Ask Ananda’s Experts
Questions and Answers About Meditation, Yoga, the Spiritual Life, and More

Category: Devotion

Previous Page 2 of 5 Next

Shalin Joseph



I know that a pure heart is the basis for bliss, as from pure heart emanates pure thoughts, words, and actions which eventually determine our destiny. I have been praying to God to bless me with one. It is a higher goal that I am asking for, but my prayer hasn’t entirely been answered. I have started meditation also a year back. But I have not been freed from lower emotions completely. How long and how much effort does it take to have a heart free of undesirable emotions?


Nayaswami Pranaba

Nayaswami Pranaba

Ananda Village


Dear Shalin,

It’s important that we not be attached, even to spiritual goals. In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna gives Arjuna the emphasis of “nishkam karma”, which means simply, action without the attachment to the fruits of one’s actions. The same can apply to spiritual goals. We need to do the best we can while offering it all to the Divine.

If your sincerity is there in purifying your heart, then God will respond. But God will respond in his time, not always in “our” time!

Continue to meditate daily, but also activate the devotion of your heart through chanting and feeling God’s presence. Paramhansa Yogananda said that “chanting was half the battle”.

Pray to the Guru to reveal God’s presence. Let your thoughts and feelings always be oriented towards the Divine. Let all else come from the devotion and offering of your heart.

How long will this take? Again, that is in God’s hands. Don’t be concerned.

How much effort does it take? In truth, all of your effort and concentration! But not with anxiety or tension. Let your efforts be relaxed and yet dynamic. Try not so much to think that you need to find God or open your heart; rather feel you are already with God and your heart is already open. Then think and act accordingly from that experience. Let God increasingly be with you at all times.

Try also to be in the company of others who likewise want to know God’s presence and have pure hearts. Satsang with other devotees can be a tremendous boon. But even more important – keep the presence of your Guru always with you.

In divine friendship,
Nayaswami Pranaba



I read this line: Nearly every man can withstand adversity but if you want a test a man’s character, give him Power.

Now God is so hungry for love, he wants all of us to love him ALONE . Plus, he has ALL the power. Given this nature: I cant even think of loving him, I mock at this very thought. Love him as brother, lover, mother etc? Can you love someone who punishes you for the birth you never wanted to take at the 1st place?

Nayaswami Gopal

Nayaswami Gopal

Ananda Village


Dear One,

I hope and pray you allow an opening in your heart so you may receive the only experience that is worth its weight in gold ~ loving God. Once you allow your self to receive God’s love all questions will be answered. Loving God and receiving God’s love is all that matters in life. There is nothing that can compare to this truth. This thought is very difficult for the analytical, logical and rational mind to understand. This thought is of the soul. For the sake of argument, let us say, the soul is a part of your highest self that starts where the mind ends.

The audacity of this “world” is to keep a veil of delusion over our consciousness. This delusion is powerful and subtle at the same time. Until an awaking can happen we are stuck in an extremely powerful mistaken notion or reality. We find our self stuck believing in distorted information of the senses. We rely on our puny intellect to form and shape our view of life. Until our heart opens we spend a lot of time running around in circles chasing our tail and thinking we are getting somewhere. Imagine wearing the wrong prescription glasses, gloves and ear muffs as we go through our busy life. We can do a lot but imagine how much better and more profound life would be once the apparatuses are removed. Visualize how much better life would be.

It is to say, when the heart opens to receiving Divine Love, everything we see, hear, taste, smell and feel is uplifted to new heights. Every thing changes for the better in ways our mind could not envision. Life becomes a dream, a state of bliss, or a superb sonata. Tears of joy will run down the cheeks looking at a rose. People will want to be held in your arms. You will feel compassion, peace and love as easily as breathing. And again, this is just the beginning.

But don’t take my word for it. Educate for yourself. Learn how to become a master of your own heart. Become drunk with bliss beyond compare. It will take some effort but it will be worth it. It will take courage, determination and a sincere desire to unite your heart with the ultimate heart of hearts. You will have to pray for the desire for a open heart and loving heart. But if you put in a little energy the return will be more precious than any thing of this world. With a little effort you may attract a divine being, a true guru who will help you to remember your true nature, your true higher self. If your efforts are sincere you may awaken to your own divinity.

