Sai Baba Of Shirdi: Sufi Saint, Creator, Sustainer, And Destroyer Of Universes

Sai Baba Of Shirdi

Sai Baba of Shirdi, a profound soul. A Shutterstock Licensed Image.

Revered by thousands of Hindu, Muslim, Christian, and Zoroastrian devotees, Shirdi Sai Baba was known to be an Indian saint, Satguru, fakir (vowed to poverty and devoted to God), and spiritual master. The translation of Sai Baba’s name speaks directly to how people saw him. Sai means “Sufi Saint” and Baba means “Father.”

Baba did not support the hierarchical caste system or the notion that one religion was more significant than another. Throughout his life, he gently wove elements of Christianity, Hinduism, and Islam into his unique version of Vedantic teachings.

While Sai Baba’s birth year was not recorded, it is assumed he was born near the year 1838. He passed from this life in samadhi in 1918. Baba often lived in a Mosque, and his physical body was cremated in a temple.

Many believe Sai Baba of Shirdi to be the embodiment of Saguna Brahma, which refers to an eternal, absolute and immanent divine presence. Many also believe Sai Baba is the embodiment of the supreme God and Sri Dattatreya, one of the consecrated avatar-lords of Yoga in Hinduism.​


Baba was most likely born to Brahmin parents within a few hundred miles of Shirdi, Maharashtra, India. Some have reported that he came from the village of Pathri. When he arrived in Shirdi, at the age of 16, where he led an ascetic life, Baba began meditating under a neem tree and teaching local villagers.

Baba left Shirdi for some time and was thought to have traveled throughout the country meeting with other saints, fakirs, and gurus.

“Do not be misled by what you see around you, or be influenced by what you see. You live in a world which is a playground of illusion, full of false paths, false values, and false ideals. But you are not part of that world.”
— Shirdi Sai Baba

The Teachings Of Shirdi Sai Baba

While most of the local villagers saw Sai Baba as a beautiful and humble saint, a few considered him to be evil and would throw stones at him. Regardless, he remained in a state of profound peace and showered his followers with love, respect, and kindness.

When living at the Mosque, Baba would tend the sacred fire (dhuni) and would give out the ashes to his devotees. Baba’s holy ash was reported to have produced many healings and miracles.

Sai Baba’s teachings were based in the three Hindu paths, Bhakti, Jnana and Karma Yoga. He believed one God to govern all. He was occasionally heard chanting, “Allah Malik” or God is King.

​Like many Satgurus, Shirdi Sai Baba focused on the importance of self-realization, while continually warning of the trappings found when we love things in the material world. Baba taught about love and forgiveness, charity, selfless service, inner peace, and how to maintain an un-shattered devotion to God.

Sai Baba of Shirdi was particularly adamant about the importance of surrendering to your guru or Satguru. He taught that having a living master helps initiates release their attachments to their self-identities and move closer to God-consciousness.

Sai Baba of Shirdi would often share ideas that seemed to be akin to a spiritual form of physics. He would say, “To every one of us there must come a time when the whole universe will be found to have been a dream when we find the soul is infinitely better than its surroundings. It is only a question of time, and time is nothing in the infinite.”

Baba taught two fundamental principles over and over again, Shraddha and Saburi. The Sanskrit word “Shraddha” means to have love, respect, and faith in the divine. Baba taught that Shraddha would take devotees far beyond intellectual intelligence and a rationalized reality. He taught that Saburi, meaning “patience and firmness,” is a vital part of achieving self-realization.

In all things, Baba taught us that our spiritual paths would be less burdened if we protected the purity of our souls, minds, and hearts.

Sai Baba Of Shirdi Quotes

  • “What is new in the world? Nothing. What is old in the world? Nothing. Everything has always been and will always be.”
  • “Man is lost and is wandering in a jungle where real values have no meaning. Real values can have meaning to man only when he steps on to the spiritual path, a path where negative emotions have no use.”
  • “College education gives you the chance to earn money and live thereupon. But, unless it destroys certain illusions that are nourished by the common level of mankind, your lives will not be happy.”
  • “Look out into the universe and contemplate the glory of God. Observe the stars, millions of them, twinkling in the night sky, all with a message of unity, part of the very nature of God.”
  • “Why fear when I am here?”
  • “The end of knowledge is wisdom. The end of culture is perfection. The end of wisdom is freedom. The end of education is character. And character consists of eagerness to renounce one’s selfish greed.”
  • “I am formless and everywhere. I am in everything and beyond. I fill all space.”
  • “I will not allow my devotees to come to harm. If a devotee is about to fall, I stretch out my hands to support him or her. I think of my people day and night. I say their names over and over. I look on all with an equal eye.”
  • “I cannot do anything without God’s permission.”

The Other Sai: Sathya Sai Baba

More recently, Sathya Sai Baba, an Indian guru who lived from 1926 to 2011, was a revered spiritual teacher who claimed to be the reincarnation of Sai Baba of Shirdi.

Both devotees and non-devotees reported Sathya Sai Baba’s ability to materialize jewelry, heal the sick, and appear in multiple locations at the same point in time. These public displays of spiritual magic elevated his fame while also producing controversy.

Throughout his 84 years, Sathya Sai Baba established a network of free hospitals, clinics, ashrams, and schools, and was committed to funding clean water projects in a long list of cities throughout India. There are over 1200 Sai Centres in 126 countries.
Over 500,000 people attended Sathya Sai Baba’s state funeral, including the President, Prime Minister and other famous dignitaries. Among thousands of others, the Dalai Lama offered his sincerest condolences. In fear that Sathya Sai Baba was creating an uncontrollable movement, the CIA followed him for decades. Other accusations included the use of popular, non-spiritual, magic tricks, sexual abuse, fraud, and murder.

“Love All, Serve All. Help Ever, Hurt Never.”
— Sathya Sai Baba

Shirdi Sai Baba’s Miracles, Movies, And Biographies

Many of Shirdi Sai Baba’s followers believed that Baba had profound, spiritual gifts and therefore was able to perform any miracle at will.​

It has been said that Baba was able to read minds, appear in multiple locations at the same time, cure incurable diseases, exorcise evil spirits, energetically stop moving objects, levitate, enter Samadhi at will, physically materialize other people’s illnesses and ailments, and open the most stubborn hearts and minds.​

Even after Baba’s death, some people reported that Baba would appear to them as various Gods and divine forms and give them spiritual and life advice.​​


The following movies were made about Baba’s life, including: Shirid Che Sai Baba(Marathi), Shirdi Ke Sai Baba (Hindi), Shri Shirdi Sai Baba Mahathyam (Telugu), Bhagavan Shri Sai Baba (Kannada), Sai Baba (Marathi), Sri Sai Mahima (Telugu), Shirdi Sai Baba (Hindi), Ishwarya Avatar Sai Baba (Hindi), Malik ek (Hindi) and Shirdi Sai (Telugu).​​

The remarkable life of Shirdi Sai Baba was chronicled in two books as follows:

  • The Shirdi Diary (1910), by Ganesh Shrikrishna Khaparde, a noteworthy account of Sai Baba’s life.
  • Shri Sai Satcharita (1916), by Govindrao Raghunath Dabholkar. This book consists of 53 chapters about Sai Baba’s teachings, miracles, and life.

Many people have reported feeling peaceful and inspired by these books, a feeling that can also be achieved by visiting Shirdi Sai Baba’s temples. His first temple was built in Bhivpuri, Karjat, India.

“Unless there is some relationship or connection, nobody goes anywhere. If any men, women or creatures come to you, do not discourteously drive them away, but receive them well and treat them with due respect. Sri Hari (God) will certainly be pleased if you give water to the thirsty, bread to the hungry, clothes to the naked, and verandah to strangers for sitting and resting. If anybody wants any money from you, and you are not inclined to give, do not give, but do not bark at him like a dog.”
— Shirdi Sai Baba

Shirdi Sai Baba’s Devotees And Temples

The Sai Baba Temple in Shirdi has over 25,000 visitors every year. It’s managed by the Shri Sai Baba Sansthan Trust, a philanthropic and monastic order in Baba’s name. Their website, states, “Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust, Shirdi, is the Governing and Administrative body of Shri Saibaba’s Samadhi Temple and all others temples on these premises, and devoted towards the development of Shirdi village.”

Devotees of Sai Baba of Shirdi hail from all over the world. His temples have been constructed in a long list of countries and continents, including but not limited to the Caribbean, Nepal, Trinidad and Tobago, Fiji, Canada,

The United States, Australia, The United Arab Emirates (UAE), Malaysia, several countries in South America, many countries throughout South Africa, The Netherlands, Cuba, Pakistan, Japan, New Zealand, The United Kingdom, Germany, France and Singapore.

