Swāmī Abhedānanda Sisters and brothers of California, since the year 1893, when our illustrious brother, Swâmi Vivekânanda, delivered his address on the Vedânta philosophy before the Parliament of religions at the World’s fair in Chicago, a genuine interest has been created in the minds of the people of this country to make a careful study of the philosophy and religion of ancient India. Since that time many of the wrong impressions and erroneous notions have been removed from the minds of the western people by the writings of the Swâmis and of such able scholars as the late Prof. Max Müller, Deussen and others. But the majority of those who have not studied such writings often ask such questions: “What is Vedânta? Is it the same as theosophy? Is it Spiritualim? Is it Buddhism? Or is it the same as the new thought Movement which makes healing diseases the highest end of life?”
Swāmī Abhedānanda India has produced many great spiritual leaders who are recognized and worshipped as Saviours of mankind. The life and character of each of these were as wonderful, superhuman, and divine as were those of the illustrious Son of Man. Each has been like the embodiment of all Divine attributes; each has been the giver of new life to the old spiritual truths, and the generator of that tidal wave of spirituality which has again and again inundated the religious world, surmounting the barriers of superstition and prejudice and carrying the stream of individual souls toward the ocean of Divinity.
Swāmī Abhedānanda EVERY religion can be divided into two parts, one of which may be called the non- essential and the other the essential. Doctrines, dogmas, rituals, ceremonies, and mythology of all the organized religious creeds come under the head of the non-essential.
Swāmī Abhedānanda Sisters and brothers of California, since the year 1893, when our illustrious brother, Swâmi Vivekânanda, delivered his address on the Vedânta philosophy before the Parliament of Religions at the World’s Fair in Chicago, a genuine interest has been created in the minds of the people of this country to make a careful study of the philosophy and religion of ancient India. Since that time many of the wrong impressions and erroneous notions have been removed from the minds of the Western people by the writings of the Swâmis and of such able scholars as the late Prof. Max Müller, Deussen and others. But the majority of those who have not studied such writings often ask such questions: “What is Vedânta? Is it the same as Theosophy? Is it Spiritualim? Is it Buddhism? Or is it the same as the New Thought Movement which makes healing diseases the highest end of life?”
Swāmī Abhedānanda I. Introductory. II. What is Yoga? III. Science of Breathing. IV. Was Christ a Yogi? “For Christians interested in foreign missions this book is of moment, as showing the method of reasoning which they must be prepared to meet if they are to influence the educated Hindu. To the Orientalist, and the philosopher also, the book is not without interest.…Swâmi Abhedânanda preaches no mushroom creed and no Eurasian hybrid ‘theosophy.’ He aims to give us a compendious account of Yoga. Clearly and admirably he performs his task. In form the little book is excellent, and its English style is good.”—New York Times Saturday Review of Books, Dec. 6, 1902. “‘How to be a Yogi’ is a little volume that makes very interesting reading. The book contains the directions that must be followed in physical as well as in mental training by one who wishes to have full and perfect control of all his powers.”—Record Herald, Chicago, Feb. 28, 1903. “The Swâmi writes in a clear, direct manner. His chapter on Breath will elicit more than ordinary attention, as there is much in it that will prove helpful. The book makes a valuable addition to Vedanta Philosophy.”—Mind, June, 1903. The book is calculated to interest the student of Oriental thought and familiarize the unread with one of the greatest philosophical systems of the world.”—Buffalo Courier, Nov. 23, 1902. “‘How to be a Yogi’ practically sums up the whole science of Vedanta Philosophy. The term Yogi is lucidly defined and a full analysis is given of the science of breathing and its bearing on the highest spiritual development. The methods and practices of Yoga are interestingly set forth, and not the least important teaching of the book is the assertion of how great a Yogi was Jesus of Nazareth.”—The Bookseller, Newsdealer and Stationer, Jan. 15, 1903.
“This book is well worth a careful reading. Condensed, yet clear and concise, it fills one with the desire to emulate these Yogis in attaining spiritual perfection.”—Unity, Kansas City, Dec., 1902.
