Swami Ashokananda

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Fast Facts
Sw Ashokanandaji.jpg
Other Names and Nicknames: 
Yogesh Chandra Dutta
Ramakrishna-Vivekananda, Advaita Vedanta, Meditation, Tapoloka
Main Countries of Activity: 
India, USA
Date of Birth: 
September 23, 1893
Place of Birth: 
Durgapur, East Bengal, India (Presently Bangladesh)
In His/Her Body ("alive"): 
Date Left His/Her Body: 
December 1969
Ancestor Gurus: 
Descendant Gurus: 


Swami Ashokananda was a much-venerated monk of the Ramakrishna Order. He was ordained into sannyasa by Swami Shivananda, and was the editor of Prabuddha Bharata, an English monthly of the Ramakrishna Order brought out from the Advaita Ashrama, Mayavati in Uttaranchal. He was an outstanding writer and speaker and the leader of the Vedanta Society of Northern California (San Fransisco) from 1931 until his passing away in 1969.

Swami Ashokananda was the guru of Sister Gargi (Marie Louise Burke) - the great author of Swami Vivekananda in the West - New Discoveries. Her biography of her Guru (A Heart Poured Out) and her journal (A Disciple's Journal) are very inspiring reading.

When Swami Ashokananda was near trees, his mind would sometimes grow very quiet, and his ordinary consciousness, human consciousness, would be obliterated, as it were, and tree consciousness would take its place, a consciousness entirely unlike our own—a different time sense, a different way of knowing and feeling, indescribable in terms of human consciousness. He felt at one with trees, just as we feel at one with human beings. He knew trees to be very happy, peaceful beings. He could almost hear their laughter. It was, he said, like the laughter of young girls around sixteen or seventeen years old, and yet restrained.

-- A Heart Poured out, the biography of the Swami, by Sister Gargi, Page 63


- If the mind is gloomy, why are you gloomy?

- Tranquility comes when the rubbish of the mind has been removed. Greed and self-indulgence must be vanquished.

- You become calm by eliminating the causes of mental disturbance. Find out what they are and get rid of them. It is as simple as that. All spiritual teachings are about how to remove disturbing things from your mind and your life.

- All this emotional wealth of man is but a faint imitation of the exquisite,excruciating love of our infinite soul for the infinite God.

- You have to be calm and quiet and examine every thing that arises in your mind. See that it is in accord with reason and not just accepted automatically by custom.

- How to bring the mind under control? Direct it so that it cannot do anything on its own, that is how.

- Only when the mind is under control and has become peaceful can you know what thw mind is. You can never know your own mind unless you practice self-discipline.

- You have to be bold and persistent. Cut down the old thoughts again and again as they come to you again and again, and then the roots will die.

- You have to examine all your motives. You will find that it takes a long time before your only motive is the realization of God.

- Depth in meditation will not come without quieting the mind. The mind is quieted best by unselfishness—there is no technique so good!

- Out of the infinite calmness of mind, the knowledge of God comes.

- The mind is coextensive with God, transparent and luminous when it reflects God alone. Do not cheat the mind by stuffing it with other thoughts.

- Stop dragging the mind down to worldly thoughts and it will naturally rise on its own to reveal the Self.

- When the mind is perfectly still, the soul becomes Spirit.

- Concentration is nothing but attention. It requires a quiet mind, not a scattered mind.

- Meditation is a slow, slow process like the opening of a flower—silent and graceful.

- The soul is all-conscious, whereas the mind and body are totally unconscious.

- Beautiful is the body of God, this universe, but its finer aspects are hidden from those who are blinded by the vanities of life.

- The joy of the Spirit is infinitely superior to anything this body and mind can bring to you.

- The body comes and goes like clouds against the sky; the eternal Spirit remains.We are seeing only part of the picture.

- Do everything with full attention. Nothing should be done without reverence, for everything is really done unto God. You should not worship God carelessly. It is not that God will punish you, but that you will destroy your own fine sense of values. Don't trample on greatness in any form. One should have reverence for whatever one does, even if it is just an extraneous thing.

- A man can have everything, but if he doesn’t have the cooperation of his mind, he has nothing.

- The whole world is like Alice in Wonderland, a madhouse. As long as you see everything slide by in reasonable sequence, one thing firmly tied to another, you are a bound person. When you realize there is no sequence, no congruity, you are free.

- If you ask, 'But how did this illusion come about originally? If there is only one reality, how could there be an illusion of manifoldness?' then they answer, 'In ignorance there is no consistency'. How do we mistake one thing for another ? Do we do it rationally ? If it were rational, then we would not have made any mistake. That we have made a mistake means that it is an irrational, an inexplicable something. If you then say, as some have, 'The illusion always exists as opposed to pure divinity,' then you are forced to accept the position of a dualist, although of a different kind, it is true. The answer is simply this – when you find the truth, ignorance vanishes. Then you do not say ignorance is one reality and truth is another reality; you never think that. Ignorance is ignorance, and you never put it under the same category as truth or the real.

- Only the great can achieve the’great. Only the deep can achieve the deep… Try to be deep and profound and see if you cannot find deep and profound truth within yourself. You have to practise those things. If you become superficial, you will become like dust that is being scattered by the wind. You won’t be anything better than that.
- Brave the danger of the mind. It has more power over you than a million atomic bombs. To control it makes you the master—fearless.

- Until you have actually felt the mind at work within itself, you will not be able to control it.

Shafts of Light



Vedanta Society in San Franscisco

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I was about to post this revered saint on gurusfeet site after the posting of sister Gargi and sister Nivedita but someone other have posted it, perhaps after reading the guru profile of sister Gargi;

govinda madhava damodara's picture

hi Nidhi Prakash

hi there,

i posted it. i am glad that you were about to post this Guru. No i didnt do it after seeing your sister gargi's post. but i admire you very much that you did it to sisters gargi and nivedita. but by God's grace, the good fortune of posting Ashokanandaji has fallen one me.


govinda madhava... | Sat, 07/17/2010 - 08:05