Anandanath of Yewala, a Hindu saint, declared Sai Baba to be a “spiritual diamond.” Gangagir, also a Hindu saint, called Baba, a “magnificent jewel.”​

Meher Baba, a self-self-declared, Indian, God-Avatar, believed Sai Baba of Shirdi to be a “Master of the Universe” or Qutub-e-Irshad, a term known only within the Meher Baba community.

Yogi Bhajan: Happy, Healthy, Holy Sikhism And Kundalini Yoga

Yogi Bhajan

Yogi Bhajan, a spiritual master. A Shutterstock Licensed Image.

It was an unusually dry, hot morning in the summer of 1996, in Española, NM, at the grand home and Mother Ashram of Yogi Bhajan (also known as the Guru Ram Das Ashram). I and a handful of other followers arrived in the early morning to be nurtured and schooled by the brilliant and loving Sikh master.

The eight of us sat comfortably in his living room and were greeted by his lovely wife, Inderjit Kaur, and given some tea. After a short speech on Kundalini yoga and meditation, Yogi Bhajan invited me for a private walk.

I loved being around Yogi in those days. He was very kind to me, often doing my numerology, and giving me personal counsel. He was fatherly, patient, and intuitive. He was also connected to one-third of the world’s wealth. I miss him, dearly.

“Make Yourself So Happy So That When Others Look At You, They Become Happy Too.”
— Yogi Bhajan

The Amazing Life Of Yogi Bhajan

Harbhajan Singh Khalsa (1929-2004) was born in Gujranwala, located in the Punjab province, which is now in Pakistan. Born into a wealthy family, his mother was Hindu, and his father was a Sikh. His parents enrolled him in Catholic schools where he was taught by nuns. Given the extreme wealth of his family, Yogi Bhajan was somewhat of a prince. He commanded thousands of servants and employees.


When India was divided, Yogi Bhajan fled to New Dehli, India where he was a refugee. He would eventually excel in economics at Punjab University, where he was also a debater and athlete. He would go on to work for India’s IRS and as a customs agent at an Indian airport. Yogi Bhajan and his wife Inderjit, also known as Bibiji, had two sons and one daughter.

Yogi Bhajan began teaching in the United States in the 1960s, during which he inspired many followers within the hippie movement.. In 1969, Yogi Bhajan incorporated his 3HO Foundation, which he led as its spiritual director.

A non-governmental organization within the United Nations, the mission of 3HO is to be an organized community for the family of people who live not just “with” each other, but “for” each other. 3HO has since grown to over 300 centers in over 35 countries, with hundreds of thousands of followers.

Yogi Bhajan also founded the International Kundalini Yoga Teachers Association to help set standards for teachers of Kundalini yoga and meditation.

“On the fifth of January, when I gave a lecture, they asked me, ‘What have you brought for us?’ I said, ‘I gave you a Healthy, Happy, Holy way of life.’ I have not come here to collect students; I will create teachers, and teachers so created in this 3HO, shall teach the world a way of life with style. That’s what we have said; that’s what we are doing; that’s what we are.“
-Yogi Bhajan, 1/5/93


In 1973, his educational organization, known as Sikh Dharma International (SDI), became a 501c(3) religious organization, committed to teaching the highest level of Sikh ideals, while also serving humanity and the global Sikh community. Sikh Dharma International offices are located at the Mother Ashram.

Yogi Bhajan, known to his followers as Siri Singh Sahib or Siri Singh Sahib Bhai Sahib Harbhajan Singh Khalsa Yogiji, was loved by many. He was the founder in or trusted management consultant for over 17 businesses in natural food, breakfast cereals, beauty products, real estate, computer systems, security services, and yoga centers. Companies that he influenced include Golden Temple, Akal Security, Peace Cereals, Yogi Tea, Soothing Touch, and many others. Yogi Bhajan’s employees and associates sometimes affectionately called him, “The Boss.”

While Yogi understood that most religions share the same core beliefs, he was grateful to be taught the fundamentals of Sikhism and yogic knowledge by his grandfather, Bhai Fateh Singh. His spiritual teacher was Sant Hazara Singh of Gujaranwala, a profound yogi and mystic.

Because of his dedication to his teachers, Yogi became transparent about his background, challenges, and beliefs, with the hope it would inspire others to deepen.

He once offered, “I was born into a very rich family. I played with diamonds for marbles, and I had great authority. I was the elder son of the ruling dynasty, like the Prince of Wales, and I had every opportunity to act like a total idiot. There were thousands of servants to whom my word was the law, and I could have whatever I wanted, like a rich, spoiled kid.

But I was lucky. I had a very saintly grandfather, and a saintly family tradition and disposition. I met a lot of holy men who would come to our house, and I chose a very saintly teacher. His approval of me was considered the joy of the family. His mark on me is so deep; I love him even now. Do you know that I still do not recognize the face of my grandfather or my teacher? I never ever looked at their face, but I can accurately draw their feet. That’s the consciousness of it.”

When Yogi Bhajan came to the west, it was not to grow a large body of students who loved his Kundalini Yoga; it was to create teachers who would go out into the world and teach peace and yoga, as an alternative to the prevalent drug culture within the hippie movement.​

Yogi Bhajan became a US citizen in 1976. He was affectionately called Siri Singh Sahib Ji by his devotees.

The Teachings Of Yogi Bhajan

Yogi Bhajan’s lectures were stimulating, heart-centered, and profound. When he began teaching in the late 1960s, it was not merely to share yoga and meditation practices. He taught a full lifestyle that inspired every individual to radiate and shine in every aspect of their lives.

​Yogi Bhajan’s teachings continue to include lessons on how to dress, eat, relate, communicate, love, raise conscious children, and do business with loving grace. Overall, Yogi Bhajan’s goal was to inspire, uplift, and enlighten everyone he encountered. He wanted every spirit to feel whole, healed, and sovereign. I am able to feel his warmth and love to this day.

Deeply committed to serving humanity and guiding his fellow Sikhs, Yogi Bhajan was the first Sikh to offer accessible teachings that were relatable to people from every background, language, and culture.

According to Yogi Bhajan’s, “Sikhs believe in creating abundance, peace, and prosperity by praising the name of God, earning a righteous living and sharing what they have to serve humanity. Sikh populations across the globe enthusiastically participate in outreach activities and contribute to their local communities by serving food (langar) and through building interfaith dialogue and cooperation.”

SDI’s mission is to serve and uplift humanity through the teachings of the original Sikh Gurus along the path of Sikh Dharma, as shared by Siri Singh Sahib, Yogi Bhajan. The foundation’s global vision is to raise humanity’s spirit by serving God (the Divine or the One-in-All).

The Yogi Bhajan Library of teachings is a vast, accessible online archive. You can access it here.

Yogi Bhajan Quotes

There are many Yogi Bhajan quotes on love, life, marriage, raising kids, and business. Here are a few of my favorites:purchase-the-personality-cards-oracle-tarot-deck

  • “Recognize the other person is you.”
  • “Travel light, live light, spread the light, be the light.”
  • “An attitude of gratitude brings great things.”
  • “What is a human being? A magnetic field, that’s all he is. What kind of magnetic field is it? It vibrates on its own nucleus and in proportion with its existence with the entire universe. And there are many magnetic fields, millions of them. Without your talking with somebody, you communicate.”
  • “When ego is lost, limit is lost. You become infinite, kind, beautiful.”
  • “Share your strengths, not your weaknesses.”
  • “The greatest art is to sit, and wait, and let it come.”
  • “Your total life is nothing without activity. When you are not acting, you are dead. You act in sleep also. You act through dreams. You act through mental vibrations. You are continually vibrating. The moment you don’t vibrate you are dead. Death is nothing but non-vibration of a finite unit. That’s all death is.”
  • “Self-reliance conquers any difficulty.”
  • “Hope is not a prediction of the future; it’s a declaration of what’s possible.”
  • “When you speak, it should be as if Infinity is speaking.”
  • “The most difficult thing on the earth one can practice is to be humble. It is not easy; it is difficult because you have to surmount the existence of whole Maya and to recognize that God is by your side. Then you feel the humility.”
  • “Love is the ultimate state of human behavior, where compassion prevails and kindness rules.”

Yogi Bhajan Books

While Yogi Bhajan gave many profound and inspiring lectures, the list of books below continues to enlighten those who are drawn to Kundalini Yoga and the 3HO way of life.

