Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Paramahansa Yogananda, born Mukunda Lal Ghosh

Indian Holy Man, Author, Spiritual and Kriya Yoga Teacher in United States, Founder of Self-Realization Fellowship, introduced many Westerners to Kriya Yoga through is book, "Autobiography of a Yogi"

"Don’t seek little things; they will divert you from God."

"Do little things in an extraordinary way; be the best one in your line. You must not let your life run in the ordinary way; do something that nobody else has done, something that will dazzle the world. Show that god's creative principle works in you. Never mind the past. Though your errors be as deep as the ocean, the soul itself cannot be swallowed up by them. Have the unflinching determination to move on your path unhampered by limiting thoughts of past errors."

"Even while striving to improve yourself, learn to stand alone, secure in your own virtues and self-worth. If you want others to believe in you, remember, it isn’t only your words that have an effect, but what you are and what you feel within - what is in your soul."

"Don’t make a fuss about anything. Whenever you worry, remember, you are deepening the cosmic delusion within you."

"Evil was made sweet to delude you. You have to use your discrimination to distinguish between poisoned honey and that which is in your best interest. Avoid those things that will ultimately hurt you, and choose those that will give you freedom and happiness."

"I learned a great lesson: First comes my duty to God, and then I take care of all lesser duties."

"Habits are nothing but repetitions of your own thoughts, and these you have the capacity to change."

"Indulgence in constant thoughts of fear, anger, melancholy, remorse, envy, sorrow, hatred, discontent, or worry; and lack of the necessities for normal and happy living, such as right food, proper exercise, fresh air, sunshine, agreeable work and a purpose in life, all are causes of nervous disease."

"Happiness lies in making others happy, in forsaking self-interest to bring joy to others... To live for self is the source of all misery."

"It is important to differentiate between your needs and your wants. Your needs are few, while your wants can be limitless. In order to find freedom and Bliss, minister only to your needs. Stop creating limitless wants and pursuing the will-o’-the-wisp of false happiness."

"Learn to see God in all persons, of whatever race or creed. You will know what divine love is when you begin to feel your oneness with every human being, not before. In mutual service we forget the little self and glimpse the one measureless self, the spirit that unifies all men."

"Human reason can always find the “pros and cons’ for good and bad actions alike; it is inherently disloyal. Discrimination acknowledges only one polestar criterion: the soul."

"Most people do everything half-heartedly. They use only about one-tenth of their attention. That is why they haven’t the power to succeed."

"No matter what his present state, man can change for the better through self-control, discipline, and following proper diet and health laws. Why do you think you cannot change? Mental laziness is the secret cause of all weakness."

"Nothing is impossible unless you think it is."

"Life is entertaining when we do not take it too seriously."

"The soul’s hunger can never be appeased by indulgence of the senses."

"The urge to do and be that which is the noblest, the most beautiful of which we are capable, is the creative impulse of every high achievement. We strive for perfection here because we long to be restored to our oneness with God."

"Life is worth nothing if it is not a continuous overcoming of problems. Each problem that waits for a solution at your hand is a religious duty imposed upon you by life itself. Any escape from problems, physical or mental, is an escape from life, as there can be no life that is not full of problems."

"Persons of strong character are usually the happiest. They do not blame others for troubles that can usually be traced to their own actions and lack of understanding. They know that no one has any power to add to their happiness or detract from it unless they themselves are so weak that they allow the adverse thoughts and wicked actions of others to affect them."

"Saints are sinners who did not give up."

"The more you depend upon conditions outside yourself for happiness, the less happiness you will experience."

"The essential proof of Self-realization - of God’s consciousness in you - is to be truly and unconditionally happy."

"The most essential requirement for a happy marriage is soul unity - similarity of spiritual ideals and goals, implemented by a practical willingness to attain those goals by study, effort, and self-discipline."

"The ordinary person is influenced by his worldly environment. The man of concentration shapes his own life. He plans his day and finds at the end of the day that his plans are carried out; he finds himself nearer to God and his goal. A weak man plans many wonderful things, but finds at the end of the day that he has been a victim of circumstances and bad habits. Such a person usually blames everyone but himself."

"The purpose of life is the evolution, though self-effort, of man’s limited mortal consciousness into God Consciousness."

