Category: Paramhansa Yogananda
How to Know that Yogananda Is My Guru
June 19, 2012
I felt drawn to Yogananda, his book appeared to me at a time that I knew nothing about him. I have found a fellowship meditation group and have been a couple of times and have felt very welcome. I have spent a long time searching for a spiritual home and have struggled with my Christian culture. With Yogananda i love the East and West being brought together. But how do you know that Yogananda is your Guru? How do you grow attuned to him?
If you feel attracted to Yogananda, then view that as a sign of encouragement for you to explore his teachings and guidance. As you grow spiritually, and tune into the path and meditation techniques that Yogananda taught, you'll find from within whether Yogananda is your guru.
If you follow a true path you'll come to a point where you either know it to be your path, or you'll be led to the right one for you. Once you've come to this point of knowing your path and guru, then it's good to confirm your attunement through taking discipleship. At Ananda this is something we offer in person or at a distance.
To deepen your attunement with Yogananda, endeavor to follow his teachings with increasing devotion. If you haven't already started, it would be good to study the Path of Kriya Yoga, either online or in print. This involves the various steps of meditation and the spiritual path that Yogananda recommended. Also, try to connect with like-minded disciples of Yogananda, whether in person or if that's not possible, then through the Internet or online (we even have a Virtual Community!).
Blessings on your spiritual journey.
In divine friendship,
The Role an Avatar Plays in This World
May 25, 2012
I, of course, believe Yoganandaji to be an avatar. However, it brings up several questions in my mind.
When Yogananda met Sri Yukteswar, he made him promise that he would reach God realization within this lifetime. But if he was an avatar, did he not already reach this state?
Also, after his guru died, he said that a blackness had polluted the river of bliss that had been flowing in him. How could this be so? I do not understand, though of course I still believe it to be so.
This is a very good question, one which I'm sure a number of people have wondered about. Yogananda, as an avatar, played a particular role in this lifetime, one that would help many truthseekers to better understand the process involved in finding God. To accomplish this he portrayed himself as a humble seeker and describes going through what anyone would who engages seriously in the search for God. This is also how he portrays himself in his very well-known book, Autobiography of a Yogi.
For this reason he asks his guru the questions any serious seeker might ask (such as will he give him God-realization), and describes going through a dark time when his guru dies. These things would be natural for most devotees and yet they might think them unspiritual. Yogananda, by describing going through this himself, acknowledges that such feelings are natural. But he also shows how to respond to them and how to move forward, even when faced with the darkness of death.
By going through these things Yogananda portrays himself, as what he actually is: a soul who has indeed been where we are and has had to go through all the sorrows and suffering that human life entails, but one who has evolved beyond that level of consciousness, as we also will do, as we grow spiritually.
I would suggest that you re-read the Autobiography of a Yogi with these thoughts in mind. I think you will find this both inspiring and deepening to your own spiritual life.
Each one of us goes through this spiritual evolution until we attain what Yogananda has attained and merge completely, and permanently, into superconsciousness and into God's light.
Yogananda and the Mormons
April 3, 2012
I know there are a lot of Mormons that were involved with Yogananda's work. I have also read that Mormons are deeply connected with conspiracy theories and secret societies. My question is to what extent Yogananda spoke on those subjects, and to what extent he might have agreed or disagreed or was involved with the philosophy behind the secret societies such as the freemasons?
Yogananda did speak of the Mormons from time to time but not, to my knowledge, regarding their relationship to such societies nor about such societies themselves.
Yogananda would not have had any reason to draw inspiration or validation or even comparisons with such societies. His own work was new enough to America culture. He would surely not want in any way to associate his work with clandestine or otherwise "underground" movements.
I've only studied such things a little bit and if there are any parallels between, say, freemasonry and metaphysics all one need say is "truth is truth," no matter how expressed or by whom. Some wisely, some foolishly.
I've never come across a reference by Yogananda to conspiracy theories. Surely he knew of many. His own life was, when he was a young man in India, surrounded by the rising rebellion among young and restless Indian intellectuals against the British. He was even approached to help lead the movement. He declined, saying it was not his work to do, but that he predicted India would be free in his lifetime through non-violence.
Words for "Deliver Us from Delusion"
March 20, 2012
A chant/song on Radio Ananda sounds like it says "banish white lotus impurities". Please clearify what this means and if the words are right. Thank you.
Dear Jeff - thank you for your question, and yes, sometimes it is difficult to grasp all the words in chants, producing humorous results.
For instance, "Lord, I am Thine" can be misheard as "Lord, I am dying..." Always a reminder for us chanters to enunciate clearly!
Here are the complete lyrics to Yogananda's chant "Deliver Us from Delusion":
Think ye in thy heart, lotus feet of thy Guru,
If you want to cross the ocean of delusion.
Shaming the white lotus in purity,
Beyond all duality,
Guru, image of Brahma, deliver us from delusion.
Did Yogananda Appear After His Mahasamadhi?
February 13, 2012
Did Yogananda ever appear after death to any disciple?
Yes, many times. Rajarshi Janakananda mentioned this happening more than once.
