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

Category: Karma, Reincarnation

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Daniel
Argentina

Question

Which is the sign by we can tell that a certain karma has been definitely burned?

Nayaswami Parvati

Nayaswami Parvati

Ananda Village

Answer

You know this when that particular karmic action is no longer in your awareness. You simply don’t find yourself thinking about it anymore, and you don’t feel caught by the energy of it when you do think about it. In addition, you can simply not be aware of that karma as something that bothers you. In other words, the energy around that karmic action has been dissipated – usually by your own efforts as well as by the guru’s grace.

As an example, if you were bothered by a particular habit, you might find yourself waking up one day and thinking, “I haven’t acted in that way (or had that thought) in a long time!” It simply seems to be gone. There can also be a feeling of lightness and freedom around that thought or action if it does come into your awareness.

Karma means action, and a karmic action consists, in essence, of a vortex of energy revolving around a certain thought and action. Some actions and thoughts involve a lot of energy, while others are smaller. Dissolve that energy vortex, and you are dissolving the karma. Of course, the opposite is also true. If you engage again in that particular action that was finished, then you are creating a new karmic action and a new vortex of energy.

For further information I would recommend reading the Karma and Reincarnation book, from the Wisdom of Yogananda series.

I hope this will be helpful.

In joy,

Nayaswami Parvati

Padma
USA

Question

Hello, I believed in God all my life, until my mother died recently. On her deathbed, she said, "Lord Rama is standing with His big bow, but He cant kill my cancer cells." Now, I have suddenly begun to think this whole religion, karma and rebirth was created by a few wise souls who wanted righteousness to prevail on this earth. Birth/death/disease is completely random and part of human evolution, basically the survival of the fittest and God is merely faith. Any advise?

Nayaswami Hriman

Nayaswami Hriman

Ananda Seattle

Answer

Dear Padma,

I am sorry for your loss and your feelings are completely understandable.

Life on earth would be unbearable if we did not believe we could improve our health and our circumstances by self-effort. The truth of the law of action and the consequences of action is "hard-wired" and proven by the laws of nature and the usefulness of science and medicine. Why, then, do we doubt this law of karma when it comes to the world of the unseen? Why doubt prayer, faith, reincarnation, and past lives?

If you mother truly perceived Lord Rama on her deathbed, that alone would be cause for hope. Every human body must die sometime. Do not lose faith over that which is inevitable to all of us but the causes for which we cannot yet see. When Arjuna grieved at the upcoming death of kinsmen in the battle of Kurukshetra (in the Mahabharata/Bhagavad Gita), Krishna gently chided him for his shortsightedness in forgetting that the soul is eternal and can never die.

Righteousness does NOT prevail on this earth in one lifetime but in "heaven": meaning in and through the law of karma, whether in this life or future lives. Think of the billions of galaxies, billions of human beings, thousands of years of human existence on this one planet alone! Just as there is a thread of continuity in nature through birth and death of succeeding generations of species, so why not can there be continuity in the thread of our individuality through multiple lives? Since time immemorial in East and West, it has been taught that the soul survives the death of the physical body!

Be hopeful. Be grateful for the love and the life of your mother. She is with you now, in your heart, your mind, and your thoughts. You simply can’t see her in the same way now.

"Survival of the fittest" doesn’t apply to the physical form which dies eventually, but to those who live with faith, hope and charity in faith and the knowing that we, as souls, are immortal and are children of God. Pierce the veil of maya and see in your love for your mother not only her living presence but that of God, the Supreme Spirit who is LOVE and LIFE in all beings.

May the Light of Truth and the Sunshine of Divine Love guide your heart to its rest in Him!

Nayaswami Hriman

Friend
USA

Question

What is the difference energetically between very strong moods and post traumatic stress or emotional symptoms that arise from a traumatic experience? Using the techniques taught by Master, I can overcome any mood, but recently I find that waves of emotion associated with past experiences are resurfacing. Sometimes they are very difficult to overcome and control in the moment.

Nayaswami Pranaba

Nayaswami Pranaba

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Friend,

The differences are really a matter of degree. Strong moods, post-traumatic stress, or emotional symptoms all arise from the vrittis (vortices or whirlpools) of our past likes and dislikes (our desires and attachments) that are lodged in our astral spine. The differences are a result of how much energy has been invested in these past experiences, whether that is through attachment or revulsion.

The way to deal with vexing emotions is to shift the energy to something uplifting. An example of this is when you are caught in these negative emotions, try to immediately change the energy in your physical body. A good suggestion is to do a few of Yogananda’s Energization Exercises or some of Swami Kriyananda’s Superconscious Living Exercises. Once we are able to shift the actual energy, then those emotions and stresses no longer have their same grasp on us.

