Category: Karma, Reincarnation
If one must reap the fruits of all of one’s good and bad deeds, how can there be moksha (liberation), since even good deeds will bring fruits and keep the individual bound to the physical world?
The important point is for us to attain that state of self-realization where we no longer have the ego’s involvement. It is the ego that keeps us bound with the resulting attachments.
In the yoga teachings there is a very helpful emphasis; that of nishkam karma, which means to act without the desire for the fruits of our actions. When our attachments are released then our deeds no longer keep us bound. So, in all that we do it is a good thing to feel that God is the doer, and that our role is to be as open an instrument as we can be, for that divine flow to move through us. There’s a beautiful prayer from Paramhansa Yogananda that can be helpful to keep in mind, “Lord, may I reason, may I will, may I act; but guide Thou my reason, will, and activity to the right path in everything.”
Blessings on your journey,
I had an intuition of losing my father, and the next morning I got the news of his death. I was far away from his residence. I am not able to cope with this loss and why did such a message come to me? Secondly, for last 30 years he kept fasting on Tuesday and had too much faith in god Hanumanji. He died on that day. Why? Will I ever meet him in any form? I really miss him a lot.
Please receive my deepest condolences on the loss of your father. And yes — you will see him again. In the Autobiography of a Yogi, by Paramhansa Yogananda, there is a wonderful chapter about life after death in the the astral world: The Resurrection of Sri Yukteswar where we are told:
“Friends of other lives easily recognize one another in the astral world.... Rejoicing at the immortality of friendship, they realize the indestructibility of love, often doubted at the time of the sad, delusive partings of earthly life.” (Sri Yukteswar).
It is God’s grace that you received the intuition of your father’s passing. Such messages can come from your higher Self, and also from a departed loving parent. Perhaps your father wanted you to have some foreknowledge before you got the news? It is possible. But more than anything, know that the intuition was a gift, for it shows you that we are so much more than just our physical bodies here on this earth plane. Even in the message you received about your father’s death, there is a touch of the mystical — to help you explore and receive the other mystical teachings about death.
Please do not think harshly on his weekly fast to Hanumanji, even if your own spiritual nature takes you in another direction. Your father’s practice shows steadfastness in his intention, and such fasting is very beneficial to the devotee, physically and spiritually. On fasting days the devotee can often feel more sublime moments in prayer and meditation, because the body and spirit are not weighed down by the process of digesting food. Perhaps that is why he died on that day, in recognition of that spiritual effort all through the years.
The quality expressed by Hanumanji is one of deep loyalty and friendship, and his only desire was to go on serving Lord Rama, and in this he is an expression of pure devotion. Your father’s weekly fasts were also a form of devotion.
With that same loyalty, send loving thoughts to your father. You can do this silently, in meditation, or you can also write him a letter and burn it in a sacred fire ceremony. Ask God and Guru to bring your love to your father, and he will be comforted by your effort to contact him. He still exists, but he is gone from this dimension. That is why it hurts. You miss him so much because the easy and familiar ways to contact him are now gone. You need to find new ways, and gradually you will feel a connection with him, and your heart will be comforted.
You can also send him your love before you fall asleep and this may give you a dream of him. Sometimes the dream may just feel like any dream — except that he is there, and you feel relieved to see him. Other times the dreams may feel very deep and special, and you know that a true soul contact has been made. Treasure those dreams. Write them down in a special journal of blessings. Also write down any moments during the day when you think you have felt your father’s love or God’s comforting blessings coming to you during this time of mourning. God tries to comfort us in many ways during times of loss. If you write down the blessings, it is a way of receiving the blessings more deeply, and confirming them in your mind.
I wish you every comfort and healing blessing in your grief, and please know that you can always request Healing Prayers if you need extra help in this way.
Quotes on death from Paramhansa Yogananda:
“...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...”
“...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...”
Understanding Death, By Paramhansa Yogananda
Is a human soul different from an animal or plant soul? Does a human being reincarnate every time in human body, or does he have to go to many species according to the Bhagavad Gita. And please throw some light on what is Krishna consciousness and Christ consciousness? Is Krishna father (God) and Jesus Christ the son of Krishna the God? Please clear my doubt. What name can we give to God since we know who is Krishna, Jesus, Buddha... but what is the name of God?
Dear Saksham Anand,
There is no essential difference between the soul of a plant, animal or man — they all are expressions of the same, one Consciousness. However, each one is more aware than the other by increasing degrees. Paramhansa Yogananda wrote that, “God is asleep in the rocks, dreaming in the plants, awake in animals, and fully awake in man.” He also said that it takes millions of incarnations to progress through these increasingly aware forms of life until we incarnate, at last, as men.
But our evolution is not done when we become men. Over many incarnations in human form we discover that our deeper nature is spiritual — not material. Eventually we will all achieve Self-realization — oneness with the infinite Lord. Most who achieve this exalted state do not return to the earthly plane when their lives here are through. Some few, however, return as great teachers with special missions to uplift mankind.
Those who do return as Saviors are often honored with titles such as Christ and Krishna. These two titles have the same root meaning — the Anointed One. You might find it easier to understand if you say their names like this: Jesus the Christ, Jadhava the Krishna, Gautama the Buddha.
Yogananda stressed that the spiritual realization of such great saviors is perfect because their identity with God is absolute — no limiting sense of their egos remain. They are each, therefore, pure channels of God consciousness. Yet God’s consciousness is far greater than can be fully manifested through such limited human forms. God exists in all of us, in all of His creation, and beyond His creation.