  • Yogi Bhajan, The Teachings of Yogi Bhajan
  • Siri Singh Sahib Bhai Sahib Harbhajan Singh Khalsa Yogiji (Yogi Bhajan), Furmaan Khalsa: Poems to Live By
  • Yogi Bhajan, The Master’s Touch
  • Yogi Bhajan with Gurucharan Singh Khalsa, The Mind: Its Projections and Multiple Facets
  • Yogi Bhajan, The Aquarian Teacher – KRI International Kundalini Yoga Certification Text and Manual
  • Yogi Bhajan, The Game of Love, A Book of Consciousness: The Poems and Art of Yogi Bhajan
  • Yogi Bhajan, Man to Man: A Journal of Discovery for the Conscious Man
  • Yogi Bhajan, I am a Woman: Book and Yoga Manual

“The first song I sang was, ‘We are the people, the people of love, let us people love today.’ Certain little things started happening in a very unique way with all of you. All of those who have left, all who are with me, who shall be with me, or who shall leave me, all play a very important role in the development of 3HO—a lifestyle of the Age of Aquarius where humans shall be first and foremost purely human, and will do everything graciously.”
-Yogi Bhajan, 1/5/94

Yogi Bhajan’s Motto, Credo, And Challenge

You might find these on several of Yogi Bhajan’s websites:

  • Motto: “If you can’t see God in all, you can’t see God at all.”
  • Credo: “It’s not the life that matters; it’s the courage that you bring to it.”
  • Challenge: ”Don’t love me; love my teachings.”

Yogi Bhajan’s Death

Siri Singh Sahib Bhai Sahib Harbhajan Singh Khalsa Yogiji died of complications related to heart failure on Oct 6, 2004, at his Guru Ram Das Ashram. His wife, Inderjit Kaur survives him, along with his sons, Ranbir Singh and Kulbir Singh; his daughter, Kamaljit Kaur; and five grandchildren.

Yogi Bhajan was a blessing to this world, and his teachings will live on in those of whom he taught, inspired, and loved.

To participate in the 3HO community and enjoy past of Yogi Bhajan’s vision for the world, consider attending Yogi Bhajan’s annual International Peace Prayer Day Celebration in New Mexico. You’ll meet lots of warm-hearted people, and enjoy lively music and interfaith prayers. You’ll also hear speeches by luminous leaders in religion and politics, and those in service to humanity.​

“We started a healthy, happy, holy way of life, and that became 3HO. It is a dream come true. It is a very pure path in which every human is worshipped equally. Everybody is a potential teacher. There is no ‘yes’ and ‘no’, rather there is a set discipline to follow…We built a foundation called the 3HO Foundation: a Healthy, Happy, Holy Organization of people.

Sri Ramana Maharshi: Self-Realization

Sri Ramana Maharshi

Sri Ramana Maharshi, lovely and profound. A Shutterstock Licensed Image.

Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi (1879-1950) was an Indian Satguru, born as Venkataraman Iyer, to a Brahmin family in Tiruchuzhi, South India.

In his early childhood, upon his father’s death, the young Venkataraman was separated from his mother and placed with his loving uncle. A sensitive soul, and strong athlete, Venkataraman endured beatings by local schoolboys. More and more, he became fascinated with local temples and the statues of its deities.

Soon after his 16th birthday, Venkataraman self-realized spontaneously and immediately journeyed to Arunachala Hill in Tiruvannamalai. After living in various places in Tiruvannamalai, he moved to the caves and several of India’s holy sites in Tiruvannamalai, where his followers named him Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi or “Divine Eminent Ramana, the Great Seer.”

For several years Bhagavan refrained from speaking and spent each day in samadhi. He attracted many devotees who saw him as an avatar. They would sit at his feet awaiting his darshan (blessing). Many of his earliest devotees also became self-realized.

Eventually, Bhagavan’s followers built an ashram around him in Tiruvannamalai, which they named “Sri Ramana Ashram” or “Sri Ramanasramam.” This became Ramana’s home from 1922 until his death in 1950.


A self-realized woman, Sankarammal, who worked in the ashram’s kitchen said of Ramana, “Silence was the state of Bhagavan, and his direct teaching was only through silence. Those who received his message of silence had no need whatsoever to talk to him, much less a need for his instructions. How can I possibly express in words the mysterious working of Bhagavan through silence?”

Tiruvannamalai is also where Ramana Maharshi declared his love for the resident mountain, Arunachala. His luminous spirit continues to fill the hearts of his many followers around the world.

“By Incessantly Pursuing Within Yourself The Inquiry ‘Who Am I?’, You Will Know Your True Self And Thereby Attain Salvation.”
— Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi

Sri Ramana’s Moment Of Self-Realization

When he was in his early teens, someone gave Ramana a copy of Sekkilar’s Periya Puranam, or Great Purana, which describes the lives of sixty-three Shaivite saints. Ramana became entranced by this book which inspired the death of his ego.

In the middle of 1896, at age 16, Ramana fell flat on the floor in rigid form and held his breath. In the midst of self-inquiry (in Sanskrit “vichara,” also called jnana-vichara or ātma-vichār), during this physicalized death of his body, Ramana realized the eternal nature of his soul, an eternal force he called “a personal God” or “Ashwara.” Amid this awakening, Ramana said, ”My body is dead now, but I am still alive.” The resulting flood of spiritual awareness gave birth to his self-realization.

Sri Ramana’s Mother “Alagammal”

When Sri Ramana first arrived in Tiruvannamalai, he stayed in a great temple. While sitting silently in samadhi for days upon end, he was often unaware of his many visitors, including bugs, ants and vermin.

When he moved to the underground vault known as Patala Lingam, local, mischievous boys would harass him and barraged him with stones. Seshadri Swamigal often protected the young Swami, standing guard over him.

Ramana remained immersed in eternal bliss and paid no attention to his bodily needs. Deeply touched by his silent depths, his devotees lifted him from Patala Lingam and carried him to a nearby Subrahmanya shrine. His loving followers would tend to Sri Ramana’s physical needs, including forcefully putting food into his mouth and begging him to chew and swallow.

Sri Ramana would continue to move to various gardens, groves, shrines, and caves around Arunachala Hill. It was during this time, after years of no contact, that his mother Alagammal came to visit him. No matter the visitor, Ramana remained in silence.

“Our Own Self-Realization Is The Greatest Service We Can Render The World.”
— Sri Ramana Maharshi

When asked to at least write something to his crying Mother who sat at his feet, he wrote: “The Ordainer controls the fate of souls in accordance with their past deeds. Whatever is destined not to happen will not happen, try how hard you may. Whatever is destined to happen will happen, do what you may to stop it. This is certain. The best course, therefore, is to remain silent.”

Eventually, Sri Ramana moved into Virupaksha Cave, where he stayed for 17 years.

Among the growing number of followers, including other religious devotees, men, and women of all ages, children, and animals, his mother came to visit him a second time.

When she fell ill, Sri Ramana provided loving care and affection for his mother, sometimes holding her hand throughout the night to comfort her. To expedite her recovery and cure her disease, Ramana prayed to Arunachala Hill with a hymn he scribed in the early morning:

“Oh Medicine in the form of a Hill that arose to cure the disease of all the births that come in succession like waves! Oh, Lord! It is Thy duty to save my mother who regards Thy feet alone as her refuge, by curing her fever.”

Once healed, Alagammal became a disciple of Ramana’s, and he named her Niranjanananda Swami. She would cook for the disciples at their new location called “Skandasramam Cave,” a little higher up the hill. Within a short time, her youngest son, Ramana’s brother, Nagasundaram, also became a disciple. His new name was Chinnaswami (the younger Swami). Ramana was committed to giving both Niranjanananda Swami and Chinnaswami intense, personal instructions on self-realization.​

Upon the moment of her death in 1922, Niranjanananda Swami attained liberation and was buried on Arunachala Hill. The site of her resting place became Sri Ramana’s mother ashram, Sri Ramanasramam.

The Teachings Of Ramana Maharshi

Ramana taught self-inquiry (using the spelling self-inquiry) so that his followers could focus their continual attention on the source of the “I.” He would express his idea of inner-observance in this way: “Fix the mind in your Heart. If you keep your attention on the source from where all thoughts arise, the mind will subside there at the source, and reality will shine forth.”

Ramana taught his disciples to refrain from fixating on the changing aspects surrounding life, death, and daily circumstance. Ramana wanted every follower to focus solely on that which sees all these things, the source that is responsible for all of it. Although he approved a long list of paths and practices, Sri Ramana taught that Bhakti (devotion) and complete surrender to the Self, the unchanging reality underlying all that exists, will spring forth our liberation.

As the ashram grew around him, Bhagavan would give upadesa (spiritual instruction) where visitors sat at his feet and asked questions. Because of his answers and the resulting experiences of his followers, Ramana became known throughout the world as an enlightened being.​


Ramana would not confirm that he was a guru and he never stated that he had devotees. Considering God, Guru, and Self to be the manifestations of the same reality, and with a tendency toward Shaivism, Ramana remained focused on teaching self-inquiry toward the goal of liberation.

