Yogacharya Kripalvananda’s “Principles of Yoga”

The first 60 verses out of a total of 500.

1. Oh Lord, a true devotee never suffers the useless pain of searching everywhere for your abode. For when he becomes crazy with love, the true devotee runs in any direction.

2. Love-crazy devotees are never confused. They are completely confident that you live everywhere. No matter from what direction they are running they know the path leads to your door. Why search? They can find you at home, everywhere throughout the universe at large, and in each atom of the universe, as well.

3. All paths are yours. The love-crazy devotee sees light everywhere. Thus he can run with sure-footed swiftness. However, I’m still a novice devotee. For me, darkness pervades the universe in all directions. And this is why I cannot find the path to your abode. I realize that your abode is revealed at the end of the path. For this reason, I humbly pray to you, “Oh Compassionate One (Kripalu), please become the lamp of my path and cast your light upon me.”

4. Just as one needs the shelter of a boat in order to sail on the water, one needs the protection of niyama or discipline in order to practice sadhana.

5. Niyama, or discipline, is the very essence of the goal. In fact, niyama provides one with the momentum to reach the goal. The sadhaka who gives up discipline automatically gives up sadhana. As a result, both his intellect and the mind become confused. In other words, he loses his ability to be either decisive or sentimental.

6. The yogi, however, is a valorous fighter. He fears neither attachment nor death. He never retreats a single step no matter how many pains he encounters.

7. The river which originates at the top of the mountain never returns to its source. Likewise, a yogi who is established on the path of yoga never regresses to the path of hedonism.

8. Whenever one’s heart is bound with another’s love, at that very moment a dam is built in his life. If this does not happen, the waters of his love will not remain steady in his heart; they will just run off, thus. Only when the flatland of the heart becomes a deep valley can the dam of love be constructed all around it naturally, to hold the waters.

9. The yamas and niyamas are the foundation of love. The seed of love develops through them. These two, yamas and niyamas, are the fortress of love. Without them, it is not possible to protect love.

10. Attachment is the exact opposite of love. Attachment lacks commitment due to its unsteadiness, yet attachment has its own rules. Attached people also build fortresses – not to regulate their own conduct, but to regulate others. Thus they protect themselves to ensure that others’ manipulation does not last long.

11. On the other hand, the lovers construct the fortress of love for themselves so that they can ideally serve their beloved. Then there is no possibility of their being negligent in serving him.

12. Since the attached person is selfish, he binds the other person in order to remain free of bonds himself. The lover, on the other hand, is selfless. He allows himself to be bound in order to keep the Master free.

13. Actually, every person desires to practice sadhana – but without exerting any effort. Well, prayers to the Lord are just like that. In fact, praying requires no work. No one needs to put forth any effort at all nor experience any pain.

14. It is our common experience that anything that is very simple is also worthless. But prayer is an exception to this rule. Despite its simplicity, prayer is supreme of all the sadhanas (systematic spiritual practices). Prayer is unique in that it can be practiced anywhere, anytime.

15. When a person becomes completely without hope, and when there remains no door left open for him, then his attention is drawn towards the door of God.

16. The moment he remembers God, the love gushes in his heart. He is overwhelmed by the strength of his previous impressions of love and runs towards the Lord.

17. Only the pain of this desperation reveals to all the sufferers the path leading to God. At that time, even though the Lord Himself is not actually visible, He appears to be visible because of the sufferer’s pure sentiments.

18. Overwhelmed by his pure sentiments, he cries aloud. Bowing, he prostrates himself at the holy feet of the Lord. This cry is true prayer to the Lord; this cry is japa (; this cry is meditation.

19. No matter how wretched you find that day of desperation, consider that day to be an auspicious one. Also lovingly be grateful to the pain which reminded you of the Lord.

20. God, after all, is everyone’s father. So our hymns and prayers are never offered in vain. Even if the desired results do not come, do not consider God incompetent.

21. A drowning person always offers true prayers. And yet, if God does not rescue him, God is not to be blamed.

22. Human beings cannot imagine God’s divine universal plans. So do not see fault in his innocent creation. Keep firm faith in Him because the Lord is everyone’s benefactor.

23. Pray to God with every breath. Constantly reminisce upon Him as you perform every action because praying to the Lord is the miraculous key to love.

24. Oh Govinda! Oh, dweller of Dvaraka! Oh Krishna! Oh beloved Lord of Gopis! Oh Keshava! Even though you are omniscient, why have you forgotten me now when I’m being humiliated by the Kauravas?

25. Oh Master! Oh, husband of Lakshmi! King of Vraja! Rescuer of those in distress, benefactor of all, rescue me from the Kauravas!

26. If one is not thirsty, then even if water exists it is useless. Similarly, Guru’s greatness can be imagined only if one is thirsty for knowledge.

27. If total faith is not kindled in your heart, do not become anyone’s disciple. Yes, consider him your Guru mentally, but do not perform any formal external rituals.

28. You have only one duty: to search for a genuine devotee of God. Don’t worry about whether you will receive God or not.

