“We all need joy, and we can all receive joy in only one way, by adding to the joy of others.”
These inspired texts from world scripture and the writings of great saints and sages have been selected for reading, study, and use in passage meditation. They come from Easwaran’s collections of inspirational passages, Timeless Wisdom and God Makes The Rivers To Flow. Click on a passage title in the right-hand column below to read and print that passage. If an audio icon is displayed next to the passage title, an audio player will be displayed with the passage; use it to hear Easwaran reading that passage.
Tell me of the man who lives in wisdom,
Ever aware of the Self, O Krishna;
How does he talk, how sit, how move about?
He lives in wisdom
Who sees himself in all and all in him,
Whose love for the Lord of Love has consumed
Every selfish desire and sense-craving
Tormenting the heart. Not agitated
By grief nor hankering after pleasure,
He lives free from lust and fear and anger
Fettered no more by selfish attachments,
He is not elated by good fortune
Nor depressed by bad. Such is the seer.
Even as a tortoise draws in its limbs
The sage can draw in his senses at will.
An aspirant abstains from sense-pleasures,
But he still craves for them. These cravings all
Disappear when he sees the Lord of Love.
For even of one who treads the path
The stormy senses can sweep off the mind.
But he lives in wisdom who subdues them,
And keeps his mind ever absorbed in me.
When you keep thinking about sense-objects,
Attachment comes. Attachment breeds desire,
The lust of possession which, when thwarted,
Burns to anger. Anger clouds the judgment
And robs you of the power to learn from past mistakes
Lost is the discriminative faculty,
And your life is utter waste.
But when you move amidst the world of sense
From both attachment and aversion freed,
There comes the peace in which all sorrows end,
And you live in the wisdom of the Self.
The disunited mind is far from wise;
How can it meditate? How be at peace?
When you know no peace, how can you know joy?
When you let your mind follow the Siren call
Of the senses, they carry away
Your better judgment as a cyclone drives a boat
Off the charted course to its doom.
Use your mighty arms to free the senses
From attachment and aversion alike,
And live in the full wisdom of the Self.
Such a sage awakes to light in the night
Of all creatures. Wherein they are awake
Is the night of ignorance to the sage.
As the rivers flow into the ocean
But cannot make the vast ocean o'erflow,
So flow the magic streams of the sense-world
Into the sea of peace that is the sage.
He is forever free who has broken out
Of the ego-cage of I and mine
To be united with the Lord of Love.
This is the supreme state. Attain thou this
And pass from death to immortality.
These are the closing verses of the second chapter of the Bhagavad Gita (“Song of the Lord”), India’s best-known scripture, a masterpiece of world poetry on which countless mystics have drawn for daily practical guidance. The Gita is a dialogue between Sri Krishna, an incarnation of the Lord, and his friend and disciple Arjuna, a warrior prince who represents anyone trying to live a spiritual life in the midst of worldly activity and conflict. This translation is by Eknath Easwaran, from his Bhagavad Gita for Daily Living (Petaluma, California: Nilgiri Press, 1975–85).
Ansari of Herat
Baba Kuhi of Shiraz
Bahya Ibn Paquda
Native American Tradition
Rabbi Abram Isaac Kook
Rabbi Eleazar Azikri
Saint Catherine of Genoa
Saint Ignatius Of Loyola
Saint Teresa of Avila
Solomon ibn Gabirol
Sri Sarada Devi
The Amritabindu Upanishad
The Bhagavad Gita
The Chandogya Upanishad
The Isha Upanishad
The Katha Upanishad
The Kena Upanishad
The Rig Veda
The Shvetashvatara Upanishad
The Tejobindu Upanishad
Thomas a Kempis