Category: Spiritual Path
Why Do We Suffer?
March 20, 2015
Why did God create this world? We do wrong things out of ignorance and we suffer. Only experience teaches us which is hard teacher. How can I remain happy being aware of the fact that some people doing wrong things and will have to suffer. If there is no creation, there would be no ignorance and no suffering.
Why did God make this universe? Why do we suffer? These are the two great questions humankind has been asking since time immemorial. From an intellectual and ego point of view, there is no satisfactory answer to this question. "My ways are not your ways," God tells us in the Christian Bible (Old Testament).
Swami Kriyananda, founder of Ananda’s worldwide work, put it this way: "It is the nature of Bliss to want to share." Swami Shankacharya, long ago, described God, the nature of God, and the purpose of the creation as Satchidanandam: "Ever existing (immortal), ever-conscious (omniscient), ever-new Bliss." The creation, it has been said, was manifested by God and AS God in order to play the drama of "hide-n-seek." God hides, and we seek Him, mistaking the temporary satisfactions of material existence for His Bliss. As our journey progresses, and through the agency of our own dissatisfaction and suffering, we begin to awaken to the "truth that shall make us free." The truth is simply: "The kingdom of heaven is within you."
As creation myths throughout the world aver (including the story of Adam and Eve), we suffer because we made a bad choice at some point. (And, in all honesty, we make many bad choices, day-to-day, lifetime after lifetime!) Most people wouldn’t have it any other way: we seek material gains, pleasures, etc. etc. Few humans have yet to cognize that the nature of life’s drama is that it is simply that: a drama; a dream of God.
Yet even though we have made poor choices, we didn’t create this drama, with its temptations of delusion and seeming substantive reality. God has created us; and, created temptation and delusion. God, therefore, must give to us the means to our freedom! Freedom lies in discovering "Who am I?" This universe and our bodies are not ours for our ego is not real. We are children of God; we are Spirit temporarily inhabiting a body.
Yes, this is an unsatisfactory explanation, especially when we suffer or when we observe others suffering, and we do not yet have the keys to our freedom.
So, the more useful question we must also ask ourselves is: What do I do about it? The "Why" questions are a good beginning but cannot give us the means to overcome our dissatisfaction. We must be practical and put our "shoulder to the wheel" of redemption and salvation. Meditation was given us that we might go within and seek Self-realization as a child of God. In our times, Kriya Yoga is the most advanced technique for salvation through self-effort given to man.
The Buddha set out to solve the riddle of life: why do we suffer and how do we get out of suffering? Through meditation and right action we dissolve the karmic bonds that tie us to delusion and we begin our journey toward Self-realization. We have to pay off our karmic debt in order to be free. The shortcut is to sever the "head" of ego. Meditation helps accelerate the work of ego transcendence. So also does grace: the grace of God through the sat guru.
We must do the work but we will discover in doing that we are NOT the Doer! Freedom is not as far from our grasp as it might seem. We must accept our part in our suffering and we must, therefore, do our part to be free. Just as God’s power created the cosmos, so too God’s power can lift us toward freedom provided we erase the trail of karma that we have created and that has led us to bondage and suffering.
Time? Yes, it takes time. But, what is time, in an eternity? Right here and right now, God dwells within you. In stillness, in silent inner communion, there is no time, only God. Begin now and without counting the hours or the effort, you will soon be free!
Blessings to you,
Why Was I Born?
March 20, 2015
we all are living in kali yuga, the age of demons, the end of all yugas, so i question my self that why do i exist in this yuga?
i.e in this time what is the purpose of my life who am i?
gods are such energies capable of making them appear between time and space so is there any way to go beyond all this time and space and achieve universal consciousness?
According to our Masters of yoga, the current age is not Kali Yuga but Dwapara Yuga, the age of energy. You can read all about this new age and what it can do for you in the book, The Yugas by two of our ministers, Joseph Selbie and Byasa Steinmetz. You can also read the master Sri Yukteswar's book, The Holy Science. Sri Yukteswar in studying the yugas realized we are actually ascending into the higher age of Dwapara.