29. Only if the disciple becomes a true disciple can Guru become a true Guru. If the disciple himself does not become a true disciple, then what can even Guru do? When it rains and you stand there with an upside-down pot, then what?

30. A potter just cannot make a pot without the appropriately prepared clay. If all he has is stone, he cannot do anything with it. He has to get rid of it.

31. If the Guru is a genuine Guru and the disciple is a genuine disciple, then just as coal becomes a diamond, the disciple becomes a gem.

32. A conceited disciple may actually live in the company of the Sadguru (Truth Teacher) but sees only his Guru’s faults, not his virtues. There are two types of glasses. In one the reflection is as it is. In another kind of mirror, you see the reflection upside down; so the faulty vision gives you upside down vision.

33. Society can never recognize a hypocritical disciple since he accomplishes his selfish aims by masquerading as a sincere person and deceives everyone. He’s never a disciple, but he comes in the name of a disciple in order to join the company. And through that, he tries to gain benefits.

34. One who cannot forget his self-importance does not give up the desire for the respect of the Guru. Most of the time, the people who are intellect oriented, they are like this. Always wanting the desire to be respected, even by the Guru, egotistically.

35. Wise men regard such a conceited egotistical disciple to be the supreme fool. Because all his virtues are trivial. None of them is greater than pure character.

36. The Sadguru is an ocean of virtue and a disciple is an ocean of faults. One who sees faults in his Guru is not a true disciple; he is a false disciple.

37. The disciple who slanders the Guru is a great fool. One who does not recognize virtue as virtue is blind.

38. Slandering the Guru is the greatest sin in this world. Spoiling the Guru’s name always begets pain.

39. God forgives blasphemy against Himself but never against the Guru. Never forget His solemn pledge.

40. Do not listen to the gossip of the Guru’s blasphemer. Such attention increases one’s sins and pollutes one’s mind and intellect.

41. If such an egotistical, conceited disciple becomes angry when he ruminates upon his Guru’s faults, he consequently encounters pain for lives to come.

42. Do not betray your Guru. Such a betrayal is a great sin. The fire enkindled by such a sin will sear your heart with pain that will never subside.

43. He, alone, is a fortunate disciple whose heart is aflame for the love of Guru’s feet. Then he does not fall short of his dharma.

44. Only when pure love is kindled in the hearts of both Guru and disciple is the grace of the Lord perceived.

45. The scriptures have considered the genuine disciple to be the one whom the Guru never hesitates to command. Such a disciple is indeed a true son born to the Guru’s own mind.

46. A person’s chitta or mind is an integral part of himself. Naturally then, he does not hesitate to share all thoughts – whether good or bad thoughts – with his own chitta. Such communication of an individual with his own mind is the essence of intimacy. Surely, intimacy and hesitation cannot co-exist.

47. Guru is a very valuable gem. A satsangi is the jeweler. Only a jeweler can appreciate the Guru as a gem. Others do not have the eye to recognize the Guru’s worth.

48. Guru is both the mother and the father of knowledge. Guru is God, Guru is the soul; He alone shows the path to truth.

49. The Guru is Creator; the Guru is Sustainer; the Guru is Destroyer; the Guru is in reality the Supreme Absolute. To that Guru, I bow.

50. Oh God! After having entered your street, both my mind-stuff and I are lost. I’m searching for the mind-stuff and the mind-stuff is searching for you.

51. Love can happen only with one, not with thousands; just as the night is lit with the light of one moon, not with the twinkling of thousands of stars.

52. This is in fact the path of love. There is no fear of robbers here. Actually, he who is robbed on this path of love is truly very fortunate (laughter).

53. Love is received neither by asking nor by purchasing. Love is received only when the lover offers his own love at the feet of the Beloved.

54. In order to worship the Lord, whatever way you are observing Him, you have to first make a form of him. And then you can worship Him which represents the One, the un-invisible One. And this is how you can begin the worship of God.

55. A symbol of the Lord is very useful. One can receive divine inspiration from an idol of the Lord. Pure feelings are invoked and the mind becomes steady. Mind experiences peace by restraint of its outgoing tendencies. Worship is a loving gesture that facilitates meditation.

56. In ordinary meditation you see a pot and you see all kinds of different things and they keep coming and going. You just keep seeing different things. The eyes must be open. The ears must be open. If all the senses are open, you see things coming and going. That is also meditation. You don’t have to learn it. It’s happening automatically. Sahaja meditation – spontaneous meditation.

57. As long as you are awake, your meditation continues on such superficial objects. You see the sun, you see wife, you see money, you see all things.

58. Ordinarily, at all hours of the day we reflect upon external matters. Thus, the agitation of the mind increases every moment. This restlessness can be restrained by lovingly worshipping the Lord. The mind becomes free of worries the moment we become absorbed in the loving sentiments while worshipping.

59. Worshipping is the loving gesture of the heart. It invokes the reminiscence of the Lord. Thus, the attraction which dances through such worship is meditation. It is the link between the seeker and the sought, the attraction.

60. Worship the Lord every day. This will purify your mind and the divine flame of love will enkindle in the temple of your heart.

[ Back to List of Bapuji’s Writings ]