Grace you can’t imagine will be yours. Your life will become so beautiful you will experience the divine romance this life is meant to be. But as per above, don’t take my word for it. Pray for the desire to honor your true self so that an indescribably holy new world will become your own.

In His Love,

Nayaswami Gopal



How do we should create a balance in our material and spiritual life , inside and outside? and if Divine mother has a nature to bestow completely and always upon us , then why sometimes we fail to feel Her love within us when we get too busy with life? How do i develop more devotion in my heart so i can let Her work through me ?

Nayaswami Sabari


Dear Shrey,

I apologize for not writing sooner. I have been in Italy for Swami Kriyananda's memorial service.

We are Divine Mother's children. A devotee of Yogananda was being scolded by an advanced disciple of Yogananda, whose name was Durga Mata. Durga Mata, who tried always to be a clear channel for Yogananda, said to the devotee, "why don't you let me help you?"

To which the disciple replied "I thought I was supposed to do everything myself"

Even though we want to commune with Divine Mother, and we know we are Her children, our minds are just simply too restless. We worry too much, we are afraid to fail, to be alone, we can be very complicated!

But God is simple. He loves us completely, because He is us!

It is a matter of changing our thoughts. Restless thoughts that make it difficult to feel Her presence are fear, worry, hopelessness, lonliness, etc. Calm thoughts that draw Her near are Love, Compassion, Happiness, Joy....When we can see the moments of our lives, with joy, love, compassion, we are reunited with our Beloved. One spark of kindness can lead to a bonfire of devotion!

We are communing with our own Cosmic Beloved, not an abstract mental state.The Bhagavad Gita says, "To him who offers Me even a flower or a leaf with devotion, I Myself come and receive his offering."

We have to train our thoughts to offer only those that are pleasing to God. Eventually we get so good at it, we are communing with the Beloved all the time. It all starts with a single spark of sweetness.

Blessings to you,

Nayaswami Sabari

Which Form to Worship God?
February 26, 2013



Why is it that figuring out which form to worship God in is becoming such a sticking point? What's the best way to get around this

Nayaswami Sahaja


Dear friend,

I would suggest that when you sit to meditate that you focus on your heart center. Perhaps your mantra could be "How shall I love thee"? There is a beautiful chant by Swami Kriyananda that asks "How shall I love thee, How shall I seek thee, How shall I serve thee, How shall I worship thee?", and the answer is "With every breath that I breathe".

It doesn't matter to God in what form we worship, only that we love God with our whole being. Relaxation in meditation would be very helpful. I'm not talking about relaxing the body but relaxation of the mind. One of my favorite quotes for meditaion is this:

The Secret of Meditation

The secret of meditation lies not in affirming states that are foreign to us, but in reclaiming what we are. It is a process of upward relaxation into superconsciousness. The only effort is to resist restlessness and tension.

The more you seek rest as the consequence of doing, rather than in the process of doing, the more restless you will become. Learn to be restful in activity and you will be able to relax better when you sit to meditate.

From "Superconsciousness a Guide to Meditation"

by Swami Kriyananda

God bless you in your efforts!



I am only 27, had joined a raja yoga for sometime, had to leave due to peer pressure, but by then I had transformed myself a lot. Lost I began to meditate with head phones in my ear and eyes closed it got me more lost. For I long time I practised gazing at a point without a wink and believe me I can stare away anyone... but it had made me more dejected. that shows on my face. At times a thought comes and not able to detach from it. Mind becomes very restless. Am not getting anyone to help me out.

Kristy Fassler-Hecht

Kristy Fassler-Hecht

Ananda Maine


Dear Patrick,

The spiritual path requires three essential things: The devotee's earnest and unrelenting seeking of truth or God, a true guru, and devotion towards God and guru.

As I read your question I'm not clear that any of these three elements are part of your spiritual life or practices. I strongly urge you to develop devotion toward God and Guru in every aspect of your life. Do not focus on feeling lost and dejected. Offer these feelings to Divine Mother and ask her to purify you of all obstacles preventing you from feeling love for Her.

