Category Archives: Yogananda

Daily Life

Came across a very interesting interpretation of mans daily life told by Yogananda this morning, and must share it with you all;

“The world is full of excitable people who run the gamut of the emotions while participating in the unpredictabilities of daily life. In a life span of sixty years, man beholds 21,900 transitions from day to night, and is tossed on ceaseless waves of emotion. Buffeted and bewildered, he learns very little from the instructive panorama of life. Such men have to reincarnate until they are able to watch the worldly spectacle like calm, blissful gods.

The yogi views this world as entertainment. If he experiences in his own life a ‘tragedy’ such as illness, poverty, persecution, or bereavement, he is able to say sincerely: ‘Ah, this dramatic spectacle is only a passing scene; it is not the ultimate reality!’ – even as an ordinary man, viewing a motion picture of horror or tragedy, may say; ‘what an interesting drama!’ If this cosmic show, morning, noon, and night, had only angels and smiles and no pain or tears, it would get boring and monotonous.” 

Speaking from experience, what appears to be a traumatic period in life, be it bereavement, poverty or ill-health, when viewed years later in hindsight can bring with it great lessons. 

What Yogananda is asking us to do is to experience these tough times with a similar outlook while we are in the midst of the storm! If we fail in an endeavor, there is a great opportunity to learn from it and press on to bigger and better things. If oneself or a loved one is ill, view it as a fleeting experience lacking in vitality and don’t lose heart or allow your spirit to be weakened. 

It may seem like this is an impossible feat, and that when times are hard it is acceptable to be down and depressed. But if we continue to do what we have always done, we will continue to experience life the way we have always experienced it. 

Don’t become excited by the arrival of good fortune, neither become depressed by a calamity. Try and watch with a calm, indifferent attitude the joyous and sorrowful scenes of life.

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Contentment

All living beings seem to be crying out for something or other. Among mankind some pray for wealth, some for health, some for property, some for fame, some for power, some for freedom from troubles, some for food and basic necessities during life. Moreover, all want what they ask for to be on a permanent basis; nobody wants merely a temporary cure or temporary riches. Also, we want these things in full measure, and nothing which is less than full is good enough, our object being to make ourselves full in all respects.

The scriptures belonging to every religion devote thought to the question of what among all these things is really worth praying for. If we study those scriptures accessible to us, it would seem as if all of them want Param-Atman (Universal self), because it is He only who is completely full in all respects and His fullness can never decrease. All the rest are neither full nor permanent. Thus, people really seem to be wanting the Param-Atman though they do not realise this.

When one is a child, one wants toys; when one is a boy, one wants education, when ones education is over, one wants employment; when one gets employment, one wants promotion. Thus, from the beginning to the very end, there is never contentment!

Socrates said; “He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have.”

Be contented. Even if it is a struggle to be so. Remember there are millions of others all over the world who are suffering more than you. Simply by reading this post you have some sort of device to access the internet. Others struggle from day to day for food and clean drinking water. We are all experiencing the world in our own way, and if we could find this attitude of contentment with where we find ourselves at this moment, life would be a whole lot easier..

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Individual Efforts

“The fruits of ones spiritual awakening are a blessing not only on ones own life, but on the world at large. ‘One soweth and another reapeth’, a reference to mass karma. Every person sows good or bad actions in the soil of his life, and not only does he himself reap the karmic harvest of those actions, but he make others reap them as well. If a person writes a degrading novel, all who read it reap the evil effects of the authors thoughts. The law of cause and effect operates in even subtler ways as well. The actions of each individual leave electromagnetic etchings in his brain, influencing his future actions; and they also leave vibrational traces in the ether, which register in and influence the minds of others.

In Mysore I visited a sandalwood factory; each piece of shaving of sandalwood contributes to the atmosphere of the whole place, and anyone who enters enjoys the wonderful fragrance. Similarly, when I come to our Self-Realisation Fellowship temples, there are so many good souls earnestly seeking God that I feel the spiritual vibration emanating from their collective goodness.

