The Teachings of Guru Dev

Brahmananda Saraswati

His heavenly abode: Brahma-loka


BOOK: 108 Discourses of Guru Dev: Life & Teachings of Swami Brahmananda Saraswati Shankaracharya of Jyotirmath (1941-1953) Vol. I Paperback – June 10, 2009

by Paul Mason (Author

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BOOK: The Sweet Teachings of the Blessed Sankaracarya Swami Brahmananda Saraswati Paperback – December 12, 2013

by Lb Shriver (Author), Translation by Cynthia Ann Humes (Contributor)


BOOK REVIEW BY P MASON

I'm so glad that Cynthia Humes' English translation of the Hindi book of 108 discourses of Shankaracharya Swami Brahamanand Saraswati is at last available to book readers. Cynthia prepared this translation many years ago yet due to one thng and another it was put to one side. Now those interested in this teacher, sometimes known as Guru Dev, have an alternate translation to read. I understand that there have been four translations made, my own, '108 Discourses', which also includes the original Devanagari text, Cynthia Humes', the translations L B Shriver commissioned and those hard to find translations by Muni. Let's hope that in the fullness of time, all four versions will sit side-by-side on the shelves of those who prize these teachings. Jai Guru Dev


  1. Only he who is happy can make another happy

  2. Having entered saṃsāra, now listen up and use all your skill so that you won't have to re-enter these pots of excrement and urine

  3. Man has freedom in action, but enjoying their fruits is in the power of another

  4. Don't waste all your cleverness on satisfying your stomach; the cleverest of all is the person who worships Bhagavàn

  5. Don't contemplate fulfilling every desire

  6. That which is fated (bhàgya) will undoubtedly come to pass and must be experienced; therefore, whether it be wealth or poverty, endure it courageously when it comes

  7. Having attained human birth, don't waste it

  8. Moksa Arises From Karma

  9. The true meaning of life is to advance oneself for the future

  10. Suffering At the Time of Death

  11. Let not the last days of life be spoiled

  12. Seeking happiness from that which you will be parted is a great mistake; If you love this world and its objects too much, you will weep lifetime after lifetime

  13. Consider both friends and enemies with equanimity - both are conduits of your own bad and good karma

  14. Confess misdeeds, but hide good deeds

  15. It is false that one can keep sinning once one begins singing the praise of Bhagavàn

  16. If you want to serve Bhagavàn, then follow the ideal of Hanumàn Ji

  17. Do not waste power (sàkti) and misuse intelligence (buddhi)

  18. As the deity (deva), so the worship (pūjà)

  19. The false man can get no peace even if he is as rich as Kubera (God of Wealth) himself

  20. Look for faults in yourself, not others

  21. Saṃsāra is not worthy of your love; "If you tie your mind to that, you will be cheated"

  22. Honor those who deserve honor, disdain those who deserve disdain

  23. Whoever has come, will certainly go; nobody stays here

  24. The more you give to Bhagavàn in worship, the more you will receive in blessings. Any effort you invest will be returned to you many times

  25. Paramàtmà is Vishvambhara.; He will take care of all your needs: don't forget him and become an ingrate

  26. Live the days of your life peacefully and without wasting time making a fuss

  27. Gain Power (shakti), A life without power is wasted

  28. Don't get involved in the controversy over form or formlessness

  29. As the Costume, so the Dance

  30. Love (Prena) for Paramàtmà, and for Saṃsāra, just the Shadow of Love

  31. To be born a human is more fortunate than to be born a god (deva); Make human life fruitful by fulfilling the ideal human goals

  32. Worry about him — the one who can release [you] from all worries

  33. He who must judge right and wrong is watching all your actions

  34. Remain in the four mental dispositions and you will gain both this and the next world

  35. Don't get cheated by pursuing siddhis.

  36. The unity of jiva and brahman "Freedom (nivçtti) from birth and death by selfless service (niùkàma karma), protection through righteous behavior"