Swāmī Abhedānanda I. Spirit and Matter. II. Knowledge of the Self. III. Prana and the Self. IV. Search after the Self. V, Realization of the Self. VI. Immortality and the Self. “So practically and exhaustively is each phase of the subject treated that it may well serve as a text-book for anyone striving for self-development and a deeper understanding of human nature.”—Toronto Saturday Night, Dec. 1905. “It will also be welcomed by students of the Vedic Scriptures, since each chapter is based upon some one of the ancient Vedas known as the Upanishads, and many passages are quoted.”—Chicago Inter-Ocean, Jan. 1906. “The book, from the gifted pen of the head of the Vedanta Society of New York, presents in a clear manner, calculated to arrest the attention of those not yet familiar with Vedic literature, the principles of self-knowledge as taught by the leaders of that philosophy.…The many passages quoted prove the profound wisdom and practical teaching contained in the early Hindu Scriptures.”—Washington Evening Star, Dec. 1905. “A new book which will be welcome to students of Truth, whether it be found in the Eastern religions, in modern thought or elsewhere.”—Unity, Nov. 1905. “The book is very well written.”—San Francisco Chronicle, Dec. 1905. “In forcefulness and clearness of style it is in every way equal to the other works by the Swami Abhedananda, who has always shown himself in his writings a remarkable master of the English language.”—Mexican Herald, Dec. 1905.
“The volume is forcefully written, as are all of this author’s works, and cannot fail to be of great interest to all who have entered this field of thought. A fine portrait of the Swami forms the frontispiece.”—Toledo Blade, Nov. 1905.
Swāmī Abhedānanda I. Self-control. II. Concentration and Meditation. III. God-consciousness.
“This attractive little volume comprises three lectures on the Vedanta Philosophy. The discourses will be found vitally helpful even by those who know little and care less about the spiritual and ethical teachings of which the Swami is an able and popular exponent. As the Vedanta itself is largely a doctrine of universals and ultimates, so also is this book of common utility and significance among all races of believers. Its precepts are susceptible of application by any rational thinker, regardless of religious predilection and inherited prejudices. The principles set forth by this teacher are an excellent corrective of spiritual bias or narrowness, and as such the present work is to be commended. It has already awakened an interest in Oriental literature that augurs well for the cause of human brotherhood, and it merits a wide circulation among all who cherish advanced ideals.”—Mind, April, 1902.
Swāmī Abhedānanda Swami Abhedananda’s name is familiar to all who are in touch with the New Religious movement in India and in lands beyond the seas where he spent the best portion of his life in preaching and teaching the philosophy and religion of the Vedanta. In America, he was widely known as a great scholar, a popular preacher, an accredited teacher of the Vedanta and an author of international reputation. But he was in fact, the most formidable champion of Indian culture and civilisation and a true patriot whose heart was always with India.
Swāmī Abhedānanda Nearly two thousand years ago Jesus of Nazareth declared before the world, “And ye shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall make you free.” The knowledge of Truth (Satyam) brings freedom to the soul ; this is the quintessence of the religion preached by that illustrious personage, who is worshipped all over Christendom as the only begotten Sou of God.
Swāmī Abhedānanda How To Be A Yogi
by Swâmi Abhedânanda
A road-map of the Yogic schools.
TRUE religion is extremely practical; it is, indeed, based entirely upon practice, and not upon theory or speculation of any kind, for religion begins only where theory ends. Its object is to mould the character, unfold the divine nature of the soul, and make it possible to live on the spiritual plane, its ideal being the realization of Absolute Truth and the manifestation of Divinity in the actions of the daily life.
THE Vedânta Philosophy includes the different branches of the Science of Yoga. Four of these have already been treated at length by the Swâmi Vivekananda in his works on "Râja Yoga," "Karma Yoga," "Bhakti Yoga," and "Jnâna Yoga"; but there existed no short and consecutive survey of the science as a whole. It is to meet this need that the present volume has been written. In an introductory chapter are set forth the true province of religion and the full significance of the word "spirituality" as it is understood in India. Next follows a comprehensive definition of the term "Yoga," with short chapters on each of the five paths to which it is applied, and their respective practices.
Swāmī Abhedānanda I. Reincarnation. II. Heredity and Reincarnation. III. Evolution and Reincarnation. IV. Which is Scientific, Resurrection or Reincarnation? V. Theory of Transmigration. “In these discourses the Swami Abhedananda considers the questions of evolution and the resurrection in their bearing upon the ancient teaching of rebirth, the truth, logic and justice of which are rapidly permeating the best thought of the Western world. For the preservation of this doctrine mankind is indebted to the literary storehouses of India, the racial and geographical source of much of the vital knowledge of Occidental peoples. Reincarnation is shown in the present volume to be a universal solvent of life’s mysteries. It answers those questions of children that have staggered the wisest minds who seek to reconcile the law of evolution and the existence of an intelligent and just Creator, with the proposition that man has but a single lifetime in which to develop spiritual self-consciousness. It is commended to every thinker.”—Mind, February, 1900. “It is a work which will appeal to the novice for its simplicity and definite quality, and to the student for its wealth of knowledge and suggestion.”—Vedanta Monthly Bulletin, Sept., 1907. “The book should prove a valuable acquisition.”—The Evening Sun, N. Y., December 21, 1907.