From your question it seems you are a seeker of truth and the higher realities of life. Life isn’t as it seems, but through yogic teachings of meditation and true philosophy, one can attain a higher consciousness. The path of yoga that Ananda offers is truly enlightening. You can receive understanding and enlightenment by studying these teaching either by going to one of the Ananda India centers for classes or by purchasing the lesson materials, such as The Art & Science of Raja Yoga, the Lessons in Meditation, and the Essence of Self-Realization. In India, see Ananda India Centres and Groups or visit Ananda Publications for the books. In America, see the Course in Self-Realization or visit Crystal Clarity Publishers.
Do be in joy and bliss.
Blessings and joy to you,
What Is Truth? Does It Change with Time and Place?
March 16, 2015
I believe that truth can flow from all direction and that saints of all religions teach according to the needs of their time. According to the concept of the yugas [ages of time], what was perceived and taught in the Satya Yuga [the highest age] is the eternal truth. Do saints of all religions teach this eternal truth in all yugas or is this eternal truth partially perceived and taught?
You bring up a valuable point, and, a complex one. Every Sunday at the Ananda Festival of Light Service, we say "Truth is One and Eternal." If truth is One, why do so many creeds exist and why does it seem that saints teach different aspects of it?
We must, I believe, begin with the statement that "TRUTH" isn’t a well constructed definition. One might say that Truth is God; truth simply IS; truth is love; it is infinite — but even so, truth must be "realized" ("experienced") as a state of consciousness, not as an intellectual construct.
But having admitted that, we might also benefit from acknowledging that in this world of limitation, ignorance, duality, and many levels of consciousness (going through the four stages of the yuga cycle), the attempt to articulate with words "What is true" must necessarily be far less than perfect.
Jesus Christ reprimanded his disciples several times for their inability to grasp the meaning of his words. In turn, his disciples complained to him about the fact that he, Jesus, taught using only parables (stories) rather than precepts (intellectual and abstract concepts). Jesus's answer was that the common person of his time could not grasp abstract thought and, besides, probably wouldn't even understand the deeper meaning of his stories! But he said, "I will reveal to you" the truth. Krishna says to Arjuna (in the Bhagavad Gita), "To you who is without the carping (argumentative) spirit, I will reveal truth sublime."
On another occasion, Jesus scolded his antagonists and stated that the laws of Moses had to be watered down because the people of his time were not ready for a purer teaching.
If you are a parent or teacher of a small child, you must instruct and guide the child according to the child’s ability to hear and accept and change. Thus, down through ages, saints have had to tailor their teachings in ways that would prove practical and helpful to those "with ears to hear." It’s not that the truth is different but each one of us is at a different stage of development and therefore need to "hear" that which will help to move forward and upward.
In Satya Yuga, I believe that the need for different forms of faith (religions) will all but disappear as most souls in that yuga will directly perceive the divinity underlying all creation. Perhaps then there will be no temples or churches. Every act, every thought, every feeling will be in harmony with the divine, indwelling, omnipresent vibration of Aum and the wisdom of God. Nonetheless, in every yuga there are souls who live in that blessed state. The clarity and purity with which they can express and share that state, however, may be tempered so that those who come to them for wisdom might be able to benefit.
Only in the state of superconsciousness is the wisdom of the soul ready "to receive the truth that shall make us free." I hope these remarks will be helpful for you.
May blessings, grace, and wisdom flow to and through you!
How to Rise Above Sexual Temptation
March 13, 2015
I am a young man on the path, having trouble with sexual desire. I wanted to ask any older men who have been on the path a while: does it get easier to deal with desire, to where it is not a constant battle? Are you more confident in your ability to resist? Are there any 'keys' you’d recommend? I would imagine it easier for the yogis in our masters' days to resist because they didn’t have e-media; how can we be disciplined in these tools when they are literally at our fingertips?
You are quite right in saying that in the 21st century, sexual imagery, language and opportunity abound, making the practice of self-control and moderation challenging. Does it get easier with age? That depends on how well one re-directs this powerful force upward towards purity, devotion, and into other and higher forms of creativity and spiritual consciousness. Reincarnation furnishes endless opportunities to chase after unfulfilled desires.
Desire arises in the mind and heart and these can remain forever young regardless of the age or ability of the body to function!
So, start now and with effort you will indeed find the the wind of grace filling your sails and sending you toward the the soul’s promised land of bliss, making all lesser things seem uninteresting.
Even marriage, itself, is no guarantee, unless each works towards transcendence, using the tools of respect, privacy, distance, and spiritual practices and goals central to the partnership. Nonetheless, for most humans, marriage is the safer route for we soon learn that we must deal with the whole person, not some glamorous but passing pretense or romantic image.
