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Questions and Answers About Meditation, Yoga, the Spiritual Life, and More

Category: Guru-Disciple Relationship

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T.GEETHAL­AKSHMI
INDIA

Question

I would like to know how to invoke Babaji's blessing and presence with me to reach the level of samadhi in meditation. Can I repeat his name as a mantra to invite him?

Nayaswami Parvati

Nayaswami Parvati

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear friend,

Paramhansa Yogananda answers this very question in his Autobiography of a Yogi in the chapter, Babaji, Yogi-Christ of Modern India. He quotes Lahiri Mahasaya as saying, "Whenever anyone utters with reverence the name of Babaji, that devotee attracts an instant spritual blessing."

To use this technique to attract spiritual blessings is a good beginning. But to achieve a level of samadhi requires great self-effort on our part. We need not only the blessings of Babaji, but also our regular, ever-deepening and heartfelt effort in meditation.

Through daily meditation we can begin to attune our consciousness to Babaji's. It is also important to keep the attitude of self-offering as the goal of each meditation. In other words, it's important not to meditate to "gain" something (even the state of samadhi!) but to offer ourselves, especially our ego identification, ever more completely into the divine light.

As a great saint of the west said, "It is in giving that we receive."

I would also recommend that you read and meditate on this chapter on Babaji in the Autobiography of a Yogi. I think you will find deepening inspirations from doing so.

In divine friendship and joy,
Nayaswami Parvati

Attunement with a Guru
July 11, 2011

Jala
India

Question

How should I communicate with my Guru? and How can I make relationship with my Guru stronger?

Nayaswami Seva

Nayaswami Seva

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Jala,

When you do find your guru, this question is age-old for the disciple. The process of attuning yourself to the Guru is an ever creative adventure.

If your Guru is in his body, then the adventure is simplier. You need to be with him as much as possible. In seeing him interact with his disciples, in listening to him lecture on spiritual topics, and in just meditating in his presence, you will be blessed and changed.

If your Guru is not in his body, attuning yourself to him is more challenging. Here at Ananda we have a community of disciples of Paramhansa Yogananda, with Swami Kriyananda as a spiritual guide. Swamiji was with Yogananda for three years until Yogananda left his body. He is very clear on the master's teachings and has written many books on the spiritual path. So one way is to read these books, as they can also help you tune into your own Guru if he is not Yogananda. Another way is be with other disciples of your Guru as much as you can.

Other ways are to chant to yourself, Om Guru, as often as you can. Make an altar in your home with pictures of your Guru. If he has recorded any messages, listen to them over and over and try to glean understanding from them. Meditate on his eyes to drawn spiritual blessings from them. Look at all people as your friends and channel your guru's blessings to them.

These are just a few ways. Remember your Guru throughout the day and draw him into all your life's situations each day. Listen to him. If he knows you are listening and sincere, he will find a way to reply.

Bless you, Seva

Who Is My Guru?
May 27, 2011

Susan
US

Question

How do I know which Guru is right for me?

Nayaswami Anandi

Nayaswami Anandi

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Susan,

From our own perspective, it looks like it is up to us to FIND our Guru. Yogananda tells us that God leads us to our true Guru. It might help you to think of your search in this way. Swami Kriyananda has encouraged people to focus on their love for God, first. As you deepen your devotion, your willingness to change yourself, and your eagerness to be free from ego limitations, God sees that you ar ready for a Guru and will guide you to him/her.

If you have found someone you think might be your guru, there are some things that can help you. As you study his/her teachings, do they seem familiar to you? Do they resonate with you on a deep level?

How do you feel about the disciples? Do they seem to be on your wavelength? Do you feel very comfortable with them? The disciples can be a good barometer in sensing if you are also a disciple of that Guru.

Yogananda said to people, If you feel drawn to this path, follow it. If it is NOT your true path, I will guide you to your true path. To some extent this is true for other paths also. Swami Kriyananda has said that if you find a spiritual path that seems wholesome and attractive to you, you should follow its techniques. By doing so, you can increase your spiritual magnetism and devotion to God. In this way, you will develop enough spiritual magnetism to attract your true Guru.

Some things to think about when looking at a path:

1. A true guru tries to help you to attune to God's presence within yourself, as opposed to worshipping a him/herself. Do you feel that this guru is trying to draw you to him/herself or to point your devotion to God?

