By a Wanderer
(A story with fictional characters in real setting) 
We are twin sisters. She loves roaming, and I love eating. Recently, we attended a retreat by a Swami in Rochester. I was promised that the food will be awesome and evening dessert will be the best. We both sisters were attending the classes. However, my mind was always dreaming of the next meal. One evening I couldn’t resist the delicious desert and ate more than I should. Next morning, my stomach was bothering. Just to divert my attention from stomach pain, I attended the class. Swami: “We perceive the world with our senses and mind. Senses have limited strength, and the mind is clouded by desires and wants. As I change,the world view changes. Our awareness governs our behavior. Limitations of senses need to be felt penetratingly. Senses cannot take us any further. Following the senses will lead to suffering. God cannot be perceived by senses. God cannot be subject ofphysical science.”

It was intriguing. I thought, “Yes; it is true I cannot perceive everything by senses. Senses are weak. Every time we listen to the senses it brings disaster. My stomach pain was also the result of sense gratification.” That night I didn’t go nuts but still could not avoid my pull for dessert. I ate two cheese balls instead of eight.
Next day, I was attentive and asked few questions. Swami answered them all with patience and smile. My sister was proud to see me involved in the class.

Swami: “Whatever one accepts as real that affects one’s life. One’s life is centered around one’s conviction. Seeing name and form brings suffering. Learning to see unity in diversity is important. All the variety is created by name and form. Name and form are continuously changing. Transcend the changing aspect, then you perceive the unchanging Self.See the appearance of variety but be aware of unity. If you identify with variety, then you go from death to death. If you connect to the underlying unity, then you go from life to richer life. How do you achieve this? Bychanging your surroundings or by enhancing sense pleasure? By purifying mind alone you can recognize the unity. Pure mind doesn’t criticize. Pure mind develops the ability to see from others’ views.”

Swami: “Mediate on the lord in the heart. By constant practice, ego will be kicked out, and it will be replaced with God.”

Swami: “There is NO OTHER WAY. This is the only way. Realize the Self in all and become the owner of permanent joy and peace.”

Swami: “Sense organs only perceive changes. It perceives sensation=impact=change. All senses belong to the same gang of a thief. Together they deceive us. Go beyond senses.”
Retreat ended. My mind was still dwelling on “NO OTHER WAY. This is the only way”.
My sister told me the comment made by one of the retreat participants. She told, “This retreat had made a big impact on your twin sister”
I told, “Yes indeed, I felt as if the old me is dead.Your twin sister is dead and reborn again as your “third twin” who is equipped with the knowledge of Death and beyond as told in Katopanishad.


  1. Thanks to the author for putting together her take-away gist from the Upanishadic Retreat. Our Wandering Sister, did everything right: going into the retreat,
    curbing her calories, asking right questions, pondering over them and
    sharing her findings.

    To me however, it seems "realizing the Self in all" and "go beyond senses" are the Goal, not the WAY. Within the world of senses we have to carry ourselves just right. So I liked the term "purifying mind."

  2. BeJoy,

    You are correct "realizing the Self in all" and "go beyond senses" are the Goals. It looks like here Swami is telling "“NO OTHER WAY" means "No Other Option" or "No Other Alternative" to find eternal joy. Only option or only way to find eternal joy or everlasting peace is to "realizing the Self in all" and "go beyond senses" by whatever means/way possible.

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