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

Category: Health and Healing

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Siddharth Patel
India

Question

How can I reduce my sleep quota? I am asking this question because I cannot wake up at Bram Muhurt for chanting.

Nayaswami Gyandev

Nayaswami Gyandev

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Siddharth,

Many factors affect how much sleep you need, so it’s impossible to say exactly what might best help you reduce your need for sleep. In fact, some people, due to their personal constitution and/or their life circumstances, should not try to reduce that need.

In any case, I suggest that you begin by exploring how to improve the quality of your sleep. The first places you might look are your diet and your daily schedule. I recommend Vegetarian Cooking for Starters for an excellent treatment of yogic diet. As for your daily schedule, the more consistent your bedtime and rising time, the better will be the quality of your sleep, and hence the greater will be your potential for sleeping less. Here is a post on my personal website on my personal website where you'll find a number of simple tips for better sleep.

At the same time, strive to meditate regularly and ever deeper. When meditation is deep enough, it will reduce your need for sleep. Here is an excellent meditation technique that Paramhansa Yogananda taught.

Blessings,

Gyandev

Condolences for a loss
November 4, 2014

g s nayyar
india

Question

I have lost my father recently. I miss him terribly many times in the day. I want to have some contact. he never comes in my dream also. though my mother sees him dreams often. has he forgotten me. Is it final goodbye. the thought makes me miserable. God bless him always.

Mary Kretzmann

Mary Kretzmann

Ananda Village

Answer

I am so very sorry for your loss. And I apologize that I let some time go by before replying to you.

My own husband died a little over 2 years ago, so I do understand what your family is going through. My grown children were ages 19, 27 and 31 at the time. Our hearts were broken, but we have gotten stronger with time.

First, be grateful that your mother, at least, is having the dreams about him, for they were deeply connected in life, so she is able to receive his presence in her dreams. With my family, I came to see that every true dream was a gift to all of us — one that increased our understanding and love.

When a soul crosses over, they have entered a new dimension. It isn’t necessarily very easy for the soul to reach back into our dimension and communicate through a dream. Or, another way to look at it is that they may be trying, but we also have to lift ourselves up toward the astral dimension to be able to receive a dream. The book, Karma and Reincarnation: The Wisdom of Paramhansa Yogananda can offer deeper insights.

Quotes from Paramhansa Yogananda on life after death:

When a dear one dies, instead of grieving unreasonably, realize that he has gone on to a higher plane at the will of God, and that God knows what is best for him. Rejoice that he is free. Pray that your love and goodwill be messengers of encouragement to him on his forward path. This attitude is much more helpful. Of course, we would not be human if we did not miss loved ones; but in feeling lonesome for them we don’t want selfish attachment to be the cause of keeping them earthbound. Extreme sorrow prevents a departed soul from going ahead toward greater peace and freedom.


To send your thoughts to loved ones who have passed on, sit quietly in your room and meditate upon God. When you feel His peace within you, concentrate deeply at the Christ center, the center of will at the point between the two eyebrows, and broadcast your love to those dear ones who are gone.Visualize at the Christ center the person you wish to contact. Send to that soul your vibrations of love, and of strength and courage. If you do this continuously, and if you don’t lose the intensity of your interest in that loved one, that soul will definitely receive your vibrations. Such thoughts give your loved ones a sense of well-being, a sense of being loved. They have not forgotten you any more than you have forgotten them.


Send your thoughts of love and goodwill to your loved ones as often as you feel inclined to do so, but at least once a year — perhaps on some special anniversary. Mentally tell them, “We will meet again sometime and continue to develop our divine love and friendship with one another.” If you send them your loving thoughts continuously now, someday you will surely meet them again. You will know that this life is not the end, but merely one link in the eternal chain of your relationship with your loved ones.

So, please focus deeply on the fact that you can send your love, and he will receive it. You have control over that. And you can pray to God and Guru to be blessed with a sacred dream of your father. If one comes, please write it down so it can bless you again and again.

