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

Category: Other

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Costin Chiroiu Boteanu
Romania

Question

Hello,I am interested in the connection between mind and consciousness.As I understand consciousness enters the body through the brain and spine. The ovum and sperm unite to form the body at the medulla and life-force is forming the brain, spine, etc. Spirit is the consciousness, entered in a body, mind is related to it and after a life’s experience the mind is enriched (or not), the level of consciousness is raised (or not), and consciousness is exiting the body and is ready to come to a new life ?

Nayaswami Parvati

Nayaswami Parvati

Ananda Village

Answer

The role of consciousness in our lives, as I have understood it from both Paramhansa Yogananda and Swami Kriyananda, is all-pervasive. If you use the understanding of consciousness that they taught in your life, it will revolutionize the way you think about everything and the way you live your life!

Consciousness is the all-pervading reality underlying every level of existence: material, energy, and thought. In India this consciousness is described as Satchidananda: “Ever-existing, ever-conscious, ever-new bliss!”

It is this consciousness that brought the whole universe into manifestation out of Itself: first in thought, then through giving that thought energy, then by manifesting that energy as form in the material world. It is consciousness that works through the mind, through the personality, the feelings and emotions, and the body. Consciousness is the primary reality, not matter. When we look at the world in this way, we then find that attuning to the right consciousness is the most important thing we can be doing.

It is our level of consciousness that attracts to us the thoughts that we think. This is a revolutionary way of seeing the world we live in!

Paramhansa Yogananda brought a way to begin to access the reality of consciousness and energy when he came to America in 1920 and introduced the Energization Exercises. It is through these exercises, and understanding how to direct energy in the body through using our will power, that we begin to experience that we are made of energy. Once we begin to realize this, then we know that we are a much more fluid being than we ever imagined!

The greater the will power, the greater the flow of energy.

The greater the flow of energy, the greater the magnetic field.

And the greater the magnetic field, the more we will attract the consciousness that supports our efforts. If we want those efforts to include spiritual growth, then we associate with those who have a spiritual consciousness. In India this kind of association is called “satsang.”

When the soul leaves the physical body at death, for most people it enters the astral world and retains an astral body of energy as well as an ego. It remains there for a period of time, after which it is drawn again into a physical body through the force of its material desires. Until we are freed from ego and from our physical karma and desires, this cycle will be repeated endlessly.

Josh
USA

Question

Hello,

I’m having trouble praying for an opportunity for a career change. The job I currently have is unfulfilling. I’ve become certified to become a personal trainer in the hope of helping people improve their quality of life. However, I’m having trouble finding a job. I wish to pray for an opening but feel like it is a selfish request and isn’t “worthy.” I’m confused as how to proceed. Any guidance would be very appreciated.

Thank you and God bless,

Josh

Nayaswami Diksha

Nayaswami Diksha

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Josh,

Yogananda in his book, Whispers from Eternity, prefers to use the word “demand” instead of the word “prayer.” [Editor's note: See the "Hints to the Reader" section.] He said that we are God’s children and therefore have dominion over all things in the universe, even as He has. Therefore we have the right to demand of our Heavenly Father to help fulfill our needs.

From what you are writing, you are clear about what you need, and your wish is to help other people. Why then, is it selfish of you to pray for help?

Yogananda said that if he didn’t have a job, he would churn the ether until he got one.

God is your father and friend and wants to help you. But you need to reach up to Him, open your heart, and ask for His help. Pour your heart to Him without any reservation and listen intently for His answer. Keep calling Him until He responds.

Blessings,

Diksha

The Nine-Day Cleansing Diet
October 16, 2014

Chris Mc
USA

Question

I have a weight issue and struggle going up and down on my weight, and would like to do the nine-day diet, but there is not one till January. By chance is there someone there who would assist me? Also, can I use potatoes since you allow one cooked vegetable? Also, must it all be organic? Do you have advice for me to keep at a healthy weight? Thank you , Chris

Nayaswami Diksha

Nayaswami Diksha

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Chris,

The nine-day cleansing diet will help you not only to loose weight but also to revitalize your body cells.

I am sending you the link to the nine-day diet as it is described by Nayaswami Devi, the co-director of Ananda, who has been doing it for many years. Her guidance will be helpful for you to do it yourself.

As for using potato, I don’t think it’s allowed, since it is a starchy vegetable. As much as possible use organic vegetables.

Here is the link to the article:

http://www.anandaclaritymagazine.com/2010/03/diet-yogananda-meditation-yoga/

My best wishes,

Diksha

dhruv parikh
india

Question

In the King James Version of the Holy Bible, I read in Genesis that “...the descendants of Adam, when Adam was 130 year old he had son Seth. Adam lived another 800 years and died at age of 930. When Seth was 105, he had son Enoch and he lived 807 years.” I know this things are written in deep allegory. Can you please give me deeper meaning of this story?

Nayaswami Savitri

Nayaswami Savitri

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Dhruv,

You are correct that many things in the Bible are written in allegory. However, in this case, it may be that words of truth are being expressed. We know from the teachings of the great yogi masters that in past ages, people have lived for many more years than they do now. And this will happen again in future, higher ages. All this comes about due to the great cycles of time called the “Yugas.” We are now in Ascending Dwapara Yuga and you can see from recent history that each generation lives a bit longer than the one before it. In higher ages people live longer. In lower ages, people die earlier.

So that is probably what is being referred to in these passages of the Bible. The “Yuga Theory” of vast cycles of time on our planet is a fascinating subject. If you’d like to learn more about it, please read The Yugas: Keys to Understanding our Hidden Past, Emerging Energy Age, and Enlightened Future by Joseph Selbie and David Steinmetz.

