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

Category: General

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Leo
USA, New York City

Question

Did Yogananda teach anything about clearing and blessing a space? I am moving into a new house, and there are energies still present from the previous occupants that are less than harmonious. Did he recommend anything to remove these energies and fill the space with blessings? Thank you!

Nayaswami Parvati

Nayaswami Parvati

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Leo,

What we at Ananda do is have a blessing whenever someone moves into a new home, place of business, etc. This way, no matter what the previous energy has been in that space, it is re-set for its new purpose and occupant.

This blessing usually includes a prayer, some chanting, and a simple arati (offering of elements to the Divine). Often we will then walk around the space with incense, a candle, holy water, etc. to bless each part of it.

In this way, a new energy is consciously brought in and makes the space ready for its new occupants.

Are We God?
October 6, 2014

Ananthakr­ishnan
India

Question

My question is this: Having been hearing about the concept of God from my little age, is there a singular consciousness that controls us? Or is it ourselves (by the concept of Aham Brahmasmi) that have formed this purification system of life death and rebirth?

According to texts in Hinduism, even the thrimoorthis are bound by certain laws. So can they be considered gods? Aren’t they just beings at the pinnacle of spiritual knowledge?

Nayaswami Gyandev

Nayaswami Gyandev

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Ananthakrishnan,

Everything and everyone in creation have been manifested by Spirit; nothing else exists. Thus we are inextricably one with that consciousness, although few us of live in the awareness of that oneness. It is our destiny (and our task!) to experience and live in that oneness. That is the essence of Aham Brahmasmi: a part of Brahman has become us; we have no other reality.

Spirit could control us if it wished, but according to the great masters, it has given us a measure of free will. It is the same with Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva—the creating, preserving, and dissolving aspects of AUM: they are specific aspects of Brahman. Compared to us, they seem unlimited in both power and the scope of their free will, but Brahman alone is without limitation.

And remember: all the deities of Hinduism are particular aspects of Brahman. They do not have a separate existence, any more than we do.

Blessings,

Gyandev

nafisa
india

Question

Sir, I read in the articles that Valmiki first wrote the Ramayana and he visited Hanuman on Kailash mountain to show where Hanuman has written the evident truth about the life of Lord Rama on the rocks. Few truths of Valmiki’s Ramayana have been taken from the Hanuman Ramayana. Later on saint Tulsidas wrote Ramcharitmanasa out of the interaction with Lord Shiva in his dream.

Since saint Tulsidas was considered as the rebirth of Valmiki, why are the stories different?

Nayaswami Gyandev

Nayaswami Gyandev

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Nafisa,

The great masters play different roles in different incarnations, based on the needs of the time. So it should not be surprising that the same soul might choose (or more accurately, be guided by God) to show a scriptural story in a different light at different times.

We must also remember that these stories are not intended to be factual, historical documents. They are written to instruct and inspire people. Different versions of the same story will resonate with different people. The important thing is that the teachings reach people who can hear them. If we worry about conflicting facts in two different versions of one story, we will miss the point.

Blessings,

Gyandev

What are the Devas?
October 1, 2014

Myke Black
United Kingdom

Question

Please explain all about the Devas. Thank you very much.

Tyagi Jayadev

Tyagi Jayadev

Ananda Assisi, Italy

Answer

Dear Myke,

There is an eternal battle going on in our world, between Light and darkness. Both sides act through instruments: the Light works through angelic beings, called Devas, or “shining angels.” The darkness works through demonic beings called asuras.

According to Hindu mythology, there are hundreds of thousands of devas. Each of them represents an aspect of the Infinite God. Only through all these aspects are we able to comprehend the enormity of the Divine. To try to explain all of them would be next to impossible.

One example, however, would be Agni, the Deva of fire, father of Arjuna, responsible of the manipur chakra, which represents fiery self-control, he who purifies all actions offered to him. Thus, the element of fire has been associated with a Deva/angel, thereby making it a living reality in our lives: someone whom we can commune with.

There are many types of Devas, or angels. You may read about them in Swami Kriyananda’s inspiring book How to be a Channel, in which he writes: “Angels roam the streets of man. They inspire with uplifting thoughts and beautiful ideas those whose minds and hearts are open to them.”

In fact you may pray to be in contact with the Devas. They are here to help us. The Bhagavad Gita (3:11) teaches: “With this offering, commune with the devas (shining angels), that they may commune also with you. Through such mutual communion you will arrive at the highest good.”

Most importantly, all of us are called to become Devas, or angels, right here on earth. Yogananda teaches this prayer: “Father, may Thy earth be Thy heaven, and may Thy children be Thy angels, living in harmony, seeking to help one another to become prosperous, powerful, and wise, and above all, may they be kind, have understanding, and be loving and happy.”

Using my given example as a key, I encourage you to discover the hidden Devas in your life.

Jayadev

Meena
UK

Question

Hi,

Swami Kriyananda has always emphasized that we should always feel better about ourselves amidst dark situations.

How can I practice that?

Right now I am in a dark situation as I’m jobless, out of a bad relationship, financial difficulties, bad friends etc. etc.

As I look for a solution, I can’t help being dragged down by my emotions of resentment and bitterness.

What kind of attitude should I have? How can i bring myself toward the Light in this darkness?

Nayaswami Savitri

Nayaswami Savitri

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Meena,

Swami Kriyananda always emphasized that we should feel good about ourselves during all situations, dark or light, happy or sad. The way you learn to do that is finding out who you really are. Please see my blog on this topic which goes into this subject in greater detail: Self-Esteem Issues, Anyone?

So sorry to hear of your life’s “dark situations.” That’s a lot to have happen to you all at one time! I suggest that you put yourself on the Ananda Healing Prayer list for extra prayers.

Also, it’s good to look for the blessings in the dark times of our lives. “... out of a bad relationship....” sounds good to me! Now there can be room in your life for a happy relationship!

Bad friends? No point in having those—much better to be alone! But good, spiritually-minded friends are out there just waiting to be found by you. Make it a priority to seek and you will surely find the good friends you need.

Yogananda often said: “Never beat at the darkness with a stick. Instead, turn on the light and the darkness will vanish as though it had never been.” What does “turn on the light” mean? It means to engage your energy. Energize and meditate more, seek out good company, and pray to be guided to just what you need at the time you need it. Find a good affirmation for yourself. Visualize your life as you wish it to be.

It is not necessary to let yourself be dragged down into negative emotions. Don’t focus on what is wrong. Instead, focus on the good things within and all around you and take action! There are many things you can do to make your life come out of the darkness into God and Gurus' blessed LIGHT!

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

Darwinism vs. Yoga
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

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