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Nicki
UK

Question

Hello!

I’ve been meditating for more than a year now, and I notice that I find myself going back to the past, to events that I believed were long resolved. Even to the point of questioning whether my mother was a “good” parent. But I find my mind resurrecting things long forgotten. What does this mean — that deep down I resent my parents?

Blessings.

Kristy Fassler-Hecht

Kristy Fassler-Hecht

Ananda Maine

Answer

Dear Nicki,

You don’t mention what technique of meditation you are practicing so I can’t respond directly to how your meditations and past memories are connected. However, you can trust if there are long forgotten memories surfacing, they need your attention and awareness.

Probably all it means is on some level you haven’t healed these memories and the relationships linked with them. Ask your higher self in meditation what is trying to happen with these memories and then be receptive in your heart to receive the answer. It’s important not to judge the answer or react to it in any way. Just be receptive and follow the truthful wisdom of your own higher self.

In Divine Friendship,

Kristy

Niraj
India

Question

Is the Mahabharata written by Vyasa 100% authentic and true? What were Yoganandaji‘s views on this? If its not 100 % true can any evidence be offered?

Nayaswami Gyandev

Nayaswami Gyandev

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Niraj,

Paramhansa Yogananda said that the main characters in the Mahabharata were actual historical figures, and that there was indeed such a conflict over a kingdom. Yoganandaji further stated that Arjuna was one of his own earlier incarnations, that Babaji was Krishna, and that James Lynn (Yoganandaji’s most advanced disciple) was Nakula.

While Yoganandaji said that the bare essentials of the story do reflect historical events (you can visit Kurukshetra, after all), even a cursory reading of the Mahabharata shows that (a) the vast majority of it is not history, but rather spiritual allegory or overt spiritual teaching, and (b) even if it were history, that aspect would be of little value compared to the immense spiritual value of the Mahabharata’s teaching.

May the blessings of the masters who consent to play these roles in the outward drama of this world, be with you always.

Blessings,

Gyandev

Carina
Europe

Question

I find it quite helpful at times to be the observer of my mind, thoughts and feelings, watching them pass like a movie and not giving them any attention (just as we learn in meditation). This helps us to not get attached and to control our reactive process. And even though Swamiji mentioned the term “silent observer” in his book “Demystifying Patanjali,” I would very much like to know if Master recommended this technique and if it is in tune with the teachings. Thank you.

Nayaswami Pranaba

Nayaswami Pranaba

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Carina,

Paramhansa Yogananda did indeed recommend this technique of being the “silent observer.” He taught that in meditation, specifically in the Hong-Sau Technique, to emphasize this approach. He also encouraged this approach when we are involved in the various activities of daily life.

His quote, “be calmly active and actively calm” expresses this point of being centered in the calm, undisturbed essence within, while being actively engaged. It also refers to being in the “active” watchful state while in meditation.

In his poem, “Samadhi,” from his book of prayers and poems, Whispers From Eternity, Yogananda offers these words to describe this watchful state of being the silent observer:

Samadhi but extends my conscious realm

Beyond the limits of the mortal frame

To farthest boundary of eternity

Where I, the Cosmic Sea,

Watch the little ego floating in me.

Blessings,

Nayaswami Pranaba

Govraj
India

Question

I am a 40 year old man. I have been meditating from 13 yrs . Also I have been masturbating for the past 22 years since I am not married. My life is in danger; I have no career, I have large debts, and I am dependent for basic needs on others. I am in a position where I can’t even commit suicide. I am a lover of the great Yoganandaji. Please help and guide me.

Nayaswami Pranaba

Nayaswami Pranaba

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Govraj,

No matter what challenges you face, try to always feel God’s presence with you. To make this real, it’s important to meditate with techniques that will take you deeper into your soul qualities. You don’t mention what type of meditation you practice, but the techniques which Paramhansa Yogananda taught are very valuable in helping us find our source in the Divine. Here is a link that may be helpful to you: Kriya Yoga

In regards to sexual challenges, such as masturbation, it’s important to try to catch your desires as soon as they surface in your awareness. At that point you need to shift your awareness and energy, to something that is positive and uplifting, such as listening to uplifting music or feeling God’s presence. Chanting is another very powerful way to shift the focus.

