What are the Devas?
October 1, 2014
Please explain all about the Devas. Thank you very much.
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.
Feeling Better in Dark Situations
September 29, 2014
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?
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!
Is Today's Spirituality More Feminine?
September 18, 2014
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?
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,
Darwinism vs. Yoga
September 8, 2014
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?
and God bless u
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.
Why Should We Believe in God?
September 1, 2014
Why should we believe in God ?
And what is God ? And who created God ?
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.
Dealing with Negative Energy from Others
August 19, 2014
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?
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.
The Difference Between Sympathy and Empathy
August 6, 2014
What is the difference between sympathy and empathy? And which is the more important quality to develop on the spiritual path?
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.
Why Do Animals Suffer?
July 28, 2014
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?
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.
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