Captivating Quotes by ‘Shunya’ That Will Dispel Your Ignorance

And make you feel like you’ve just meditated

I first came across Shunya when I was randomly surfing the internet on topics like spirituality, karma, etc. Thirty minutes later I was still reading his words. It felt like I’d been given a spiritual discourse — like being exposed to the Truths of the Universe that I was ignorant of.

As I binged on his quotes and concepts, I was startled to realize that the author really is unknown — despite all its popularity, no one knows the person behind it.

The word ‘Shunya’ literally means ‘nothing’. But it’s more than that — it’s the true nature of all phenomena, devoid of all independent self or substance.

In fact, the word ‘Shunya’ has different meanings in different contexts. For example, it’s also a Sanskrit technical term used in ancient Indian sciences such as Astronomy, Mathematics, and Geometry.

There are many speculations about the author. One of them being that the book was written by Himalayan yogis. Yet, none of them have been confirmed.

Nonetheless, what’s fascinating is that the source of such wisdom is not known. In a world where people are quick to claim credit for others’ work, let alone their own work, Shunya gifted this book full of spiritual knowledge without any personal motive.

Here are some of his (or hers or theirs) quotes I found most intriguing that will keep you thinking for a long time.

“Solitude is like a river bank where the truth is waiting for you with a boat.”

To cross the river of ignorance and reach the banks of enlightenment, we need solitude.

Truth is always there with us. But it’s clouded behind our likes, dislikes, desires, and the myriad of distractions we indulge in every day.

When you’re alone, only then can you hear what your Higher Self is trying to tell you. Though the benefits of solitude are indescribable, I can say this for sure — you will return with a glowing face, a light mind, and an expanded heart.

It gives us an opportunity to get away from life’s drama and begin our inner search. It’s a time to send our inner explorers into unknown spiritual territory.

The answers you seek are already within you. You just need to still your mind to listen to them. Alas, no matter how you try, this is not possible in our day-to-day lives. Yes, you may get an hour or two here and there. But that isn’t enough to cleanse your mind and think clearly.

I’ve recently started taking day-long seclusions, two days a month (two Saturdays ideally). During my first session, I wrote a lot.

But I found that even writing was a way for me to distract myself from trending on the path of inner exploration. And so, I decided to completely unwind, leave my work aside and keep silent throughout the day.

With this, all my energy was focused inward, instead of going outward. Once I touched the state of complete silence, I got hooked. Now that state remains with me wherever I go. With little practice, I can learn to attune to that silence in daily life.

That is the gift of solitude. Everyone needs it but doesn’t know it yet.

“Don’t be so hard on yourself that your mind starts taking pleasure in self-pity. Don’t go so easy on yourself that guilt becomes the flavour of your joy.”

I’ve often committed the mistake of being too extreme in my actions. When I do something, I like to take it to the extreme, or at least progress faster than usual.

When I started writing, I set the goal of an article every day. When I started meditating, I set a goal of an hour a day. When I thought about quitting TV, I went cold turkey.

However, these steps often turned to be counterproductive. Yes, I was able to accomplish all these goals, but with repeated failures. I took the power of moderation for granted and became too hard on myself.

The other end of the spectrum is also poisonous for your soul. If you’re too easy on yourself, you’ll indulge in guilt-trips more often than not.

The problem is that both guilt and self-pity increase levels of self-involvement. When you feel guilty or pity yourself, you can’t see anything beyond than that.

In Autobiography of a Yogi, Swami Sri Yukteswar told one of his disciples who was fasting — “Why not throw the dog a bone?” (Meaning, why don’t you eat a little). Paramahansa Yogananda explained that even though Sri Yukteswar recommended fasting, but that disciple was too occupied with the body.

And so, everything has its limit. When you go past the limit, it’s just a preoccupation with your ego.

Let’s say your goal is to lose weight and go to the gym. Don’t push yourself to go 7 days a week and then burnout a month later. You’re doing nothing but creating stress. Instead, learn to be a little moderate in your approach. You’ll have a much peaceful existence.

“The outer world is not that tempting. It’s all garbage. But we keep nosing through it to avoid facing the demons sitting inside our head.”

One of the reasons meditation and even solitude are dreadful to people is they’re afraid of facing the demons inside them.

After all, people would rather take an electric shock than sit in a room alone for 15 minutes.

The outer world is full of ups and downs. When we’re on the highs, we don’t want them to go away. When we’re on the lows, we can’t wait for them to go away. It’s all an emotional roller coaster.

The inner world is where we’ll find eternal peace and joy. But before that, we must peel the onion of self-awareness and remove our false self-identifications. Alas, this is what most people fear.

When you meditate, everything inside you comes to the surface — **good and bad. **It’s not all roses. But we have to deal with them sooner or later. Because they are the keys that will unlock the next level in our growth.

Little by little learn to be content with yourself. Meditate more. Practice solitude. Because the one who can master the inner demons can master anything.

“Like your body breathes air, your mind breathes thoughts. You feel depressed when your mind forgets to fully breathe out. Stretch your mind regularly. Contemplate who you are in this infinite cosmos.”

We have around 6,200 thoughts a day. Think about that for a second. The good news is most of those thoughts come and go, they don’t stick around.

But the bad news is, that those that do, have an adverse effect on our mind and spiritual growth.

The more we cling to thoughts, the more we think about the Creation and not the Creator. The Creator can only be perceived when not even a ripple of thought enters the mind.

One of the best ways to do this is again meditation. Another way to let go of your thoughts is to contemplate how little you matter in the grand scheme of things.