"We are what we think we are. The habitual inclination of our thoughts determines our talents and abilities, and our personality... So whatever you want to be, start to develop that pattern now. You can instill any trend in your consciousness right now, provided you inject a strong thought in your mind; then your actions and whole being will obey that thought. One must never give up the hope of becoming better."

"Virtue and purity are not rooted in weakness."

"Try to do little things in an extraordinary way."

"Change your thoughts if you wish to change your circumstances. Since you alone are responsible for your thoughts, only you can change them. You will want to change them when you realize that each thought creates according to its own nature."

"You are the master of the moments of your life."

"At death, you forget all the limitations of the physical body, and realize how free you are... You exist apart from the mortal body... There is nothing to fear. When death comes, laugh at it. Death is only an experience through which you are meant to learn a great lesson: you cannot die. Our real self, the soul, is immortal. We may sleep for a little while in that change called death, but we can never be destroyed. We exist, and that existence is eternal... Nothing can terminate the eternal consciousness."

"We should approach our nearest Problem or duty with concentrated energy and execute it to perfection. This should be our philosophy of life."

"Watch your motives in everything. Both the greedy man and the yogi eat. But would you say that eating is a sin because it is often associated with greed? Sin lies in the thought, in the motive. The worldly man eats to satisfy his greed, and the yogi eats to keep his body well. There is a lot of difference."

"Death is not the end: it is temporary emancipation... the land to which souls go at death - they enjoy a freedom such as they never knew during their earthly life. So don’t pity the person who is passing through the delusion of death, for in a little while he will be free. Once he gets out of that delusion, he sees that death was not so bad after all. He realizes that his mortality was only a dream and rejoices that now no fire can burn him, no water can drown him; he is free and safe."

"Your highest happiness lies in your being ever ready in desiring to learn, and to behave properly. The more you improve yourself, the more you will elevate others around you. The self-improving man is the increasingly happy man."

"If you contact God within yourself, you will know that He is in everyone, that He has become the children of all races. Then you cannot be an enemy to anyone. If the whole world could love with that universal love, there would be no more need for men to arm themselves against one another."

"In the universal sense, love is the divine power of attraction in creation that harmonizes, unites, binds together... Those who live in tune with the attractive force of love achieve harmony with nature and their fellow beings, and are attracted to blissful reunion with God."

"In seemingly empty space there is one Link, one Life eternal, which unites everything in the universe - animate and inanimate - one wave of Life flowing through everything."

"Life finds its purpose and fulfillment in the expansion of happiness."

"I believe a time will come when in greater understanding we shall have no boundaries anymore."

"Is a diamond less valuable because it is covered with mud? God sees the changeless beauty of our souls. He knows we are not our mistakes."

"Mankind must realize that the basic nature of the soul is spiritual. For man and woman to look upon each other only as a means to satisfy lust is to court the destruction of happiness. Slowly, bit by bit, peace of mind will go."

"Many people may doubt that finding God is the purpose of life; but everyone can accept the idea that the purpose of life is to find happiness. I say that God is Happiness. He is Bliss. He is Love. He is Joy that will never go away from your soul. So why shouldn’t you try to acquire that Happiness? No one else can give it to you. You must continuously cultivate it yourself."

"Our love is the one thing God does not possess, unless we choose to bestow it. So, you see, even the Lord has something to attain: our love. And we shall never be happy until we give it."

"Peace is the altar of God, the condition in which happiness exists."

"Remember that when you are unhappy it is generally because you do not visualize strongly enough the great things that you definitely want to accomplish in life, nor do you employ steadfastly enough your will power, your creative ability, and your patience until your dreams are materialized."

"Seek God for His own sake. The highest perception is to feel Him as Bliss, welling up from your infinite depths. Don’t yearn for visions, spiritual phenomena, or thrilling experiences. The path to the Divine is not a circus!"

"The greatest influence in your life, stronger even than your will power, is your environment. Change that, if necessary. There are two kinds of environment that you should watch carefully - the outer and the inner."

"The metaphysician looks at truth from within to without. That is why they clash. But realized souls who understand science as well as metaphysics find no difference at all. They see the parallelism between science and truth because they see the whole picture."