2. The Guru should be helping you to develop your own inner strength and intuitive guidance, as opposed to making you depend weakly on him or her to tell you what to do.

3. You should feel an increasing inner peace, joy, and clarity in your life.

4. A true guru comes to help the disciple find God, not to gain anything for him/herself personally. If the energy around a "guru" feels like a "taking" energy, he/she is probably not a true guru.

These are just a few thoughts. You might enjoy reading The New Path by Swami Kriyananda. He tells of his own personal search and how it led him to Yogananda. He also tells hundreds of stories of what is was like to be a disciple of Yogananda. In reading this book, you may feel a greater clarity of what to look for, and inspiration along the way.

In divine friendship,

Anandi

Kerey
USA

Question

It is said that the disciple needs at least one physical contact with the Guru (or guru's earthly representative), Is it possible that one could have had this contact in a previous incarnation and would that count for the current incarnation? I ask for those that are not able to travel to Ananda centers or otherwise are unable to receive this.

Nayaswami Hriman

Nayaswami Hriman

Ananda Seattle

Answer

Yours is a most interesting question and I thank you for asking it. Swami Kriyananda has written and spoken extensively on this issue and yet I don't recall his commenting on this subject in quite the way you have done so here.

I will go out on a limb, therefore, and say that the term "physical contact" could include a "virtual" contact through the mail, telephone, email and internet. I believe that contact with other disciples in these forms would constitute "contact" for the purposes of the truth behind the teaching.

By this I mean contact that is direct and personal and not just a book or a web site. (Some disciples of Paramhansa Yogananda are said to have claimed, that his printed lessons in the teachings and techniques will "be the guru" when Yogananda is gone. But this is going too far because a book or printed thing cannot give you personal guidance.)

There have been famous saints who did not seem to have had a guru or representative in his or her life so it would seem possible for a past life connection but to be spiritually safe I would suggest that anyone who can, whether in person or vitually, have contact with living disciples should feel the spiritual duty and opportunity to seek that contact for the purposes of greater attunement with the guru.

Blessings, Nayaswami Hriman

A
India

Question

Is it necessary for a Guru to be a Jivan mukta? How can a person, who is not free himself, liberate others from bondage? How do you identify such great souls?

Nayaswami Gyandev

Nayaswami Gyandev

Ananda Village

Answer

In the broadest sense of the word, it is not necessary for a guru to be a jivan mukta (one who has overcome all ego-sense, and therefore no longer accrues personal karma). "Guru" simply means dispeller of darkness.

However, one who is not a jivan mukta will not have the same power to uplift disciples as would a jivan mukta. Such a person can certainly help others, but may not be able to lift them into final freedom. The true guru is one who knows God and has the power to help others to know God. Final freedom is beyond knowing God; it is merging into God.

Paramhansa Yogananda said that, in order to become free, one must help at least six others to become free. Swami Kriyananda has said that this applies all down the line of development: Wherever we are on the ladder of spiritual growth, in order to grow further we must help others to reach the place where we are — whether or not we are jivan muktas ourselves. It is not just "a good thing to do"; it is a requirement of divine law.

How does one identify a jivan mukta? You can't unless you have attained a certain level of spiritual attainment yourself. So just do the best you can, draw from whomever you can draw from, and give to whomever you can give to. Concern yourself more with whether your attitude is that of a true disciple than whether a teacher is a jivan mukta. That is the way to becoming free yourself.

Blessings,

Gyandev

A
India

Question

I was given kundalini diksha by the disciples of a master who has left his body many years back; I have not seen the master in person but only through videos & photos. I dont know much about him much. His disciples SOMETIMES fail to deliver what they are supposed to. So,I doubt my master;my mind starts to waver; I dont know whether I am at the guidance of the right Guru.But sometimes I feel that he's my guru.What should I do now? Why am I finding it hard to accept him as my guru?

Nayaswami Gyandev

Nayaswami Gyandev

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear A,

You are asking a very natural question, and there is much that could be said about it. Here a few thoughts:

1. If you expect perfection from any guru's disciples, you are guaranteed to be disappointed. Like you, they are "saints in training." A better measure is to look at his disciples and ask yourself, "Do they seem to be sincere? On the whole, even with their failings, do they seem to have what I'm looking for, or at least be moving clearly and steadily in that direction?" If the answer is "Yes," then it may well be that this is your guru.