And, finally, a few years ago, Swami Kriyanandaji recommended another book to a young woman when her father died: Talking to Heaven: A Medium’s Message of Life After Death, by James Van Praagh. On my own, I had found this book after my husband died, and I found it to be true... So I was comforted to learn that Swamiji had recommended it, as well.

May God comfort you now and always,

Mary Kretzmann

Ananda Healing Prayer Ministry

N
Austria

Question

Hello

I have recently met a man who is wonderful, isn’t particularly spiritual but supports me in my path and is supportive and helpful and very loving. I realized recently that I have a problem with lying, I do it even without knowing when or why and for little things — how do I rid myself of this so as to protect me and our relationship? I feel so sad and disappointed in myself, I find myself crying a lot and think of ending my life sometimes... I am not sure what is wrong. What do I do?

Mary Kretzmann

Mary Kretzmann

Ananda Village

Answer

Congratulations on finding a wonderful man. Even though he is not yet on the spiritual path, from what you describe he exhibits spiritual qualities. So, for now, give thanks for that.

It is a concern, however, that while you are on the spiritual path, you have this nagging habit of lying, even in inconsequential matters. It doesn’t makes sense, unless in a past life you had to make a habit of lying — but the question is, Why? Were you a spy? Or did this habit develop in childhood? Whatever the reason, you are wise to see that this will destroy a relationship. And, ironically, you were honest here about having this problem of dishonesty. So there is hope. But, please stop crying and berating yourself about lying, just forget about that.

Instead, focus on developing a love and fascination for the opposite quality: truthfulness. Read about it and contemplate it. Practice it in small ways. And once you love the concept of truthfulness, practice non-lying as a specific discipline.

"To tell a truth is a more spiritual karma than to tell a lie, for truthfulness develops a refined awareness of what really is — of the Divine Reality behind all appearances..."

The Path, Chapter 28, “Reincarnation” by Swami Kriyananda

And please, no more saying that your partner "isn’t particularly spiritual." If he tells the truth, he is spiritual. This will help keep you on equal footing. Appreciate his spiritual qualities.

Finally, these two affirmations from Affirmations for Self-Healing will be very helpful to you now:

Affirmations for Self-Healing: Truthfulness

BY J. DONALD WALTERS (SWAMI KRIYANANDA)

Truthfulness is not caustic statements of unpleasant facts and unflattering opinions. Such statements are usually born of pride. But truthfulness is the effort always to see the divine truth behind appearances. It is the effort to express always that aspect of truth which may prove the most beneficial.

Truthfulness, as applied to ourselves, means not to hide behind self-flattering justifications: to look honestly at our real motives for doing anything, and not to flinch before unpleasant realities in ourselves. Truthfulness means seeing things as they really are, but then looking more deeply for ways to improve those realities.

Affirmation

Whatever is, simply is; I cannot change it for the mere wishing. Fearlessly, therefore, I accept the truth, knowing that, at the heart of everything, God’s truth is always good.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, I will not fear the truth, for I know that Truth comes from Thee. Help me to see behind all appearances Thy smiling, all-compassionate gaze.

Affirmations for Self-Healing: Courage

BY J. DONALD WALTERS (SWAMI KRIYANANDA)

Courage: There are three kinds of human courage: blind, passive, and dynamic. Blind courage doesn’t count the cost until it finds itself faced, horror-stricken, with the bill. Passive courage is the strength of will to adjust to reality, whatever it may be. And dynamic courage is the strength of will not only to accept reality, but to confront it with another reality of one’s own making.

There is a fourth kind of courage: not human, but divine. Divine courage comes from living in the awareness of God’s presence within, and in the realization that He is the sole Reality. Live more in Him, for nothing and no one can touch what you really are.

Affirmation

I live protected by God’s Infinite Light. So long as I remain in the heart of it, nothing and no one can harm me.