Another suggestion is to use a phrase, or even a word, that immediately brings your awareness to a higher level. Personally I’ve found using “Aum Guru” helps me shift quickly into a different frame of awareness. But even using a word such as “love” can have the same effect.

On another level, having consistency in our meditations, i.e. a daily practice, has a very real and profound effect on releasing all past karma, including the challenges that you describe. Sometimes this effect from meditation doesn’t always seem apparent to our conscious mind, but have trust that that inner transformation is indeed taking place.

Blessings on your spiritual journey,

Nayaswami Pranaba

Narayan
India

Question

I know some theory about Karma. As per my understanding, the fruits whether good are bad that we experience in this life are the results of the past lives.

Having said that, If somebody got murdered even if he is an innocent person and done no harm to anyone in this life, how to know whether this is a cause or effect? i.e. Is the murdered done some bad in his past life OR the murderer will experience the effects of this incident in his next life. Is it the beginning or the ending of Karma?

Nayaswami Gyandev

Nayaswami Gyandev

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Narayan,

What you’re asking is, “Do unpleasant things ever happen to us without our having caused them, with the result that our karmic bank account shows a positive balance?” I suspect we all would like it to be true, so that when unpleasantness happens to us, the blow would be softened by the knowledge of a balancing pleasant event in the future.

But the simple answer is no: Everything that happens to us — pleasant or unpleasant — is the result of our past actions. In your example, the murder victim will have done something in the past (this life or a previous life) that has brought this upon him/her in this life. And the murderer will have to suffer the consequences of his/her crime, either in this life or a future life. So the event is the completion (partial or full) of a karma for the victim, and the beginning of a karma for the criminal.

This is a simple answer, because karma is a highly complex issue. For example, some people who die in accidents don’t necessarily have the karma to die; rather, they don’t have strong enough karma to live, and their karma to live gets overwhelmed by others' karma to die in that accident.

Blessings,

Gyandev

srija
india

Question

Is marriage predestined? Is there any way to escape a marriage? Do we have the choice to choose our partner?

Nayaswami Gyandev

Nayaswami Gyandev

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Srija,

Paramhansa Yogananda once said, “It takes a master to understand karma.” The ordinary person would only tie his or her brain into knots, trying to figure it out.

So don’t worry about whether marriage (or anything else) is predestined. Simply try your best to align your will with God’s will, then act accordingly. That is the highest expression of free will: living in freedom from bondage to ego, to desires.

Whether the marriage is coming to you through your parents or through your own choice, you need to go inside and feel what is best, then do that best thing and leave the results in God’s hands. Yes, your decision may be karmically determined, but the real question is, Who is running your life: God or ego? If it’s God, then you’re on the right track.

Blessings,

Gyandev

Rush
USA

Question

I have read a lot cases this past year over stories of school shootings / rapes / pedophilia, and it saddens me because these are preventable things — but these ppl are afraid to admit their issues for fear of being judged. Society today just labels them 'monsters' and doesn’t have any sympathy to them. But unless we are open to hearing them, they will fester hidden in society. What can we do on a personal/social level to help? How can we get over the 'gut' urge to reject and scorn them?

Mary Kretzmann

Mary Kretzmann

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Rush,

Thank you for your letter and your compassion on behalf of erring humanity. Since you have an urge not only to help individuals who are within your sphere of influence, but also society in general, you may want to examine what would be the best use of your time and energy.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • When you hear a disturbing news item, pray for those involved. Pray for them NOW. Ask that the victims be comforted, but also that the perpetrator be healed of the dark tendencies that led to the act. Let your compassion flow both ways.
  • Paramhansa Yogananda said we can do more good if we ourselves are transformed. Embrace your divinity on a more profound level so that you are able to send out deeper prayers for those areas that concern you.
  • Find ways to help society in positive ways that bring upliftment to others.
  • Meditate and love God. Then help others to meditate and love God.
  • Pray for individuals, and pray for the upliftment of the planet.
  • Pray that saintly souls be born to our nation, and to other regions of the world.
  • Consider that you may be watching too much of the news and you are getting whipped around by it. Meditate deeply and then send rays of peace and blessing to all receptive souls. If you find that the news is disturbing your peace, then meditate more and watch the news less.

Also, in your compassion and non-judgement for those who have committed the crimes, be careful to not judge those who scorn said crimes. For they have their reasons, too. Perhaps they are afraid for what might happen to those they love. If you want to "listen" to the one, then you need to listen to the other, too. In the healing prayer ministry we have received many letters from families devastated by the crimes you mention.