Dennis Anao
USA

Question

Hi fellow devotee,

Ever since I stared to practice yoga and pranayama and meditation every time I eat the top of my head gets tingly. What is this? Thank you.

Nayaswami Diksha

Nayaswami Diksha

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Dennis,

As you practice yoga, pranayama, and meditation, more energy starts to flow through the body. This can cause you to have a variety of experiences that you wouldn’t otherwise experience. The tingling sensation is probably one such experience.

Whatever kind of yoga, pranayama, or meditation you practice, you should use common sense, avoid overdoing any practice, and make sure that you are relaxed and comfortable while practicing. It’s particularly important that you don’t practice in an extreme way if you are a beginner.

If you follow these guidelines, any strange sensation that you might experience will likely be only temporary and gradually will dissipate. If it is not unpleasant, then go forward with your practice. If it is unpleasant, stop until you can work personally with someone who has the knowledge and experience to be able to guide you.

I hope this will be helpful to you.

Blessings,

Diksha

Stan
Belgium

Question

I heard Yogananda also believed in certain “omens,” like not starting a long journey on Thursday. And that Swami Kriyananda mentioned them in one of his books. Can you tell me about what omens Master believed in?

Nayaswami Savitri

Nayaswami Savitri

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Stan, In one of Swami Kriyananda’s very early books called A Visit to the Saints of India, he offers a long list of omens or superstitions, which he had just learned about while visiting India in 1972, which are commonly believed there. He then says:

Master [also] had a few such ‘superstitions’.... Here are several that I happen to remember:

Don’t begin a long journey on Thursday afternoon.

Don’t leave brooms out where they can be seen.

Don’t greet anyone the first thing in the morning with one eye closed. If inadvertently you should happen to do so, at once close the other eye also; otherwise some misunderstanding may flare up between you that day.

Gifts should be given and received with the right hand only. (The usual explanation for this common Indian practice is that in India it is customary to reserve the left hand for matters of personal hygiene. I got the impression, however, that Master felt there was a deeper meaning behind the custom. For yogis consider the right side of the body to express a more positive energy than the left. To exchange gifts with the right hand would therefore seem a greater affirmation of good will.)

I recall Master telling a prospective newcomer to his ashram in Mt. Washington that the most auspicious time to arrive would be on Tuesday before eleven in the morning....

Having related what Swamiji says about Master’s “superstitions,” we should understand that superstitions and omens, for a great Master like Paramhansa Yogananda, most likely would have been mentioned more in a spirit of fun than as serious spiritual laws.

Certainly he respected various energetic forces of nature, such as astrology (see the chapter called “Outwitting the Stars,” in Autobiography of a Yogi). But the deepest truth lies in the title of that chapter itself. Whatever is going on in one’s life, there is a greater force which can be called upon: the blessings and protection of God and Guru!

deepesh
india

Question

1.What do our soul looks like? Is it possible that a dead person who has unfulfilled desires wander here and there.

2. Can sorcery kill some one from a distance without touching or seeing.

Nayaswami Savitri

Nayaswami Savitri

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Deepesh,

The soul is that part of us which is a part of God. It is formless and invisible, so it does not look like anything. The soul, when taking human form (reincarnating), is contained with the physical, astral, and causal bodies.

The physical body is easily observable and tangible. Just look in a mirror or touch your arm. The astral body is sometimes seen by people or it may be photographed by special machines. It is made of light and is sometimes called an aura. The causal body has no form — it is the thought or idea of a person as an individual.

Yes, it is possible that a person who is dead may still retain his or her astral body on this earth-plane, due, as you say, most likely to unfulfilled desires. Yogananda calls these beings “tramp souls,” (most people call them ghosts) and strongly cautions us against trying to contact them. They are lost and confused, but they will eventually figure things out and make their way into more beneficial lifetimes.

People who join themselves together with the dark forces, which do exist in this world, and practice things like sorcery, can cause a great deal of trouble for themselves or for weak-minded people — perhaps causing them to be susceptible to disease, accident, or even death. But if you are strong in yourself, especially spiritually, but also in your astral (energy) body — keeping your very aura strong, praying always for God’s presence to be there in your life, then negative forces have little or no power to bother you.

Violence in the Media
April 24, 2014

jim
united States

Question

If a person watches crime shows are they attracting negative things into their life. What advice would you give those who do watch things like “Law and Order”?

Nayaswami Hriman

Nayaswami Hriman

Ananda Seattle

Answer

Dear Jim,

Our society has debated the effects of watching violence on TV or in video games. Putting aside social trends and impacts and returning to your own personal question, it’s safe to say that each person responds to such exposure differently. I know some who recoil from such scenes of violence while others seem untouched.

But where a person sincerely is on the spiritual path and who does so through prayer, meditation, and devotion, it is important to leave behind unnecessary exposure of one’s subconscious mind to images of negativity and violence.

I would say, “Why waste your time?” (watching such shows and, indeed, watching any shows more than just occasionally!). Study (listening and reading) of uplifted teachings, chants, helping out in your local community, improving your skills and knowledge, sharing with friends,arts and music, there’s so much more engaging and uplifting activities in life than (those lifeless) TV shows.

So, begin by limiting your time spent in this and gradually redirect your attention to more positive activities, such as outgrowing sickly sweet candy that you may have liked as a child, so too you'll find that as you grow and mature spiritually, such activities will hold no interest for you. One step at a time! OK?

Blessings,

Nayaswami Hriman

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