“This is the work of a man of fine education and of fine intellect.…(Reincarnation) as expounded by Swami Abhedananda is very plausible, quite scientific, and far from uncomforting. The exposition contained in this little book is well worth reading by all students of metaphysics. There is not the slightest danger of its converting or perverting any one to a new and strange religion. Reincarnation is not religion, it is science. Science was never known to hurt anybody but scientists.”—Brooklyn Eagle, December 13, 1907.
Swāmī Abhedānanda THE seers of Truth in ancient India, inspired by spiritual vision, realized the Almighty Lord of the universe, and at least two thousand years before Christ declared, “That which exists is One; men call It variously.”
Swāmī Abhedānanda One of the most poetical of the Upanishads, I mean the Katha Upanishad, which has been translated by Sir Edwin Arnold, under the title of “The Secret of Death,” begins with this inquiry: “There is this doubt; when a man dies, some say that he is gone forever, that he does not exist, while others hold that he still lives; which of these is true? “Various answers have been given to this question; metaphysics, philosophy, science and religion have tried to solve this problem. At the same time, attempts have also been made to suppress this question and to prevent inquiry as to whether or not man exists after death. Hundreds of thinkers have brought forward all sorts of arguments to do away with questions bearing upon this momentous subject. From ancient times, there have been atheistic and agnostic thinkers in India who denied the existence of the soul after the death of the body. They are known as Chârvâkas. They believe that the body is the soul, and that the soul does not exist outside of the body, and that when the body dies, the soul is also dead and gone. They believe in nothing that cannot be perceived by the senses. Their motto is: “As long as you live, do not fail to enjoy. Live comfortably and enjoy the pleasures of life. Do not think of the future. Get all that you need and wish; if you have not got money, then beg or borrow it, for when the body is burned into ashes no one will have to be accountable for your deeds.”
Swāmī Abhedānanda Contents: I. Existence of God.
II. Attributes of God.
III. Has God any Form?
IV. Fatherhood and Motherhood of God.
V. Relation of Soul to God.
VI. What is an Incarnation of God?
VII. Son of God.
VIII. Divine Principle in Man.
“The Swâmi Abhedânanda’s writings are also companionable and readable.… The Philosophy of India, being the bringing together of the best thoughts and reasonings of the best men for the thousands of preceding years, had under consideration the self-same problems that are to-day vexing the souls of our philosophers. The Swâmi’s book is therefore not so radical a departure from accepted thought as might at first be imagined.… It is not meat for babes, but rather will it give new lines of thought to the brightest intellects.”—Transcript, Boston, Aug. 1903. “His method of dealing with these fundamental questions is peculiarly free both from dogmatic assertion and from pure metaphysical speculation.”—Inter-Ocean, Chicago, Aug. 1903. “He bases his arguments, not on theological hypotheses, but on scientific facts.”—Cleveland Plain Dealer, Aug. 1903. “It is written in a plain and logical style, and cannot fail to interest all who are anxious for information concerning the philosophy of which the author is such an able exponent.”—Times Pittsburg, June, 1903. “A glance over a few of its pages would be sufficient to convince the reader that he is in the presence of an intellect of high order, more thoroughly conversant with the philosophies and sciences of the Occidental world than most Europeans or Americans.… The “Divine Heritage of Man” gives a rare insight into the religious views of educated Hindoos and in its argumentation furnishes an intellectual treat.”—Chronicle, San Francisco, Aug. 1903. “Fully cognizant of modern scientific discoveries, the author treats his subject broadly.”—Bookseller, Newsdealer, and Publisher, New York, Aug. 1903. “The student of religions will find much of value in the discourses, since they are full of historical information concerning the origin and growth of certain ideas and beliefs dominant in Christianity.”—Republican, Denver, July, 1903.
“There is no disposition on the part of the author to assail any of the Christian principles, but he simply presents his subject with calmness, not attempting to reconcile religion and science, for to him they are one.”—Washington Post, June, 1903.
