Sayings of Saints Universal (One)

A selection of sayings translated by Hari Prasad Shastri, from the Hindi original compiled by his friend and fellow devotee, Hanuman Prasad Poddar (1892-1971). The original brings together 2,500 prose sayings or short teachings, under the title Sant Vānī—‘speech of the Santas’, a Santa being a person of any faith, country or tradition who is established in a life of truth, goodness, selfless service and inner communion with the invisible, all-pervading reality, realized as the essence of one’s own being and referred to in the text by such words as God, Hari, Rama, etc.

The sayings are presented anonymously with no ordering under themes or religions. They are part of the spiritual heritage of mankind, and in his introduction, H P Poddar tells us they are drawn from several sources, including Hindu, Moslem, Christian, Jewish, Parsi and others.

In these pages we reproduce part of Dr Shastri’s selection. Some of the sayings may seem to counsel a perfection beyond our reach; but their aim is to awaken a potentiality that already exists within us, and should be approached in the spirit of the Bhagavad Gita verse: ‘Even a little practice of this teaching brings immense benefit.’

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Let not the defects of the mind, its restlessness and attachment to objects, make you despair. Remember, by the power of worship all such defects are removed.

There are three signs of humility:

  1. Sweet words in return for abuses.
  2. Keeping serene and silent in case of anger.
  3. Keeping the mind tender while dealing with the wicked.

He is a true Guru who helps in the achievement of the feeling of divine love. The disciple must obey the Guru or he will gain nothing.

The sign of a devotee of God is that one’s heart, like a candle, ever burns to know God.

The fruit of sin belongs to the one who commits the sin and also to the one who publishes it; do not therefore make known the sins of others.

There is real happiness in controlling the urges of the mind. It is the absence of this delight which makes a man run after joys.

The Lord says: ‘They serve Me, who serve the deserted, the fallen and the low.’

Blessed are they who practise compassion. They will receive the compassion of the heavenly Father.

Love even your enemy; this is a great discipline to please God.

Blessed is the one who is abused for doing good to others.

The signs of a saint are that they ignore the evil which they hear of others. They disregard themselves and show joy when others are praised. They cause happiness to others in preference to themselves; they show tenderness to the young and love and respect to the elderly. They never deceive anybody under any circumstances.

There is no greater sinner than the one who deceives others under the cover of religion or who robs others of their wealth, time and energy by teaching false doctrines.

Where have you seen Him? There where I did not exist. I found Him where I myself did not exist.

Self-abnegation is the great secret of love. The chief happiness and good of the lover lies in promoting the good of the object of love. In the path of God there is restlessness, a keen sense of enquiry into Truth, personal purity, relinquishment of all sins, singing the glory of the supreme Self.

There are two signs of a lover of God: to be equiminded in praise and blame, and to desire nothing in the world from the Lord.

Faith is known by the presence of the following: seeing every object in God; doing all with a view to please God; seeing His finger in joy and in pain, and in every condition to expect good of Him and Him alone.

They are fortunate who see the blessings of God in sorrow.

When can we be said to have offered our being to God? When we have completely forgotten the local self and depend with our whole heart on Him; when we have no other support in the world except God.

The secret of Adhyatma Yoga is conviction of Advaita (non-duality) and the relish of devotion.

O Lord, am I not your child? The father does not try his strength with his child. O Master of the poor, remember your promise in the Gita.

Live in the world—sansara—but do not forget Hari. Repeating the name of Hari with love, treat others with justice. In this way sansara will not bind you.

Do good to others; do not speak ill of anybody. Treat others’ women as mothers and sisters. Show compassion to all living beings.

Do not keep your mind impure if you want to have union with God. Do not collect dirt and dust in the form of conceit, pride, idleness, wrong behaviour, and so forth.

Fire be on that artificial behaviour which, appearing to be pure, is filled with taint.

You cannot have God without renouncing all hopes of achievement and ambitions.

Cultivate acquaintance with those who abide in equanimity. They are your relatives and friends. Controversy and arguments are a net; avoid it.

This article is from the Autumn 2016 issue of Self-Knowledge Journal.