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Siddharth Patel
India

Question

What is meant by service to God? What is the need of service? What does God get by Being served?

Nayaswami Parvati

Nayaswami Parvati

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Siddharth,

Service to God is done to help us, not God. God, as you know from the ancient teachings of India, is not only in everything, but is everything, including us!

We were all brought into being from the Divine. It is said that the Divine is in every atom of creation. It isn’t God who needs service from us, but it is we who need to serve in order to grow spiritually. Service to the Divine purifies the heart’s feelings and uplifts them.

But it is not enough to simply state these ideas, we must realize them through regular meditation practice and through devotional service to that Divine presence. Service can be what we do when we are not meditating. It’s simply a matter of attitude.

Paramhansa Yogananda had a close disciple who he was working with spiritually. One day she was helping him in the kitchen as he prepared a meal. She, feeling restless, began cleaning up after him. As she did this she noticed that he was dirtying more and more dishes than ever. As soon as she cleaned one, there were many more to do. Finally, feeling that it might be better to wait and do them all at one time, she sat down. Yogananda smiled at her, said nothing, and proceeded cooking. She noticed that he was now dirtying hardly any dishes. The lesson she gained from this was that her restlessness had made her service unfocused and therefore unproductive spiritually. She had not been thinking of God as she worked, but only about how many dishes there were and how hard she was working.

This same disciple, who had worked hard all her life, received another important lesson in this way from Yogananda. He said to her one day, “You have worked hard all your life. You need to not work so hard!” Then the following day he gave her more things to do than before. This same conversation repeated itself several times. Each time she tried to cut back what she was doing, her guru gave her more to do. Finally she got it, and said to him, “Master, perhaps we should refer to what we do here as service, rather than work.”

Master laughed. “It has been a good show,” he said. “All your life you’ve been thinking, Work! Work! Work! That very thought was exhausting you. But just see how differently you feel when you think of work as a divine service! When you act to please God you can do twice as much, and not feel tired!”

I would suggest experimenting with acting as though you were serving the Divine, both in what you do and in everyone you interact with. It’s naturally a process to take on this attitude, but see what happens when you do, both to your own energy and consciousness and to the people around. You may well find that life becomes much more enjoyable and harmonious. And this joy and harmony will help you to meditate more deeply as well.

Good luck and many blessings,

Nayaswami Parvati

shiffali
india

Question

Namaste,

how can i overcome the guilt inside me for the deeds done in the past out of ignorance?Now that i meditate and read religious books,i have come to understand the path of karma,but still this feeling of guilt is like choking me inside.I feel i have not come up to standards of society i live in and feel like betrayed my parents.How could i overcome this depression?

Kristy Fassler-Hecht

Kristy Fassler-Hecht

Ananda Maine

Answer

Dear Shiffali,

"The greatest sin is to call oneself a sinner," said Paramhansa Yogananda. I suggest you deeply contemplate these words because they hold an important key to answering your question about overcoming guilt.

You say you did some deeds in ignorance that may have hurt or betrayed your parents. Have you apologized and made amends to them? Have you let them know you are deeply sorry and have learned from your mistakes? Can you forgive yourself and grow from the wisdom you have gained?

I hope you can say yes to the above questions, because they are the first steps in overcoming the guilt you feel. The following is a quote from Swami Kriyananda’s essay, “The Final Exam,” from the book, Religion in the New Age:

Feelings of guilt will hinder you from making further progress, acting as affirmations of failure. Cast guilt, therefore, from your heart. You might even say to God frankly, “It’s You who set up this shadow show! It isn’t entirely my fault that, through inexperience, I didn’t know where the pitfalls lay!”

You are God’s child and God forgives you. Receive His loving forgiveness into your heart and let go of any attachment to guilt and errors you make.

In Divine Friendship,

Kristy

Luv Agrawal
India

Question

Where to find a yogi guru?

Has anyone in Ananda Sangha attained nirvkalpa samadhi or sahaj samadhi state? can you show me the way?

Why did Swami Kriyananda did not achieve mahasamadhi like Paramhans Yogananda, inspite of being his direct disciple? Why did he leave the spiritual path and opt for a married life?

Nayaswami Seva

Nayaswami Seva

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Luv,

Paramhansa Yogananda was already a fully realized master when he came into being. He had attained high states of consciousness and more. Whether Swami Kriyananda attained samadhi or not, we don’t really know. Yogananda told Swamiji that he would, but not until the end of his life. Many of us feel that he was freed. And many feel that he was free already because of the high state of his consciousness, his energy and accomplishments, and his compassion and love for all. Just any human being could not have done all that he has done unless they were deeply connected with God.

Swamiji did marry but he never left the spiritual path. Marriage doesn’t mean you cannot be searching for the Divine. He later divorced and became a Swami again. He always kept his discipleship with Yogananda a living presence in his life ever since he met Master and took vows from him.

If you want to find these states of samadhi, you too need to make the choice of always keeping your guru (especially if he is Self-realized) in your consciousness and to follow his guidance which you can receive in meditation.

Ananda continues to give teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda to all who ask. Through them you can find liberation. But it is up to you and your intensity and your energies that will make it all happen. Keep the focus of your attention on finding libration for yourself and give everything to God.

