Working in the garden outside of a Swami’s window can be a gratifying experience, especially when he offers initiation into an authentic wisdom tradition, and listening to an enlightened teacher interpret the ancient scriptures can be deeply inspiring.  Here is what Swami Aparananda had to say one evening in Northern California when a few of his initiates sat with him before he went back to India.

उत्तिष्ठत जाग्रत प्राप्य वरान्निबोधत ।

क्शुरस्य धारा निशिता दुरत्यया दुर्गं पथस्तत्कवयो वदन्ति ॥ १४ ॥

The object of life is the realization of the divine self. Problems will melt away and all things will become possible with the acceptance of the universal presence of the divine that is within and without. Never give up the fight to know thy true self, as this struggle is the nectar of life. The path is difficult, and as sharp as a razor’s edge, but seek out the advice of the wise ones to help you to reach the freedom of the union with the omnipresent divine.

– Katha Upanishad verse 1.3.14 as interpreted by Swami Aparananda of the Ramakrishna Order of India