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Rush
USA

Question

Why does today’s spirituality seem to espouse more the feminine traits rather than masculine? More “love, compassion,” less “assertiveness, vigor” is noted. Men like Sri Yukteswar, Yoganandaji, “Tiger Swami” Vivekananda were kind, yet bold/energized, speaking with bluntness and certainty. Yet today, nearly every spiritual man I see speaks with a conscious modesty/passivity. Sadly I’ve not recently seen a “man’s man” amongst devotees. Perhaps because people assign masculinity with ego?

Nayaswami Pranaba

Nayaswami Pranaba

Ananda Village

Answer

One way of understanding this question is from the perspective that this period of time we are living in has a very real need to have more general feminine energy to balance things out. This has, as a result, an effect certainly on many devotees and truthseekers. Swami Kriyananda said a number of years ago that it is important to tune into Divine Mother even more so at this time.

But in looking at Ananda devotees I see that there is simply more of a balance that is manifesting at this time. As a whole I don’t see any general lack of masculinity (in either men or women) although there are certainly individuals that need more of a balance.

Swami Kriyananda was a very good example of manifesting both the masculine and feminine. He was a very clear and strong example of being “bold and energized”, but was also very loving and giving.

And, certainly, Paramhansa Yogananda had both masculine and feminine traits and was expressive of both.

The key is looking behind the expression of either masculinity or femininity, and tuning into the divine presence, and allowing that to manifest in a deeper and more fulfilling manner in our own lives.

Blessings on your spiritual journey,

Nayaswami Pranaba

September 8
2014

tim
thailand/norway

Question

What is the difference between what charles darwin said about the beginning of life and human development and what yoganda said about this? did we evolved from apes?

thank u

and God bless u

Nayaswami Gyandev

Nayaswami Gyandev

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Tim,

Darwinism theorizes that human beings descended from lower species (primates, specifically). Consequently paleontologists are forever searching for “the missing link” that will confirm this theory.

Paramhansa Yogananda, however, stated that no such link exists. He said that human beings were an act of special creation, and no other species has the sophisticated astral (energy) nervous system that alone enables one to achieve union with God. That is why it’s not possible for lower species to evolve to the human level (except, of course, through reincarnation, which is about soul evolution, not species evolution).

Yogananda did not say, however, that there is no such thing as evolution; species do indeed evolve, and that includes humans.

Blessings,

Gyandev

jayantkumar dhruv
india

Question

Why should we believe in God ?

And what is God ? And who created God ?

Nayaswami Pranaba

Nayaswami Pranaba

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Jayantkumar,

These are deep questions!

I think anyone who has any sensibility realizes that there must be something beyond the finitude of what can be experienced through the senses. Having an understanding of the possibility of infinity, naturally leads one to tune into what we call “God”. It isn’t that we should believe in God, but rather it’s important to experience expanded consciousness, which is simply another description of God.

There’s a wonderful and insightful interview at Clarity Online, with Dr. Peter Van Houten, entitled, Meditation and Emotions: Their Impact on Your Brain and Health, which discusses the book, How God Changes Your Brain by Andrew Newberg and Mark Waldman. I suggest you read the article and also the book itself. I think you'll find some very interesting scientific facts on how our brains are designed to include the idea of God in our lives.

The challenge for many people is that they think of God in only anthropomorphic terms, meaning only in human terms. Perhaps a more meaningful concept of God is the Sanskrit word, satchidananda, which Paramhansa Yogananda translated as, “ever –conscious, ever-existing, ever-new joy”.

I hope this is helpful.

Blessings,

Nayaswami Pranaba

Rajesh
India

Question

Dear Sir, Pranam,

I have been following Yogananda and Babaji from the past 6 years and I am a Kriyaban. Sir, throughout my life my conduct has been honest and innocent like a child. Yet on many occasions, people have cheated me, badly affecting my morale. I have lost not only my peace, and money, but have lost faith as well.

Sir, when I don’t do anything wrong, why again and again do I get trapped and something goes drastically wrong? Is it because of very bad Karma of mine in my past life?

Pranam,

Rajesh

Nayaswami Pranaba

Nayaswami Pranaba

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Rajesh,

Karma definitely comes into play with everything that happens to us. The important thing is that in this lifetime we endeavor to make the choices to overcome these tendencies that draw to us the experiences that you have described.

The best way to overcome one’s karma, and to neutralize the effect other people have in your life, is to meet whatever karma comes to you calmly and pleasantly. Concentrate not your problems with others, but more on generating a strong flow of positive energy.

The more conscious energy you generate, positively, the sooner any negative energy from others will be nullified.

And, remember to ask God and the Masters to bless your efforts.

Joy,

Nayaswami Pranaba

melanya
usa

Question

What is the difference between sympathy and empathy? And which is the more important quality to develop on the spiritual path?

Nayaswami Pranaba

Nayaswami Pranaba

Ananda Village

Answer

A simple way to understand the difference is that sympathy is when we feel pity or sorrow for someone else’s misfortunes, whereas empathy is when we understand and share the feelings of someone else.

Empathy is more important to develop on the spiritual path since one is able to feel the connection with someone who is suffering rather than just feel sorry for someone. Of course we also need to emphasize non-attachment so we are not caught in the potential whirlpool of emotions.

Perhaps a better quality to emphasize than empathy or sympathy is “compassion.” If someone shows kindness, caring, and a willingness to help others, they’re showing compassion. This is a much more active engagement of our energy in supporting others.