2. Pray to the guru for an answer to your question. Paramhansa Yogananda used to say that you can draw the vibration of a master from a photo. Do that: Gaze deeply into his eyes and try to feel his vibration. Then offer your prayer, and feel for a response in your heart: perhaps a deep calmness or uplifting joy if he is your guru.

3. Go on a doubt fast for a time. Don't even think about your uncertainty. Simply commit yourself wholeheartedly, without holding back, to your guru, to his teachings, to cooperating with his disciples, and to practicing the techniques that he gave. Keep your eyes wide open for signs, but go for it. That is the way to generate the magnetism to know your path. Just thinking about it will never bring you to a solution. It is tempting to think, "If only I knew, then I would commit myself." But the fact is, if only you will commit yourself, then you will know.

4. Focus less on whether he is a worthy guru, and more about whether you are a worthy disciple. The attitude of discipleship will draw the guru's grace, whoever your guru may be.

I wish you all the best.

Blessings,
Gyandev

Who Can Forgive Sins?
February 28, 2011

Bhushan
India

Question

I have seen many times that in chruch there is one box type cabin where father listen to the confession of sin of person who wish to do so and thus he is relieved from the burden of his misdeed in this process nor father knows who came for confession nor the confessor knows who was the father.I want to know whether this custom is still there in West? Did master advocated this? As per law of cause and effect how can such person be relieved from his misdeed? Or it is assurance he wont do it again?

Nayaswami Hriman

Nayaswami Hriman

Ananda Seattle

Answer

Dear Bhushan,

My name is Nayaswami Hriman. I was born and raised a Catholic and once studied for the Catholic priesthood before coming to the path of Self-realization.

In Yoganandaji's many years in America he became familiar with the sacrament of (Catholic) confession. He asked the same questions you did. Not all priests have attained the same level of God-realization and therefore not the same level of spiritual power to help others.

If a man gets drunk and comes to confession, is his hangover suddenly gone? No! Let us just say that "confession is good for the soul!" The Catholics say something to the effect that Jesus' words to his disciples giving them "the keys to heaven" to forgive or not (and various things like that) is the source of their authority to say that the ritual of confession is endowed with the power of Christ to forgive sins.

Well, it's a happy thought, no doubt, and probably no harm in it, either. But the law of karma and the law of divine love rule the universe of duality. The drunkard must stop drinking, the liar, stop lying, and the adulterer must be faithful.

To change deeply embedded habits requires will power to change the karmic pattern but can be greatly enhanced by devotion and divine grace, especially with the help of the guru. Both are necessary.

The ego with will power and knowledge can change bad karma into good karm but it's still karma and thus the pendulum swings. Get rid of one bad habit and you find another.

Only in the transcendent presence of the soul, which is eternal, the Atman, can be begin the journey away from the bondage of duality.

Blessings,
Nayaswami Hriman

Who Is the Guru?
November 30, 2010

daniel
usa

Question

When we pray why do we say, "divine mother, jesus christ, babaji, lahiri, yukteswarji, AND OUR BELOVED GURU Paramhansa Yogananda". If they are all masters and all one with divine mothers' infinite expression, then why are they not all our gurus? what makes yoganada the specific guru?

Thank you kindly.

Nayaswami Seva

Nayaswami Seva

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Daniel,

As you know from the Autobiography of a Yogi, Paramhansa Yogananda was sent to this country by Babaji and Jesus Christ. His was a special mission from these masters to bring back teachings of Yoga and original Christianity to uplift the consciousness of the west. His mission, therefore, was special to all of us in this century.

Also, with Swami Kriyananda being a direct disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda, we, of course, here at Ananda feel that Yogananda is our particular guru. I personally look to him to guide and direct my spiritual life.

But, of course, this doesn't mean that the other gurus are not special to us all. I look to them at different times for guidance and help. Some feel that one or another is their special guru and not just Yogananda.

The masters are free and don't feel anyone is their particular disciple. It's a great thought to carry as God is in all. If it is helpful to you to look to all the gurus and not feel to be guided by just one of them, then that is right for you. Bless you in your search.

Joy to you, Seva

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