Sri Ramana Maharshi Quotes

  • “Silence is also conversation.”
  • “No one succeeds without effort… Those who succeed owe their success to perseverance.”
  • “The degree of freedom from unwanted thoughts and the degree of concentration on a single thought are the measures to gauge spiritual progress.”
  • “The Real is ever-present, like the screen on which the cinematographic pictures move. While the picture appears on it, the screen remains invisible. Stop the picture, and the screen will become clear. All thoughts and events are merely pictures moving on the screen of Pure Consciousness, which alone is real.”
  • “Who am I? Not the body, because it is decaying; not the mind, because the brain will decay with the body; not the personality, nor the emotions, for these also will vanish with death.”
  • “Think of God; attachments will gradually drop away. If you wait till all desires disappear before starting your devotion and prayer, you will have to wait for a very long time indeed.”

Sri Ramana Maharshi Ashrams And Biographies

While Sri Ramana was dedicated to silence and teaching self-inquiry, he was also extremely active at the ashram, which included cooking, cleaning and stitching leaf plates which held the free meals for the ashram’s many visitors. The biography entitled “Self Realisation: The Life and Teachings of Ramana Maharshi, written by BV Narasimha was published in 1931.

Paul Brunton wrote “A Search in Secret India” in 1934, which noted the “sublimely all-embracing” awareness that he received while visiting Sri Ramanasramam, Sri Ramana’s ashram. Brunton paid Ramana a high compliment when he described Ramana as ”one of the last of India’s spiritual supermen.”

Brunton went on to describe Ramana in this way, “I like him greatly because he is so simple and modest, when an atmosphere of authentic greatness lies so palpably around him; because he makes no claims to occult powers and hierophantic knowledge to impress the mystery-loving nature of his countrymen; and because he is so totally without any traces of pretension that he strongly resists every effort to canonize him during his lifetime.”​

After these books brought Sri Ramana Maharshi’s life into public awareness, other periodicals, and books detailing the profound experiences surrounding this master followed.

​Those who wish to explore the teachings of Ramana Maharshi may attend a Satsang (spiritual group) to learn more. His website has a list of Satsangs worldwide. You may also visit the mother ashram in Tiruvannamalai to experience a transmission of Sri Ramana’s light and teachings.

“That in which all these worlds seem to exist steadily, that of which all these worlds are a possession, that from which all these worlds arise, that for which all these exist, that by which all these worlds come into existence and that which is indeed all these — that alone is the existing reality. Let us cherish that Self, which is the Reality, in the Heart.”
— Sri Ramana Maharshi

Sri Ramana’s Popularity, Health, And Death

The more popular he became and the more visitors that wandered through the ashram, Sri Ramana wondered how he might regain his original solitude and silence. With that in mind, he escaped the ashram three times, after which he would wander the nearby hills and caves in silence. Although he would always return, it was widely known that Sri Ramana Maharshi craved his spiritual roots.

Many of his devotees regarded Ramana as the avatar Skanda, a divine form of Shiva. He was also thought to be an incarnation of Jnana Sambandar, one of the sixty-three Nayanars that inspired Ramana in his youth.

At the age of 70, as cancer ravaged his body, Ramana’s devotees begged him to cure himself. He lovingly replied, “Why are you so attached to this body? Let it go,” he said. “Where can I go? I am here.”​

Upon his death on April 14, 1950, at 8:47 pm, several devotees caught a glimpse of a bright, shooting star above the ashram and noted its beautiful reflection of Ramana’s light.

Ram Dass: The Be Here Now Guru

Ram Dass

Ram Dass – The ‘Be Here Now’ Guru. A Shutterstock Licensed Image.

“Turn on, Tune in, Drop out.” Timothy Leary, the superhero of psychedelic drugs, died in 1996, while one of his partners in consciousness-expansion, Dr. Richard Alpert, a.k.a. Ram Dass, has since grown, expanded, lived, and thrived.​

This is not to say that Alpert didn’t have a few issues along the way. Instead, it’s to note that his mission appears to be broader, deeper, and with a longer tail. It’s entirely possible Alpert lived this long in loving abundance because his teachings are still relevant and inspiring, possibly more than ever.​

Dying to oneself sometimes requires retreats, rituals, deep self-exploration, daily meditation, and disappearing for a while. It might also involve a name change.

Richard Alpert is no longer Richard Alpert. After an extensive exploration of psilocybin, LSD, and other psychedelic chemicals, Alpert began to see behind the Wizard’s curtain. He fell in love with India, found his eternal master in the form of a guru, consumed a wealth of his spiritual sustenance, and in a relatively short period, Dr. Alpert grew spiritually and became Ram Dass. We’re Lucky He Did.

“Be Here Now,” written by Ram Dass, is considered to be one of the most accessible and enjoyable, creative essays on meeting the Self behind the mask, peeling back the layers, and greeting reality with love. It was one of the first books I read in the late ’80s when I began to open and deepen. I continue to flip through its pages for inspiration.

Who Is Ram Dass?

Born as Richard Alpert into a well-to-do Jewish family, Ram Dass is the youngest of three sons. His father was a lawyer in Boston, and his mother was a lover and helper of charities.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Ram Dass blossomed into an ocean of openness, an embodiment of love, and a teacher of love. He has since guided his followers by helping them reduce their anxieties and depressions, and lighten their challenges related to their troublesome egos and temporary identities.

Ram Dass is also beautiful, cute in nature, and kind.


He has studied Hanuman, Zen Buddhism, Sufism, Jewish mystical studies, Buddhist meditation, Bhakti yoga, and other disciplines, all of which led to his expansion, awareness, and notoriety.
Ram Dass is a disciple of the late (and eternal) Neem Karoli Baba (or Maharaj-Ji), who also gave Ram Dass his spiritual name, which means “servant of God.”

“Maharajji, In My First Darshan, My First Meeting With Him, Showed Me His Powers. I Was Impressed With The Power But Subsequently Realized That It Was His Love That Pulled Me In. His Love Is Unconditional Love.”
— Ram Dass

Ram Dass teaches that compassion and spiritual service are the most important things we can offer to others. He is dedicated to helping human beings get past our mental chatter, religious dogma, and obsessiveness so that we can open our hearts and feel divine love — a profound mission.

Ram Dass Foundations And Projects

Ram Dass and his partners have launched several foundations and projects in service to humanity. Here is a brief history of them:

  • Hanuman Foundation: a non-profit foundation that embodies the spirit of service inspired by Neem Karoli Baba. Check out their site here.
  • The Human Kindness Foundation: (formerly The Prison-Ashram Project): a non-profit foundation and mission that helps prison inmates grow spiritually by providing them with free books and materials. Initially run by Bo and Sita Lozoff, it continues with Sita as Spiritual Director and Catherine Dumas as Executive Director. The foundation is based in North Carolina. Learn more here.
  • The Living/Dying Project: originally called, “The Dying Project” and conceived by Stephen Levine. The project has since morphed into a non-profit foundation that helps others embody compassion and awareness when dealing with death, and see illness as an opportunity for spiritual growth. Based in northern California, click here for more information.
  • The Love Serve Remember Foundation: a non-profit foundation that provides love, words of wisdom, and meditations, and continues the work of Neem Karoli Baba and Ram Dass. The foundation offers over one hundred podcasts and guided meditations, along with a few free apps. There is a lovely video and description here where Ram Dass expands on his thought, “We are all in the ocean of love. It’s all Ram. It’s all God. It’s all The One.”

Profound Ram Dass Books

Here is a sampling of the books that Ram Dass and his partners have published over the years. His writing style is warm and accessible.

  • Be Here Now (1971)
  • Be Love Now (2011)
  • Polishing the Mirror: How to Live from Your Spiritual Heart (2013)
  • Cookbook for Awakening (2017)
  • Walking Each Other Home (2018), co-authored with Mirabai Bush
  • Paths To God (2004)
  • Still Here: Embracing Aging, Changing and Dying (2000)
  • Journey of Awakening (1978)
  • Miracle of Love (1979)
  • The Only Dance There Is (1974)
  • Compassion in Action (1992)
  • Conscious Aging (1992)
  • How Can I Help? (1985), co-authored with Paul Gorman
  • Experiments in Truth (1998)
  • One-One-Liners (2002)

Ram Dass’ Stroke

While his consciousness was experiencing love and expansion, the body of Ram Dass took a few detours. At age 65, he experienced a massive stroke, which became part of the closing narrative in his book, “Still Here: Embracing Aging, Changing and Dying.”

While immediately following the stroke, Ram Dass was depressed, wisdom eventually emerged. Even though he had become partially paralyzed, after extensive physical therapy, Ram Dass was able to walk with a cane. This experience has helped him guide others to respond to death, dying, and illness with grace.