Blessings,

Nayaswami Pranaba

July 28
2014

Jeni
Israel

Question

Dear Gyandev: Why do the animals suffer? Someone answered me that they don’t have an ego and therefore do not suffer, and I know that neither do they have karma. I’m not sure, because clearly they feel physical pain! Why is there suffering and torture of animals, such as in slaughterhouses and hatcheries? I can understand a personal pain or suffering as an action-reaction? But how is the law of animal life, that without karma, any animal can be a victim of any painful torture by anyone?

Nayaswami Gyandev

Nayaswami Gyandev

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Jeni,

When animals experience pain, usually it’s simply nature taking its course: the animal has an accident or gets attacked by another animal. Neither ego nor karma nor torture is involved; instinct rules the animal world, and they are locked into a fixed progression of expanding consciousness.

The relationship between human beings and animals is different, because humans have some degree of free will. That can be lead to abuse of animals or to kindness to animals; either one results in karma for the human being, but neither stems from any karma on the part of the animal.

Because our planet is currently at a relatively low level of spiritual advancement, there will be misuse of free will. Killing animals for food may or may not be misuse of free will—one can easily imagine examples of both—but certainly torture is a misuse. In a higher age, these things won’t happen as often. And in a very high age, they won’t happen at all.

In any case, what we perceive as suffering in animals is the result of our projecting onto the animals how we would feel if we were in the same circumstances. It can be different for animals, for they are not as attached to their bodies as humans are, so they do not suffer as much as humans do when bad things happen to them.

I hope this explanation helps satisfy the mind, although no explanation can comfort the heart that sees other creatures in pain.

Blessings,

Gyandev

June 9
2014

Vivek Rana
India

Question

Respected Guruji, I am currently an Engg. student but unable to pass exam as I don’t feel curiosity and interest while studying the subjects, as I am on my verge of changing my career, will meditation help me to recognize my talent and work with that, if yes, then how?

Nayaswami Devarshi

Nayaswami Devarshi

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Friend,

You are certainly asking the right question, one that more people should be asking as they embark on adult life and career!

Meditation — more specifically the intuition developed through meditation — can help you to find the right career. Paramhansa Yogananda addressed this exact question:

One thing that must be your first concern: you must find your vocation. By contact with the Cosmic Vibration in meditation, you will be led to the goal, you will be led to the thing you ought to do. Concentrate upon that thing, make yourself proficient in that.

Success in a career depends on doing something that interests you — something that you are avid about.Yogananda pointed out that the interests that we have when we are young are often (not always) coming from our past lives and samskars, uncolored by peer pressure or the pressure of society and parents.

I found that comment interesting because when I was in high school I was torn between two careers which both expressed interests that I was avid about: writing and gardening.

Later in high school I had an inner experience which confirmed quite clearly the direction for my life, and I made the strong decision at that point to spend the rest of my life and career as "a yogi seeking God" — even though I had never even met a yogi at that point in my life or knew how I could make a "career" out it! I think that if I had gone to my high school career guidance counselor, or to my parents, and told them I had decided on a career, they would have thought I was crazy.

But I did trust my strong inner guidance and it turned out to be the right thing for me to do. But what is also interesting is that two of the things I’ve most enjoyed doing as an adult, and which have been part of my 'job' at various times, have been gardening and writing (my first fourteen years at Ananda were spent as a gardener). So there is something to the idea of tuning in to true interests that you had when young.

In the meantime, until you know what that is, you still must act in this world and put out energy in some direction. As a friend once put it, "You can’t steer a parked car!" So yes, meditate on what is right for you. But also start acting in small ways on your interests to see if they can lead to a career.

If you can find a vocation that you are absolutely avid about, and spend your life refining and perfecting that skill, you will be so very successful on many levels, including happiness.

I'll end with more words of wisdom from Yogananda:

Selection of your vocation must be in accordance with your inner interest, instinctive inclination, and intuitive meditative guidance. Do not try to seek success in a business that you hate.

Niraj
India

Question

Around 1989 in India TV serial the Mahabharata was broadcast and has had a tremendous success. Now also a TV serial is launched which is fairly successful. Two characters stand out. One is Arjuna and the other Karna. Karna died in the war with Arjuna years later. These two gentlemen left the world and also left behind a legacy of scholars more aggressive than them continuously debating on who is the greater warrior of the two. What were Yoganandaji‘s views on Karna?

Nayaswami Gyandev

Nayaswami Gyandev

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Niraj,

Paramhansa Yogananda stated that the major characters in the Mahabharata were actual historical figures, so the question of who was the greater warrior is not moot. And it would be interesting to know Yoganandaji’s assessment, given that he said he was, in a former incarnation, Arjuna! However, I am not aware of anything that Yoganandaji may have said about the historical Karna.

In any case, much more meaningful to a devotee are the psycho-spiritual qualities that he said the two characters represent in each one of us: self-control (Arjuna) and attachment (Karna). Attachment is a formidable force, and while self-control is a vital element in overcoming it, self-control alone is not sufficient: we need not only to engage other of our positive qualities—above all devotion to God—but also to ally ourselves with divine grace.

So on an inner level, one could say that attachment is a "greater warrior" than self-control. But that proves nothing about the martial merits of the two historical figures. Such outward comparisons will have to remain a question for spirited—and forever inconclusive—debate.

Blessings,

Gyandev

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