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James
America

Question

Now with the internet, it seems that people in very remote places can have the virtual darshan of great saints and spiritual figures. My question is that how important is it for people to actually be formally initiated to advance to serious levels of realization?

Nayaswami Parvati

Nayaswami Parvati

Ananda Village

Answer

This is a good question to ask, as I'm sure many people are wondering how the internet affects the need for direct spiritual contact with saints and masters.

Yes, people can have the "virtual" darshan of a saint through the internet, but not the actual darshan. These are two very different experiences for those who want to go deep spiritually. The internet has provided a wonderful thing - broad access to, and awareness of, spiritual realities for anyone who is seeking. It has provided Ananda with the ability to reach out in support of spiritual seekers and devotees all over the world, no matter where they may live. But this kind of sharing alone is generally not sufficient to take us to the deeper levels of spiritual realization. This is because deeper realization is accomplished through attunement to the consciousness of someone who has achieved that level of realization. For this to happen, we need to be in their physical presence. In some rare instances, for those who are already highly advanced spiritually, this attunement and the guidance it provides can come in meditation. But for most people it is essential for this to happen in person.

kd
usa

Question

What might be a good version of Patanjali's yoga sutra's to read?

Nayaswami Gyandev

Nayaswami Gyandev

Ananda Village

Answer

I haven't encountered a commentary that I can wholeheartedly recommend. Some are too obscure, others are rather shallow, and still others have a "take" on the Sutras that I simply cannot endorse. And of course, I haven't even seen most commentaries.

However, a couple of my colleagues here at Ananda Village have told me that Inside the Yoga Sutras, by Jaganath Carrera, is the closest they've seen to the way Yogananda approached the Sutras. I've not read it, but I have confidence in my colleagues, so I'll offer that book as my recommendation. Enjoy!

mihir
india

Question

I have read many articles related mental telepathy, like in book Think and Grow Rich, it says our brain broadcasts thoughts and receives others' thought through subconcious mind, please elaborate.

Nayaswami Asha

Answer

Dear Mihir:

"Please elaborate" is an open-ended request that could encompass the whole spiritual path!

In Autobiography of a Yogi, the chapter with the amusing title, The Cauliflower Robbery, Paramhansa Yogananda summarizes this idea with brilliant simplicity. "Thoughts are universally and not individually rooted; a truth cannot be created, but only perceived. The erroneous thoughts of man result from imperfections in his discernment. The goal of yoga science is to calm the mind, that without distortion if may mirror the divine vision in the universe."

rachel
US

Question

Hello, I am a 21 year old female who has been raised Christian. During my formative years and through High School I had very spiritual experiences included prophetic dreams, speaking in tongues, hearing someone speak in tongues and it then being immediately translated verbatim. I backslid. I am now at a point where I found the same God-presence in Kundalini Yoga/meditation. I am looking for some answers on if I need to believe in Jesus as God, or is there more to this? Please help.

Nayaswami Parvati

Nayaswami Parvati

Ananda Village

Answer

Jesus was a great master, one of a number who have lived on this earth. Others include, but are not limited to, masters such as Moses, Buddha, Shankara, Ramakrishna, and Yogananda. It's not that these masters are God, but that they act as clear channels for God into this world. In this way, you can see Jesus as a son of God, rather than the son of God. From time to time, as the need becomes very great, and as a deep soul call goes out from people, that Divine sends one of these great souls into the world to help uplift all those who are receptive.

JANICE freebern
United States

Question

Hello. I have two questions:

1. Where might I find information on the "beattitudes"?

2. Where can I find a definitive list of the spiritual laws?

Thank you.

Blessings

Janice

Nayaswami Hriman

Nayaswami Hriman

Ananda Seattle

Answer

Dear Janice,

Paramhansa Yogananda did comment upon the Beatitudes, and Swami Kriyananda, Ananda's founder and Yogananda's direct disciple, shared his commentary and interpretation in a booklet. This was once in print, and although I don't see it on the Crystal Clarity publisher's website, I did find it here.

JK
Norway

Question

What was the reason that God picked Mary to be the mother of Jesus ?

Nayaswami Asha

Answer

Dear JK:

This is going to be a long answer to a short question. There is so much theological confusion behind what you ask that even in a long answer I can only begin to unravel it. For the "rest of the story," I urge you to read Swamiji's book, Revelations of Christ as Proclaimed by Paramhansa Yogananda.

KJ
India

Question

Master talked about great saints from all religion. But I never found anywhere Master taking about Mahavira or any other Jain Saints. Was there any special reason for this? In Jainism the main emphasis is on liberation thru meditation and right living. As per Jain principles as far as I heard and read, liberation is not possible without leaving all inner as well as outer belongings and it claims that even Ram and 3 Pandavas became Jain muni and became Siddha. They had to leave even their clothes...

Tyagi Jayadev

Tyagi Jayadev

Ananda Assisi, Italy

Answer

Dear KJ,

You are right, Yogananda taught to revere the saints of all religions, he strongly advocated unity amongst religions, and even called his various temples "Church of All Religions."

Each day, in every group prayer we say at Ananda, we humbly pray to the "saints of all religions."

mk
India

Question

For Self Realization we hav to reach a stage where our brain is perfect.Does it mean that we have to achieve a level where our intellect becomes strong&does all kinds of reasoning.I sort of hav a lazy attitude toward reasoning.I'm more devotionally inclined.But I realize that some of my friends have better reasoning ability&do math questions quickly.I'm not stupid but I'm not that intelligent either.So in order to perfect my brain should I start using those brain cells which I had been avoiding?

Puru (Joseph) Selbie

Puru (Joseph) Selbie

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear mk,

Reason is only one of many abilities our brains are capable of providing us. Though important, reason is perhaps the least important of the mental abilities we can develop. The most important abilities our minds can provide us are higher awareness and discrimination.

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