The universe is Infinite. We are blessed that many children with good qualities are being born to this planet. Some people refer to these spiritually gifted ones as "indigo children." But the very crimes that you mention tell us that this planet is also drawing some very troubled souls who have fundamental lessons to learn in the Do unto others as you would have them do unto you department.

You are right that we should not scorn them, and that we should try to help them before they act — if they should choose to seek help.

But these dark tendencies are something that people hide, not so much from fear of judgment of others, but for fear of having to face themselves and change. People tend to justify their tendencies until life itself makes it clear they need to change their ways. That is why there are sometimes spiritual conversions in prisons.

Furthermore, Christ said on the cross, Father, forgive them for they know not what they do. He didn't say that they know darn well what they are doing, but they don’t have anyone who understands them to talk to about it. They were blind to the karma they were creating by putting Him to death.

Over the year we have received many letters from prisoners who have committed very serious crimes. Some of them have since turned their lives to prayer and meditation. We help them in every way we can, often with free books, correspondence, and other spiritual aid. Some of our Ananda ministers have gone into the prisons to offer spiritual counsel.

One prisoner wrote me a letter saying, "I did not commit this crime, and yet I know I am guilty. In my heart of hearts I realize that I got away with a very similar crime in a previous life, and that is why I accept my prison sentence now. There is no escaping karma. Please pray for me, and allow me to pray for others..."

Another prisoner had committed one of the crimes you mentioned above, pedophilia. He knew he had broken a great taboo in society, but it was only after three years in prison that he finally realized he had hurt the other person, the victim. He realized it was not simply a taboo that he had broken, but it was truly an emotional and psychological injury to the younger person.

Help already exists for those who grasp that they indeed have a problem that needs to be healed. When a person merely grasps that something is wrong because it breaks a societal taboo, then hidden in the mind is the thought that society needs to loosen up. The underlying feeling is "I am fine — but society should change."

But once a soul had changed for the better they may seek to help others with the same issues, now or in a future life. They know what it is to suffer from the particular delusion that led to their crimes. Indeed, helping other souls in that way would serve to expiate some of their karma.

We are all on an upward journey, except that sometimes the soul gets sidetracked or even trapped in a ditch of error.

Forget the past. The vanished lives of all men are dark with many shames. Human conduct is ever unreliable until man is anchored in the Divine. Everything in future will improve if you are making a spiritual effort now. - Swami Sri Yukteswar

I hope these ideas are helpful to you.

God bless you,

Mary Kretzmann

Director, Ananda Healing Prayer Ministry

dhruv parikh
india

Question

first of all i want to thanks diksha mccord for her diet recipes..my question is on re-incarnation...who was anandamoyi ma,ramana maharshi,rabindranath tagore,gandhi,ramkrishna paramhansa in their past incarnation?i heared that anandamoyi ma was avatar...

Nayaswami Diksha

Nayaswami Diksha

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Dhruv Parikh,

Although I have read about all these great saints, I have not heard or found information on who they were in past lives. But I have a question for you: Is yours a useful question? How would this information benefit you?

It seems to me that it is better to tune to the consciousness of those saints, meditate on them, read about their lives and get inspiration on how to make your life better by living in their consciousness as much as you can.

Anandamoi Ma was a great soul, regardless of whether she was an avatar and she is able to help us if we tune in to her consciousness.

Blessings,

Nayaswami Diksha

April Bryson
USA

Question

To what extent do our thoughts and desires involving other people affect their karma? For instance, if someone holds a lifelong desire for vengeance against another, will it have to happen? Also, my mother has often said she wishes I could be her mother in a future life (her mom wasn’t loving). Will I have to do this in service to her? Or if my desire to work with my husband were not fulfilled now (it is), would he have to work with me in another lifetime?

Nayaswami Gyandev

Nayaswami Gyandev

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear April,

The thoughts that one person holds toward another will indeed influence the other, according to the strength of those thoughts as well as the receptivity of the other person.

For thoughts to be binding in the way that you describe, however, there must be mutuality of feeling, which will create the magnetism necessary to create that outcome. Mutual vengeance is a good example: the two souls will be drawn back together life after life until one of them can let go of vengefulness. Similarly for mutual love: the two souls will be drawn back together life after life to cultivate ever-greater perfection in their love.

If that mutuality does not exist, however, then there may not be sufficient magnetic attraction to draw you back together in exactly that way. For example, if you and your mother love each other, you will share other lives together, although not necessarily in the way she wants. The law of karma demands that she someday experience the mother-love that she longs for, but if you don’t have the desire to be her mother in another life, she might find that mother-love with a soul other than yourself.

I hope this helps.

Blessings,

Gyandev

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