There Is No Conflict Between Meditation and Service
January 2, 2014
Is it all right for a person on spiritual path (who does meditation regularly) to neglect the wishes of his children, wife (like go for a movie and do activities with children which may not be of any spiritual value but may provide joy and happiness to them). I have an understanding that spirituality is to become one with God. Also, all Gurus say God is in everyone.
Your question is one that has been asked by sincere seekers for millennia: Does living only for God require one to distance oneself from all worldly activities?
Paramhansa Yogananda, and our line of gurus, stressed, especially for householders, the importance of nishkam karma (desireless action) or “being in the world but not of it.” How does one live in the world but be not of it? The key is to adopt an attitude of service, to perform ones duties lovingly, faithfully, and responsibly, not for self-gratification, but for the benefit of others.
Developing an attitude of service is as important as meditation. You might say service is meditation in action. Like meditation, serving others breaks down our ego’s hold on our awareness and behavior. Participating fully in raising children, with the attitude of selfless service, is a golden opportunity to learn how to serve and love everyone — an opportunity to discover the presence of God in all activity.
There is no conflict between meditation and service. Meditation and service go together naturally. A genuine attitude of service helps one go deep in meditation and deep meditation helps one’s service become ever more selfless.
Puru (Joseph) Selbie
November 7, 2013
I have been looking for a solution to a problem for many days and while surfing saw this site. Someone very dear to me, out of a misunderstanding, hates me so much and snubs me that it feels unbearable. I feel scared to even approach that person out of fear of being snubbed. I have never meant any harm to that person but it was just situational which had compelled me to be harsh to that person on one occasion wen it was her fault and she knew it very well. Is there any way to reduce the negativity?
The first thing that is appropriate is to apologize for the harsh words you said to the woman. She probably felt your anger or other negative emotion more than the truth of the words you expressed to her (assuming the words were true and not hurtful).
Then ask if you can meet to discuss the situation that led you to express yourself so harshly in order to heal the rift between you. Don’t try to defend yourself or blame her. Simply listen to her side of the story calmly and try to understand her position. From there, build on what she shares with a desire to be cooperative and work together for the highest good.
If she is unwilling to meet, pray Yogananda’s peace and harmony prayer for her. This involves repeating the words, “Fill her with Thy peace and harmony, peace and harmony, peace and harmony” whenever you think of her.
Stay centered in your peace and harmony and send it to her from your heart whenever you see her.
Joy to you.
Advice About Divorce
November 6, 2013
I was married for 33 years and have been separated for 6 months. My husband walked, saying he wanted a divorce. Yet he has not filed for a divorce and comes home every weekend. Will we ever reconcile or will keep his word and file? I want to celebrate our Golden Years together. What do you see in my future?
I am sorry that I cannot predict the future. The clarity you are seeking will come from direct communication with your husband. Ask him what he wants and then share with him what you want. Look for possible solutions to the disharmony in your marriage. Your husband may have been unhappy for many years or may be going through a mid-life crisis. I don’t know him or what dynamics are at work in your relationship. Try to be open to understanding how he feels.
Pray deeply before engaging in the communication and ask for God’s peace to preside.
May you feel his grace,
October 22, 2013
Hi! I have caught my fiance cheating on me. He vehemently denied all this though it was very obvious and we had a huge argument on this as I was shocked on how he was lying when things were very obvious. Now I have solid proof in my hand. Do you think it would be right to confront him lovingly with the proof?
I’m sorry to hear of the turbulence in your relationship, it must be very painful for you.
You ask about lovingly providing proof to your fiance. If you have proof, then both of you know the truth. If he is lying to you as well as cheating on you, perhaps you should consider getting out of this relationship while you can. May you find solace in God.
October 8, 2013
Hi Jayadev! Thanks for your answer on http://www.ananda.org/ask/how-can-i-avoid-getting-hurt-in-relationships. Probably one needs to be happy on ones own for a long time. However in Indian astrology there is something called the "yog of marriage". As per my horoscope, after 2015 I won’t have any yog for marriage.This thought makes me nervous as I am 35 now. Do you think spirituality can help me overcome this barrier?
I wouldn’t give too much importance to that "yog of marriage". Horoscopes reflect karmic patterns, and that karma can be "roasted by wisdom" as Yogananda writes in his Autobiography of a Yogi, in the chapter "Outwitting the Stars". He writes:
“You may as well be resigned to your fate,” my brother Ananta had remarked. “Your written horoscope has correctly stated that you would fly from home toward the Himalayas during your early years, but would be forcibly returned. The forecast of your marriages is also bound to be true.” A clear intuition came to me one night that the prophecy was wholly false. I set fire to the horoscope scroll, placing the ashes in a paper bag on which I wrote: “Seeds of past karma cannot germinate if they are roasted in the divine fires of wisdom.”
