I am having a happy and healthy life. But something keeps me bothering. My parents and my brothers family do not share harmony. Me and my brother share a strong bond and we love each other. For some reason my Sister-in-law feels that no one likes her in the family and always has negative feelings towards us. I tried my best to explain her how much we love them. But nothing works and she always finds faults in my parents. I do not know how to help them.
Unfortunately, this sort of disharmony sometimes happens among in-laws-and for that matter, within immediately family as well.
How can you help them? You can be kind to all involved, as it seems you are doing. You can avoid condoning your sister-in-law's negative behavior (nor condemning it either). You can affirm your love for all of them (whether inwardly or outwardly). And you can pray for harmony. But that is all you can do to change the situation. Everything else is in their hands, and in God's hands.
Thank you for your answer on the highest virtues, Jayadev. Your answer is helpful and makes a lot of sense to me.
May I request that you elaborate a little more on the concept of Love for God.There are certain people who love God but not aware of all virtues. Also what does being true to one's self mean, and how is it a virtue? I do agree with simplicity, self-sacrifice, and truth, but honour of what?
About love for God: God watches the heart, Yogananda said. It is the heart's intention that counts. I don't think we need to perfect all virtues to reach God. Perfection is not of this world. Yogananda once said, "Never count your faults. Just see that your love for God is deeply sincere. For God doesn't mind your imperfections: He minds your indifference." (From The Essence of Self-Realization). So this is why loving God is the virtue Nr.1. In Jesus' words: "Wherefore I say unto thee, her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little." (Luke 7:47)
People say you have to love your family. But what if your family treats you like dirt and treats you like you are a nobody. Why should you love people like that ?
A family such as that is indeed very difficult to love. But if we allow ourselves to resent those who treat us badly (whether family or not), we are the ones who suffer the most: our own hearts contract, which not only is very painful, but also inhibits our spiritual growth.
I am 25 and torn between being my spiritual self (as at home), and the "mask" I feel forced to wear in the work world. I feel that when I am around others I can’t even think about God because then my demeanor would change, and others would see me as "different" or "being better" and it would be hard to relate to them.
A Kriya monk from another lineage wrote me that he just acted like everyone else during the day, but was spiritual at night. I can’t imagine how he did it! Any thoughts?
It’s very unspiritual to put on a false pretense all day, for any reason. I’ve seen that many people are confused about what it means to be spiritual. Pop culture seems to think that it’s spiritual to perform a very public (often ostentatious) display of praying, on a football field for example.
Dear Tyagi Jaidev,
I like your answer on being true to one’s own self. I am confused about one thing. Today’s world is full of people who say there is nothing right or wrong. Values are subjective. How true is this? If our action has harmed or hurt another person, can we say that it isn’t wrong if we can rationalize it?
It is said, when it comes to principles, we should be as strong as thunder. In a nutshell what should be the basis to build our principles amidst so many conflicting views?
Yes, we live in a time when not a few people define values as "relative" or "subjective." Or they declare that cosmically speaking, there is no "good" and "evil", no "right" or "wrong", it is us who define them as such. Swami Kriyananda wrote a book on this topic, Out Of The Labyrint, to answer to this unhealthy tendency of modern meaninglessness, directionlessness, purposelessness.
I was wondering if you could recommend any special ''technique'' that i could use, to combat and get rid of all kinds of negative thoughts? (including bitter thoughts, angry, unkind etc). I mean when the thought comes into my head, what is the best way to get rid of it, and moreover, how I can stop those thoughts from coming into my head at all? I am trying to purify my thoughts, but it is very difficult.... I would be grateful for any advise or techniques.
The first thing to realize is that all thought is universally not individually rooted. So the good news is that you are not your thoughts. One of the most important things you can do is keep good company. I don't know where you live or what you have available to you regarding satsang, but even if there is not a meditation group in your area, you can join Ananda's virtual community and take part in many spiritual activities, classes and discussions. Here is the web address; www.anandaonlineclasses.org
I am currently reading "Man's Eternal Quest" by Paramhansa Yogananda. In one of the chapters I was reading how true prayer can convert hatred into love. While meditating, our attention should be on God. If we concentrate on the subject of our hatred, won't it take us away from God? I do practice meditation, but I couldn't relate with this concept of what Master said. Could you elaborate more on how we can change hatred into love?
Thanks and Regards,
You are right, when we meditate we concentrate on God or one of His qualities or aspects. We try our best that nothing diverts our attention.
When Yogananda speaks about praying for people, for example to change their hatred into love, he means at the end of meditation. Before meditation we pray to God to reveal Himself to us. Then we meditate to feel Him. But at the end we pray for others, with healing prayers. At such times our prayers are most effective.
Why did Jesus have to die? What was its meaning and benefit for humanity?
Yogananda explains that every event in Jesus' life was a high teaching in itself.
He says that Jesus did not die for the sins of everyone, as is generally taught in Christianity. Rather his seeming suffering and death happened so that he could take on the bad karma of his closest disciples, and to work it out on through own body, so that they would be purified, uplifted, and able to go forth and spead his teachings and his love throughout the world (which they did!).