Ram Dass says that before his stroke, he did not pay much attention to his body, because he was solely focused on psychology and the soul. While a wheelchair is now part of his daily life, Ram Dass sees the overriding lesson from his stroke experience as God’s grace and a gift from his guru.

Popular Ram Dass Quotes

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the lovely Ram Dass:

  • “Be here, now!”purchase-the-personality-cards-oracle-tarot-deck
  • “We’re all just walking each other home.”
  • “Compassion refers to the arising in the heart of the desire to relieve the suffering of all beings.”
  • “Treat everyone you meet like God in drag.”
  • “We’re fascinated by the words, but where we meet is in the silence behind them.”
  • “You are loved just for being who you are, just for existing. You don’t have to do anything to earn it. Your shortcomings, your lack of self-esteem, physical perfection, or social and economic success – none of that matters. No one can take this love away from you, and it will always be here.”
  • “Be patient. You’ll know when it’s time for you to wake up and move ahead.”
  • “The thinking mind is what is busy. You have to stay in your heart. You have to be in your heart. Be in your heart. The rest is up here in your head where you are doing, doing, doing.”
  • “My guru said that when he suffers, it brings him closer to God. I have found this, too.”
  • “From a Hindu perspective, you are born as what you need to deal with, and if you just try and push it away, whatever it is, it’s got you.”
  • “When the faith is strong enough, it is sufficient just to be. It’s a journey towards simplicity, towards quietness, towards a kind of joy that is not in time. It’s a journey that has taken us from primary identification with our body and our psyche, on to an identification with God, and ultimately beyond identification.”

“I’m Not Interested In Being A ‘Lover.’ I’m Interested In Only Being Love.”
— Ram Dass

Ram Dass Meditation: Radiating Love And Focusing On The Breath

Meditation is a foundational, spiritual experience that helps to quiet the mind and put the human being in touch with his or her eternal Self (or Spirit). The practice helps us clear ancient fodder, forgive others, and create enough space in our minds and hearts so that we might choose and experience expanded clarity and love.​

Over time, meditation and prayer help us to remove the projections and colors that we place upon our realities and relationships. If we’re dedicated to the pursuit, we begin to see everything and everyone more clearly, most notably, ourselves.

Ram Dass teaches several forms of meditation. Here are a few to consider:

  • Vipassana meditation: focused on the incoming breath and outgoing breath.
  • Guru mediation: focused on the higher self, inner-master, or an external living or deceased master who inspires our connections to the All-That-Is.
  • Mantra Meditation: introduces sound and vibration as the pathway to deepening. By reciting mantras and sutras, we are vocalizing high-vibration sounds that will improve our vibrations. Doing so, we elevate our consciousness, clarity, and awareness. If a mantra is given to us by a living master, it is most often infused with the intention of guiding us to liberation and enlightenment. With each breath and chant, the guru breaths and expands within us.

Patanjali: The Luminous Sage


Patanjali, an eternal master. A Shutterstock Licensed Image.

Patanjali was a prolific sage who lived in the 2nd century BCE and authored The Yoga Sutras, a collection of 196 ancient practices of yoga and other traditions. Who is Patanjali? Many call him, “The Father of Yoga.”

Patanjali’s magnificent collection, now a preeminent classic in Yogic philosophy, was the most translated ancient text during the medieval era. The Patanjali Yoga Sutras continue to be a cornerstone in the foundation of Yogic teachings.

In his Yoga Sutras. Patanjali outlines the eight steps needed to attain Self-Realization. His writing is not based on belief; instead it describes methodologies for spiritual growth, according to a core set of principles for conscious living.​

In Sanskrit, “Patta” means falling or flying. “Anj” means to celebrate or honor, and “Anjali” means to revere or join the palms of hands. Therefore, we can translate the name Patanjali in this way, “Celebrate with flying reverence” or “Honor the falling Self as it joins hands with all of creation.”

Patanjali, also known as Gonardiya and Gonikaputra, spent much of his time practicing yogic meditation at the Brahmapureeswarar Temple in Tirupattur, Tamil Nadu, India. This is the temple where Lord Brahma, the Creator, was forever transformed by Lord Shiva. It is said that visitors can experience a deep transformation at this temple by calling on Shiva for help.

Patanjali may have learned yoga and other disciplines from the famous Yogic Guru, Nandhi Devar. Nandhi is one of the 18 Yoga Siddhas (perfected ones), initiated by Lord Shiva. Nandhi Devar’s disciples include Patanjali, Dakshinamoorthy, Thirumoolar, Romarishi, and Sattamuni.


Although the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali fell into obscurity for nearly 700 years, Swami Vivekananda, a disciple of Ramakrishna, brought them back into conscious practice in the 1800s. They’ve been popular since that time.

The 196 Yoga Sutras of Patanjali comprise the holy grail for yogis, gurus, awakened masters, and devotees. The sutras are in four volumes entitled, Psychic Power, Practice of Yoga (Patanjali’s Yoga Asanas), Samadhi (state of divine bliss in union with the eternal consciousness), and Kayvalia (separateness).​

The Patanjali of this period created significant works about Ayurveda (the ancient, Indian medical philosophy) and Sanskrit grammar.

“Yoga Takes You Into The Present Moment, The Only Place Where Life Exists.”
— Patanjali

The Other Patanjalis

While Patanjali is also credited with authoring the Mahabhashya, also known as the Yogasūtrabhāṣya, a commentary on yogic truths, these works were created after the 5th Century CE, which makes it unlikely that the 2nd Century BCE Patanjali was the author.

Strangely, the name “Patanjali” appears on a long list of books and spiritually inclined treatises throughout history on subjects that include medicine, music, and alchemy. Among the texts that later Patanjalis may have written include Patanjalah or Patanjalatantra; Yogaratnakara; Yogaratnasamuccaya; Padarthavijnana and; Carakavarttika.

The Teachings Of Patanjali: The Eight Steps To Self-Realization

Patanjali taught actionable principles that lead to self-realization through yoga. Here are the eight steps, including the sub-steps:

  • Yama: Yama is often called “the five restraints,” as it notes the behaviors we should avoid when living a spiritual life. Here are the five restraints:
    • Ahimsa: Non-violence or harmlessness This is difficult to integrate into modern life. When building a house, we might kill the tiny bugs that live beneath the foundation. The idea of Ahimsa is to refrain from wishing harm on any living being, in this realm and other realms.
    • Satya: Non-lying or truthfulness. This is also a problematic notion when living in such a complex world. We can blurt out truths in the middle of a cocktail party and send a sensitive soul into depression. The idea of Satya is to show restraint when wishing for life, relationships and circumstances to be different than they are.

    • Asteya: Non-covetousness. Asteya is simple in that we should never compare ourselves to others with the hope of achieving or having what they have.purchase-the-personality-cards-oracle-tarot-deck
    • Brahmacharya: Sexual self-restraintBrahmacharya means “flowing with Bramha: and does not necessarily dictate being celibate. It can also refer to sexual self-control. The main idea here is that sexually expressing ourselves can drain our energy, lower our defenses, reduce our mental alertness, and negatively impact our stamina and energy. Showing sexual restraint can improve our well-being and ability to connect with the eternal consciousness. Sexual restraint also allows our kundalini to be as potent and fluid as possible.
    • Aparigraha: Non-possessiveness. If we can remain detached from all of our possessions and relations, including our bodies, we will be more connected to the depth of our spirits and the eternal Self.
  • Niyama: Niyama consists of five activities and behaviors that initiates should consider when in the pursuit of spiritual progress. Here are the five activities:
    • Saucha: Cleanliness of body, mind, and heart. Saucha is about being careful what we consume, what we ingest, what we think, what we feel, and what we believe.
    • Santosha: Contentment. The Niyama of Santosha is about realizing that nothing in this world (no person, place, event, or thought), can bring us happiness. We must rely on our interdependence through and within our higher Selves.
    • Tapasya: Austerity or self-restraint. While many ancient Yogis undoubtedly hurt themselves when demonstrating their expertise in this category, Tapasya was never meant to encourage initiates to harm or deprive themselves of essential needs. That type of deprivation and self-abuse violates the first Yama, Ahimsa.
    • Swadhyaya: Self-study or introspection. While some devotees might interpret Swadhyaya as “study of the scriptures,” it refers to “Self-study,” equal to the study of the Higher Self. This Niyama is about questioning our motives, intentions, and reasoning, and remaining open-minded to the possibility that any aspect of our beliefs or assumptions could be incorrect.
    • Ishwarapranidhana: Worship of the Supreme Self, in the form of a high-vibration living master or deity. Through worship, we become. As we meditate on the rose, we become the rose.
  • Asana: Some might assume that Asana is about perfecting our ability to perform Hatha Yoga postures. This is not true. Asana is the ability to sit without moving, and with a straight spine for long periods. Many types of yoga can help with this, but no specific Yogic discipline is required.
  • Pranayama: To have control over our physical energies, we must withdraw our attention from the outer senses and sense objects. This means we would refrain from fantasizing and becoming allured by our use of sight, smell, taste, sound and touch. If the senses provide an experience, we must remain detached. If we can move our kundalini (primary life energies) up our spine to the higher chakras, we will have experienced Pranayama.
  • Pratyahara: When we internalize our attention, focus, and mental activity (our thoughts) without externalizing them or projecting them upon other people, events, or concepts, we will have experienced Pratyahara.
  • Dharana: Dharana is the ability to concentrate with a one-pointed focus. While this Dharana might not appear to have a spiritual quality to it, imagine how difficult it would be to learn a spiritual discipline if we were unable to focus all of our attention on the teachings.
  • Dhyana: One of the most essential steps toward self-realization is our ability to faithfully meditate on God or the Higher Self for long periods. This activity alone can move us closer to our goal of self-realization because it produces outpourings of God’s grace upon our minds, bodies, hearts, and souls.
  • Samadhi: The final step in the pursuit of liberation is to practice becoming absorbed in the infinite, in the quest of a “oneness” with all of creation. ​Samadhi has two stages, Sabikalpa (temporary and conditional) and Nibikalpa (unconditional and permanent).
    • Sabikalpa is when we might release our egos during meditation, and when meditation is over, we allow the ego to return.
    • Nibikalpa is the state of eternal oneness whereupon the ego wholly dissipates into nothingness without resistance or chance of returning.