As you are in India, it would be helpful to reconnect with the local Ananda Community and get back in the Raja course. Stay strong in your commitment to this spiritual path and daily ask for Divine Mother's guidance in your life and spiritual practices.

Environment is stronger than will. Stay in uplifting company like the Ananda group near you and do whatever you can to serve God and guru locally with your Ananda friends. You will find Divine strength and happiness flowing through you once you dedicate yourself to serving this liberating path of self realization.

The most important thing is to offer yourself in loving service and devotion to the Supreme Lord. Ask Divine Mother to teach you to love Her more perfectly.

God and guru bless you, Kristy

How to Evoke Love for God?
November 6, 2012



I have read that when we chant continously the name of God. The love for the name takes birth then the mind starts to cry in the seperation of Lord and after that we can get darshan of God.

How to evoke love for God so that my mind also starts crying in the joy and the seperation of God then seeing the divine would be possible?


In a way, you answered your own question. Chanting the name of God continuously requires a significant level of commitment - which is another way of saying deep love for God.

But if you try, even a little bit, to chant God's name, you'll find that love for God beginning to grow in your heart. In time the mind naturally starts crying for God's presence more and more. And as your cry for God becomes more magnetic, and your heart more and more pure, you will see God. It is not easy to see God in this world, but it is possible with continuous, deep longing and calling.

Nayaswami Dharmadas

Sharmila Chakravarty


What is it meant by offering an act to God? How can we do that throughout the day? What is the procedure of sending the energy to our spiritual eye while offering any thought to God?

Nayaswami Sabari


Dear Sharmila,

Karma yoga is the practice of offering one's daily actions to God. Since I was just reading The Art and Science of Raja Yoga by Swami Kriyananda, I offer his words on your question:

Everyone engages in mere activity, yet few people are karma yogis. The true karma yogi tries, by God-reminding activities, to redirect all the wrong impulses of his heart into wholesome channels. More than that, he tries to become aware of the divine energy flowing through him as he acts.

As the bhakti yogi is taught to be more concerned with loving purely than with defining exactly what it is that he loves, so also the karma yogi is taught that the spirit in which he serves is more important than the service itself.

For me, offering my daily actions to God means to slow down, to not be so rushed - either through my own mental agitation, or through the agitation of the world or people around me. Another way to put it is this: the quality of your response depends on how close you stand to your own center.

The practice of staying mentally even and uplifted - by bringing your inner gaze to the point between the eyebrows while you act - is a very effective tool. This lifts you automatically into the higher chakras and the more subtle, uplifted consciousness of these chakras.

Through your practice, you become anchored in the magnetic pull of the spiritual eye, which has the power to see and love God in everything and everyone.

Blessings and joy to you,

jeff wells


Babaji and all the saints seem to discourage worshiping them, yet most will lay at their feet and try. I love the examples of God realized masters. God is the doer. What is proper respect to God and the saints?

Dharmadevi Romano

Dharmadevi Romano

Ananda Los Angeles


Dear Jeff,

That is a great question!

I think the point is to learn to recognize God as the Doer in everything and in everyone, so that our worship and reverence IS to the Divine.

You may have heard the story of the orchestra that played for Yogananda. Technically, they played perfectly, but when he was asked how he liked it, he slightly rebuked them for playing for him as a person, rather than with devotion to God.

Even those highly evolved on the spiritual path personify God into human terms in some fashion; the Masters endorse this practice. It is how we behave towards that personification that matters most.

We can't get stuck in the form because God, ultimately, is formless as well as being in everyone and everything at all times.

Swami Kriyananda talks about how the Hindu religion has been incorrectly recognized as worshiping idols because of their many gods. He points out that these gods are representatives of the many attributes of the one God. It is therefore "ideal worship" rather than "idol worship."

So, my answer would be that we should offer devotion to God in all forms. There is a beautiful story in Autobiography of a Yogi that describes it perfectly. Please read Chapter 13: The Sleepless Saint.

Love & Blessings,

Previous Page 2 of 5 Next