Swami Abhishiktananda -Words of Inspiration


With the kind permission granted by the Delhi Brotherhood Society for the selected list of quotations:


The following quotations from the books of Swami Abhishiktananda are published here with the kind permission of Fr Dr Monodeep Daniel, Chair of the Delhi Brotherhood Society (7 Court Lane, Delhi 110054, India) who holds the copyright. This list of quotations should in no way be published elsewhere, either online or in printed form, without prior legal permission from the Delhi Brotherhood Society. For more quotations, please visit the offical website of the Abhishiktananda Centre for Interreligious Dialogue (a unit of the Delhi Brotherhood Society): www.abhishiktananda.org.in 



‘By awakening to self, man has awakened himself to God. By awakening to God, he has awakened himself to self, beyond God and self, in this eternal mystery…’

The Eyes of Light, (contains 7 articles and selected letters), Denville, N.J. (Dimension Books), 1983 (translation of Les yeux de lumière. Ecrits spirituels, ed. by A. Gozier and J. Lemarié, Paris, 1979), p.32

‘The way of jnana is essentially the way of dhyana: that of the meditation of silence. Its aim is to center the consciousness on itself, to prevent it from scattering itself in the world of the image and abstract thought, to lead it back incessantly to the present, even to the here and now and to the very course of all the activities of the mind. It is a matter of awakening to selfhood, beyond all conditioning.’ (The Eyes of Light, op.cit., p.29) 

‘…the awakening is independent of any situation whatsoever…One awakens everywhere and simply…’ (The Eyes of Light op.cit.,p.179). 

‘The state of wakefulness, of awareness, is a man’s birth-right, it is ingrained in his own nature and nobody can give it to him. Simply, it is that, etad vai tad (Katha Up., ch. 4, passim).

The Further Shore, Delhi (ISPCK), 1975; reprinted with addition of The Upanishads and the Advaitic Experience and poems, 1984; reprinted in 1997. p.119


‘There is no awakening to being in the depth of oneself that is not an awakening to being in every being, and in the whole history of the cosmos and of humanity, and in the whole history of each person, and in the whole of one’s own history.’ 

Ascent to the Depth of the Heart: The Spiritual Diary (1948-1973) of Swami Abhishiktananda. A selection, edited with introduction and notes by Raimon Panikkar, translated by David Fleming and James Stuart, Delhi (ISPCK), 1998 (translation of the original edition: La montée au fond du coeur, Paris, 1986). p.187 [Nov 30, 1956]

‘You will only find yourself in the total loss of yourself, a loss as harsh as the loss of one who passes through death…When you have consented simply to be, no longer to seek for yourself in your senses or in your thought, or in your consciousness, when you have accepted no longer to live this present moment in the expectation of a tomorrow, or a selfish tomorrow, when you no longer project yourself, then only you will be.” (Diary, op.cit., p.231 Feb 3 1960).


‘The essential awakening to being in the depth of the soul does not depend either on knowledge or on discipline of the will. Only God can bring it about. The only way to it is that of love –

love which releases man from the limitations of his ego, and throws him into the arms of God and his brothers;

love which is as strong as death (Song of Sol. 8:6), that death which, in God’s wise design, is the only road to life.’

Saccidananda: A Christian Approach to Advaitic Experience, Delhi (ISPCK), 1974 (revised version of: Sagesse hindoue, mystique chrétienne, Paris, 1965); new edition, 1984; reprinted in 1997. p.200.



‘This staggering discovery, new each time, after the manner of a dream, always the same and always new! – that which I had projected outside myself into a sphere that was divine, eternal etc., and had adored, loved, and so on, is the mystery of my own being – sa eshah purusha so’ham, so’ham asmi! That Person yonder (in the sun) – I am he! (Isa Up. 16)’ (Diary op.cit., 22 July 1971)


‘(The experience of advaita) so empties the individual of his or her selfhood that, save for determining circumstances – say, the powerful call of the Spirit – those who have experienced it hardly try to appear or speak in public. It is certain, moreover, that it leads humans into regions of the mental and spiritual life where the air is so rarified that most flinch from it out of fear. Nevertheless it exists among many as an underlying reality. Experienced in its total call by the great rishis (seers) of old, it has left its mark on the Scriptures, the cult, the mind and the whole culture of India.’ (The Eyes of Light,op.cit., p.26)


‘I really believe that the revelation of the AHAM (I am) is perhaps the central point of the Upanishads. And that is what gives access to everything; the “knowing” which reveals all the “knowings”. God is not known, Jesus is not known, nothing is known, outside the terribly “solid” AHAM that I am.’