“The most important kind of freedom is to be what you are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.”
— Jim Morrison

Patanjali Quotes

  • “The cause of suffering is that the unbounded Self is overshadowed by the world.”
  • “Yoga is the settling of the mind into silence. When the mind has settled, we are established in our essential nature, which is unbounded Consciousness. Our essential nature is usually overshadowed by the activity of the mind.”
  • “When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds; your mind transcends limitations; your consciousness expands in every direction; and you find yourself in a great, new and wonderful world.”
  • “Knowledge born of the finest discrimination takes us to the farthest shore. It is intuitive, omniscient, and beyond all divisions of time and space.”
  • “Ignorance is the failure to discriminate between the permanent and the impermanent, the pure and the impure, bliss and suffering, the Self, and the non-Self.”
  • “Chanting is one of the most traditional and first Yoga practices. It helps to open the throat area and is a great way to learn some Sanskrit and the Yoga Sutra.”

How Do We Begin?

The pursuit of self-realization has miraculous and surprising rewards along the way. Amid the challenges that the mind will naturally present, small spiritual gems will emerge to keep us enticed and nourished.

If we allow the carrot of liberation to be at the forefront of our minds and hearts, the grace of our deities and masters will help us dissolve all resistance. Stay the course, look to the eternal masters for guidance, and focus inwardly with intentions immersed in light and love.

Ramakrishna & Sarada Devi: Spiritual Ecstasy, Love And Vedanta

Ramakrishna And Sarada Devi

Sarada Devi and Ramakrishna, equal light-masters. A Shutterstock Licensed Image.

Sri Ramakrishna and Sarada Devi lived together in the 1800s as married awakened masters, although Sarada Devi rarely used language that portrayed herself in this way. Throughout her life, she was a devoted wife, disciple, and chaste nun.

After immersing himself in the traditions, teachings, and practices of many religions, Ramakrishna Paramahansa grew to worship the Divine Mother. Soon into their union, Ramakrishna would regard Sri Sarada Devi as an incarnation of The Divine Mother. He regularly addressed her as “Holy Mother.”​

Both of these Indian guru-mystics were deeply committed saints in service to humanity. It’s quite rare when two enlightened souls find each other so early in their lives and then co-create a unified, congruent mission.​

Upon moving into their home together, Ramakrishna asked Ma Sarada Devi if she came to distract him from his Godly life and pull him into the world of Maya. Sarada Devi responded, “No, I am here to help you realize your Chosen Ideal.”

“One Must Have Devotion Towards One’s Own Guru. Whatever May Be The Nature Of The Guru, The Disciple Gets Salvation By Dint Of His Unflinching Devotion Towards His Guru.”
— Sarada Devi


Ramakrishna Paramahansa (1836-1886) was born in Gadadhar Chatterjee, India. From early boyhood, he experienced profound spiritual gifts and ecstasies. To facilitate and broaden his understanding of his beliefs and experiences, Ramakrishna pursued several religious traditions, including a devotion to the goddess Kali. He was also a student of Advaita Vedanta, Tantra (Shaktism) and Vaishnava (bhakti yoga).

Ramakrishna was eternally devoted to God, and his teachings spread like wildfire. As a native of Bengal, Ramakrishna attracted many of the Bengalese elites, which led to the creation of The Ramakrishna Math and The Ramakrishna Mission by one of his most devoted disciples, Swami Vivekananda.


Deeply committed to the eternal nature of all religious and spiritual disciplines, Ramakrishna studied Christianity for three days, during which he saw himself merge with Jesus. When he adopted Islam for three days, he experienced himself joining with Mohammad.

When he embraced a new tradition or religion, he would fully submerge himself and become one with its master. It’s because of these experiences and this intensity of focus that Ramakrishna believed that all paths lead to the eternal flame.

Sarada Devi

Born in Joyrambati, India, Sarada Devi (1853-1920) was Ramakrishna’s wife and spiritual partner. Often called Sri Sarada Devi or Sri Sri Maa, she was widely known as The Holy Mother, most especially to the devotees in the Sri Ramakrishna Monastic Order at the Ramakrishna Monastery.​

Sri Sri Sarada Devi was a profoundly loving soul who played a vital role in the Ramakrishna movement and the sharing of her husband’s teachings.​​

Sarada Devi was an inspiration to thousands of men and women, encouraging future generations of women to choose lives focused on God. Sri Sri Maa is believed to have been an incarnation of The Divine Mother.

“If you want peace of mind, do not find fault with others. Rather learn to see your own faults. Make the whole world your own. No one is a stranger, my child; this is your own.”
— Sri Sri Maa

Ramakrishna and Sarada Devi Together

These two divine souls were married when Sri Maa was only five years old. They began sharing a household when she was in her late teens. What began as Ramakrishna Math and Sarada Math, the collective mission came to be called, “Sri Ramakrishna Sarada Math,” which includes monastic orders for men and women, along with a philanthropic mission.

Because Sarada Devi was a householder who lived with bickering relatives, she became a vital and relatable confidant to many of the householder-followers of Ramakrishna.

Ramakrishna and Sarada Devi lived a monastic, celibate life, focused solely on teaching Vedantato their many followers. After Ramakrishna passed from this life, Ramakrishna’s devotees saw Sri Sri Maa as their eternal mother.

Vedanta is one of the six schools of Hindu philosophy. It translates to, “End of the Vedas.” The primary Vedanta texts are The Upanishads, The Brahma Sutras, and the Bhagavad-Gita. The essential premise of Vedanta is simple: We are eternally connected with every living soul and physical reality. There is no duality or separation because creation consists of one great, eternal fabric.

Ramakrishna Quotes

Ramakrishna was dedicated to the eternal nature of the divine. Every breath was a prayer. Here are some of his most alluring quotes:

  • “As long as I live, so long do I learn.”
  • “God is in all men, but all men are not in God; that is why we suffer.”
  • “Only two kinds of people can attain self-knowledge: those who are not encumbered at all with learning, that is to say, whose minds are not over-crowded with thoughts borrowed from others; and those who, after studying all the scriptures and sciences, have come to realize that they know nothing.”
  • “The Man who works for others, without any selfish motive, really does good to himself.”
  • “You see many stars in the sky at night, but not when the sun rises. Can you, therefore, say that there are no stars in the heavens during the day? Because you cannot find God in the days of your ignorance, say not that there is no God.”
  • “The winds of God’s grace are always blowing; it is for us to raise our sails.”
  • “You speak of doing good to the world. Is the world such a small thing? And who are you, pray, to do good to the world? First, realize God, see Him by means of spiritual discipline. If He imparts power, you can do good to others; otherwise not.”
  • “God has made different religions to suit different aspirants, times, and countries. All doctrines are only so many paths, but a path is by no means God himself. Indeed, one can reach God if one follows any of the paths with wholehearted devotion…One may eat a cake with icing either straight or sidewise. It will taste sweet either way.”

Ramakrishna’s Final Days

Up until the moment of his death, Ramakrishna’s divine personality continued to draw a wide variety of devotees. They came from all walks of life, and a long list of races, creeds, religions, and nationalities. Christians, Muslims, agnostics, atheists, humanists, Hindus, Sikhs, devotees of other deities, and men and women from all ages flocked to his side with devotion.

No matter where disciples came from, when they were in Ramakrishna’s presence, they became purer. When in his company, a sinner could spontaneously become a saint.