I would just pray to understand your personal dharma. If it seems to be with a partner, you may use this specific affirmation by Yogananda: "Heavenly Father, bless me that I choose my life companion according to Thy law of perfect soul union."
If however your dharma is to remain single, then that is the happiest thing you can do. Relationships & marriage anyway are not for happiness, but they are simply schools of growth, that’s all. And one can grow in so many other ways.
If you place your life sincerely in God’s hands, then whatever happens, it’s the best, it’s perfect. So kiss good-bye to nervousness.
God bless you, Jayadev
Good Will and Magnetism
September 19, 2013
Hi! Could you please explain what the dictum in the April 25th of “Living Wisely Living Well” means? It says in the principle of magnetic interchange, never think of uplifting others merely by exercise of goodwill. But we have always heard from our childhood that love can change everything and everybody.
Swamiji gives the key to the answer in the reading itself:
A principle of magnetic interchange between people is that the stronger magnet always influences the weaker, never the reverse. Unless your inner strength is great, never think yourself capable of uplifting others merely by the exercise of good will.
Essentially Swamiji is saying that merely sending out good vibrations is not enough to uplift someone else unless you are very strong inside. Otherwise your effort is more like wishful thinking. But to send out love toward all is a wonderful thing.
These two are not mutually exclusive. Swamiji is making that point — as you can see from the readings the day before and after the one above — that it is well to be cautious in situations that involve especially direct personal contact with people of very different and/or potentially negative magnetism. The reverse is true too — that contact with a saint or master can be extraordinarily uplifting. That is the origin of the saying in the scriptures: "Even a moment in the company of a saint will be your raft over the ocean of delusion!"
More on Women and Financial Independence
September 15, 2013
I had asked you this question a while back
In response, you have written a woman should make herself useful and interesting to her husband? What are the ways to make herself interesting and useful? An exceptionally beautiful woman can always keep her husband in control.Is it advisable to spend a lot on beauty treatments? I have seen many men respond that way.
Here’s how I interpret Yogananda’s words “make yourself useful and interesting”: Find inner meaning in your life, and fulfill yourself, so when you are with your husband, you are not needy. Be kind, nurturing, and caring toward him. Try to share some of his interests, so your relationship will have common ground.
Take care of yourself, eat well, exercise, and dress nicely. I don’t think that Yogananda meant to focus only on external beauty. Mainly develop your inner beauty without neglecting your outer beauty. After all, looking nice is a gesture of respect toward other people.
True marriage is about sharing and helping each other become the best that they can be in this life; trying to control another person, whether through beauty, intellect, emotional manipulation, or simply force of personality, is a recipe for disaster in a relationship.
Blessings to you,
Selecting a Life Partner
September 9, 2013
Hi! What is the way to choose a right life partner? Are our life partners pre-destined from our karma of previous incarnations? Yoganandji emphasizes a lot on not getting carried away by attraction. While that is true, is it wise to go ahead with a marriage where there is absolutely no chemistry and only because the guy has less vices (adultery, ill-temper etc). How important should be financial position of the guy?
Since you live in India I would imagine that your question is a little more involved with the opinions of others than it would be in the United States.
If it is your choice, the best way to choose a life partner is to begin developing a deeper spiritual life through daily meditation, service, and God remembrance. In this way you can begin increasing your spiritual energy and magnetism. It is through your own magnetism that you can attract to yourself others with a similar magnetism. Using this spiritual magnetism is much more important than past karma in determining who is a good partner.
Yogananda also emphasized doing this. In addition he emphasized not getting carried away by emotional attractions. If the connection with another person is mostly about their outward appearance — how they look, the kind of job and money they have, the clothes they wear, their personality, etc. — then you may end up with someone that you don’t have much in common with spiritually.
If you are on a spiritual path, then you want to be looking for that person’s spiritual qualities. Are they kind, loving, joyful, compassionate, sensitive to the feelings of others, expansive in their thinking, and somewhat impersonal about themselves? Also, would you like having them as a friend?
Friendship is the basis of any good relationship. If you think you can have a deepening friendship with another person, then perhaps you can live with them through all the ups and downs that life will bring you. Through friendship you also develop other very important qualities over time, one of them being trust.
I hope this will be of help to you. It also might be helpful for you to connect with one of the Ananda acharyas living in India for further advice. If you don’t know them, you can check the www.anandaindia.org website to see the locations for the Ananda Centres in India.
Many blessings to you,
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