Keys include learning to avoid temptation: first in the mind and by what one looks at. In public gatherings, on the street, on the bus, in an airport, or on TV, movies, or the Internet. Develop a strategy on how to respond to visual temptation: "Do not allow yourself to be thrashed by the provoking whip of a beautiful face," Swami Sri Yukteswar advised! Those who parade themselves demean themselves and others. Ask yourself, "At what price this temptation?" No person can constantly be romantic or sexy. All humans have many other moods, activities, relationships, needs, and, indeed, an infinity of interests. In person, in private, and in a close relationship, what you see now, or on the outside, is NOT what you get! We pay a very high price for our pleasure: in self-respect, in nervousness, disease, hurt feelings, and tortured relationships.
Train your eyes to look away and your thoughts to rise, chanting, Aum Guru, Jai Guru or some other mantra or prayer! Keep busy in wholesome, serviceful activities, creative hobbies, craft or art, sports and exercise, prayer and meditation.
Behind every pretty face or figure, there lurks a potential demon of anger or contempt. "Sadhu (yogi), Beware." I highly recommend the book by Swami Kriyananda: Sadhu, Beware! Swamiji wrote that "women will respect you if you keep your distance." Avoid, then, undue familiarity and don’t imagine age difference can protect you. Pondering admiringly on looks or gestures, voice, figure, or form is but a prelude to loss of Self.
Pray for guidance and if you do seek a partner then visualize the spiritual qualities (not the physical ones) of one who can be a true, loyal and wise life partner. Consult those whom you trust and respect to guide you should a decision be needed. Hang out with people who are spiritually minded and avoid lazy, idle gossip.
Keep your body fit and clean and eat foods that are nutritious. Processed and "dead" food (fast-food, fried, e.g.) can irritate the sex nerves and lower centers. Dress modestly, neatly and tastefully without being ostentatious.
I hope these keys will be helpful to you! Life must be understood to be a battle of the higher against the lower. Be a warrior of peace; develop self-control, inner strength, good character, and devotion and yours will be a victorious life!
Blessings upon you,
How to Tune in to Divine Guidance
March 10, 2015
I can often have difficulty with trusting my own intuition. Because of this I often use divination such as the I Ching or Tarot to check against my own decisions. I’m not sure how much help they provide — I often end up more confused.
I wondered whether Paramhansa Yogananda or Swami Kriyananda — or the Ananda experts — had any advice about this.
Master and Swamiji shared the following regarding how to develop one’s intuition and have faith in God’s guidance through intuition. First it is important to have a daily meditation practice that stills and interiorizes your consciousness. The meditation techniques taught by Yogananda and Kriyananda through Ananda all promote calming the breath and interiorizing your awareness to a point of deep stillness. When you feel deep stillness and peace in meditation, offer your question up to Divine Mother at the point between the eyebrows with faith and then feel for Her response in your heart. The responsive feeling in your heart should be very calm and clear. If you feel any agitation or favoritism in yourself, you are not feeling a true response. The inner response may not be what you prefer in the moment, but if you trust it and follow it, you will find it’s the best solution to your question or problem.
Swamiji often shared how he would practice this technique when writing music or seeking Divine inspiration. Many times he would be surprised at the response that came to him, but he found it worked beautifully!
Perhaps Tarot and the I Ching are entertaining or a habit you have developed. You mention you are often more confused after trying these options. At some point you will need to tune in to God’s inner guidance and it’s easier to do when you practice with faith. Faith is developed by experiencing for yourself the truths of these teachings in your own self and in your life. Take baby steps at first and build on those as you become more confident of God’s guidance within.
May you experience God’s inner guidance ever more perfectly in your self,
Hearing Sounds from the Chakras
March 2, 2015
When i’m calm and meditate i can hear some sounds and there’s an starting sound like piinggg is what i experience i kept wondering about that sounds after sometime i came across to an expert he said that it’s really very good if i can hear those sounds he said when you are calm and again when meditate try to hear those sounds from your right side he also said on following those you'll reach omkar'AUM'source of all creations but i’m pretty much confused
The sounds that you hear when meditating or when very calm are the sounds coming from the chakras. The chakras are vortices of energy at seven points along our spine, actually they are deep in our astral spine. But for most of us we can think of them as along our spinal column. There are different sounds coming from each chakra, and the one you may have heard is from the third chakra, the manipur chakra. All these sounds are good. They are all part of the raising of the Kundalini, which when fully raised to the 7th chakra, you become enlightened.
