JA slide show

Who am I

Success in life begins with knowing, "Who am I? What is the purpose of my life?" Knowledge of the self exists; but sincere seekers are rare. More rare are the great teachers of such wisdom. Since time immemorial, wise men have described our wonderful nature: spiritual, primeval, ever-existing, undying, unchangeable, imperishable. This selection of the writings of Jagad Guru Siddhaswarupananda Paramahamsa (Chris Butler) shares that timeless wisdom — inspiring, challenging , practical.

Quote of the day

For a person who cultivates wisdom or true knowledge, the results are inner peace, satisfaction, patience, respect for others, freedom from duplicity, compassion, joyfulness, and remembrance of his spiritual identity...
Quotes on wisdom, identity

If you are wise, you can see the person or atma within the body, and relate to the person, not to his body.

You should not judge a person by his race, weight, height, sex, genes, and so forth.

Another quote of Jagad Guru Chris Butler:

If you erroneously identify yourself with your body, you will conclude that your existence will end with the destruction of your body. But if you know that you are the eternal self within the body, you know that your existence will not end when your body dies.

A person who understands that (1) one day the body will cease existing, and that (2) he himself will not cease existing, naturally becomes less interested in material gain and material pursuits (which he knows will be taken away one day) and becomes more interested in making spiritual advancement—advancement in wisdom, love, and compassion.

~ Jagad Guru Chris Butler

 
The understanding required for real happiness

You are your body, right? You are chemical in essence ... right? At least, that’s what one of America’s most influential scientists claims:

I am a collection of water, calcium and organic molecules called Carl Sagan. You are a collection of almost identical molecules with a different collective label.*


Like Sagan, most people believe that they are their body. So if you ask them who they are, they think and respond in terms of bodily labels. 

“I’m Susan. I’m blond, 29 years old, a mother, and still 36-24-36!”
“I’m Henry. I’m a white American male and proud of it!”
“I’m John. I’m a lawyer. I’m 40 years old and getting older every day.”
“I’m Alice. I’m a female student. I’m fat and I’m a Methodist.”


Name, race, age, sex, religion, nationality, occupation, height, weight, and so on—all these are bodily labels. Therefore if you consider your body to be yourself, you automatically identify yourself with such labels. If your body is fat and ugly, you think, “Woe is me! I am fat and ugly.” If your body is 60 years old and female, you think,  “I am a 60-year-old female.” If your body is black and beautiful, you think, “I am black and beautiful.”

But is the body really the self? Are you really your body?

*Carl Sagan, Cosmos (New York: Random House, 1980), p. 127.
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Satisfaction
If you identify your body as yourself, you will try to satisfy yourself by trying to satisfy your body. You'll think, "I am the body and I want to be happy, I want to be satisfied." Thus, you'll try to satisfy the belly, the tongue, the genitals, the ears, the eyes, the nose, and so on, believing that this will bring you the inner satisfaction and happiness you crave.
But sense gratification does not satisfy. This is further evidence that you are not the body. No matter how much sense pleasure you have, you are still never satisfied within.
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The value of the material body in spiritual life

Masochism can never lead to spiritual perfection. The body is actually a most precious property of the self; it enables the self to engage in various devotional activities that can bring about a change in consciousness. A person's external activities affect his consciousness, and his consciousness affects his external activities. Knowing this, a bhakti yogi consciously chooses to engage in particular external activities in order to bring about the desired spiritual happiness and wisdom.

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