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Rapture
January 7, 2010

ashwin
Canada

Question

Ive been meditating for three years now and though I haven't experienced very deep states of peace during my meditations, yet I am experiencing a strange phenomenon.Every time I listen to certain devotional songs or new age music I am overcome with emotion and I start to weep. Its a state of rapture, of such unfulfillable longing and at the same time a torrential state joy that I feel my heart would explode! However that state vanishes when the song ends..is this normal? what is this state?

Nayaswami Anandi

Answer

Dear Ashwin,

I was recently reading something by Yogananda that I think might be helpful to you:

"When a spiritual devotee, after a few years of deep meditation, acquires a divine joy, he should not be over-confident in the lasting quality of that experience, until he reaches the final beatitude.

"Many devotees become self-satisfied with the superconscious joy of the soul and with beholding a few astral lights. They do not make further deep efforts at meditation, and thus fail to unite their consciousness with the omnipresent joy and light of Spirit.

"A devotee who meditates regularly but finds himself the victim of a sudden explosion of subconscious restlessness should not be discouraged nor stop making renewed efforts at deeper meditation and God-contact. Until one is anchored in the Infinite, he must valiantly race his mental ship of concentration on the calm or rough seas of inner experiences until he reaches the shores of unending communion with the Infinite."

An endless variety of things can happen to the sincere spiritual seeker - sometimes very sweet blessings, like the deep response you are feeling to devotional songs right now. Sometimes you hit very rough periods in meditation or in your outer life.

Neither is a real indicator of if you are moving forward or not. Ups and downs are part of the path. The important thing is to keep your focus on your goal of God and not be elated about the "exciting" experiences, nor depressed by seeming lack of spiritual progress.

The spiritual path involves purifying oneself, learning to become more in tune with God and Guru, learning to concentrate one's attention on the goal of God. Remain calm through the outer events, work on developing devotion by keeping the mind at the spiritual eye and practice doing everything you do WITH God, no matter if you feel elation or nothing at all.

Blessings on the journey,
Anandi

Sensations during chanting
November 18, 2009

Jeff
USA

Question

During chanting / meditation I sank into a state defined by very short breaths/ barely breathing, and I could feel my whole body pulsating. Is that normal?

Nayaswami Gyandev

Nayaswami Gyandev

Ananda Village

Answer

Hello Jeff,

The response you've described, while not the "average" experience of people chanting, is not pathological, either. It seems to me that you are going into a highly internalized state of awareness, and as a result, some prana is beginning to flow in ways that you don't normally experience, which makes the body pulsate (or at least, it may feel that way — perhaps someone watching you wouldn't be able to observe any movement).

If that overall experience is pleasant, or at least neutral, it's fine. Let it come when it will, and let it go when it will. If it is unpleasant in any way, then probably best to stop chanting (or whatever else you're doing that seems to be bringing on this state) for a time.

And in any case, call strongly on God and the great masters to guide your practice. Think of it as a blessing, and offer it back to God with gratitude.

In divine friendship,

Gyandev

Can loving be a problem?
October 23, 2009

deepak
india

Question

Hariomm,

Dear one, what is real love? What happens, when one falls in love? If I love, then will I be in problem?

Nayaswami Seva

Nayaswami Seva

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Deepak,

I will answer your question, as though you were asking about the love one finds on the spiritual path, as a devotee.

The love I feel on this path of Paramhansa Yogananda, is a calm, clear and deep joy. A joy that I want to share with everyone; a joy that encompasses all; and a joy that is not afraid or defensive.

This joy emanates from Paramhansa Yogananda and his teachings. By asking for his love to flow through me, I can feel this joy most of the time. How can this be a problem?

Joy to you,

Seva

Weeping for God
October 23, 2009

Mansi
India

Question

At times i get a sort of tickling or i don't know how to explain that feeling..it happens when i think of God or Gurudeva or if I am reading or listening to something that is devotional..it used to happen before also but these days it happens too often..I also get a lot of goosebumps!! {I weep a lot for God(which happens naturally) but still i am unable to listen to him}.can you please explain what this tickling kind of thing is and how to listen to Him and know what His Will is?

Thanks.

Nayaswami Seva

Nayaswami Seva

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Mansi,

I've noticed that Swami Kriyananda has lately been weeping in his talks when he is discussing God and Guru.

As he is in great joy, I can only assume that speaking of the Divine brings this joy into his heart. In feeling this kind of grace, how could one not weep?

This kind of devotion comes to many of us at different times. Mostly it's an emotional kind of devotion, which is not, of course, bad. But in order to get into the state that Swamiji is in, we need to bring these feelings up to the Spiritual Eye and offer them up to the Divine there.

With the heart's devotion uplifted, you can receive more clearly God's messages. This hopefully will also help with the tickling sensations you are having.

Be more at the Spiritual Eye, calling to the divine there.

Joy to you,

Seva

Love: human or divine?
September 10, 2009

Vinay
India

Question

Hi,

Could you tell me what is Love? Is human love and love for God, different? How can we say that love between two people is delusive, and not the reflection of the same love we have for God, since we too are a relection of Him? Why is the desire of intimacy with the opposite sex a hindrance, if it is? Is it wrong for two people who see God as their ultimate truth, to share the journey? Though i've heard from Swamiji that one travels the fastest who travels the lightest.

Nayaswami Seva

Nayaswami Seva

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Vinay,

Swami Kriyananda was just talking about renunciation yesterday during video recording of the Essence of the Bhagavad Gita interpretations for Indian TV.

He's done 52 20-minute segments, and they're wonderful. In this particular talk he encourages married and single individuals to open to God's love first, but he doesn't exclude the human love element in our lives.

What is discouraged is the love or desires that furthers the ego and not the soul.

