Biography

Sri Yukteswar Giri (also written Sriyuktesvara, Sri Yukteshwar) (Devanagari: श्रीयुक्तेश्वर गिरि ) (10 May 1855 – 9 March 1936) is the monastic name of Priya Nath Karar (also spelled as Priya Nath Karada and Preonath Karar), an Indian monk and yogi, and the guru of Paramahansa Yogananda and Swami Satyananda Giri. Born in Serampore, West Bengal, Sri Yukteswar was a Kriya yogi, a Jyotisha (Vedic astrologer), a scholar of the Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads, an educator, author, and astronomer.

He was a disciple of Lahiri Mahasaya of Varanasi and a member of the Giri branch of the Swami order.

As a guru, he had two ashrams, one in Serampore and another in Puri, Odisha, between which he alternated his residence throughout the year as he trained disciples.Described by Tibetologist W.Y. Evans-Wentz as being “of gentle mien and voice, of pleasing presence,” and with “high character and holiness,” Sri Yukteswar was a progressive-minded figure in 19th-century Serampore society; he regularly held religious festivals throughout the year around the towns and at his ashrams, created a “Satsanga Sabha” spiritual study organization, established syllabi for educational institutions, and re-analyzed the Vedic astrological yugas.

Noted for his sharp mind and insightful knowledge, he became a respected guru throughout the greater Kolkata area to his Kriya yoga students, and also regularly invited individuals from all social backgrounds to his ashrams to discuss and exchange ideas on a range of topics.

As a guru, he was nonetheless known for his candid insight, stern nature and strict disciplinary training methods, as noted by his disciple Yogananda in his autobiography.

The rigorous nature of his training eventually prepared his disciples, such as Satyananda and Yogananda himself, for their own intense social work in India and America, respectively.

In accordance with the high ideals and “penetrating insight” with which he lived, Sri Yukteswar was considered by Yogananda as a Jnanavatar, or “Incarnation of Wisdom;” Evans-Wentz felt him “worthy of the veneration which his followers spontaneously accorded to him Content to remain afar from the multitude, he gave himself unreservedly and in tranquility to that ideal life which Paramhansa Yogananda, his disciple, has now described for the ages.”

Lineage

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Quotes

Quotes «Forget the past. The vanished lives of all men are dark with many shames. Human conduct is ever unreliable until man is anchored in the Divine.»

«Everything in future will improve if you are making a spiritual effort now.»

«Remember that finding God will mean the funeral of all sorrows.»

«Nothing matters except your steady, daily spiritual advancement; for that, use Kriya Yoga.»

Quotes on ASTROLOGY AND KARMA

«Charlatans have brought the stellar science to its present state of disrepute. Astrology is too vast, both mathematically and philosophically, to be rightly grasped except by men of profound understanding. If ignoramuses misread the heavens, and see there a scrawl instead of a script, that is to be expected in this imperfect world. One should not dismiss the wisdom with the ‘wise.’»

«A child is born on that day and at that hour when the celestial rays are in mathematical harmony with his individual karma. His horoscope is a challenging portrait, revealing his unalterable past and its probable future results. But the natal chart can be rightly interpreted only by men of intuitive wisdom: these are few.»

«The message boldly blazoned across the heavens at the moment of birth is not meant to emphasize fate—the result of past good and evil—but to arouse man’s will to escape from his universal thralldom. What he has done, he can undo. None other than himself was the instigator of the causes of whatever effects are now prevalent in his life. He can overcome any limitation, because he created it by his own actions in the first place, and because he has spiritual resources which are not subject to planetary pressure.»

«Superstitious awe of astrology makes one an automaton, slavishly dependent on mechanical guidance. The wise man defeats his planets—which is to say, his past—by transferring his allegiance from the creation to the Creator. The more he realizes his unity with Spirit, the less he can be dominated by matter. The soul is ever-free; it is deathless because birthless. It cannot be regimented by stars.»

