Tracing Our Roots :: September 7, 2014

Swami Kamalananda
Speaking on "Tracing Our Roots
Sunday, September 7, 2014


For students September means return to familiar academic routines, to studies and friends. For vacationers, return to their homes and vocations, routines and accustomed surroundings. Whatever our age we feel a calling and a need to return to what is familiar, to that by which life can feel well established (rooted, as a tree is rooted!) and secure.

We long to have "roots" giving depth and a firm hold to secure us against the unforeseeable and threatening changes we will encounter. Some people find comforting roots in history or traditions of family and culture. For the philosophically-minded, roots can be binding and confining or self-liberating and expansive.

"Unstable as a drop of water on a lotus leaf is life, so extremely impermanent is life on earth." Swami Shankaracharya, perhaps the most profound voice linking the seemingly distant wisdom of the ancient Vedas to modern life made the oft quoted observation to alert us to the brevity, uncertainty and fragility of our human existence and future: He further issued a bold warning, "BEWARE!" to explain the toxic effects of identifying our roots with much of earthly life that we count on and cling to.  The question is, just what do we know about our roots, and where are they? Seeking our roots in the Eternal God of our Soul requires us to turn UPSIDE DOWN the familiar "tree of life" of our ancestors and to be born into a different consciousness of self-realization.




From the Gurus and Swamis


The one who realizes that,

"I am not the vital energy, nor the body, nor the mind, nor the ego,

nor the understanding, but, verily, I am the principle of Consciousness in all" 

That God, the destroyer of the darkness of samsara, I praise.


— Swami Shankaracharya

from "Hymn to God"


* * * * * * * * * * *


I bring to you

A mirror new –

A glass of introspection clear,

That illusions shows and sooty fear

That spots thy mind.

Thou wilt find

This mirror new

        Would also show all true

   The "Inner You,"

That's veiled in flesh

And doth ne'er appear.

Each night consult afresh

Thy mirror friend and clear away

The dust that gathers each day.


— Swami Yogananda Paramahansa

from "Songs of the Soul"


* * * * * * * * * * *


In the good of all souls good comes to my soul.  I must live for all, for the good of all everywhere and always.  The good of all must remain the constant ideal of my life.  God has given me the whole world, he has placed his bounty before me.  Surely even the simplest principle of righteousness and appreciation requires me to recognize and receive with thankfulness and gratitude the gifts of his love for me.  Indeed the world around me, with all its diversity, is the proof of my God's blessing and grace upon me.  I must utilize it with all the spiritual powers and qualities of my soul.


—Swami Premananda Giri

from "Seven Gifts of God to Me"


* * * * * * * * * * *


Noble Thoughts 
"Let Noble Thoughts come to us from all sides." —Rigveda


* * * * * * * * * * * *


"Let your roots go deep into the source.     

With attitude build a firm foundation

Of peace in the Tao."


— Lao Tzu, "Tao Te Ching,"

translation by Diane Dreher


* * * * * * * * * * * *

"Eckhart cites Augustine, who says,

'Pure spirits run back again along the same course toward

the purity of God.'

What is the 'purity of god' that is also our purity?

It is, in its most basic form, a return to our origins,

a recovery of our roots, a waking up from forgetfulness,

a remembering of who we are

and in whose image we all have been fashioned."


— Matthew Fox, "Passion for Creation; the Earth-Honoring Spirituality of Meister Eckhart"



* * * * * * * * * * *


"He is beyond the tree of life and time,

and things seen by mortal eyes;

but the whole universe comes from him.

Know that he is the inmost of thy soul

and that he is the home of thy immortality."

"I go for refuge to God who is ONE in the silence of Eternity,

pure radiance of beauty and perfection,

in whom we find our peace."


— "Svetasvatara Upanishad,"

translation by Juan Mascaro