Stuart, James, Swami Abhishiktananda: His Life Told through his Letters, Delhi (ISPCK), 1989, new edition in 1995, reprinted in 2000, p.356, Letter to MC, October 20-21, 1973.

‘Alone with God. That means alone with the Self. Dare to be willing to face God in a direct meeting with the Self.’ (Diary op.cit., p.185. Nov 30 1956.)




‘Christ, even more than a being involved in Space-Time, is that absolutely final level of consciousness, that final point beyond which nothing remains but the passage to the Father.’ (Diary, op.cit.,25 Dec 1955)


‘Christ is the perfect human being. The human being who has realised all his potentialities as human, including the highest of all: his non-duality with God…’ (Diary, op.cit., Feb 4 1967)


‘To be a disciple of Christ, to put one’s faith in Christ, does not mean to be a member of a (closed) sociological group that is recognizable from certain initiations, certain structures, certain formulas – but it means first of all to take seriously Jesus’ life and teaching: to renounce everything, to be free even at the cost of death, to put one’s brother before oneself, total non-desire except for the Kingdom, etc.’ (Diary op.cit.,p.367 Jan 2 1973).


‘…one is never so profoundly close to oneself as in the heart of another, never so lost to oneself and given over to others as in the innermost depth of one’s self. This is surely the message of Jesus to mankind, which he stated in the simplest possible language when he gave us the commandment of love - …’ (Saccidananda op.cit., p.185)


‘…the Christian should clearly understand that, in proportion to his love for God and God’s love for him, so the Lord’s mercy will falsify his expectations, upset his plans and shatter his security; and this will be so that he may never be tempted to settle down anywhere at all except on the basis of a naked trust in God and blind surrender to him.’

In Spirit and Truth, Delhi (ISPCK), 1989; reprinted in 2000.  p. 23

‘The act of one who transcends himself in order to attain to what he truly is. This is the most extreme act that could be imagined of faith, of surrender, of love, the salvific act par excellence. To pass from self to the Self is to pass into the risen Christ.’ (Diary op.cit., Aug 19 1959.)


‘One cannot become son of God, one is that.’ (Diary op.cit., p.286 Oct 21 1966).




‘Every great dharma in fact takes its rise from the awakening to the Real…’ (The Further Shore op.cit., p.26)

The Further Shore, Delhi (ISPCK), 1975; reprinted with addition of The Upanishads and the Advaitic Experience and poems, 1984; reprinted in 1997, p.26.


‘Religious forms are the expression of the inner mystery as it is presented by the best people and is ‘acceptable’ to the crowd. Religion, or rather any given religion, is never binding except at a certain level of consciousness.’ (Diary op.cit., p.121, Aug 30 1955)


‘My message has nothing to do with any dharma whatever. That is true for every message from the depth.’ (Diary op.cit., p.334, Dec 14 1971).



[In the words of Gnanananda:] ‘The guru appears when the place of the heart has been found. In order to reach it, personal effort and perseverance are needed. Underlying this effort there has to be one single intention which focuses all the strength of your being in a single direction. Singleness of intention, singleness of aim, the single-minded search for the atman – this is the one essential condition of spiritual realization.’

Guru and Disciple: An Encounter with Sri Gnanananda, a Contemporary Spiritual Master, London (SPCK), 1974; revised edition, Delhi (ISPCK), 1990; reprinted in 2000; new and enlarged edit. by Swami Atmananda Udasin, pref. by Swami Nityananda Giri, Chennai (Samata Books), 2012 (translation of Gnanananda. Un maître spirituel du pays tamoul, Chambéry, 1970). p.79


“The meeting with the guru is the essential meeting, the decisive turning point in a person’s life. But it is a meeting that can only happen when once you have passed beyond the spheres of sense and intellect. Its place lies Beyond, in the ‘fine point of the soul’, as the mystics say.” (Guru and Disciple op.cit., p.15).