«Man is a soul, and has a body. When he properly places his sense of identity, he leaves behind all compulsive patterns. So long as he remains confused in his ordinary state of spiritual amnesia, he will know the subtle fetters of environmental law.»

«God is harmony; the devotee who attunes himself will never perform any action amiss. His activities will be correctly and naturally timed to accord with astrological law. After deep prayer and meditation he is in touch with his divine consciousness; there is no greater power than that inward protection.»

«It is only when a traveler has reached his goal that he is justified in discarding his maps. During the journey, he takes advantage of any convenient short cut.»

«All human ills arise from some transgression of universal law. The scriptures point out that man must satisfy the laws of nature, while not discrediting the divine omnipotence. He should say: ‘Lord, I trust in Thee, and know Thou canst help me, but I too will do my best to undo any wrong I have done.’ By a number of means—by prayer, by will power, by yoga meditation, by consultation with saints, by use of astrological bangles—the adverse effects of past wrongs can be minimized or nullified.»

«The deeper the self-realization of a man, the more he influences the whole universe by his subtle spiritual vibrations, and the less he himself is affected by the phenomenal flux.»

«There is a deeper astrology, not dependent on the testimony of calendars and clocks. Each man is a part of the Creator, or Cosmic Man; he has a heavenly body as well as one of earth. The human eye sees the physical form, but the inward eye penetrates more profoundly, even to the universal pattern of which each man is an integral and individual part.»

Quotes on Fear

«Look fear in the face and it will cease to trouble you.»

Quotes on harmlessness

«This world is inconveniently arranged for a literal practice of ahimsa (harmlessness). Man may be compelled to exterminate harmful creatures. He is not under similar compulsion to feel anger or animosity.»

«Man’s body is precious. It has the highest evolutionary value (over animals and plants) because of unique brain and spinal centers. These enable the advanced devotee to fully grasp and express the loftiest aspects of divinity. No lower form is so equipped. It is true that one incurs the debt of a minor sin if he is forced to kill an animal or any living thing. But the Vedas teach that wanton loss of a human body is a serious transgression against the karmic law.»

Quotes on health

«Wisdom is the greatest cleanser.»

«The body is a treacherous friend. Give it its due; no more. Pain and pleasure are transitory; endure all dualities with calmness, while trying at the same time to remove their hold. Imagination is the door through which disease as well as healing enters. Disbelieve in the reality of sickness even when you are ill; an unrecognized visitor will flee!»

«Medicines have limitations; the creative life-force has none. Believe that: you shall be well and strong.»

«Physicians must carry on their work of healing through God’s laws as applied to matter.»

Quotes on intelligence

«Keen intelligence is two-edged. It may be used constructively or destructively like a knife, either to cut the boil of ignorance, or to decapitate one’s self. Intelligence is rightly guided only after the mind has acknowledged the inescapability of spiritual law.»

«Saintliness is not dumbness! Divine perceptions are not incapacitating! The active expression of virtue gives rise to the keenest intelligence.»

Quotes on Kriya Yoga

«Kriya Yoga is an instrument through which human evolution can be quickened. The ancient yogis discovered that the secret of cosmic consciousness is intimately linked with breath mastery. This is India’s unique and deathless contribution to the world’s treasury of knowledge. The life force, which is ordinarily absorbed in maintaining the heart-pump, must be freed for higher activities by a method of calming and stilling the ceaseless demands of the breath.»

«After the mind has been cleared by Kriya Yoga of sensory obstacles, meditation furnishes a twofold proof of God. Ever-new joy is evidence of His existence, convincing to our very atoms. Also, in meditation one finds His instant guidance, His adequate response to every difficulty.»

Quotes on Love

«Ordinary love is selfish, darkly rooted in desires and satisfactions. Divine love is without condition, without boundary, without change. The flux of the human heart is gone forever at the transfixing touch of pure love.»