Prayer

I look to Thee for my strength, Lord. Hold me closely in Thy arms of love. Then, whatever happens in my life I shall accept with joy.


I also suggest that you buy the book Affirmations for Self-Healing so you can focus on any other affirmations deeply for one week at a time. This will keep you encouraged in your spiritual development. I believe you can buy it from Ananda Europa.

And finally — please watch this free video: A Healing Affirmation by Paramhansa Yogananda. This affirmation will help you in those moments when you are discouraged and feel like ending your life. Please don’t ever do that. Do this instead:

Focus deeply at the spiritual eye, and repeat three times:

“I will with my own will, which flows from the divine will, to be healthy to be well, to be prosperous and spiritual, to be well, to be well.”

I wish you the best in all things.

God bless you,

Mary Kretzmann

Ananda Healing Prayer Ministry

Powerful healing mantras
November 3, 2014

K Kaul
Australia

Question

Hi

I would like to practice a healing mantra. I note our Guru didn’t focus on these. Can I use a healing mantra given on YouTube by Gurunath? Do you recommend any? What are. Your views on mantras for healing? Thanks

Mary Kretzmann

Mary Kretzmann

Ananda Village

Answer

Thank you for your question. Do you mean Yogiraj Gurunath Siddanath? I wasn’t sure what to say at first, because I had never listened to him, so I looked him up on YouTube. I listened to one of his mantras and it was powerful, and reminded me of a mantra Swami Kriyananda had taught to us here in Ananda Village. ("AUM hreeng kleeng...") It was powerful listening to the mantra on YouTube just now, and I understand why you feel it would be beneficial.

That being said, there is the issue of attunement to one’s own Guru or lineage. Are you aware that Swami Kriyanandaji created a powerful CD called Mantra? (Or you can read about here if you are in India.)

Swamiji’s AUM, Mantra of Eternity CD is also very powerful and healing. Try playing either one of these CDs for 21 days and you will feel changes in your consciousness. So please first get these two CDs so you know what your own lineage has to offer.

If you then decide to listen to other mantras first pray to Master and ask him to bless and guide you, and smile in your heart if it is right. Listen with Him in your heart, and all will be well.

And finally, you can read a wealth of material here about healing.

I wish you all the best in your journey.

Astrology and Health
October 6, 2014

A K Guha
India

Question

Is health dependent on astrological charts, yes or no? Kindly guide.

Nayaswami Savitri

Nayaswami Savitri

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear A K Guha,

Your health is dependent on your past karma, your present lifestyle, and the grace of God. Your astrological chart (if it is done in the Vedic way by a highly skilled and intuitive astrologer) can help you understand why certain periods of your life may cause you to become more susceptible to disease or injury.

You can help to alleviate the worst of the effects of these challenging periods by wearing specifically prescribed gemstones or an astrological bangle of gold, silver, and copper in the proper weights and purity, chanting specific mantras, practicing Kriya Yoga, having healing prayers done for you, and constantly praying for help and guidance from God and Gurus.

The best of all remedies is deep daily meditation and faith in the Great Ones that all will be well eventually, no matter what. We are in the loving hands of God at all times.

One other thing which might be of great help to you in understanding this subject is to read what Paramhansa Yogananda says about astrology and health in his Autobiography of a Yogi, especially in the chapter called “Outwitting the Stars.”

valerie
usa

Question

I work in a place that has people who influence my old bad habits. But the job pays well and I need to support my family. How can I distance myself so that these tendencies are not activated?

Kristy Fassler-Hecht

Kristy Fassler-Hecht

Ananda Maine

Answer

Dear Valerie,

I understand you are trying to put some unhealthy or harmful habits behind you and those you work with still engage in those same diversions and perhaps encourage you to do the same. Your resolve is being tested!

Here are 5 suggestions to help you:

1) Pray often for God’s grace and power to help you stay true to your chosen path of action. Keep in mind where you are going and the steps required to get you there at all times.

