Category: Paramhansa Yogananda
Namaste. I believe PYji has described experiencing the state of oneness with God as infinite & eternal, but also as ever-expanding, unending, ever-new; the latter seems to suggest the notion of space/time; but I'm also under the impression that God as Spirit/Absolute/Sat-Chit-Ananda is beyond space/time? Perhaps related: Are all spiritual Masters/Gurus (such as of PY's lineage) in exactly the same state & differences such as Guru-disciple relationships exist only in maya for benefit of mankind?
It just so happens that I very recently wrote a lengthy article on just this subject.
Describing such states with words and using the intellect has inherent limitations, but of course we use our God-given intellect to attempt to comprehend what is true - even that which is beyond the intellect! So let's give it a try.
Paramhansa Yoganandaji is attempting to say that the state of Oneness is not a static or idle state. How can one circumscribe Infinity itself? At the same time God is unchanging and eternal. It is difficult for our intellects to put these two together but intuitively it makes "perfect" sense. For the first statement (static) implies limitation while the second implies change. But there you have it!
Another point Yoganandaji is attempting to convey is that the state of Oneness is forever satisfying, beguiling, and relishable. The Christian image of sitting up in heaven for an eternity strumming a harp or chanting Alleluia doesn't sound very appealing (to me, at least).
God is both within creation (space/time), yet untouched by it, and, at the same time, transcendent (beyond His creation). How can we comprehend this? Again, intuitively it seems, how could God be anything less than this?
Yogananda taught that once the soul has achieved liberation it is on the same level of realization as all other such souls. Their subsequent roles, should they re-incarnate, may vary widely on the stage of human affairs. (See my blog article on this last point).
And yes, it seems the avatars play out a kind of human drama that suggests they are not always in the state of omnipresence, or even, of awareness of their own state (of omnipresence).
Evidently, the masters willingly accept the duality and limitations imposed upon the body by the duality of God's creation. This doesn't mean they fall karmic victim to maya (delusion), so much as it means that cosmic consciousness is often veiled from their "eyes" as they perform their God-directed duties.
This is unimportant to them because they are free in God.
They willingly accept the task given to them and relinquish, for a time or at times, the bliss of their God-contact for the sake of their duties to help struggling souls. This helps them, too, to better relate to their circumstances and the souls they come to help.
I had a dream where Paramhansa Yogananda blessed me in my head and am able see a vibration in my body. He touched me again, I feel the same.
I am very new to yoga and Paramhansa Yogananda.
Please clarify me the meaning.
An experience such as this should be treasured as a divine blessing. Its meaning and interpretation may be less important than the power of the blessing itself.
If you had recently made some spiritual commitment (for example, began the practice of meditation; or, overcome a harmful habit; felt inspiration or devotion to God or guru), then this might be a confirmation and blessing upon the step you have taken.
If not, it might easily be a "wake-up" call to embark upon the spiritual path, or, to deepen your commitment to spiritual growth.
Generally, if there's a specific meaning to the experience it is revealed in the experience. But just as often, perhaps more often, it is a sign of divine blessings without specific instruction or guidance.
If you still feel the need for understanding its potential meaning, then I suggest praying for guidance in that matter.
But most of all, I suggest you treasure the experience with gratitude and ask for guidance in how to live more for God, to feel greater love for God, and to live with high ideals and selfless service.
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.
My opinion is based on the fact that Vivekananda was a deeply devoted disciple of Ramakrishna, who formed a different lineage, separate from the lineage of Yogananda, Sri Yukteswar, Lahiri Mahasaya, Babaji, and Jesus Christ.
Certainly, Swami Vivekananda was a great yogi and a real pioneer in coming to the West very early on, in the process of East meets West, "yogic-ly" speaking.
I have made a search of everything that either Paramhansa Yogananda or Swami Kriyananda have said in their writings, mentioning Vivekananda, and certainly Yogananda mentions him frequently, as does Kriyananda.
I will e-mail that document to you directly, as it is too long to include here. Hoping this answers your question sufficiently.
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.
Then too, we don't know exactly what he wrote, as the book was edited, and the editor had her own ideas about how to express certain points.
All I can say is that a great master would be much more concerned with conveying vibration than with grammar and vocabulary, and that book is loaded with vibration.
I have known quite a number of "uneducated" people who found great inspiration in it, even if they tripped over a number of sentences.
It seems to me that those who resonate with his vibration will understand the teachings in the book, regardless of whether those persons can decipher every last bit of it intellectually.
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.
He also stated that he was Arjuna in the time of the Mahabharata. There were other specific past incarnations he mentioned, too.
No, it was not Sri Yukteswar who named Paramhansa Yogananda a Premavatar, "an incarnation of divine love." It was Yogananda's most advanced disciple Rajarshi Janakananda, who gave his guru this title.
Yogananda gave Sri Yukteswar the title Gyanavatar, "an incarnation of wisdom" and he called Lahiri Mahasaya a Yogavatar, "an incarnation of yoga. Babaji is known as Mahavatar, or Great Avatar.