Swāmī Abhedānanda & Joseph A. Fitzgerald Sri Ramakrishna (1836-1886) is considered the spiritual giant of modern Hinduism. As Mahatma Gandhi wrote: “Ramakrishna’s life enables us to see God face to face.” The Gospel of Ramakrishna was written in Bengali by Mahendra Nath Gupta, known as “M.” The present edition is the original version based on the author’s own English translation. This classic work is presented here in edited form for the contemporary reader. Also included is a short but comprehensive biography of Ramakrishna, written by his most famous disciple Swami Vivekananda.
Swāmī Abhedānanda I. Philosophy of Work. II. Secret of Work. III. Duty or Motive in Work.
“In this volume the Vedanta Society presents three lectures by the leader of the Hindu religious movement that is making much headway among philosophic minds throughout the United States. The book is an excellent antidote to the gospel of selfism now popular in many quarters, and a copy should be in the hands especially of every ambitious seeker after the loaves and fishes of material desire. It shows the folly of slavery to sense and the means of escape from the thraldom of egoism, while elucidating the Hindu concept of many things that are ‘race problems’ because of individual ignorance of spiritual principles. These discourses merit a wide circulation among unprejudiced minds”—Mind, February, 1903.
Swāmī Abhedānanda Spirituality does not depend upon the reading of Scriptures, or upon learned interpretations of Sacred Books, or upon fine theological discussions, but upon the realization of unchangeable Truth. In India a man is called truly spiritual or religious not because he has written some book, not because he possesses the gift of oratory and can preach eloquent sermons, but because he expresses divine powers through his words and deeds. A thoroughly illiterate man can attain to the highest state of spiritual perfection without going to any school or university, and without reading any Scripture, if he can conquer his animal nature by realizing his true Self and its relation to the universal Spirit; or, in other words, if he can attain to the knowledge of that Truth which dwells within him, and which is the same as the Infinite Source of existence, intelligence, and bliss. He who has mastered all the Scriptures, philosophies, and sciences, may be regarded by society as an intellectual giant; yet he cannot be equal to that unlettered man who, having realized the eternal Truth, has become one with it, who sees God everywhere, and who lives on this earth as an embodiment of Divinity.
The writer had the good fortune to be acquainted with such a divine man in India. His name was Râmakrishna. He never went to any school, neither had he read any of the Scriptures, philosophies, or scientific treatises of the world, yet he had reached perfection by realizing God through the practice of Yoga.
These powers begin to manifest in the soul that is awakened to the ultimate Reality of the universe. It is then that the sixth sense of direct perception of higher truths develops and frees it from dependence upon the sense powers. This sixth sense or spiritual eye is latent in each individual, but it opens in a few only among millions, and they are known as Yogis. With the vast majority it is in a rudimentary state, covered by a thick veil. When, however, through the practice of Yoga it unfolds in a man, he becomes conscious of the higher invisible realms and of everything that exists on the soul plane. Whatever he says harmonizes with the sayings and writings of all the great Seers of Truth of every age and clime. He does not study books; he has no need to do so, for he knows all that the human intellect can conceive. He can grasp the purport of a book without reading its text; he also understands how much the human mind can express through words, and he is familiar with that which is beyond thoughts and which consequently can never be expressed by words.
Swāmī Abhedānanda Every religion can be divided into two parts, one of which may be called the non‑essential and the other the essential. Doctrines, dogmas, rituals, ceremonies, and mythology of all the organized religious creeds come under the head of the non‑essential. It is not meant by this that they are useless; on the contrary, the very fact of their existence proves that they are helpful and necessary at certain stages of progress. What I mean is, that it cannot be said that they are absolutely necessary for making one live a purely spiritual life. A man or a woman may be highly spiritual without performing any of the rituals and ceremonies ordained, either by the scriptures of the world, or by any religious hierarchy. A man or a woman may be truly religious without believing in any creed, doctrine, dogma, or mythology. Those who think that these non‑essentials are indispensable for attaining to the ultimate goal of religion, have not yet grasped the fundamental principles that underlie all religions; they mistake the non‑essential for the essential; they cannot discriminate the one from the other; they lack the insight of spiritual illumination.
Swāmī Abhedānanda The visible phenomena of the universe are bound by the universal law of cause and effect. The effect is visible or perceptible, while the cause is invisible or imperceptible. The falling of an apple from a tree is the effect of a certain invisible force called gravitation. Although the force cannot be perceived by the senses, its expression is visible. All perceptible phenomena are but the various expressions of different forces which act as invisible agents upon the subtle and imperceptible forms of matter. These invisible agents or forces together with the imperceptible particles of matter make up the subtle states of the phenomenal universe.