2) If it’s appropriate for your situation, go to regular 12 Step meetings to develop yourself in ways to overcome the temptations confronting you.

3) Seek and spend time with people who have similar goals and aspirations as you. Perhaps there is someone right where you work.

4) Seek a position where you won’t have the same unhealthy influences in your environment or at least uplift your current environment as much as possible with uplifting music, art, reminders, and colors.

5) Never give up! Paramhansa Yogananda often said, “A saint is a sinner who never gave up!”

May you consciously expand your success magnetism with deep will power and concentration until you are free.

PNG
USA

Question

I have always struggled with cannabis addiction. I understand that this habit poisons not just our will power but also the lungs and the brain. Any addiction is counter to the teachings and the ray of the Masters. It is a hindrance to the seeker and inner freedom. In meditation I once felt the Guru say, “I can’t work through you when you smoke.” Could it be any more clear? Do you have suggestions?

Nayaswami Gyandev

Nayaswami Gyandev

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear PNG,

You’re quite right about the damage that this habit can wreak—physically, mentally and spiritually. And I agree with you: what the Guru said couldn’t be clearer. You know what you need to do. The question is, Will you do it? I suggest a few steps:

 

  • There are treatment programs for this addiction. Seek one out. Today.

 

 

  • To support your treatment program, cultivate ever-greater desire to get free of the habit. It’s just as Paramhansa Yogananda said about cultivating love for God: No one can give you that desire; you have to cultivate it yourself. To help that happen, build within your mind and heart a clear picture of life without this addiction. Above all, how will it feel? Spend time enjoying that feeling, for that will build your hunger for freedom.

 

 

  • Strengthen your willpower. Yoganandaji suggested many ways, and here is one: Every day, do something that you didn’t think you could do. Here’s another: Get on a regular schedule of breaking little habits, even harmless ones, such as which shoe you always put on first. Little bits of freedom will add up.

 

 

  • Ask God and Guru for help. Some things in life simply cannot be done alone. For most people, breaking addictions is one of them. Don’t think you can win without help. It’s too much of a gamble, and there’s no upside to winning on your own, even if you could do so.

 

 

  • Spend time with people who are breaking (or have broken) their own habits—any habits, not only cannabis addiction. Their magnetism will be an immense help. That’s one reason why AA (and related) programs can be successful. If you embark on such a program, consider attending An 11th Step Retreat at The Expanding Light.

 

All the best to you.

Blessings,

Gyandev

Saranya
India

Question

Nameste guruji, I am 28yr old female from India delivered a baby boy before 9 months via c section,since i had some lactation problem from beginning we meet a lactation consultant for that,she prescribed me a tablet called perinorm for increasing my milk supply, which in turn produced so many neurological side effects on me.We met so many neurologists but no one is able to provide me correct diagnosis or treatment,currently I am facing more health,financial as well as depression, please help me

Also, one of my friends committed suicide due to depression i just wanted to know whether it is a bad karma?and whether she will suffer for that in her birth? and now i am undergoing sever physical health issues along with psychological issues and wanted to end my life...but as i am afraid that i will create bad karma...but sometimes i feel instead of being alive and create bad thoughts about my health and circumstances its better to die...:( kindly guide me

Mary Kretzmann

Mary Kretzmann

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Sister,

Your two questions cover many areas, so I will begin with your postpartum issues first. I am a mother of 3 grown children and I also have a grandchild. I trained as a home birth midwife years ago, and for the last 25 years or so, I have served as Director of the Ananda Healing Prayer Ministry. So I offer my advice from a combination of that knowledge. Please excuse my lengthy response, but I want to help you as much as possible with this serious combination of difficulties.

