Category: Paramhansa Yogananda
Was Swami Vivekananda's role in the West for Paramhansa Yoganada the same as the role of John the Baptist for Jesus Christ in Israel? Why did Yogananda never mention Vivekananda?
I have never found in any of Yogananda's teachings any mention that Swami Vivekananda was Yogananda's predecessor in the same way John the Baptist was for Jesus Christ.
My guess on this would be that no, this was not the relationship between them.
I noticed that the "Autobiography of a Yogi" is written in rather difficult and sophisticated prose. Was this because Yogananda did not intend that particular book for uneducated, lower class audiences?
That's an excellent question. The first time or two that I read that book, I had to have a dictionary nearby-and I have a PhD! e.g., "Ineluctable quiddity"!
I am not aware of Yoganandaji having commented on why he wrote it as he wrote it. Though English was not his first language, his vocabulary was indeed large, and he may have used a great deal of it.
Was Gurudeva (Yoganandaji) an Avadhut or an Avatar? I have some doubts relating to this, as Gurudeva spoke of his previous incarnations, as William the Conqueror, and also as a diamond. But I feel I've read that Sri Yukteshwar named him a "Premavatar". Also, I remember Swami Kriyananda saying (in one of his recent Satsangs, I guess) that even William the Conqueror was an Avatar. My facts might be wrong, but please do clarify.
Yes, Yogananda said he was an Avatar and his life proved it in many ways (and keeps proving it in the hearts and lives of his living disciples).
It is true he said that he remembered all his past lifetimes, as all liberated beings do, in human incarnations as well as non-human forms such as animals, plants, and minerals - and in that "list," he included the lifetime during which he played the part of William the Conqueror.
Did Yogananda put a special spiritual charge into the portrait on the cover of his autobiography?
You are right, that cover picture is indeed charged. It has touched countless people, and is still working wonders today, on the book, on altars, on devotee's walls.... It was Sister Gyanamata's favorite photo of Yogananda, for example. She too must have felt that magnetic beauty.
I have a (hopefully) quick question:
I don't recall Yogananda ji recommending any specific Hindu mantras in his books, but I do remember reading something about how he was sometimes heard reciting the Gayatri mantra. Do we know if he used the long or short form? Which form is more "authentic" from a Vedic standpoint?
It is possible that Paramhansa Yogananda chanted the Gayatri Mantra at times, though I've never heard any stories in that regard. He certainly must have been raised hearing and chanting that very sacred mantra while he was growning up in India. There are no records of him actually teaching the Gayatri Mantra.
I read in an article by Swami Kriyanada that once Daya Mata was continually scolded by Yogananda to make her understand not to get too much attached to him and to put divine mother first. When I sit to meditate and throughout the day I tend to think of Yogananda much more than God or divine mother. I find it easier to focus on his image than a formless one. But after reading this, I wonder if it is ok?. My second question is
After liberated souls merge into the spirit what do they do?
It is wonderful, and recommended, for you to focus on Yogananda in meditation. Tuning in to Yogananda's image or vibration helps you attune to God.
The difference in the case of Daya Mata is that, since she knew Yogananda personally, it was easy to become attached to his delightful human personality, to their personal relationship which seemed to be like father and daughter, and to forget that Yogananda was like glass, allowing God's light to flow perfectly through him. Whatever sense she might have had - as would be natural when you know someone personally - that they had a personal relationship, was a delusion.
I am profoundly drawn to Yogananda as my Guru (since 1984), but have great difficulty reconciling my Jewish heritage with the Christian focus in the teachings. (Years ago, I stopped Kriya, but still do Hong Sau). I felt drawn back again and found Ananda-just ordered the courses. But can I truly be a Devotee if I cannot accept Christ or Christian celebrations like Christmas? After more than two decades wrestling with this issue, I hope you can provide guidance to help me resolve it. Thx
Yogananda called his places of worship, "Churches of All Religions," because the teachings he brought, and especially Kriya Yoga, are a universal path to God. The practice of meditation and Kriya are not limited by any religious creed or affiliation, but are based on the Yogic Sciences which deal with the evolution of consciousness.
I read this conversation in Autobiography of a Yogi between Sri Yukteshwar and Yogananda where Yogananda accepts his discipline on the condition that his guru reveal God to him. After a long verbal tussle, he accepts it. I want to ask that when Sri Yukteshwar knew that Yogananda was a God realized soul, why did this conversation take place? This leads to the question that do God-realized ones have to go through everything again in every life to get that first experience of Samadhi again?
God-realized souls don't neccessarily have to go through it all again in every life to experience samadhi. They generally do so, however, as an example to others. The life of a great Master is also a teaching, in and of itself.
That explains why Christ was baptized by John the Baptist - to show others that one must follow the spiritual law of the Guru-Disciple relationship. When Christ sought baptism, John said, "I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?"