To know more about this subject you should purchase the following books from Ananda India. The teachers of our path of Raja Yoga have clarified the esoteric teachings of yoga. If you are finding unusual sounds or unusual colors before your vision, you need to get clarity. Do either go to an Ananda center, if one is near you, or purchase these books, as both will help you greatly.
The books are The Art & Science of Raja Yoga, which is a complete book of meditation, philosophy, affirmations, and more that encompass the whole of the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda. The other book is on the chakras called, Chakras for Starters. These books can be purchased through anandaindia.org. It is essential to have them as they will help you understand all that your expert was explaining to you.
Listening to these sounds on the right side is correct as the right side is the positive side of the body. But if you hear these sounds, just listen to them in the calmness of your own self. Eventually you will hear them more deeply. And if you keep your concentration calmly at the Spiritual Eye (the sixth chakra), the energy in your spine will go upward toward that center and you will hear other sounds and eventually the all important sound of AUM. You will also be drawing the Kundalini up to this center. Keep your concentration at the Spiritual Eye as much as you can during your meditations and eventually you will realize your goal — one with the Divine.
Blessings to you, Seva
Life Is a Battle Between Light and Darkness
February 19, 2015
In Yogananda’s article, Who and What Is Satan, he says, "... Satan has created restlessness, fear, selfishness, anger, and sorrow." I am recovering from a decade of physical, emotional, and mental abuse in my marriage and sometimes I feel sad. I meditate and pray to Guruji, but I sometimes am overcome with sadness and grief. Behind everything, I feel God’s love and Master’s love, but in my daily life, I experience this trauma. Is it Satan?
Anything that takes us away from our Divine Reality is Satanic in nature. You are praying and feeling the presence of God and Guruji as you heal from your past traumas and this is helping you go forward with faith. Thus you are responding to the memories in a positive way.
On the other hand, the more you live in the memories of your traumas, the more your consciousness will be drawn downward. Life is a battle and we are all warriors on the battlefield between light and dark forces in our consciousness. Consistently replace those dark memories with visions of Master in your mind and ask for his help in overcoming all things that take you away from your Divine Reality. Offer anything that takes you away from the calm peace of your soul into the Light at the point between the eyebrows and ask for guidance in responding appropriately to the agitation you feel.
In Divine Friendship,
How to Adjust to Aches in Meditation
February 18, 2015
you all have been very kind and generous in answering to our questions,so thank you so much.Now that i am regularly practicing meditation,i feel relaxed mentally,more calm and composed believing in god that everything will turn out to be good but physically,i feel some aches in my arms while meditating.Also i am not able to digest spicy foods now which i happen to eat earlier.how to deal with this?thanx
You may be finding that the techniques of meditation alone are not enough. What is important along with meditation is learning to relax the whole body. This can be accomplished by doing yoga postures and breathing techniques that are needed to meditate properly. Ananda has a system of yoga postures that is helpful to those who want to go deeper into meditation. The Art and Science of Raja Yoga, a book by Swami Kriyananda, contains philosophy, meditation techniques, breath techniques, yoga postures to calm the mind and body for meditation, affirmations, healing and more. It is an invaluable resource and can be purchased through anandaindia.org (in India) and crystalclarity.com (in the US).
Also there are classes offered on-line. Ananda India is now beginning on-line classes and Ananda US has been doing them for years now. It is very helpful to have ongoing satsang with these classes and with the virtual community.
I saw a deep mediator use a pillow to rest his arms on during his meditation. Pillows and other props are sometimes needed to help the body relax. Experimentation and creativity is very helpful to bringing you to a place where you can feel the flow of joyful energy.
When you are in a more calm state, you may find that the old habits drop away. It seems for you that the habit of having spicy foods is one of them. Spicy foods tend to heat the body, making it more difficult to meditate properly. It may be hard for you in India not to indulge in "hot" foods, but do keep in mind your real goal that of calm, joyful meditations. Not only are spicy foods difficult to ingest, but also eating meats cause a heaviness and heat the body. So most of us at Ananda are vegetarians.
Do keep your practices going, be creative so you can continue, and be joyful, calm, positive and loving.
Joy to you,
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