The stoics call this “taking a view from above.” Look at a picture of the milky way galaxy or some other awesome picture of the universe. Think about how small the earth is in comparison to the whole universe. And then think about how little you matter in this picture.

Further, think about how the things you worry about are actually insignificant — in fact, calling the insignificant is also giving them more weight than they deserve!

This little exercise is a reality check in many ways. It makes us aware that there’s a much larger reality at play here than “I,” “me,” and “myself.” In that awareness, we can melt our worries forever.

“The recess bell has rung. The teacher is just wrapping up her lecture. Only your body is inside the class. Your mind is already in a different zone. Remember that joyful feeling?

When the bell of awareness rings, your body and mind remain in the world, but you see them from a distance, from a different zone altogether. You feel very light, relieved from the unnecessary baggage.”

When you start to become more spiritually aware, you’re suddenly introduced to a whole new world inside you.

For the first time in life you realize that even when you withdraw the senses from the outer world, you can be aware of subtler-than-material realities.

Your mind and body are still in this world. They’re not going anywhere. Yet, your consciousness is in altogether a different zone. You’ve finally started feeling not what you’re aware of, but what you’re aware with.

And that’s pure consciousness. It doesn’t have any baggage — there are no emotions, feelings, or thoughts — it just is. When you can touch that stillness in deep meditation, your soul is cleansed. A fountain of peace descends on your being.

It’s a beautiful feeling, even if it lasts for a few seconds. When the bell of awareness rings, the class of duality is over.

“Pain multiplies when you try to go away from it. Be with it until it goes away from you.”

Pain is an essential part of life. Without pain, we cannot grow.

Yet, our first instinct in the face of pain is to escape — to distract ourselves thinking that if we just don’t pay attention, it will go away.

But it doesn’t. The pain only goes away when we’ve learned our lesson.

The wise thing is to face pain head-on and see what it’s trying to teach you. The faster you pass the exam, the faster you move to the next grade.

That’s what the Buddha taught. The only thing we need to embrace pain, find meaning in it, dive into the negative pools, and come out stronger on the other side.

Don’t run away from pain. Embrace it. Bathe in it. You know, as they say, what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.

One day, when you have no more lessons to learn and the school of life is over — then you can soar in the skies of Bliss

“Revenge is counter-productive. Let them drown in the pool of their bad Karma. Going into their pool just to fight them satisfies your ego but harms your soul.”

Karma is funny. Once you really understand the law of Karma, your whole life changes.

If someone hurts you, they’re generating bad karma for themselves that they’ll have to pay off sometime in the future. If you too jump into the pool of negativity, you’ll suffer the same fate.

To someone who doesn’t understand Karma (which is basically the law of cause and effect), it’s easy to justify revenge. “Of course you punch him back in the face!” Your ego gets the better of you in these situations.

And of course, that’s the job of your ego — to keep you bound to this delusion.

Don’t do it. A little control and discrimination on your part will go a long way.

“If your past self seems insane in the eyes of your present self, and your present self seems insane in the eyes of others, you are growing spiritually.”

I often think about spiritual progress a lot. But assessing your spiritual progress is tricky. You judge from your ego, and your ego is tainted with the delusion that you’re trying to overcome!

Yet, one of the simplest tests is to see what you think of your past self. If you’ve become calmer, kinder, more loving, generous, compassionate, and joyful, then you’re on the right path.

On the other hand, if your present self seems weird to people around you, it’s a sign (though not always) of growth.

You see, spiritual ideals are mostly theoretical maxims or poetic figures of speech for most people. When they see someone live those ideals, they think something’s wrong with them. Perhaps, they’re going crazy or having an existential crisis.

Take that as a compliment. Wear it proudly on your chest. Moreover, a certain amount of ridicule is healthy to keep your ego in check.

“Most of the things people say to you are like forwarded social media messages. Don’t feel hurt or flattered by them. They mean nothing. Even the emotions behind their words are not original.”

People will praise or demean you for no apparent reason. Often we take both of those too seriously I’m afraid.

Remember this — you’re neither as good as they say you are nor as bad as they say you are. Their comments are just a reflection of their inner reality — not your own.

When you see something exciting on social media that doesn’t resonate with you, you still often share it with others. Why? Not because it’s you. Because it made you feel that way.

Your thoughts and emotions are not original. They’re just determined by the level of your consciousness at that point in time.

So is the case with others and their remarks. They mean nothing — don’t let it get to your head.

“If all cards were same, there would be no game. When you start seeing the one supreme power in everything and everyone, the game of Maya (Space-Time) is over.”

Maya (aka duality or delusion) is a creation of God. God made everything out of His consciousness. But why do things appear so different?

Because if they’re all the same, the Cosmic Drama would be over too soon. Just think if you know that the power that resides in you also resides in the trees and the cars you see on the road, would you be interested in living in this world.

The reason most people are caught up in Maya is it seems exciting — there are hundreds of different characters, plot twists, and so on. But for the one who sees the Power behind it all, Maya has no control over him.

Think of your favorite movie. Now think about this — nothing in that movie is actually real — it’s all just an imagination of the writer or the director. It takes the fun away, doesn’t it?

Similarly, when you **realize **(not merely accept) that the Cosmic Director, if I may, is behind everything, there’s no fun left in the world. Maya can attract you no more. You’re ever free.

All of these quotes are ones that you could meditate on for hours. You can keep these at the back of your mind for days and find yourself with a new insight every morning.

That’s what makes them so intriguing for me. And I hope they pushed you a little bit more to uncover the mysteries of this Universe.

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Written on March 8, 2021