Q: Swamiji advocates selfless service but we, as human beings, are self-obsessed. How can one overcome selfishness and become selfless?
A: A human being does not come to earth to live for hundreds of years. He may live for possibly 80, 90 or 100 years. What wealth does he have? His true wealth is his body. The body is the most precious wealth you possess, not the wealth of money, land or property and so on. You need to ask yourself-did you become selfish because of love for your body? How did you become selfish? Why should you be a selfish person? Why should selfish thoughts arise in the mind? The reason is because of the attachment you have for worldly things. Most people are interested in running after worldly things and getting entangled in mundane matters.
Navaratri is a nine day festival during which various aspects of the Divine Mother are worshipped every day. To read more about this festival please go to, ‘Archives > religious festivals.’
“Mother’s grace is boundless and her mercy limitless. Use this Navaratri time to obtain her loving grace. May the Divine Mother transform you into a vessel of her peace, wisdom and glory. Om Shakti Om.” Swami Premananda
In the following satsang, Swamiji talks about how to pray to the Divine Mother, especially during this auspicious festival period.
“Why should you be afraid? You should not be afraid of anything or anyone. I am always reminding you that the Divine lives within you. The Divine Mother is the sole, yet omnipresent, primordial force that activates all of us and all that lives. The more you remember the Divine, the more the grace and protection of the Divine Mother will fill your heart. The Divine Mother always protects all living beings, including those who are ignorant of her. The Divine Mother is in everything and knows everything…”
– Swamiji talks about women in spirituality –
A large part of Swamiji’s mission is about the uplift of women not just in society but in their role in spirituality too. Swami often spoke about the fact that women can advance in spirituality very quickly once they choose to follow the spiritual path. He said, “I would like to tell you something. There is nothing that ladies can’t do. They can attain enlightenment! They can come to a higher state and do everything! But you should surrender attachment to the maya that is within you. Maya is residing within you, without your knowledge.” He also said, “I feel that ladies should develop in spirituality. I want them to develop, mature and be accepted as great spiritual people. I like to teach them and show the world how great they are, but it is a very difficult task. They must have more self-confidence and less attachment.”
He wholeheartedly encouraged the ladies in the Ashram not only to take an active part in the running of the Ashram but also to perform the daily worship. This has continued since Swamiji’s samadhi and ladies are performing the temple worship to Swamiji’s samadhi lingam and performing abhishekam to the puja hall deities on a daily basis.
In Sri Premananda Ashram we perform an ancient ritual called abhishekam to the Goddess Bhuvaneshwari every night of the year. During Navaratri however, Her presence is even more powerful and everybody gathers in the puja hall each night to worship Her. Swamiji always talked about the original force in the universe, Adi Shakti. Bhuvaneshwari is often referred to as Adi Shakti. That essence of Adi Shakti is the original, that which came before name and form. Adi Shakti or Bhuvaneshwari is therefore the supreme spirit without form. She also takes a form as Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva. Bhuvaneshwari is the formless energy or consort of the formless Shiva. All of the Sri Premananda Centres around the world also have a five metal statue of Goddess Bhuvaneshwari, which they perform regular abhishekams to.
Swamiji gave many satsangs about the necessity of having a Guru if we want to progress well on the spiritual path, about the Guru-disciple relationship, how we benefit from having a spiritual master, and advised how to celebrate Guru Poornima. Here are some of his golden words.
“Guru Poornima is a day to remember the saints, sages, avatars and spiritual masters who guide us on the spiritual path and who have been born on this earth from the time the world was created.
This day comes once in 365 days. On this day, let us think about those great souls and in our minds chant, “Gurur Brahma, Gurur Vishnu, Gurur Devor Maheshwaraha” and think of the Supreme who is the Guru of Gurus.
I bless my children who live all over the world. I pray for their minds to become pure. I am sitting as a lotus flower in the hearts of those who accepted me as their guide. I will protect you …
Swamiji’s Christmas recipe
Lord Jesus Christ’s life was the perfect example of total renunciation, self-surrender and selfless service. The world needs to ask how it is remembering the birth of this great soul. His birthday is not really a time to spend money uselessly and recklessly on unnecessary presents or behave wildly and get drunk. How shall we celebrate Christmas? ….
The symbolic meaning of ‘the blood of Christ’
Many people have asked me questions over the years concerning the life of Lord Jesus Christ. Some have said his crucifixion was a time of severe testing for him concerning his own faith in God, whom he revered as the Divine Father. Some have said his violent death was his karma. However, I feel that we must consider that Lord Jesus Christ was a wonderful mahatma (realized soul) who knew the past, present and future of humankind, like other great saints and sages who are considered as real embodiments of the Divine….
Developing human kindness
“Money, property, status, name and fame, a wife, children – all these worldly things are indeed an illusion. The path we need to on is entirely different. If, instead, we carry unnecessary burdens inside us, we will never be able to achieve anything spiritually.
Throw all your sorrows, difficulties, anger, disappointments, failures and worries away and go in search of permanent peace. Go close to God’s feet. Experience the soul that is “You” as infinite…”
Your heart is the source – a poem by Swami Premananda
”That which you long for
Is not what you should desire.
That which you want
Is not what you should acquire.
What you should forget
Is that which you keep in mind…”
During the Navaratri celebrations in India we worship the many aspects of the Divine Mother. Its high point is the final and tenth day. It is called Vijayadasami – day of Vijaya, the Mother’s great victory over all negativity and ignorance. On this day we should pray to the Divine Mother and our spiritual master to bless us all with the qualities necessary for victory over the ego-enemies within us. First, we should beg for her grace. Without her divine energy surrounding us, we can do nothing. Then we need to ask her for self-confidence, endless strength and courage. Do not lose sight of what the Divine Mother truly is. We call her by many names but she is the supreme Divinity that grants us liberation and freedom from all our karma and suffering. On this special day, we should only think of the great light of the Mother, the destroyer of all pain and anxiety.