«The Lord responds to all and works for all. Just as He sent rain at my plea, so He fulfills any sincere desire of the devotee. Seldom do men realize how often God heeds their prayers. He is not partial to a few, but listens to everyone who approaches Him trustingly. His children should ever have implicit faith in the loving-kindness of their Omnipresent Father.»

Quotes on overcoming desires

«Attachment is blinding; it lends an imaginary halo of attractiveness to the object of desire.»

«Wrath springs only from thwarted desires. I do not expect anything from others, so their actions cannot be in opposition to wishes of mine. I would not use you for my own ends; I am happy only in your own true happiness.»

«Just as the purpose of eating is to satisfy hunger, not greed, so the sex instinct is designed for the propagation of the species according to natural law, never for the kindling of insatiable longings. Destroy wrong desires now; otherwise they will follow you after the astral body is torn from its physical casing. Even when the flesh is weak, the mind should be constantly resistant. If temptation assails you with cruel force, overcome it by impersonal analysis and indomitable will. Every natural passion can be mastered.»

«Conserve your powers. Be like the capacious ocean, absorbing within all the tributary rivers of the senses. Small yearnings are openings in the reservoir of your inner peace, permitting healing waters to be wasted in the desert soil of materialism. The forceful activating impulse of wrong desire is the greatest enemy to the happiness of man. Roam in the world as a lion of self-control; see that the frogs of weakness don’t kick you around.»

«The Lord has created all men from the limitless joy of His being. Though they are painfully cramped by the body, God nevertheless expects that souls made in His image shall ultimately rise above all sense identifications and reunite with Him.»

«How quickly we weary of earthly pleasures! Desire for material things is endless; man is never satisfied completely, and pursues one goal after another. The ‘something else’ he seeks is the Lord, who alone can grant lasting joy.»

«Outward longings drive us from the Eden within; they offer false pleasures which only impersonate soul-happiness. The lost paradise is quickly regained through divine meditation. As God is unanticipatory Ever-Newness, we never tire of Him. Can we be surfeited with bliss, delightfully varied throughout eternity?»

«Ever-new Joy is God. He is inexhaustible; as you continue your meditations during the years, He will beguile you with an infinite ingenuity. Devotees like yourself who have found the way to God never dream of exchanging Him for any other happiness; He is seductive beyond thought of competition.»

Quotes on past regrets

«Forget the past. The vanished lives of all men are dark with many shames. Human conduct is ever unreliable until anchored in the Divine. Everything in future will improve if you are making a spiritual effort now.»

«Human life is beset with sorrow until we know how to tune in with the Divine Will, whose ‘right course’ is often baffling to the egoistic intelligence. God bears the burden of the cosmos; He alone can give unerring counsel.»

Quotes on pride

«Forget you were born a Hindu, and don’t be an American. Take the best of them both. Be your true self, a child of God. Seek and incorporate into your being the best qualities of all your brothers, scattered over the earth in various races.»

Quotes on renunciation

«A beggar cannot renounce wealth. If a man laments: ‘My business has failed; my wife has left me; I will renounce all and enter a monastery,’ to what worldly sacrifice is he referring? He did not renounce wealth and love; they renounced him!»

«In sleep, you do not know whether you are a man or a woman. Just as a man, impersonating a woman, does not become one, so the soul, impersonating both man and woman, has no sex. The soul is the pure, changeless image of God.»

«Remember that he who discards his worldly duties can justify himself only by assuming some kind of responsibility toward a much larger family.»

«The devotee who forgoes the life-experiences of marriage and family, and exchanges the problems of a small household and limited activities for the larger responsibilities of service to society in general, is undertaking a task which is often accompanied by persecution from a misunderstanding world, but also by a divine inner contentment.»

Quotes on science and miracles

«It is never a question of belief; the only scientific attitude one can take on any subject is whether it is true. The law of gravitation worked as efficiently before Newton as after him. The cosmos would be fairly chaotic if its laws could not operate without the sanction of human belief.»