‘The Self is only visible to the Self, and the true guru is only ‘yourself’ within your own Self.’ (Guru and Disciple op.cit., p.97).






[In the interior dialogue of Vanya:] ‘The darshana of the guru is the final step towards the ultimate darshana, in which the last veil is lifted and all duality transcended. That is the essential darshana that India has pursued since the beginning – in which also India reveals her own secret and “in revealing herself to you, reveals to you your own most hidden depths” ’. (Guru and Disciple, op. cit., p.17).


‘The grace of India is essentially a grace of interiority. You understand India and are understood by India to the extent that you yourself live within.’ (Diary, op.cit., March 20)


‘India only reveals herself to those who are prepared to be still and over a long period to listen humbly at close quarters to the beating of her heart; only to those who have already entered sufficiently far into themselves, into their own depths, to be able to hear in the inner chamber of the heart that secret which India is ceaselessly whispering to them by means of a silence that transcends words. For silence is above all the language through which India reveals herself…and imparts her essential message, the message of interiority, of that which is Within.’

The Secret of Arunachala: A Christian Hermit on Shiva’s Holy Mountain, Delhi (ISPCK), 1979; reprinted 1988; revised edition, 1997 (translation of Souvenirs d’Arunachala, Paris, 1978). p.viii.

‘Westerners are always anxious to be doing! but we come to India, and there we learn simply to be; and be-ing is the most intense form of action. No external movement in the physical world is so intense as the movement at the heart of the atom, through which indeed it exists. So it is with us.’ (Letters, op. cit.,  March 19, 1959, p.130)


‘It was India’s privilege and her glory that she pursued her spiritual and philosophical quest for Being to its ultimate depths. In so doing, she made man aware of his own deepest centre, beyond what in other cultures is termed ‘mind’, ‘soul’, or even ‘spirit’. At this transcendent point her sages discovered God, or rather, the divine mystery, beyond all its actual and even possible manifestations, beyond every sign which claimed to represent it, beyond all formulations, names, concepts or myths. At the same time they discovered their own true self to be likewise beyond everything that signifies it, whether it be body or mind, sense-perception or thought, or that which is normally called consciousness.’ (The Further Shore op.cit., p.1)



‘The true function of the sannyasi is, in the name of mankind, to stand fast in the secret place of the heart, hidden and unknown; unless the Lord himself in his own way makes him known to others…’ (The Further Shore op.cit., p.10)


Sannyasa is an inner experience – just that. The sannyasi is the man whom the Spirit has made ‘alone’, ekaki.” (The Further Shore op.cit., p.35).


“Now sannyasa is no longer a thought, a ‘concept’, but an ‘inborn summons’, a ‘basic need’; the only state that suits the depth into which I have entered, that reveals it, realizes it.” (Diary, op.cit.,March 30, 1953)


‘Sannyasa is beyond all dharma…’ (The Further Shore op.cit., p.19)

Solitude, Silence, Simplicity…


‘…all that I stand for, solitude, silence and monastic poverty.’(Letters p.250 1969) 

‘I no longer saw you,

I no longer recognized you,

and I lost my very self.

You took everything away from me:

my delight in expecting you,

in being with you.

You escaped me

by hiding yourself in my inmost depth,

and you left me alone

in your own solitude.’ (Diary op.cit., p.307 Dec 24 1969)


‘He who knows observes silence’. (The Eyes of Light, op.cit., p.20)


Gems – Words of inspiration


‘In my own innermost centre, in the most secret mirror of my heart, I tried to discover the image of him whose I am, of him who lives and reigns in the infinite space (akasa) of my heart. But the reflected image gradually grew faint, and soon it was swallowed up in the radiance of its Original. Step by step I descended into what seemed to me to be successive depths of my true self – my being, my awareness of being, and my joy in being. Finally nothing was left but he himself, the Only One, infinitely alone, Being, Awareness and Bliss, Saccidananda. In the heart of Saccidananda I had returned to my Source.’ (Saccidananda, op. cit., p.172)


‘…it is only in the silence of the Spirit that the Voice can be heard.’ (The Eyes of Light,op.cit., p.103): 

‘To live in the present is to live in the Presence.’ (The Eyes of Light op.cit., p.176).