Kamala Silva describes several of his appearances to her in her wonderful book The Flawless Mirror. Many other disciples and non-disciples have told of seeing him and receiving his love and blessings.
Did Yogananda Speak About Krishnamurti?
February 3, 2012
Hello! I am very interested to know if sri Yogananda ever spoke about Jiddu Krishnamurti? J. Krishnamurti was a great soul and a master in his own right even though he passionately denounced all Gurus! I have often felt that perhaps JK's mission was to bring spirituality to the intellectuals and skeptics of the world. JK was also very famous in America and worldwide around the same time as Yogananda. Can you please comment on this? thanks!
Yogananda wrote about Aurobindo, Anandamoyi Ma, Ramana Maharishi and other saints, but I can't find a single mention of Krishnamurti in his talks and writings, even though they were almost exact contemporaries (Krishnamurti lived much longer, though).
Krishnamurti traveled and spoke in the US at the same time as Yogananda in the 1930s - and had quite an impact, so Yogananda must have known about him. (Indians teachers were a rarity back then.) Probably he talked about him privately; I just don't know.
My guess is that he wasn't too fond of Krishnamurti's teachings where sincere God-seekers are concerned, since Krishnamurti, the "anti-guru," denounced all Gurus. This of course goes against the whole of India's ancient teachings, against what Adi Shankaracharya called "the greatest blessing in all three worlds." It goes against devotion toward Buddha, Christ, Krishna, and all great Masters.
Krishnamurti taught that people use Gurus as "crutches," but that seems like saying "breathing is bad because people don't use the breath correctly."
In the very first sentence of his Autobiography of a Yogi, Yogananda makes this statement: "The characteristic features of Indian culture have long been a search for ultimate verities and the concomitant disciple-guru relationship." So that tells you what Yogananda might have said, probably even quite strongly, at least about the "guru" part of Krishnamurti's message.
This being said, my guess is that Yogananda still respected the positive influence Krishnamurti had, maybe as you say for intellectual and skeptical people.
From what I read he was, in his own way, a great teacher and a great soul. He had deep inner experiences, but maybe wasn't a liberated Master. Many people have found life-changing inspiration in his teachings. For example, I just read about one devotee who found his path to Yogananda through Krishnamurti.
God bless you,
Understanding the Christian Communion Ceremony
October 26, 2011
How did Master or Kriyananda define the Christian concept of communion, and the terms body and blood? People I've discussed this with (both Christian and non) seem confused, or really don't know.
"Communion" in the largest sense of the word means inward communing or communication with God/Christ/Gurus through meditation.
In the Christian church, communion ceremonies came about to help remind people of higher inner realities. Unfortunately the symbolism has gotten lost during the many years since these ceremonies were established in the early Christian communities.
Here is Yogananda's explanation for the symbols of the bread and the wine:
"Symbolic Christian Rites: There are ceremonies in Christian churches in which people drink blessed wine as the blood of Jesus Christ and blessed bread as his flesh. This is symbolical. This ceremony should remind true devotees that by learning the technique of meditation from a Christ-like soul, they can learn to eat or absorb Christ Consciousness (bread) in their consciousness and drink or recharge in their lives the blood or Cosmic Energy present in Christ Consciousness and thus attain everlasting life."
From: "The Second Coming of Christ: Eat My Flesh and Drink My Blood" by Paramhansa Yogananda (Inner Culture Magazine, July 1939)
Was Satya Sai Baba an Avatar?
October 20, 2011
Did Yoganandaji ever talk about Satya Sai Baba? was Sai Baba an avatar?
As far as I know, Paramhansa Yogananda never made any public comments about Satya Sai Baba. This may be because Sai Baba's public work had not begun when Yogananda returned to India in 1935 - a time when Sai Baba and Yogananda could have met - and there was very little public awareness of Sai Baba outside of India by the time of Yogananda's Mahasamadhi in 1952.
However Nayaswami Kriyananda did meet Satya Sai Baba in India in the early 1970s and described his visit to Sai Baba's ashram in his book "A Visit to the Saints of India." Kriyananda spoke very favorably about his experience with Sai Baba.
Here is a brief excerpt from the book describing the end of Kriyananda's three day visit:
He materialized a necklace for me. One moment his hand was held out; the next moment, it held the necklace. "Wear it always," he said. "It will help your body, and also your mind. It can also be used to heal others." (I'm informed that he has told only two others that the necklaces he has given them can be used to heal others.)
I asked him to bless the members of my community. Baba replied with a sweet smile:
"Of course. That is my duty. I must bless them!" He gave me a large envelope full of sacred ash to give to everyone there.
During these three days Baba has shown much love and attention to me - more so, probably, than to anyone else. But what has impressed me most has been the inner consciousness that I've felt from him. And when he put this necklace on me, I at once felt blessings permeating me. I realized that the necklace itself was nothing; it was given me only as a vehicle for more subtle blessings.
Was Satya Sai Baba an avatar? He could have been, but we don't know. His was a great work. But the divine stature of a saint cannot be determined by outward measures. Only another avatar can truly say.
Joseph (Puru) Selbie
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