Presented by the movement center and Swami Chetanananda


In his final months Nityananda complained that people only came to him for material gain. “What sort of grace is possible in such cases?” he would ask before adding, “They don’t need a guru—they need a soothsayer.” He called it an abuse of his physical presence, likening it to spiritual window shopping. Where was their spiritual aspiration? Why ask the ocean for a few fish when, with a little effort, one could have the priceless pearls on the ocean floor?

He spoke of the antarjnanis, realized beings who lived in the world and experienced pain like everyone else. The difference between them and the rest of humanity was their ability to detach their minds from their suffering. Once established in infinite consciousness, they became silent. And, while all-knowing, they lived as if knowing nothing; while manifesting simultaneously in unlikely places, they appeared idle. They viewed life as if it were a movie—from a state of detachment. For Nityananda, being detached from life’s circumstances, pleasant or otherwise, was the highest state. He was an antarjnani.


Let the mind, he said, be like a lotus leaf floating on the water, unaffected by its stem below and its flower above. While engagedin worldly pursuits, keep the mind untainted by desire and distraction. Keep the mind detached and faith in God firmly established in the lotus of the heart, never letting it be swayed by happiness or despair. Devotees will find themselves subjected to various tests, he said—tests of the mind, of the emotions, of the body. With every thought that pops into the mind, God is waiting for a person’s reaction. Therefore stay alert and detached. See everything as an opportunity to gain experience, to improve oneself, and to rise to a higher level. Desire alone causes suffering in this world. Humankind brings nothing into this world and takes nothing away from it.


Let one’s thoughts and actions reflect one’s words. This ashram’s practice is not about doing good deeds. This ashram’s practice is about learning to be detached. Anything else that happens does so automatically by the will of God—although this one will speak when somebody is genuinely interested.