‘The real experience of God depends on nothing at all. It is established in its own greatness…’ (The Further Shore op.cit.,p.128).


‘No one has received anything except to share it with his brothers.’ (The Further Shore op.cit., p.133)


‘We only meet each other when we meet God.’

The Mountain of the Lord: Pilgrimage to Gangotri, Bangalore (CISRS), 1966; reprinted in Madras (CLS), 1967; new and revised edition, Delhi (ISPCK), 1990.p.42.

‘Only in aloneness. The only, only way of reaching the Alone.’ (Diary,op.cit., p.136 Jan 6, 1956)


‘To be naked but attached to one’s nakedness is far worse than to be clothed without attachment to one’s overcoat.’ (Diary,op.cit., p.212 Feb 20 1958)


‘Let me find my fulfillment in each of my actions, eating my rice, washing my feet, listening to boring stories.’ (Diary,op.cit., p.217, June 5 1958).


‘If I am the bearer of a message, as people tell me, then what is this message? You can bear witness only to your own experience. There is only one thing I know, that “I am”. This I am, aham, which bursts out in all creation, in every thing, in every event, natural or historical.’ (Diary, op. cit., p.221 Aug 19 1959).


“Not to suppress possessions – that’s too complicated – but to suppress the ‘possessor.’ ” (Diary, op.cit., Nov 24 1959).


‘We do not exist in order to do, but in order to be. For our realization is within. We are not for tomorrow, nor for today, nor for the near future, but for the present moment.’ (Diary op.cit.,p.252 March 3 1963).


‘Apart from God, what possible object is there to desire? The only thing to wish for would be that God should be; well, God is. After that what room is there for any petition whatever?’ (Diary, op.cit., p.262 Dec 25 1963)


‘There is no direct way to the mystery, the only way there is to renounce every way.’ (Diary op.cit., p.270 April 12 1964).


‘Faith is basically the twilight experience that I am to be complemented by an Other who is not other.’ (Diary op.cit.,Nov 23 1966).


‘You can awake no matter where you start from.’ (Diary op.cit., p.294 March 5 1967).


OM is the deepest point at once in myself and in God. In OM, I AM.’ (Diary op.cit., p.301 Oct 18 1968).


‘Total freedom leaves no room for any choice.’ (Diary op.cit., p.307 Dec 10 1969)


‘The Self draws everything to itself, when the self is stripped of all ego.’ (Diary op.cit., July 3 1973)


‘Everyone whom Providence causes to cross my path, whether as a companion on the way or as a simple passer-by, is for me a sign and manifestation of God. He is the means used by God precisely at that moment to make himself known to me and to call me to himself.’ (

 Prayer, Delhi (ISPCK), 1967; new and enlarged edition, 1989; reprinted in Philadelphia (Westminster Press), 1973; reprinted in London (Canterbury Press Norwich), 2006. Revised and enlarged edition: Prayer: Exploring Contemplative Prayer through Eastern and Western Spirituality, edit. by Swami Atmananda Udasin, foreword by Rev. Dr. James Stuart, Delhi (ISPCK), 2015.p.23.

‘…there is one essential consideration – God…We do everything we can. And then after that we surrender ourselves to His discretion. We reason that He is. And then that is all. This is the secret of happiness.’ (The Eyes of Light,op.cit., p.159)


‘Make the offering of this moment and receive the gift of this moment.’ (Diary op.cit.,June 8 1952)


‘What is the use of saying One in your thought, if you say two in your life? Not to say two in your life, that is love.’ (Diary op.cit., p.271. April 15 1964.) 

‘…just as physical fatigue at times liberates one from the vagrancies of the mind, the dashing of one’s hopes marvelously liberates one from the superficial self and aids one to penetrate to the mystery of the true self, to the pith and marrow of the depths, of the guha…’ (The Eyes of Light op.cit., p.161) 

‘We awake to what the religious person calls the presence of God by disinterested action, by love free from selfishness, by looking at others with pure eyes.’ (Diary op.cit., p.352 May 28 1972)


extracts from a compilation by Carrie Lock


Make a free website with Yola