As to your question about whether Yogananda was actively functioning as an Avatar when he was William, he obviously had a very different mission at that time - different from the one he had as Paramhansa Yogananda in our times. But that wouldn't have made him any less of an Avatar. It was just a unusual sort of role he needed to play in that lifetime.
He said that he has come again and again and would continue to do so as long as there are those in need of spiritual salvation, or to correct or make some sort of needed changes in the way things are going on this planet. That's what Avatars do.
His mission as William might outwardly appear to be very much less spiritually oriented, but it was necessary for the evolution of our planet at that time.
If you are interested in learning a lot more about this fascinating subject, please read the book Two Souls, Four Lives, which explains about William and his son Henry, in much greater detail.
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.
Did Yogananda charge that photo consciously with spiritual power? Or is it charged simply because Yogananda was who he was? It's hard to tell. Personally I think that the Divine Spirit moves through these great Masters, and things just happen powerfully, without their conscious thought, for example, "I will now charge that photo!"
Whatever the case, the magnetism of that photograph comes from God: I read in an Self-Realization Fellowship publication (can't remember now where) that the picture was taken in the early 20's, when Yogananda was just coming out of his hotel room, right after an ecstasy. That's what you and many others intuitively feel: God is present there, in his eyes, in his aura.
Photograph aside: Sri Yukteswar told him that many seekers will be inwardly transformed simply through the look of his eyes. Durga Ma wrote a most beautiful homage to the "Master's eyes." Here it is, for you to enjoy.
In divine friendship, jayadev
By Durga Mata
Master's eyes were truly the windows of his soul.
Master's forehead was broad and well-formed,
With perfectly arched brows that framed a beautiful nose,
And two large, dark lotus expressive eyes,
That would change expression
According to the different moods or roles that he played
At any particular time.
Mischievous when playful;
Fire when he became the disciplinarian;
Reason when he took the part of a father;
Tenderness when that of a mother;
Sadness and tears when sympathetic;
Wisdom when he taught;
Distant when his mind was beyond this planet.
Eyes that would magnetically heal
The body of disease,
The mind of psychological knots,
The soul of ignorance.
Eyes that could see even
What our words could not say.
Eyes that went beyond the physical
And penetrated through the individual's mind and soul,
to see what even we did not know or see for ourselves.
Eyes that sparkled with Will
When he concentrated for SRF's progress.
Eyes that saw the beauty in all nature.
Eyes that were ever on the alert
For souls that God wanted him to help.
Eyes that were capable of seeing the darker side of our nature,
But refused to look at them,
To only concentrate on our good qualities.
Eyes of determination
That could overcome any obstacles.
Eyes that sent out flames
To burn out the draught of delusion
And dryness of the soul.
And above all,
Eyes that had only sight and love
For his only Father, Mother,
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.
There are a few mantras that he specifically did teach, most relating to various meditation techniques. One of them is the mantra "hong-sau", which is used with the technique by the same name. He also taught the use of "Aum" as a mantra, again in conjunction with a meditation technique. There is another mantra that he taught as part of one of the higher Kriya techniques.
Also, many disciples of Yogananda mentally chant the mantra "Aum Guru" throughout the day, as a way of attuning themselves with the Guru. I believe this practice was suggested by Yogananda.
Because we now live in an age of energy, called Dwapara Yuga, techniques that work directly with the life force are more effective than only mantra repetition. This is why Yogananda taught Kriya Yoga as the quickest and most powerful way to change one's consciousness.
The Gayatri Mantra has been chanted throughout India for millennia. It has its origin in the Rig Veda, so it is perhaps the most ancient mantra of all. We chant it, along with the Mahamrityunjaya Mantra, every Sunday before our Ananda Sunday Service.
There is a beautiful recording of Swami Kriyananda chanting the Gayatri Mantra that you can order here. That version has the 'seal of approval' of some pundits in India who listened to Kriyananda chant the Gayatri.
It's also the "form" that is most widely chanted in India, and is done just as the Vedas describe it, so it is certainly "authentic" from the Vedic viewpoint. I believe it is the "short form" you are referring to. Undoubtedly Yogananda would have used this form of the Gayatri Mantra.
I understand that there is a "long form" that is done, but I can't speak for its authenticity, since it doesn't seem as widely used in India. But surely more important than which form one uses is the devotion and concentration with which the mantra is chanted.
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.
Those of us who haven't known Yogananda in the flesh are not in danger of becoming attached to him in a personal way, so Nayaswami Kriyananda has explained.
About your second question: after souls merge into spirit, what do they do. Your question comes from our human attachment to action and doing. God IS. When we become God we ARE. Beyond that, I really can't say! That state is beyond our imagining. It would be helpful to put aside philosophical questions like that, and try to meditate on the idea of inner stillness, which will take you to that exalted state.
Blessings on your meditations,
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