Puru (Joseph) Selbie
Does prayer asking for forgiveness for our bad karma, after we have learned our lesson, actually work?
Karma involves action, and reaction... So prayer and devotion, as divine actions can certainly help to expiate our bad karma. Why? Because when we have harmed others in one way or another, we have forgotten that God resides in each and every human being. These words of Jesus Christ describe it well:
Then one of them... asked him a question, ... saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. Matthew 22:35-40
So, to love God, and to love God in others, are two manifestations of the same Divine law. When we feel that we have somehow fallen short of our ideals, we can increase our loving connection with God through prayer and spiritual practices. Pray to God, and also to the soul of the person, expressing your sincere apologies for your actions, and any pain you caused through those actions.
If it is possible to make amends outwardly to the person or people you harmed, then do so. This helps to heal the karma. But very often we cannot make amends directly, for time has passed and circumstances have changed. If so, you can do serviceful acts to help people who are in a similar position to those whom you have harmed. Feel that you are serving the God in them, and thus making the amends to God in all.
These things can help us when we know the past karma we are trying to heal. It impresses upon our minds that we do not want to do such harm now, or ever in the future; instead we seek God’s bliss by compassionately blessing others.
You will find further insights here: How to Transcend your Karma
And finally, the practice of Kriya Yoga helps to burn up the seeds of our karma that are held in the astral spine, from this life and past lives. You can learn more about Kriya by contacting Ananda Kriya Sangha in the following location nearest you:
- North America: email@example.com
- India: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Europe: email@example.com
Is reincarnation immediate? My brother died four years ago, and my two-year-old exhibits many of his characteristics and always points him out in pictures even though I haven’t explained who he is or brought attention to him.
In the Autobiography of a Yogi Paramhansa Yogananda writes of his promise to a young disciple, Kashi, that if he died young Yogananda would find him again when he reincarnated and help him once again onto the spiritual path. The chapter “Kashi, Reborn and Rediscovered” has many fascinating insights into reincarnation, but it also answers your specific question: Yogananda “found” Kashi six months later in the womb of his new mother. Visiting the family sometime later, Yogananada noted how similar the infant looked to the Kashi he knew before. Yogananda fulfilled his promise and guided Kashi to a Himalayan master.
According to what I have read, not everyone reincarnates so quickly. Our karma determines when we will find a compatible family. As I understand it, if you had a strong bond with your brother, it is quite possible he would be drawn to a life with you and your wife.
Puru (Joseph) Selbie
Hi! A spiritual author has mentioned in his book that if we are born in a rich family and use our money selfishly just for our and our family’s personal needs, then we might be reborn in not so favorable financial circumstances, while if we develop he habit of giving and sharing with whatever little we have, we may be reborn in favorable financial circumstances...How true is it?
That is my understanding as well. I am not speaking from intuitive knowledge, just from my understanding of the teachings of karma and reincarnation.
However, one doesn’t need to have the intuitive wisdom of a Master to understand this. One can see this principle at work even in a single lifetime. Those who live with a generous heart, thinking of the welfare of others, serving and helping where they can, attract prosperity. Good things tend to happen for them, whether it’s material gain or good fortune in love.
On the other hand, those who live selfishly, thinking only of themselves first, attract poverty. Even if the outward result of such selfishness is not material poverty — some people become extremely rich when looking out only for “number one” — the result will certainly be a poverty of love.
A note of practicality: Yogananda did not counsel that people give everything away, only that they live with an open and generous heart. Yogananda often praised those who were prosperous because to become prosperous they had developed God’s gifts of will and energy. Yogananda warned against laziness or indifference disguised as false renunciation.
Puru (Joseph) Selbie
Dear Sir / Madam,
I have read somewhere in the books that lord Rama and lord Jesus are the same soul. Could you please update if this understanding is correct?
I have also read from the books of Yogananda that Jesus in his previous incarnation was Eliseus and John (The Baptist) was Elias in a previous incarnation.
Request you kindly to clarify me that Lord Rama and Lord Jesus were of the same soul or not.
Thanks & Regards,
I have never heard that Lord Rama and Jesus Christ were the same soul. What is true is that all Realized souls are the same in God. It really doesn’t matter if one soul has manifested again and again unless it is to tell us – we mere struggling devotees – that these great ones come again and again to help us find our liberation and oneness in God. The sooner we listen to them in whatever incarnation we find ourselves and look to being freed, the sooner we realize our own oneness in the Divine also.
The great ones come again and again. Paramhansa Yogananda said in one of his poems in Whispers From Eternity: “Oh! I will come back again and again! Crossing a million crags of suffering, with bleeding feet, I will come, if need be, a trillion times, as long as I know that one stray brother is left behind.” How great is that? How fortunate we are to know that these great ones come to bring us to our true Self in God.
Joy to you,
What’s the connection between prayer and fasting to change karma? I see that the Pope held a day of prayer and fasting to prevent war in Syria and have read Jesus mentioning prayer and fasting in the Bible. Did Master ever say anything about this? Thanks!
I am not aware of Yogananda saying that prayer and fasting can change karma.
In his book, Karma and Reincarnation, Yogananda says that we can overcome karma by living in divine consciousness, and with deep attunment with God. The closer we live to God, the less His law will be able to affect us.
The most important thing that we can do is to place God first in our lives, and commit to twice daily practice of silence meditation and communion with God.
My conclusion from the teaching of Yogananada is that if prayer and fasting help you to feel closer to God, elevate your consciousness and help you to attune to God’s will, then you can practice it too.
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