«All creation is governed by law. The ones which manifest in the outer universe, discoverable by scientists, are called natural laws. But there are subtler laws ruling the realms of consciousness which can be known only through the inner science of yoga. The hidden spiritual planes also have their natural and lawful principles of operation. It is not the physical scientist but the fully self-realized master who comprehends the true nature of matter. Thus Christ was able to restore the servant’s ear after it had been severed by one of the disciples.»

«A man of realization does not perform any miracle until he receives an inward sanction. God does not wish the secrets of His creation revealed promiscuously. Also, every individual in the world has inalienable right to his free will. A saint will not encroach upon that independence.»

«It is the Spirit of God that actively sustains every form and force in the universe; yet He is transcendental and aloof in the blissful uncreated void beyond the worlds of vibratory phenomena,” Master explained. “Saints who realize their divinity even while in the flesh know a similar twofold existence. Conscientiously engaging in earthly work, they yet remain immersed in an inward beatitude.»

«One might have the whole universe, and find the Lord elusive still! Spiritual advancement is not measured by one’s outward powers, but only by the depth of his bliss in meditation.”

«The human body was therefore not solely a result of evolution from beasts, but was produced by an act of special creation by God. The animal forms were too crude to express full divinity; the human being was uniquely given a tremendous mental capacity—the ’thousand-petaled lotus’ of the brain—as well as acutely awakened occult centers in the spine.»

Quotes on seeing loved ones after death

«Friends of other lives easily recognize one another in the astral world. Rejoicing at the immortality of friendship, they realize the indestructibility of love, often doubted at the time of the sad, delusive partings of earthly life.»

«The earth-liberated astral being meets a multitude of relatives, fathers, mothers, wives, husbands, and friends, acquired during different incarnations on earth, as they appear from time to time in various parts of the astral realms. He is therefore at a loss to understand whom to love especially; he learns in this way to give a divine and equal love to all, as children and individualized expressions of God. Though the outward appearance of loved ones may have changed, more or less according to the development of new qualities in the latest life of any particular soul, the astral being employs his unerring intuition to recognize all those once dear to him in other planes of existence, and to welcome them to their new astral home.»

«Thousands of earth-dwellers have momentarily glimpsed an astral being or an astral world.»

Quotes on service

«Those who are too good for this world are adorning some other. So long as you breathe the free air of earth, you are under obligation to render grateful service.»

«Divine contemplation must not be made an excuse for material carelessness.»

Quotes on social behavior

«Good manners without sincerity are like a beautiful dead lady. Straightforwardness without civility is like a surgeon’s knife, effective but unpleasant. Candor with courtesy is helpful and admirable.»

«What a person imagines he hears, and what the speaker has really implied, may be poles apart. Try to feel the thoughts behind the confusion of men’s verbiage.»

«Some people try to be tall by cutting off the heads of others!»

Quotes on spiritual organisations

«Do you want the whole divine channa (milk curd) for yourself alone? Could you or anyone else achieve God-contact through yoga if a line of generous-hearted masters had not been willing to convey their knowledge to others? God is the Honey, organizations are the hives; both are necessary. Any form is useless, of course, without the spirit, but why should you not start busy hives full of the spiritual nectar?»

Quotes on studying the scriptures

«Do not confuse understanding with a larger vocabulary. Sacred writings are beneficial in stimulating desire for inward realization, if one stanza at a time is slowly assimilated. Continual intellectual study results in vanity and the false satisfaction of an undigested knowledge.»

«If one busies himself with an outer display of scriptural wealth, what time is left for silent inward diving after the priceless pearls?»

«The rishis wrote in one sentence profundities that commentating scholars busy themselves over for generations. Endless literary controversy is for sluggard minds. What more liberating thought than ‘God is’—nay, ‘God’?»