Blessings,

Seva

Lynn Lloyd
USA

Question

I enjoy reading about the lives of saints. But I have noticed how incredibly difficult their lives were. Let’s see, beheaded, stoned, imprisoned, burnt at the stake,shunned, scorned, crucified . . . and gee, I want to be just like them when I grown up (spiritually)! I don’t understand how a person who is on the verge of sainthood could still have such terrible karma. I’m not looking forward to this! Is this the final hazing before we get to join the fraternity of saints?

Nayaswami Hriman

Nayaswami Hriman

Ananda Seattle

Answer

Dear Friend,

The sacrifices we see the saints make, they accept willingly, not in a spirit of mere resignation, but as the will of God. They are certainly working out karma, but in some cases helping out the karma of others.

Don’t be concerned for the future. "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." The spiritual path makes us strong. What would destroy the spirit of most is handled with courage and faith by one who feels God’s presence and accepts "that which comes of itself."

Honor the saints and follow their example in the challenges of your own daily life and you will have nothing to fear!

Blessings!

Nayaswami Hriman

Laura
UK

Question

I am searching to learn more about God, to be more in relationship with the world around me. I’m not really sure where to start, I have faith that when I am ready I will find my teacher but I would like to learn more about meditation and finding a spiritual path. Is anyone able to recommend any reading or anything that would be helpful to someone starting out please?

Nayaswami Pranaba

Nayaswami Pranaba

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Laura,

I would suggest several possibilities. There are a number of excellent books that you can read for free online on the Ananda Sangha Worldwide website: These include The Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramhansa Yogananda and The New Path by Swami Kriyananda.

To learn more about meditation here is a link to a meditation webpage with many resources. You might also want to explore Ananda’s free Introduction to Meditation online class.

Another online resource is the Ananda Virtual Community. You'll find a variety of activities that may be helpful to you.

Let us know if you have any further questions.

In divine friendship,

Nayaswami Pranaba

Siddharth Patel
India

Question

What is the meaning of serving the God? God is the supreme, how can I serve Him?

Kristy Fassler-Hecht

Kristy Fassler-Hecht

Ananda Maine

Answer

Your question, "How can I serve God when God is the Supreme" is very simple to answer. Look at the lives of the great saints, the masters, all lovers of God. See how they serve the highest in every soul and situation with love, peace, humility and freedom.

Jesus Christ said essentially, "He who serves another, serves Me." You can choose to be an instrument for God’s love in the world or an instrument for selfish desires.

We have these choices every moment. Which are you choosing? Which choices result in an experience of inner peace and bliss? When you experience soul peace and bliss, you know you are serving God as "the instrument is blessed by that which flows through it" (as Paramhansa Yogananda said).

Ask God to flow through you to be a channel for His Love in the world. Then be a willing instrument and allow His love to flow to others with love in your heart for the Beloved!

In Divine Friendship,

Kristy

Truthseeker
India

Question

Once a swami demonstrated with two 'thin rods' how he could detect auras around with them. He told that saying Aum with anything creates negative energy and that after Aum there should be atleast a small pause or Aum should come after the word eg. 'Namashivaya Aum' and only then it will create positive energy. He also 'proved' it with those rods. Is this actually true? I ask this because I like chanting Aum Guru and I’m not really convinced.

Thank you!

Nayaswami Gyandev

Nayaswami Gyandev

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Truthseeker,

Paramhansa Yogananda strongly recommended the mantra, “AUM Guru.” Swami Kriyananda relayed that recommendation to all of us at Ananda. I don’t think you will go wrong with that mantra.

You will encounter many differing points of view among the greater yoga community. Do not try to reconcile them all, because some of them contradict others of them. The important thing is to practice what your guru recommended, because your guru alone can take you to God.

Blessings,

Gyandev

Siddharth Patel
India

Question

How do I overcome undesirable fantasy thoughts? It makes me away from God. Please guide me. Thank You.

Puru (Joseph) Selbie

Puru (Joseph) Selbie

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Siddharth,

It is difficult to overcome undesirable thoughts directly. The more attention you give to your unwanted thoughts the more energy you give them. Better to avoid the things that awaken the unwanted thoughts and, most importantly, deliberately and consistently fill your mind with other desirable thoughts.

1. Read uplifting material

Read scriptures or books, like Autobiography of a Yogi, that are full of inspiration; or biographies of great men and women; or scientific subjects that elevate the mind. Avoid books, magazines, or internet sites that draw you into your undesirable fantasies.

2. Chant or practice japa

Spend time chanting or doing japa everyday. If you give yourself, mind and heart, to the inspiration of a chant in the morning, you will find that it keeps "playing" in your mind throughout the day. The high vibration of that spiritualized chant will help keep your thoughts high-minded throughout your day. Or, practice japa by steadily and inwardly repeating a mantra throughout the day such as "Aum Guru" will similarly keep your mind occupied with high-vibration thoughts.

3. Meditate

Meditation is the key to lasting inner change. When you feel God’s presence in your heart, making changes in your inner and outer behavior becomes much easier. Make a sincere effort to go deep and still in meditation and you will find God’s uplifting vibration carrying you along throughout your day.

Warm regards,

Puru (Joseph) Selbie

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