Another suggestion is do something physical such as exercise; I would recommend Yogananda’s Energization Exercises or the yoga asanas. What these accomplish is that you are able to dynamically engage your energy in a positive direction which you can feel as a reality and not just hope for the best.

It’s also very important to be in the company of other spiritual truth-seekers. As Yogananda said, “environment is stronger than willpower”. The magnetism of other devotees will help you in your own efforts. Praying to God and Guru for guidance and support is important as well. Let your mind constantly be in the blessings of divine grace.

Being able to stand on your own two feet is a basic requirement if you want to move forward with your life. Take the next steps in front of you: find a job where you can direct positive energy; find a way to pay down your debts, even if it’s in small increments; feel a confidence within you that God is giving you support in all that you do so you needn’t be dependent so much on others. Pray to God and Guru and be open to the flow of grace and guidance that they offer.

Blessings on your spiritual journey.

Nayaswami Pranaba

Bakari
USA

Question

I struggle to know what is more required of me in my situation of living in my grandmothers home, and being at the mercy of a financially struggling family. I want to make sure that I implement my responsibility as a contributor through monetary support, but I also feel that God realization is most important, yet seemingly luxurious.

What are your thoughts on this?

Nayaswami Premdas

Nayaswami Premdas

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Bakari,

Sometimes life circumstances are hard for us as they provoke a reaction, karmic in nature. Circumstances are neutral, Yogananda said. Our reaction to them is due to memories in our energy fields that we associate with who we define ourselves as. Surely you are a family member and want to contribute. And God-realization is not a luxury, it is your right and a joy! Yes, you can have both today and in these times. You do not have to become a renunciate/monk in the traditional way to find the keys to your happiness, your joy, your bliss. So, learn to detach yourself from these circumstances by playing the part and seeing God playing the grandson through you and honor the karmic connections among your family.

Control the reactive process through the use of pranayam techniques, devotion, prayer, and meditation, all of which Ananda teaches from original yogic instructions of Paramhansa Yogananda. http://www.ananda.org/meditation/ananda-course-in-self-realization-the-path-of-kriya-yoga/

Then supplant your old reactions with living the teachings you are learning from these lessons and classes. Again that equates to meditation and devotional practices, formal set-aside times, and informally practicing the presence of God in the minutes and hours of your day, using what the rishis called yamas and niyamas (traditions explained in our course).

Give that a try. Add more energy source to your life as well: outdoor activities, sun and oxygen, with cardiovascular exercise, especially Yogananda’s Energization Exercises, yoga, running, sports, etc. You will have plenty of energy and time to give good to others as well as yourself (this is Karma Yoga).

Remember to surround yourself with uplifting people, sounds, art, media and avoid the ones that aren’t! Love and Joy are yours, Bakari. We followers of Yogananda are taught not to approach God as a begger, but to see Him/Her as Divine Mother and us as Her child, spoiled and receiving what we need, just as long as we love her alone! Then all things flow to us and we find ourselves “home” not only in the spiritual sense but also in uplifting surroundings that nurture us! Family, friends, work, play will all improve if we seek the Kingdom of God first, no matter the outward appearance or circumstances.

You’ve become a willing channel for spirit. Holding you in a vision of God’s Light, you must do the same for yourself, as Master Yogananda said. Give thanks for this grace, your family and circumstances and things will change, I know. Keep acknowledging this Grace of God, and have fun, keep learning and applying these teachings through self-study and by getting help and support from like-minded souls. You will develop strength to overcome most reactions, fears, anxieties and moods.