The overall quality and character of any community, any civilisation, is produced by mass karma, the accumulated effects of actions left in the ether by the populace in general. Each individual is responsible for contributing to the mass karma, which in turn influences every individual.

The person who keeps himself cleansed of all wrong vibrations produces a powerful uplifting effect on his contemporaries. One moon gives more luster than all the stars; so a mooned soul- one who purely reflects the light of God- can influence the masses much more than the masses influence each other. Thus, individual efforts can be even more important than mass karma. one who in every way tries to uplift himself, harmonising body, mind and soul with the Divine, creates positive karma not only in his own life, but in his family, neighbourhood, country and world. Hence it is not justified to say, ‘Thousands of people are misbehaving, so what does it matter if I am, too?’ No! The goodness of one soul may effectively neutralise the mass karma of millions.

Such was the accomplishment of Mahatma Gandhi: he brought freedom to 400 million people by his spiritual influence. He was scoffed at and spent many years in prison, but he still went on. Ultimately, his spirit of righteousness triumphed, and he became instrumental in freeing India by peaceful means. His life stands as a monumental example of the practical application of Jesus Christ’s doctrines. Because ones individual sowed goodness, millions reaped that goodness and freedom.

Each drop of water contributes to the existence of the ocean. So even if each ones life seems no more than a droplet in the sea of humanity, that life can have a significant influence. One who makes himself god-like automatically uplifts countless others on the divine path. One who makes himself evil demotes others from the spiritual plane by a negative effect on their potential weakness. He who has reformed himself has reformed thousands; for what one sows in the ether, by the vibrations of his thoughts and character, others will surely reap.”

~ Paramhansa Yogananda.

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Good and Evil

“God is coaxing man with a limitless exhibition of good happenings to influence him for his own highest welfare. Satan is tempting man with deceptive contrivances that are pleasant-looking and promise happiness, but after a little evanescent pleasure give evil consequences instead.
Man stands in the middle between God and Satan, each ready to pull him in whichever direction he wishes to go. Satan is on the left side with his kingdom of misery cloaked in ostentation, and God is on the right side with His kingdom of happiness bathed in eternal light. It is up to man to signal to God or Satan as to which direction he wants to be pulled. Man is perfectly free to act, controlled neither by God nor Satan. Whenever he initiates good actions, or has a pure, ennobling though, that is the signal to God; and he is automatically pulled toward God, toward a paradise of Bliss hidden in the womb of eternal futurity. But as soon as man thinks or acts in accord with evil, he is automatically pulled toward Satan, toward entanglement in the realm of misery-making dualities.
When man succumbs to temptation, or is angry, or jealous, or selfish, or greedy, or revengeful, or restless, he has accepted Satan’s invitation to come to his side. When man is master of himself- moderate, calm, understanding, unselfish, forgiving, practicing meditation- he is inviting God to help him.”

~ Paramhansa Yogananda.

It is clear from the above quote that the choice is most definitely down to the individual. We have a level of free will and are able to make certain choices throughout our lives which shape our days.

Happy or sad, restless or calm, greedy or generous, it is a choice which must be made. It is all too easy to blame our outlook on life on external circumstances and surroundings but we are free to make the choices that are necessary to turn our lives around.

Begin today, right this second to turn the – into a + and reap the benefits that come with this choice. Whether you are religious or not, God and Satan can simply be taken as the principle of positive and negative in their greatest capacity. I know which one I choose and try to spend my days in good actions and ennobling thoughts which enrich my life no end.

If you look very closely, and spend a few minutes of careful introspection looking deep inside yourself you will find the answer that you are looking for. Good or Bad, its up to you!

