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

Category: Karma, Reincarnation

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celene
us

Question

I know one day everyone will die but I just wonder is it God who decides how long we can stay here? my mother is almost 100. I just want a long life.

Nayaswami Diksha

Nayaswami Diksha

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Celene,

According to the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda, each individual’s life span is determined by karma. Your past karma, plus the karma that you generate from now on, plus God’s grace, will determine the span of your life.

Although there is nothing we can do to guarantee any particular life span, your best plan is to live, from this point onward, a healthy life on all levels: physical, mental, and spiritual. Also, do your best to attune yourself to God’s will in all that you do; for that, the practice of daily meditation is essential. Then you will have done everything in your power; the rest is up to God and your karma.

For more information on this subject, you can read P. Yogananda’s book: Karma and Reincarnation: http://www.crystalclarity.com/product.php?code=BKAR

Blessings to you,

Diksha

Shainee Chakraborty
India

Question

Dear Sir/Madam,

Please accept my pranam. I want to know what happens to those people who die suddenly in an accident? Do they reincarnate immediately and in the same family? And is this because of their karma that they die like that suddenly in an accident?

My uncle died in an accident in 2004. He was a harmless, good soul and he was just 40 years old . His death destroyed a family. Therefore, I am looking for answers.

Thanks & Regards,

Shainee

Nayaswami Pranaba

Nayaswami Pranaba

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Shainee,

We can’t always know what personal karma is within each person and what needs to be resolved. It can certainly seem unjust that someone such as your uncle, who at a relatively early age, died in an accident. We, for the most part, will not be able to understand such matters from just an intellectual perspective. There are some things to be gained, however from looking at these things from other viewpoints.

Sometimes an early death could be a blessing; a person may simply have worked out as much of their karma as they are able to do in their current lifetime, and that’s as far as they’re going to go. One way of looking at karma is that an accident is a relatively quick way to move on.

As for someone reincarnating immediately, and in the same family; it is each person’s karma that will determine what will happen in their next lifetime. Each of us is given the opportunity and setting that will provide the best possibility to continue to overcome our karma, whether it is good or bad.

As for those loved ones who are deeply affected by losing a family member or friend; it is their challenge to release their attachments and send blessings to those who have passed on to the astral realms. Here is an excerpt from the Astral Ascension Ceremony which Swami Kriyananda wrote and which we use at Ananda: “And what of us, Friend, who love you and would be remembered by you? Behold us as threads of light in the tapestry of your life – threads which, through the magnet of soul-friendship, will appear ever and again, woven with increasing beauty as our hearts expand together in God’s love.”

God is always with us, even in the midst of overwhelming circumstances, if we open ourselves to that divine touch. Then even death is but a passing experience that allows us to rest and then continue onward with our spiritual journey of releasing all karma and realizing our oneness in God.

In divine friendship,

Nayaswami Pranaba

Overcoming All Karma
May 28, 2014

jayantkumar dhruv
india

Question

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?

Nayaswami Pranaba

Nayaswami Pranaba

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Jayantkumar,

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,

Nayaswami Pranaba

Smriti
India

Question

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.

Mary Kretzmann

Mary Kretzmann

Ananda Village

Answer

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...”

More:

Understanding Death, By Paramhansa Yogananda

The Names of God
March 31, 2014

Saksham anand
India

Question

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?

Puru (Joseph) Selbie

Puru (Joseph) Selbie

Ananda Village

Answer

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.

Warm regards,

Puru (Joseph) Selbie

Sonia
India

Question

Does prayer asking for forgiveness for our bad karma, after we have learned our lesson, actually work?

Mary Kretzmann

Mary Kretzmann

Ananda Village

Answer

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:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quinn
USA

Question

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.

Puru (Joseph) Selbie

Puru (Joseph) Selbie

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Quinn,

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.

Warm regards,

Puru (Joseph) Selbie

Sangita
India

Question

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?

Puru (Joseph) Selbie

Puru (Joseph) Selbie

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Sangita,

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.

Warm regards,

Puru (Joseph) Selbie

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