In his final days, Ramakrishna suffered from throat cancer. During this time, he was nurtured by his disciples, including Sri Sri Maa. Moments before his death, Ramakrishna transferred all of his divine gifts to Swami Vivekananda.

Near the end of his life, Ramakrishna asked that Swami continue his teachings, and he requested that all of his disciples look to Vivekananda as their leader. At an old house near the river Ganges, the Ramakrishna Order of monastics began under the direction of Swami Vivekananda.

“Practice meditation, and by and by your mind will be so calm and fixed that you will find it hard to keep away from meditation.”
— Sarada Devi

Sarada Devi’s Final Moments

Conscious of her divine nature, yet rarely expressing it, Sarada Devi was known for her kindness, motherly care, and ability to help her disciples find peace in their hearts. She continued her compassionate work until her health began to decline.​

With her devotees gathered around her, Sri Sri Maa said, “But I tell you one thing—if you want peace of mind, do not find fault with others. Rather see your own faults. Learn to make the whole world your own. No one is a stranger my child: this whole world is your own!”

Both Sarada Devi and Ramakrishna were cremated on opposite sides of the River Ganges. Their monastic lives, missions, and eternal ideals continue to inspire hearts to bow at the feet of The Divine Mother.

Sri Anandamayi Ma: The Perfect, Profound And Mysterious Flower

Sri Anandamayi Ma

Sri Anandamayi Ma, a beautiful, loving master. A Shutterstock Licensed Image.

When asked why she was in this world, Sri Anandamayi Ma said, “In this world? I am not anywhere. I am myself reposing within myself.”

An astrologer, Abinush Babu, once had the honor of reading Sri Ma’s palms. He said that her markings were beyond a defined deity or tradition, and “beyond the control of the invisible.” He went on to say that Kali would return to worship her.

Every soul who visited Sri Ma was struck by her sweet but aloof tranquility, and her remarkable depth of presence. It was as if she did not only sway with the wind but was the wind itself.​

There seemed to be no distilling the identity and physical form of Sri Ma from the nature-form of the universe. She appeared to be within all eternal fabrics, and beyond space and time. First-hand accounts state that when seated with Sri Ma, it felt as if you were sitting on the edge of forever.

“Ma Is Here. What Is There To Worry About?”
— Anandamayi Ma

Anandamayi Ma: Becoming The Divine

Anandamayi Ma (1896-1982) was an Indian spiritual leader with boundless compassion. She was born as Nirmôla (Nirmala) Shundori (Immaculate Goddess), in Uttrakhand, India. Nirmala’s surrounding village consisted of mostly Muslims who have continued to call her, “Our own Ma.”​

Nirmala’s parents were also euphoric, spiritual initiates, and were known for their kind and lovely natures. Her mother was a devout housewife, loving mother, and generous neighbor. Her father had a beautiful voice and sang the ancient bhajans at local kirtans.

Nirmala’s possibly insane neighbor Harakumar, was the first person to recognize her true divine nature. Morning and night, he would call her “Ma.”

Bhajiji, an early disciple, suggested that her name be Anandamayi Ma, meaning “Joy-Permeated Mother” or “Bliss-Permeated Mother.” In deference to her adoring followers, Nirmala adopted her divine name. Bhajiji would be the first to construct a temple devoted to Andandamayi Ma.​

At age 26, Anandamayi Ma relinquished her human identity and embraced a spontaneous initiation into living sainthood. Describing the late-night ritual, Sri Ma said, “As the master (guru), I revealed the mantra; as the disciple (shishya) I accepted it and immediately began reciting it.”

While many people wanted to package Sri Ma’s ideology and ascribe it to traditional religion, Anandamayi Ma did not allow labels. She would say that she was Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Zoroastrian, and more. She had no limits, especially when it came to religious identities because she resided in a boundless reality.


Anandamayi Ma did not lecture like other teachers and gurus. She never prepared her speeches, nor did she compile or edit them. She was a profound conversationalist and delivered the deepest teachings through speedy discussions, laced with good-natured humor.​

Sri Ma did not subscribe to the idea of being anybody’s guru. She also rejected the idea that being a renunciate was required for a spiritual path. She often said, “All paths are my paths. I have no particular path.” While most of her work was not recorded, it is known that Anandamayi Ma’s speeches were drenched in Bengali wordplay, which is difficult to translate with precision. While most of her teachings and instructions were infused with jokes and songs, she gave many long discourses and encouraged silent meditation.

To inspire her devotees, Anandamayi Ma would also give out little hints which she called “kheyala.” Sri Ma’s kheyalas could be found within her words, mantras, and songs. Sri Ma’s prime initiative was clear, “The supreme calling of every human being is to aspire to self-realization. All other obligations are secondary.”

Anandamayi Ma’s Mantra

The Gayatri (or Savitri) mantra is dedicated to Savitr, a Sun deity and is derived from teachings found in the Rig Veda. The mantra is widely stated in Vedic texts and was praised by the Buddha.

This holy and revered mantra has long been used to initiate devotees into a devotional Hindu life. While it was long believed the mantra was explicitly intended for boys and men, Sri Ma was the first saint in hundreds of years to initiate women utilizing this mantra.

When we chant this mantra, we are asking the divine feminine to fill our lives, minds, bodies and hearts with eternal positive energy and divine bliss.

Here, in Sanskrit, is the Gayatri mantra:

“Om bhūr bhuvaḥ svaḥ
bhargo devasyadhīmahi
dhiyo yo naḥ prachodayāt.”

Swami Vivekananda translated this mantra to mean, “We meditate on the glory of that Being who has produced this universe; may she enlighten our minds.”

Shirram Sharma’s translation is as follows, “Om, the Brahm, the Universal Divine Energy, vital spiritual energy (Pran), the essence of our life existence, Positivity, destroyer of sufferings, the happiness, that is bright, luminous like the Sun, best, destroyer of evil thoughts, the divinity who grants happiness may imbibe its Divinity and Brilliance within us which may purify us and guide our righteous wisdom on the right path.” Regardless of the assumed translation of this holy phrase, when repeatedly chanting this mantra, the seeker’s heart and mind open to an outpouring of divine light.

“The Remembrance Of God Must Be Sustained Under All Conditions And Circumstances.”
— Anandamayi Ma

Anandamayi Ma’s Marriage

At the young age of thirteen, Sri Ma became a bride to a man named Ramani. According to Indian tradition, due to her age, she immediately became a servant to her brother’s wife.​

Even though she was submerged in a challenging situation, which included years of unfair treatment, Sri Ma took care of her brother, his wife, their kids, and the majority of their household chores. Amidst all of the drama in the house, Sri Ma remained joyful.​

​For many years, Sri Ma’s family did not understand her happiness, assuming it was the result of a low level of intelligence. Regardless of the challenges and assumptions swirling around her, Sri Ma remained loving and cheerful.

Sri Anandamayi Ma

Sri Ma also remained loyal to her marriage with Ramani, whom she named Bholanath. The idea that it was a wholly celibate marriage has never been contested.

Bholanath was Sri Ma’s devotee, and the two traveled together for many years. With her husband by her side, Sri Ma held public programs and kirtans where she would go into full-bodied spiritual ecstasies. Because he became somewhat of a gatekeeper and bodyguard, “Bholanathji” was also seen as a religious figure in some circles.

After years of love and devotion, Bholanathji died while Sri Ma’s hand rested gently upon his head. His last words were, “Ananda, Ananda, Ananda.” Joy, Joy, Joy. Throughout their marriage, Sri Ma remained a devout and tireless partner to her husband.

Sri Ma’s reaction to her husband’s death was not surprising to her devotees. She said, “Do you start to wail and cry if a person goes to another room in the house? This death is inevitably connected with this life. In the sphere of Immortality, where is the question of death and loss? Nobody is lost to me.”

It was in this way that Sri Ma’s compassion and detachment were in perfect, divine harmony.

Sri Anandamayi Mabook-live-intuitive-reading-with-paul-wagner

  • “Whether you worship Christ, Krishna, Kali or Allah, you actually worship the one Light that is also in you, since It pervades all things.”
  • “Without cause or reason, His compassion and His grace are pouring forth at every instant.”
  • “Joys and sorrows are time born and cannot last. Therefore, do not be perturbed by them. The greater the difficulties and obstructions, the more intense will be your endeavor to cling to His feet and the more will your prayer increase from within.”
  • “At every breath try to be in communion with Him [Her] through His/Her Name.”
  • “As you love your own body, so regard everyone as equal to your own body. When the Supreme Experience supervenes, everyone’s service is revealed as one’s own service. Call it a bird, an insect, an animal or a man, call it by any name you please; one serves one’s own Self in every one of them.”
  • “Perfect resignation gives the deepest joy of all. Accept it as your sole resource.”

