Swami Jyotir Maya Nanda was born on Feb. 3rd, 1931 in a pious family in Dumari Buzurg, District Saran, Bihar, a province sanctified by the great Lord Buddha and his holy associations. From his very childhood days he evinced various marks of his future saintliness. He was calm and reflective, brilliant in his work at school and college, loved by his friends and relatives. Always a source of inspiration to all who came in contact with him, he never faltered in his high ethical ideals. Side by side with his higher studies and duties of a practical nature, he reflected upon the deeper problems of life.
The overwhelming feeling to serve humanity through spiritual life led him to embrace the ancient order of Sanyasa on Feb. 3rd, 1953 at the age of 22. Tirelessly he practiced intense austerities, living in the Himalayan retreats by the sacred Ganges River. For over 9 years he was a religious professor at the Yoga Vedanta Forest Academy giving lectures on the Upanishads, Raja Yoga, and all important scriptures of India. Besides this teaching, he was the Editor of ‘Yoga Vedanta’ journal. To his Guru, Sri Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj, Swami Jyotir Maya Nanda was a gem, ever able to assist foreign students in their understanding of Yoga and Vedanta. His intuitive perception of their problems endeared him to all.
His exemplary life, great command of spiritual knowledge, love towards all beings, and his very impressive and dynamic exposition of Yoga and Vedanta Philosophy attracted enormous interest all over India, and in different countries of the world. He frequently lectured by invitation at All India Vedanta Conferences in Delhi, Amritsar, Ludhiana, and other parts of India.
After many requests, he consented to come to the U.S.A. in 1962 to spread the knowledge of India. Crossing Europe, he lectured in various countries. There is a development of an unusual dimension in his range and richness of wisdom... He never contradicts the great scriptures of the world, but adds to them by his unique explanations. In 1964, he toured North and South America, inspiring and elevating numerous students of Yoga.
‘Behind his vast erudition, lies a sincere and feeling heart, yearning for the upliftment of the seekers after truth.’ Wrote M.L. Bazaz, secretary to Late Prime Minister Nehru of India.
In Puerto Rico (from June 11, 1962 to 1969), as the founder of Sanatan Dharma Mandir, he had been rendering unique service to humanity through his regular classes, two radio lectures (one in Spanish and one in English) every week, and numerous T.V. appearances. In March of 1969, he moved his center to Miami, Florida where he has appeared on many T.V. and radio programs, and has spoken at outstanding philosophical centers. He has regular weekly classes in Raja Yoga, Yoga Vasishtha, Hatha Yoga, Mysticism of the Bible, and Meditation at his Ashram ---The International Yoga Society.
Through his dynamic magazine ‘Vision of Eternity,’ his radiant guidance, his ever-effulgent literature, Swami Jyotir Maya Nanda stands forth as the glowing morning sun awakening sleeping hearts to a new dawn of bliss.
Swami Jyotir Maya Nanda occupies today a place of the highest order among the international men of wisdom, and is considered THE GENIUS OF YOGA!
Thousands of years ago across the vast long deserts when the sun sank behind the horizon and the cold wind blew across the sand-dunes, the Arabs sat warm within the tents on the Persian rugs, taking hot delicious food, and then, listening to the marvellous stories of far off lands—the stories of humor, of adventure, of chilling fear, and of sparkling heroism, of strange circumstances in the lives of men and of the magic of human sentiments and desires. They listened to the stories about kings and queens, about sages and saints, about the wonders of God and His Angels. The art of story-telling is as old as humanity.
Sages and saints of India have especially employed this art in preserving the wisdom of the Vedas. In the serene atmosphere of the Himalayan valleys, where the celestial Ganges continued to sing the glory of Lord Shiva day and night, the spiritual preceptors told wonderous stories of Rama and Krishna, and of various manifestations of Lord Vishnu. They illustrated their philosophical teachings with the help of parables, tales and fables, analogies and historical accounts of men gone by.
Nothing captures human heart so endearingly as a story that has a message of ethical value and philosophical insight. Nothing endures the ravages of time so bravely as wisdom conveyed through a charming story. This is the reason that the teachings of the ancient personalities, of Christ and Buddha, have been preserved through numerous stories and parables.
His Holiness Sri Swami Jyotir Maya Nanda is well-known throughout the world for the delightful art of story-telling that he employs in bringing out the truths of the Upon/shads and various scriptures of Yoga and Vedanta. His philosophical discourses abound with vibrant humor and wit, as well as with delightful stories and parables. By adopting this subtle art, he enables his disciples to look within themselves and to discover their failings as well as their accomplishments. They are admonished and scolded, as well as encouraged and pampered, through the stories and parables. And yet, there ego is not hurt; they do not feel the slightest resentment for being admonished, rather, they feel proud of having discovered their secrets by their own wisdom and insight.
Simple stories and parables that were told by Sri Swami .Jyotir Maya Nanda from time to time during his lectures in the Gita, the Upanishads, Yoga Vasishtha, Baja Yoga and other scriptures, have been compiled in this book for the benefit of spiritual aspirants all over the world who do not have the possibility of listening to these teachings directly from the lips of the master, and perceiving the magic that he weaves as he leads the listening mind to the lofty summits of spiritual understanding.
While some stories are original creations by the author, Sri Swami Jyotir Maya Nanda, there are others that have been adapted by him from various sources: folk tales of India, stories that have been told by spiritual teachers from ancient times, from the Mahabharata and Puranas, from Sufi saints from the Middle East, from the fables of Panchatantra, and many known and unknown sources. Swami Jyotir Maya Nanda has told these stories adapting them to his artistic style and has brought forth their morals for a deeper understanding of life and its mysteries.
These stories have been written in a style that can be easily followed even by children, and yet, the wisdom that is gained by them will continue to unfold even until the ripe old age. Spiritual aspirants will gain abundant insight into the secrets of Yogic wisdom by these stories. The teachers of Yoga and those who are eager to disseminate the teachings of Yogic wisdom will be immensely benefited by these stories. Parents should tell these stories to their children and thus plant in their fertile mind the seeds of spiritual aspiration and divine values of life. This book is indeed a rare gift that could be appreciated with a very busy schedule this book provides the best means for understanding the subtleties of spiritual life without going through the voluminous books of philosophy.
In addition to this, the book is amply illustrated to provide a visual perspective to spur the creative imagination of the reader. He will explore his won world of mental symbols and refer to the memories of things that he had known in far off days, and build his own images. The illustrations will be indeed delightful for children.
We thank the staff of artists of the Ashram as well as those who have assisted in proof-reading, composing, and printing these precious writings of Sri Swami Jyotir Maya Nanda.
May the Almighty God Bestow upon you that wisdom which converts all movements of life into a delightful story of success and enlightenment!
Brahma Sutras (79)
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