Swāmī Abhedānanda The Vedanta Philosophy includes the different branches of the Science of Yoga. Four of these have already been treated at length by the Swami Vivekananda in his works on “Raja Yoga,” “Karma Yoga,” “Bhakti Yoga,” and “Jnana Yoga”; but there existed no short and consecutive survey of the science as a whole. It is to meet this need that the present volume has been written. In an introductory chapter are set forth the true province of religion and the full significance of the word “spirituality” as it is understood in India. Next follows a comprehensive definition of the term “Yoga,” with short chapters on each of the five paths to which it is applied, and their respective practices. An exhaustive exposition of the Science of Breathing and its bearing on the highest spiritual development shows the fundamental physiological principles on which the whole training of Yoga is based; while a concluding chapter, under the title “Was Christ a Yogi?” makes plain the direct relation existing between the lofty teachings of Vedanta and the religious faiths of the West.
Swāmī Abhedānanda In this age of scepticism and materialism few people care to know their real Self, which is Divine and immortal. But the knowledge of the true Self has always been the principal theme of the philosophy and religion of Vedanta. Even in its most ancient writings, the Upanishads, which form portions of the Vedic Scriptures, we find how earnestly Self‑knowledge or Atma‑jnana was sought after and extolled. The great inspired seers mentioned in these Upanishads discovered and taught that knowledge of the Self lies at the root of all knowledge, whether of science, philosophy or religion. Every sincere seeker after knowledge, therefore, who desires intellectual, moral or spiritual development, must first learn to discriminate between spirit and matter, soul and body, and then realize the all‑knowing Divine Self who is the eternal foundation of the universe.
Swāmī Abhedānanda The study of human nature is the most interesting and the most beneficial of all studies. The more we study ourselves, the better we can understand the universe, its laws, and the Truth that underlies its phenomena. It is said, “man is the epitome of the universe; whatever exists in the world is to be found in the body of man.” As, on the one hand, we find in man all those tendencies and propensities which characterize the lower animals, so on the other, we see him manifesting through the actions of his life all those noble qualities that adorn the character of one whom we honor, respect and worship as the Divine Being. Human nature seems to be a most wonderful blending of that which is animal with that which is called divine.
Swāmī Abhedānanda Those who understand the Philosophy of Work and act accordingly, are pure in heart and enter into the life of Blessedness. In Sanskrit this philosophy of work is called Karma Yoga. It is one of the methods by which the final goal of Truth may be realized. There are three others—that of love, that of wisdom, and that of concentration and meditation; but all these paths are like so many rivers which ultimately flow into the ocean of Truth, and each is suited to the mental and physical conditions of different individuals. One in whom the feeling of worship is predominant will naturally choose the path of love and devotion; another, more philosophical, will take that of discrimination; a third will prefer the practice of concentration and meditation; while those who have an instinctive tendency to work, who are neither philosophical nor able to concentrate or meditate, and who find it difficult to believe in a personal God, may, without worship or devotion, reach realization through the knowledge of the secret of right action.
Swāmī Abhedānanda A short treatise on the various forms of yoga, including Hatha, Raja, Karma, Bhakti, and Jnana. The book also has chapters on the science of breathing, and the possibility that Christ was a Yogi.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
PREFACE INTRODUCTORY WHAT IS YOGA? HATHA YOGA RÂJA YOGA KARMA YOGA BHAKTI YOGA JNÂNA YOGA SCIENCE OF BREATHING WAS CHRIST A YOGI?
Swāmī Abhedānanda Swami Abhedananda (1866-1939) was a disciple of Ramakrishna Paramahansa. He was one of the firsts to spread the message of Vedanta Philosophy into the western world."How to Be a Yogi" is one of the most influential spiritual books of all time, a must-read for anyone interested in the art of meditation and self-realization.First published in 1902, it is a suggestive journey into the philosophy and the practice of Yoga.
Swāmī Abhedānanda A short treatise on the various forms of yoga, including Hatha, Raja, Karma, Bhakti, and Jnana. The book also has chapters on the science of breathing, and the possibility that Christ was a Yogi.TABLE OF CONTENTSPREFACEINTRODUCTORYWHAT IS YOGA?HATHA YOGARÂJA YOGAKARMA YOGABHAKTI YOGAJNÂNA YOGASCIENCE OF BREATHINGWAS CHRIST A YOGI?