life and Teachings of Swami Brahmananda Saraswati, Shankaracharya of Jyotirmath (1941-1953)'.

Now these most important quotations of Shankaracharya Swami Brahmanand Saraswati are being made available in this fresh Indian edition through the efforts of Indica Books. All thanks to the excellent help of editor Alvaro Enterria, who has helped polish up my efforts and has assisted in making the translation smoother and easier to understand. This volume contains both the original Hindi versions and the English translations, along with a glossary of terms.

108 Discourses of Swami Brahmanand is so much more than a book of quotations, it is the exploration of the very meaning and purpose of human life.

108 Discourses of Swami Brahmanand is essential reading for anyone interested in Indian philosophy and spiritual practices. It has been suggested that these discourses comprise 'the most important and BEST spiritual book written in the last 100 years' and that 'most of the important topics are mentioned, such as Enlightenment (moksha), meditation, karma, the caste system, possessions, obstacles on the Path, Maya, dharma, and many, many others.'



When in 1970 I travelled to the ashram of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, across the river from the pilgrimage town of Rishikesh in Northern India, I was taught a system of meditation known as transcendental meditation. The teaching of transcendental meditation (TM) is preceded by a short ceremony, a puja, before a reproduction of a painting of Maharishi's master, 'Guru Dev', Swami Brahmananda Saraswati, Shankaracharya of Jyotirmath from 1941-53.

Despite crediting Guru Dev as being the inspiration behind the practice of TM, in the years of his mission to spread this teaching of meditation, curiously Maharishi seldom if ever quoted Guru Dev.

When I returned to India, in 1979, I made a pilgrimage to the monastery of Jyotirmath, high in the Himalayas, and was rewarded in obtaining two publications on the life and teachings of Guru Dev, in Hindi. There and then I made up my mind to learn Hindi in order to learn about his life and teaching.

One of the books was a collection of 108 'upadesha' or sermons of Guru Dev. It appears that these originally appeared in the ashram newsletter 'Shri Shankaracharya Upadesha' between 1949-1953 and were later reproduced as a paperback, by Rameshwar Tiwari.

My progress in Hindi was slow but eventually I made translations of both these books on Guru Dev. I also translated a third book, which 1 had discovered on a return visit to jyotir-math. I uploaded my rough translations onto my website (www.paulmason.info) as 1 worked. But reading these quotations on a computer screen is far less pleasant than having them in a printed form, so 1 am happy to be able to present my translations in book form and make them available through the website.

So, here is the first volume of a series on Guru Dev, in which 1 have included Guru Dev's speeches in their original Hindi form. Titles have been revised to only include the words of Guru Dev. To render the Hindi (and the Sanskrit quotes with which he peppered his talks) 1 had first to re-type the text into ITRANS and convert this to a Devanagari font, which was achieved by using a computer program called 1 translator99. I am indebted to Omkarananda Ashram for developing and making this software freely available, and to Swami Satchidanand for working through some technical problems with me.

The whole process of translation was made so much easier with the help of Richard Mason, who is a whizz with computers and who suggested 1 start to create a database of Hindi words which would then be connected to MS Access with a little program he created called Handi Hindi Gizmo Innit. Thanks Richard, I don't know what 1 would have done without it.

Thanks go to Marek Reavis who helped by giving useful feedback and assisting in photo research. To Ajay Shankar for his support and assistance in obtaining images of Guru Dev (hand- tinted colour prints and hi-res black and white prints of many photos of Guru Dev can be had from Ajay at Delhi Photo Company). Thanks also go to L. B. Shrivers for sending me a photocopy of the text when my copy disappeared, and to Dr. Cynthia Humes (I look forward to seeing the publication of her translation of these teachings).