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Truth from East and West

“Truth, in and of itself , is the ultimate ‘religion.’ Though truth can be expressed in different ways by sectarian ‘isms,’ it can never be exhausted by them. It has infinite manifestations and ramifications, but one consummation: Enlightenment, Awakening, Gnosis. Experience of the sole reality.
The human stamp of sectarian affiliation is of little meaning. It is not the religious denomination in which ones name is registered, nor the culture or creed in which one was born, that gives salvation. The essence of truth goes beyond all outer form.
The great teachings and truths of all the ages is living and thriving in both East and West. The West has concentrated on perfecting the physical conditions of man, and the East on developing the spiritual potentials of man. Both East and West are one sided. Granted, the East is not practical enough; but the West is too practical to be spiritually practical! That is why I advocate a harmonious union of the two; they need each other. Without spiritual idealism, material practicality is the harbinger of selfishness, sin, competition, and wars. This is a lesson for the West to learn. And unless idealism is tempered with practicality, there is confusion and suffering and lack of natural progress. This is the lesson to be learned by the East.
The East can learn from the West, and the West can learn from the East. It is not strange that, perhaps due to God’s secret plan, since the East need material development, it was invaded by Western material civilisation? and since the West need spiritual balance, it had been silently and surely ‘invaded’ by Hindu philosophy, not to conquer lands but to conquer souls with the liberation of God-realization.
We are all children of God, from our inception unto eternity. Differences come from prejudices, and prejudice is the child of all ignorance. We should not proudly identify ourselves as Americans, British, Indians or Italians or any other nationality, for that is but an accident of birth. Above all else, we should be proud that we are children of God, made in His image. Is not that the message of the Christ?”

~Paramhansa Yogananda.

I am unable to add anything more. All is said in the above. What I will say is Yogananda has opened up a new world for me, one which I new was there but not fully aware of. I hope you enjoy. If you enjoy, please share with others who may also.

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Material Profit

“Why be elated by material profit?” Father replied. “The one who pursues a goal of evenmindedness is neither jubilant with gain nor depressed by loss. He knows that man arrives penniless in this world, and departs without a single rupee.”

How many of us have as our main daily priority ‘evenmindedness’? It is a possibility.. To be neither depressed by the bad, nor jubilant with the good will have a profound effect on your day!

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Two Kites

People will often say ‘I need to see it to believe it.’ I urge you to reverse this saying. Ultimately, what we believe is far more important than what we see. A perfect example is given here in another tale of the life of Paramhansa Yogananda.

Take from it what you will. But know that there are forces working at all times bringing into your life what your thoughts revolve around the most.

Our family moved to Lahore in the Pubjab. There I acquired a picture of the Divine Mother in the form of the Goddess Kali. It sanctified a small informal shrine on the balcony of our home. An unequivocal conviction came over me that fulfilment would crown any of my prayers uttered in that sacred spot. Standing there with Uma (Yoganandas sister) one day, I watched two kites flying over the roofs of the buildings on the opposite side of the very narrow lane.
“Why are you so quiet?” Uma pushed me playfully.
“I am just thinking how wonderful it is that Divine Mother gives me whatever I ask.”
“I suppose She would give you those two kites!” My sister laughed derisively.
“Why not?” I began silent prayers for their possession.
Matches are played in India with kites whose strings are covered with glue and ground glass. Each player attempts to sever the string of his opponent. A free kite sails over the roofs; there is great fun in catching it. Inasmuch as Uma and I were on the balcony, it seemed impossible that any loosed kite would come into our hands; its string would naturally dangle over the roofs.
The players across the lane Began their match. One string was cut; immediately the kite floated in my direction. It was stationary for a moment, through sudden abatement of breeze, which sufficed to firmly entangle the string with a cactus plant on top of the opposite house. A perfect loop was formed for my seizure. I handed the prize to Uma.
“It’s just an extraordinary accident, and not an answer to your prayer. If the other kite comes to you, then I shall believe.” Sisters dark eyes conveyed more amazement than her words.
I continued my prayers with a crescendo of intensity. A forcible tug by the other player resulted in the abrupt loss of his kite. It headed towards me, dancing in the wind. My helpful assistant, the cactus plant again secured the kite string on the necessary loop by which I could grasp it. I presented my second trophy to Uma.
“Indeed, Divine Mother listens to you! This is all too uncanny for me!” Sister bolted away like a frightened fawn.

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