Swamiji encourages us to seek God's bliss, more even than His love. In the bliss of God, everything will flow in the right direction.

Most of the couples at Ananda are reunciates, filled with the desire to find God, and yet loving each other. They do share the spiritual journey together, helping each other on the path.

How to love God
December 12, 2008

George
Europe

Question

Hi. I'm struggling with my love for God since I don't know how to love Him/Her. If I think about Him in an abstract way I don't know what to love. If I think about God in the form of, let's say, Yogananda, I don't know how to make this love impersonal. And I don't know how to love God in any of His eight aspects (light, sound, peace, ...).

Because of this, I also don't know how to love God in everyone (how to see beyond looks and personality).

Please help. Thank you!

Nayaswami Anandi

Answer

Dear George,

Please forgive me for taking so long to answer your question. It is a very important question.

Swami Kriyananda writes that when he came on the spiritual path and heard about the importance of love for God as the Divine Mother, he found this difficult at first. But then he remembered his godmother. She was a very sweet and loving woman and yet more distant from him than his own mother. So, he began to focus on the Divine Mother by imagining Her in the form of his godmother. That helped to open his heart, and he was then able to direct that love to the Divine Mother, which is also AUM, the Creative Cosmic Vibration (a much more impersonal concept, yet one that is imbued with love.)

You could try something similar. Can you imagine someone in your life for whom you feel a great love and trust? It could be a relative who is no longer alive, someone you know only slightly but find deeply inspiring, or even a pet. Can you begin to focus on the love you feel when you hold their image up in meditation? Can you then, now, remove the image of that person and direct that same love to their Creator?

Whatever person you love is lovable because they are created by the Source of all love and are a tiny reflection of God.

One time Swamiji said to us that the love we feel for Yogananda is not really personal because we never knew him. When Yogananda was alive, it was easy for people to become attached to his lovable personality, attached to if he looked at them and smiled sweetly, and so on.

For us now, our relationship with Yogananda must be much more directed to his vibration. So, while you can try the exercise I mentioned above, I don't think you really have to worry about becoming too personal in your relationship with Yogananda. When you read his books, tune in especially to the deep inspiration of God he transmits. When you listen to his recordings, try to attune to the vibration of joy and love coming through his voice. This will help you see him in his vaster nature.

The most important thing is to begin somewhere to focus on that love and not to worry too much about the details. Of course your love will not be perfectly pure when you begin. It will not be perfect until you are one with God. But better to start somewhere than to be overly careful about exactly how to love God. We cannot "figure out" love with our minds, but need to start where we feel even a taste of it, and develop that more and more.

In divine friendship,

Anandi

Increasing Devotion
August 15, 2008

Brenda Andrews
USA

Question

How can I increase my devotion?

Nayaswami Savitri

Nayaswami Savitri

Ananda Village

Answer

Swami Kriyananda defines devotion as the ruling passion of your life. Devotion to God and Gurus comes naturally when you want God as a drowning man wants air or as a thirsty man wants water. We all truly thirst for a heart full of love for God, even if we don't know it. But if you know it enough to ask how to increase your devotion and to awaken the natural love of your heart, then that's got to put you a long ways towards achieving it. Congratulations!

Anything we do well must engage more than just our minds. It must also engage our feeling nature. We must feel something that stirs us, that moves us or else life is dry and very sad. Pray for devotion and then do all sorts of devotional activities (suggestions listed below). Be around devotional people and imitate what they are doing, even if you don't want to or feel it is "not your thing." Do it anyway! Fake it till you make it!

A few more suggestions:

1) Chanting is half the battle. Do more devotional chanting, before meditation, after meditation, and whenever you can during your day, either alone or through listening to chanting tapes from Ananda. This is the number one tool for awakening devotion. Music touches the heart!

2) Practice the presence of God through a walking meditation. Walk slowly and deliberately and feel God in everything around you. Feel God walking, breathing, and thinking through you. Feel divine energy in every cell of your body. Gradually extend this feeling of the divine within you and all around you into every activity of your daily life.

3) Have a photo of Yogananda's "Last Smile" or another of his photos that you like and keep it handy, visible wherever you are. Look into his often eyes and say: "I love you!" Then listen for a response in your heart.

4) Feel yourself to be one with everyone! This is the truth. All are one! Yogananda says: It's not love thy neighbor as thyself. It's love thy neighbor for he is thyself!" God resides in everyone — open your heart to that idea and live by that ideal.

5) Transmute emotions into devotion. Good or bad, emotions are just energy and energy can always be re-directed. When you perceive the stirring of any kind of emotion in your heart, offer it from your heart up the spine to the spiritual eye at the point between the eyebrows. Keep the energy firmly fixed there for a while and then offer it back to God, from whence it came.

6) Meditation on this statement by a great saint: "If you knew how much God loves you, you would die for joy."

7) Every day, pray this simple prayer: "Divine Mother, awaken your love in my heart, and may I be able to offer that love to all.

maria
ananda

Question

How do I develop deeper attunement?

Nayaswami Pranaba

Nayaswami Pranaba

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Maria,

Deeper attunement is one of the most important aspects of the spiritual path and is also a subtle and personal development. If you've chosen Paramhansa Yogananda as you're guru try to feel his constant presence with you; you can do this by visualizing, or even feeling, him in your own thoughts and in your words and actions.

You can also try chanting, either out loud or silently, "Aum Guru" throughout the day. Allow yourself to offer all your successes and failures to God and Guru and open up to their flow of divine grace. When you meditate, explore having Yogananda meditate through you or with you. Visualizing the Master's eyes can also be a powerful means to deepen your attunement; feel ih his eyes the unconditional love and compassion that invites you to dissolve all ego desires and attachments.

In divine friendship,

Nayaswami Pranaba

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