  Preface 11
  Foreword 15
1 How can you become wealthy by studying a catalogue? 22
2 It is very necessary to see Bhagwan present everywhere 25
3 Man certainly endures the fruits of his actions 29
4 Nowadays people understand themselves to be very intelligent 32
5 Finding satisfaction in anything experienced by the senses is like imagining it is good to scratch an itch 35
6 The effects of the actions of a brief time are endured for a long time 38
7 Value the human life. Act considerately 42
8 Your right is only in the action of karma; never desire the effects 45
9 When a seed is roasted then no sprouting appears 48
10 As long as there is attachment for the world, you will have to return once and again 51
11 'All's well that ends well' 52
12 Don't put your trust in craftiness and dishonesty 57
13 The enemy and the friend are only the conveyance of the effects of good and evil actions 62
14 If any sin is done, then by telling the effects are distributed 64
15 In the name of Bhagwan the strength of sin fades, so much so that wicked wrongdoings cannot be done 66
16 In truth Paramatma can give so much that much one could not ask 68
17 Man's conduct and judgement are really according to association 71
18 The root of the terrible tree of birth sickness is desire 73
19 By lack of satsang miserliness and poor conduct spread 75
20 Don't look at the defects of others, trace your own flaws up to the present and attempt to remove them 77
21 For as long as you are breathing, pass the time praying to Bhagwan 79
22 He who sings the prayers of Bhagwan, his conduct should be the best 81
23 If you are ready in the first place, then there will be no suffering at the time of death 84
24 By gaining the One, Bhagwan, everything is naturally obtained 87
25 He who protected you inside the womb protects you right now too. Do not forget him 90
26 However many days there is to stay, live in peace 92
27 Develop one's own spiritual strengths 94
28 Be collected in your own mind and don't get involved in any disputes about form and formless 96
29 Don't disgrace the position of work that you occupy 98
30 It is a dangerous thing to be greedy for wealth or for a woman or a son 101
31 Make efforts so that a relationship of oneness with Paramatma occurs in this lifetime 103
32 Worry is more powerful and dreadful than the funeral pyre; because the pyre is to burn the dead but worry bums the living 105
33 He is seeing everything that everyone does. Nobody can escape his or her working being seen 108
34 The senses and the body work only in accordance with man's mind. For this reason it is a necessity to take care of the mind III 111
35 Few people have a siddhi, but by their greediness for siddhi a good many people become cheated 115
36 Showing the difference between the individual life and Paramatma is like distinguishing between paddy and rice 119
37 If you wish to experience happiness and peace then don't search for outer things, only seek inside yourself 121
38 That which is ours cannot be another's 124
39 If Bhagwan did not resolve to come in the shape of an avataara then how would bhakti yoga spread? 127
40 Omnipotent Bhagwan is ready to take on the burden of all business management 131
41 Certainly by remembering the name of Bhagwan you will get moksha, but you will get wealth, reputation and respect too 136
42 Only Paramatma is suitable to be with the mind; anything else in worldly existence cannot satisfy the mind 140
43 If someone has a thirst for a seer of water then how can that thirst be quenched with a sixteenth of a seer of water? 143
44 Apply the mind to business a little, and apply it a lot to paramarth 145
45 How can the Omnipotent see his own devotees sorrowful? 147
46 All give help to him on whom the grace of Bhagwan comes 149
47 Consider this, that you are always thinking about insignificant things 151
48 At nightime you should sit with eyes closed and do japa of the mantra 153
49 Loss of the mind is defeat, mastery of the mind is success' 155
50 Man acts according to the desire of the mind 158
51 Attachment to the world will disappear only when you will bow to Paramatma 159
52 People say: 'So-and-so mahatma had fallen, so-and-so maharshi had fallen' 162
53 That the mind is not inclined towards bad actions and that it flows toward good actions - this is really man's primary effort 165
54 When you can be in the diamond business, then why are you blackening the hand in the brokerage of coal? 167
55 Now do such actions that do not become baggage for future suffering 170
56 The are many tyaagi and many who are generous; make an effort to be attached and stingy! 173
57 In one's own life, most important is paramarth, everyday business is secondary 177
58 First do your own work, then help in the work of others 179
59 Every moment of life is very precious 181
60 To hope for happiness and peace by knowing samsara is desiring to search for light in darkness 183
61 Don't suffer unrest by having pointless worries 185
62 Why the insults and the red-coloured powder at Holi? 188
63 The maharshi people ate roots, tubers and fruits, and were drinking water, but had the power to command emperors 194
64 If the value of one shloka of the Gita is understood, or even one line of the shloka is understood, then your welfare will happen 200
65 There are various methods of remembering Bhagwan. You should understand one's own suitable methods from gurus 205
66 That the food is not pure is the very reason that many thoughts occur 208
67 It is difficult to get a human body, this is what the Shastra says 215
68 In truth, worshipping any of the gods is really worship of Bhagwan 219
69 Having taken one guru, another you should not' - this is all rubbish talk and is obstructive to the welfare 221
70 Your own house is full of rubbish and you go to sweep the house of another, this is not intelligent at all 223
71 Take a look and consider one time; 'Who are you?' 225
72 To drink Gangajal why will you drink from the gutter? 228
73 Some people understand the magnificence of OM and start to do japa of it 232
74 Kshatriya, vaishya, shudra and female sex are not to be in the position of guru 236
75 The welfare of women is in the attachment to husband 239
76 TheShastra is said to be the command of Bhagwan 242
77 Bowing the head is to surrender one's ahamkara 247
78 Whom do we call ajagadguru? 253
79 Giving attention to insignificant things, the mind will turn around and around the wheel of samsara 258
80 One does not become a mahatma from clothes dyed in ochre or the mark of a tilak 261
81 Take more effort in purifying the mind than in collecting wealth 263
82 By the fire of knowledge one's own mass of karma becomes ashes 266
83 To withdraw from samsara and to apply oneself in the direction of Paramatma takes effort 270
84 But when the wood is rubbed then it can be lit and can be used according to our wishes 272
85 By searching in the vegetable bazaar you will not get a diamond no matter how much you try 274
86 Chant worship of Bhagwan - whether the mind likes it or not 277
87 Is it best to experience the darshan of Bhagwan by knowledge or with the sight? 279
88 Can anybody who is unwell become healthy from formless medicine? 285
89 If you will grow an acacia tree it will have thoms, no mango will grow 292
90 Which people go to hell? 295
91 Don't get the mind excessively involved in samsara, apply it towards Bhagwan 300
92 To reach towards Bhagwan, take the assistance of his name 304
93 Suffering exists only in appearance, it is not real 311
94 The drunk falls in the gutter and is happy remaining there 317
95 The nastika also has this wish to be happy and serene 322
96 With worldly people, only maintain good manners, they are not a basis for attachment 328
97 Happiness does not lie in being born in any caste 332
98 It is not proper to be wicked to the wicked, to go and be abusive to those who are abusive 337
99 When samsara is separate from you, then what will you abandon? 342
100 All the pain and unrest of samsara is caused by aviveka 347
101 Self-interest is prevalent 351
102 Materialism is not capable of giving happiness and peace 353
103 If that is in our destiny, it is really certain that we will get it' 355
104 By self-restraint of the senses you will be happy in your self 361
105 Live carefully - make proper use of existence 366
106 Celestial vision is needed in order to see the heavenly form of Bhagwan 371
107 Don't forget that everyday business is really the way of paramarth 375
108 By performing dharma, sin becomes destroyed' 378
  Glossary 379

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