You mention the drug, Perinorm. Reportedly, it can have the side effect of depression so I hope you have discontinued taking it. Some women have a tendency toward post-partum depression anyway — so we will have to address that directly, as well as your need to increase your milk supply for your premature baby. Apparently the drug Domperidone has less side effects. Also — it is very helpful if you can increase the amount of water you drink, and eat foods that increase your milk supply.

Those are my practical suggestions, because it is good to look at the obvious things first. Premature babies often do not suckle strongly enough to promote good lactation, so if you cannot increase your milk supply, you may have to go to baby formula. If I was in that situation, I believe at some point, whenever it seemed best for the baby, I would seek to buy raw goat milk from a trusted, healthy source, for it is the closest to human milk. Also — raw milk from a Jersey cow is also very close to human milk. I realize it may be difficult to get these things in India, but a friend of mine in Chennai does manage to buy raw cow milk straight from the dairy farmer. Depending on your situation, make one of the corrections above so you do not have to be on Perinorm anymore.

This affirmation, below, is your best first defense against depression. Please watch the video I made for this affirmation, as it will help you to do it correctly, and with strength and vigor. Please note that you lift the mind to the point between the eyebrows to say this affirmation. This serves as a divine magnet to train your thoughts and energy to come out of the gloomy depths:

A Healing Prayer Affirmation by Paramhansa Yogananda

Focus deeply at the spiritual eye, and repeat three times:

“I will with my own will, which flows from the divine will, to be healthy to be well, to be prosperous and spiritual, to be well, to be well.”

What about the karma of suicide?

Please do not take your life. That would create much worse karma, for you would break the hearts of those around you. Your baby needs you. When you are in those gloomy depths of feeling, and also tired from caring for your new baby, you don’t think straight. But you would regret your action immediately, as soon as you left the body.

God has given you the gift of life, and right now you have many challenges, but you must somehow summon your will power to meet these challenges, which come from karma in the past. If you "jump ship" now — you will still have all of that old karma, as well as the karma of taking away the mother (you!) of your precious baby. Think of this from your baby’s point of view. Your baby is part of God. Would you break the heart of God? Of course not. There is always an answer, and we must seek and find it.

God always loves us, no matter what, even if we make mistakes. Paramhansa Yogananda teaches us that no soul is ever lost. But suicide means that in a future life a person will have to come around to this point and face the same challenges all over again, but they will seem even harder then. This is because by suicide one affirms weakness, instead of finding the inner strength to face the problems.

Suicide comes when person loses all hope. It doesn’t necessarily look "hopeless" to all the heartbroken people left behind, but that is how it felt to the depressed person right then, and then they acted on it. Paramhansa Yogananda said that "reason follows feeling" — so it is paramount that your raise your feelings up (by using the affirmation, above) so that you can reason better in the midst of this stress.

He also taught us this prayer, which will help you very much. Please write it down on a card, and pray it every day: "O Father, Mother, Friend, Beloved God! I will reason, I will will, I will act; but lead Thou my reason, will, and activity to the right things that I should do."

And we will pray for you. Please feel free to ask for healing prayers every 3-4 weeks to get you through this difficult period. We are here to help you find the divine spark of your soul again. It can also be very helpful if you have a special photo so you can look into the eyes of a Saint or Guru every day. This will help to lift your mind and strengthen your aura immediately.

And finally I offer my condolences on the loss of your friend to suicide. Yes — she will have karma for her action, but ultimately this is how we learn to treasure the gift of life God has given us, including our challenges. This life is a school... and we are here to learn our lessons and grow closer to God. If taken in the right way, our challenges can make us even stronger.

Your friend will benefit greatly from your love, even now. Whenever you think of her, simply send her your love and tell her, "Look up to the Light". She will receive that love.

I have given you many suggestions, and I know you have a young baby, so please take your time reading through the links I have offered you here. But please do start doing the affirmation right away for it will help you very much.

I will send you my email address, because I want you to tell me how you are doing. Please keep in touch.

In Divine Love,

Mary Kretzmann

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