Anandamayi Ma’s Miracles

Many first-hand reports describe the unique, spiritual qualities and gifts that this divine master shared with her disciples and householder followers.

During public kirtans, early in her sainthood, Sri Ma swayed to the music as if she were perfectly united with its vibrational material. Amid her bliss, and while her body continued to sway, her spirit would often exit and rise above her body. As Sri Ma’s spirit moved around the room, she shed light on all of the attendees, which resulted in revelations, healings, and deeply inspired peace in the receivers.

These types of experiences were frequent and visible to everyone. It was as if Sri Ma wanted her devotees to see how thin a veil exists between here and the other realms.

Thousands of people reported physical, mental and emotional healings simply by attending her programs, imagining her form or chanting her mantras.

“My consciousness has never associated itself with this temporary body. Before I came on this earth, Father, I was the same. As a little girl, I was the same. I grew into womanhood, but still, I was the same. When the family in which I had been born made arrangements to have this body married, I was the same… And, Father, in front of you now, I am the same. Ever afterward, though the dance of creation changes around me in the hall of eternity, I shall be the same.”
— Anandamayi Ma

The Non-Organized, Non-Proclaimed Guru

Because Sri Ma traveled in a haphazard way, she could follow the flow of the light that moved through her. In cities where ashrams were built to honor her divinity, she would often choose to visit a different location within that city, never stepping foot inside the structures that bared her name.

Even meals could not be assumed. Sri Ma would say, “It is not necessary to eat at all to preserve the body. I eat only because a semblance of normal behavior must be kept up so that you should not feel uncomfortable with me.” It was regularly reported that Sri Ma was in excellent health, whether she ate or not.

With less structure, proprieties, and management dictating her life and travels, it appears that Sri Anandamayi Ma invited the winds of the divine to move through her as spontaneous blessings in every moment.​

Many of her devotees might agree with this sentiment, “The knot of the heart is penetrated, all doubts are resolved, all bondages are destroyed upon seeing Her who is here and beyond.” — Mundakopanisad 11.2.8

Kundalini Meditation & Yogi Bhajan

Kundalini Meditation

Kundalini Meditation can clear your chi and mind. A Shutterstock Licensed Image.

From the late 1990s to the early 2000s, I spent time with Harbhajan Singh Khalsa, often known as Siri Singh Sahib to his followers. To the world, he was most prominently known as Yogi Bhajan (1929-2004). A deeply devoted Sikh, healer, vegan, intuitive master, entrepreneur, founder of the Kundalini meditation and yoga movement, and executive director of a global economic foundation There may never be another Yogi Bhajan. He was remarkable.

When we visited together, I would affectionately call him, “Yogi.” In my heart, I felt him to be akin to Yogi Bear, a big, playful, cuddly, and protective friend.I loved his warmth and intensity. After he would lovingly calculate the numerology of my birth, Yogi would say, “Paul, you love to play a foot beneath your potential. Why is that?” I am still unable to answer that question.


When wandering within spiritual circles, seeking the master within, it’s not always obvious how important a particular experience or person might become to us. It might be said that I took Yogi Bhajan for granted, never fully understanding that his generosity and friendship were some of the loveliest and most essential gifts to my life.

Yogi Bhajan was the founder of 3HO (the Healthy, Happy, Holy Organization), and the first spiritual master to openly teach Kundalini meditation and yoga in the United States. Yogi was a stunning and powerful gem, and his gift of Kundalini meditation and yoga has touched millions of lives.

“When you don’t go within, you go without.”
— Yogi Bhajan

What Is The Purpose Of Kundalini Meditation?

The purpose of Kundalini Meditation and other forms of meditation and yoga is to help us release the false identities that enslave us into projection, instability, anxiety, and attachment.

By reducing our attachments to our public identities, inflamed egos, troubled minds, and contrived masks, we move deeper into spirit and become more attuned to our original selves. Through regulated breathing patterns (pranayama) and specific postures (body and hands) known as mudras, we increase our vibrations and align with divine frequencies. Think of meditation as a spiritual, chiropractic adjustment.

Our vibrations and frequencies are vital to our pursuit of awakening and liberation. When our vibrations are hampered, we pursue and magnetize toward people, places, events, intentions, thoughts, and actions that disconnect us from the light and our highest potentialities. If we can be single-minded and heart-centered in our spiritual intentions, we will inch toward liberation. Meditation and yoga are beneficial in this pursuit.

“You owe it to yourself to be yourself.”
— Yogi Bhajan

How Do I Do Kundalini Meditation?

There are several types of Kundalini meditation, some of which can enliven a variety of aspects within our bodies and spirits. Consider being careful with this type of meditation. Many trendy, new-age derivatives may or may not be helpful in your pursuit of light and love.

Kundalini meditation is an ancient practice and should be engaged with the highest standards in mind.
Here is Yogi Bhajan’s original Kundalini Meditation, which he began teaching in the United States in the late 1960s. I’ve infused Yogi’s original form of meditation with a few suggestions for a gentler experience.

“I do not believe in miracles, I rely on them.”
— Yogi Bhajan

Yogi Bhajan’s Original Kundalini Meditation

  1. Sit comfortably with your spine straight: It’s okay to rest on a chair or couch, but sitting on a meditation pillow on the floor will strengthen your spine, deepen the effects of your breath, and improve your breathing patterns.
  2. Form a mudra: Use your hands to create an open-fingered (pointed upward) chalice or lotus flower. Your pinkies and thumbs should be pressed together, while the other fingers are spread out to form an open cavity. Hold this flower in front of your heart, remembering to keep your spine straight. Specific hand formations like these are known as mudras. Mudras are most often aligned with Buddhist and Hindu principles and inspire energetic flow and an uprising of vibration.
  3. Eyes: If possible, close your eyes and then open them ever so slightly. If you can also roll your eyes upward, it will be of benefit to the experience. You can also look down or toward the light through the open slit.
  4. Settle-in: To relax into a pre-meditative state, inhale deeply and exhale three times. Pause, breathe regularly, then repeat. Amidst this breathing, release tension, fear, masks, and preconceived notions.
  5. Fifteen minutes of breathing: To begin partial pranayama breathing, inhale one-third of a full breath and hold for 15 seconds. Inhale another one-third for 15 seconds. Inhale the final 15 seconds, then exhale. Repeat this pattern of breathing for 5 to 15 minutes, preferably as near to 15 minutes as possible. If you need to start with 10 seconds of holding the breath at each interval, that’s okay, too. If you’d prefer, consider increasing the ranges up to 20 seconds in length.
  6. Eleven minutes of chanting mantra. The original mantra for this meditation is Har Jee Har Har Har Har Har Jee. The mantra translates roughly to: “O, my soul, (the creative) God is, God is, God is, God is, O, my soul.” You may also chant the simpler mantra, “Sat Nam,” which means, “Truth or True (Sat) identity (Nam).” If your faith falls under a different tradition, you may simply repeat the name of your desired deity.
  7. Repeat the initial pranayama breathing pattern.

“You are very powerful, providing you know how powerful you are.”
— Yogi Bhajan

How Does Kundalini Meditation Relate To Kundalini Yoga?

Kundalini meditation is built into Kundalini yoga, and meditation is a form of yoga. Yoga and meditation practices are aligned, in that they arebook-live-intuitive-reading-with-paul-wagner often designed to remove the mental chatter and obstacles that prevent us from seeing ourselves clearly. Meditation is focused on the breath and resting posture and does not traditionally include physical movement. Meanwhile, traditional yoga involves specific breathing patterns, structured physical movements and positions, and basic meditation.

Without Kundalini meditation, there would be no Kundalini yoga, yet the inverse is not necessarily true. According to many enlightened spiritual masters, meditation is the most beneficial modality for spiritual advancement. It deepens our connection to our most authentic selves, expands our spirits, and broadens our capacity for compassion and awareness. Meanwhile, the physical components found in yoga are not essential for every initiate and might not enhance every person’s spiritual path.


Many of the derivative and hipster forms of yoga in the market today are nothing more than exercise. Depending upon its lineage and quality, and the intentions and depth of the teacher, yoga can be self-centered, and, therefore, antithetical to the pursuit of a spiritual awakening. New-age yoga has become an integral part of pop-culture. This has had positive and negative effects. While some of the forms of the new yoga are inching people closer to peace and liberation, other types are indulgent and might inspire self-gratification.

According to ancient principles, this type of egocentric validation can quickly placate and stifle an individual’s ability to achieve a divinely inspired clarity. When choosing a yogic path, be discerning. Seek clear, loving, and dedicated instructors who embody the principles of the original Hindu and Buddhist teachings. You can learn more about Yogi Bhajan’s teachings at 3HO and Library of Teachings.