  37. Renouncing thirst and worshipping äśvara makes happiness possible

  38. Don't complicate your life by constantly making plans

  39. What is the purpose of Bhagavàn's incarnation?

  40. With but minimal attention from the mind, mundane affairs can go on

  41. If you want peace and happiness in both this world and the next, then take refuge in the omnipotent Paramàtmà

  42. Nobody in saṃsāra wants your mind — use your body and wealth to manage your affairs and place your mind on Paramàtmà

  43. If you want to escape ruin, free yourself from sin and build up your merit

  44. Engage your mind in saṃsāra but not so much that the higher goals (paramàrtha) are impeded

  45. A devotee of Bhagavàn cannot stay sorrowful

  46. Before your kinsmen lose respect in you, turn to Bhagavàn

  47. Bhagavàn's pledge to his devotees: "I am ready to do everything"

  48. One should chant (japa) and meditate (dhyàna) every night before sleep without fail

  49. The one who is always immersed in sensory pleasures will never be able to do any work; the more you spend in good company, the more you will reject bad company

  50. Wherever the mind is inclined to go, it sets out on that path by itself

  51. Attachment is the root of all miseries

  52. Don't let fear of obstacles deter you from your path; there is no fear of falling, for Bhagavàn will protect you

  53. To prevent inclination for the bad and to apply oneself to the good: this is the primary human goal (puruùàrtha)

  54. When one turns away from Paramàtmà, all types of distress swarm around

  55. The human goal (puruùàrtha) is stronger than currently manifesting (pràrabdha) karma

  56. There are many renouncers and benefactors; try instead to become very attached and miserly

  57. Grab onto the one Bhagavàn steadfastly, then you will not have to flatter the many

  58. Saṃsāra will go on like it always has; while you are here, attend to your own work

  59. Human birth is rare, make it useful

  60. If you want power (shakti), attach yourself to the source of power. It is foolish to imagine happiness in saṃsāra, the very ocean of sorrow

  61. Those for whom you are straining and struggling will reject you

  62. Why do we abuse and throw colored powder on Holã?

  63. How was the son of the great demon Hiraṇyakaśipu born a great devotee?

  64. Become humble to gain the blessings of the all-merciful

  65. Always do your own enjoined duties and remember Bhagavàn

  66. Contemplation on Bhagavàn and a pure diet

  67. Avoid further births as a human

  68. The sign of the devotee is experiencing Bhagavàn everywhere

  69. There is no sin in changing one's guru

  70. You may obtain all the knowledge available in the world, but if you do not know about yourself, you will remain ignorant

  71. By forgetting your nature you get submerged in the sea of sorrow

  72. Chant the name of Bhagavàn according to rule

  73. Chanting of the syllable Om

  74. Guruhood is not for the Kṣatriya, Vaiśya, øūdra, or Women

  75. Women benefit only by fulfilling their wifely duties

  76. Act according to the Veda and ÷àstra which are Bhagavàn's orders

  77. Who is a "Guru"?

  78. Who is called a Jagad Guru?

  79. Reflecting on conversations with the pious is necessary

  80. Become a mahàtma even while residing at home

  81. It is more important to purify the intellect than to accumulate wealth

  82. Without knowledge (jnàna) there can be neither Bhakti nor Mokùa

  83. Hasten to do good works

  84. If you want to benefit from Bhagavàn, then do spiritual practice and make him manifest in one location

  85. If you want happiness, walk towards the ocean of happiness

  86. Pray to Bhagavàn without fail, whether the mind likes it or not

  87. Is it best to experience dar÷an of Bhagavàn through knowledge (j¤àna) or through perception?

  88. Don't get involved in any controversy over bhakti and j¤àna, or arguments about the manifest (sàkàr) and unmanifest (niràkàr)

  89. We must reap the consequences of what we have sown

  90. Whatever is in your mind, speak and act accordingly

  91. Do not entangle your mind in the things of this world, apply it toward Bhagavàn

  92. To reach God, rely upon His name

  93. Sorrow has only apparent (pràtibhàsika), not true (vàstavika) reality

  94. Saṃsāra is an ocean of sorrow; only the knower of the Self can cross it

  95. Try to cross the vast ocean of becoming

  96. There is no supporter other than Paramàtmà

  97. Caste ranking is not beneficial

  98. To become wicked toward the wicked and to abuse those who abuse us is not correct

  99. Freed from both giving up and acquiring, dissolve into the bliss of your essential nature

  100. Lack of discrimination causes humans endless difficulties

  101. Selfishness is very powerful

  102. Materialism cannot give peace and happiness

  103. Have faith in fate for your livelihood

  104. Carry out good actions as much as possible

  105. Be alert and utilize this life properly

  106. Only by focusing with discrimination is the mind directed to the good path

  107. Whoever has forgotten his goal will miss his path

  108. There is no lack of anything for the one who has turned towards Bhagavàn