This current challenge you’re experiencing is the the dross left over from karma. Know that this can change very quickly: Yogananda said, to those who think 20 years, 20 years! To those who think 20 days, 20 days. Our teachings and practices increase your odds for success! So why not now? I hope to see you in one of our classes, by correspondence or online.

Joy to you,

Nayaswami Premdas

Shainee Chakraborty
India

Question

Dear Sir/Madam,

Please accept my Pranam! I saw a dream on Friday night that my mother was in the hospital, and two days later I found out that she has had fever since Friday night. I am married and live with my husband in a different city.

Is it just a coincidence? This had happened once before also. Though it was not about illness but it was a different dream and it came true. Please show me the path.

Thank you so much and I am glad to find your website.

Nayaswami Savitri

Nayaswami Savitri

Ananda Village

Answer

Pranam to you also, Shainee,

We are also glad you found our website. Welcome!

Our nightly dreams are often very interesting and sometimes can be important to pay attention to. Paramhansa Yogananda says that most of our nightly dreams are simply “movies” produced by our subconscious minds and and meant only to entertain us while we rest.

But he also says that occasionally we have superconscious dreams or visions which have worthwhile messages or instructions for us. When you have a dream which seems to predict something or warn you about something, it might be wise to pay more attention than you would otherwise.

If that happens, be a little more careful than usual, or tell your loved ones to be more careful also. Most of all, pray, meditate, and get in touch with God and the Great Ones every day, asking for perfect intuitive guidance in all matters, including about your dreams. With practice, it will come!

Kris
England

Question

I was wondering ... On a visit to Ananda Italy, I heard a beautiful grace that was sung before meals, in both English and Italian. Could you please share with me both the English and Italian versions? I’d like to share them with my children. If possible, there wouldn't by any chance be a recorded version of the melody or sheet music also? I kind of remember the melody, but not really well and I’d really like to be able to use it. I remember it was very beautiful! Thank you very much! Om Guru!

Tyagi Jayadev

Tyagi Jayadev

Ananda Assisi, Italy

Answer

Dear Kris,

Here it is, it’s written by Swami Kriyananda, and all Ananda communities sing it before meals.

English:

Receive, Lord, in thy Light the food we eat for it is Thine;

infuse it with Thy Love, Thy energy, thy life divine.

Italian:

Benedici o Signore il cibo che noi ti offriamo;

infondilo d'energia, luce divina, del Tuo amor.

I don’t have the sheet music though, nor a recording. I looked in the Ananda Music Library, but it isn’t there. So maybe this means that you should go and visit an Ananda center, because there they'll sing it to you right away. Enjoy your meals full of blessings...

Joy, Jayadev

January 9
2014

Carina
Europe

Question

People sometimes claim that God isn’t real but only a product of our imagination. These people also believe that cultivating devotion or other spiritual practices which awaken the love of the heart are only due to some kind of self hypnosis or auto suggestion. I often wonder about how to give a valid answer or advice here, please help. Thank you.

Nayaswami Pranaba

Nayaswami Pranaba

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Carina,

There are several ways to approach this question:

One way is through the actual experience of those who have dedicated their lives to finding God. The result is that these people are certainly happy and have a sense of fulfillment in their lives. You can see this in their eyes and more importantly, how they handle the challenges of life. As the saying goes, “the proof is in the eating of the pudding”.

The other way is the proof that is surfacing from science. The evidence is becoming more apparent in recent research on the brain, that the brain is actually “engineered for divinity”. Some of the research indicates that practices such as meditation, as well devotional attitudes, including faith, have a very real impact on our brains and how we function in this world.

Here is a link to an interview with Dr. Peter Van Houten, from Clarity Magazine Online, in which he talks about the book, written by some doctors, How God Changes Your Brain. I think you'll find it very inspiring and also helpful in talking to skeptics.

It’s also good to keep in mind that we don’t have to convince others if they are strong in their convictions. Our example of living our lives in God’s grace will shine light into the world around us just as lighthouse radiates its light.

Blessings on your journey.

Nayaswami Pranaba

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