Ask Ananda's Experts > Spiritual Path

Ask Ananda’s Experts
Questions and Answers About Meditation, Yoga, the Spiritual Life, and More

Category: Spiritual Path

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Melanie
UK

Question

Hi

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.

Many thanks

Melanie

Kristy Fassler-Hecht

Kristy Fassler-Hecht

Ananda Maine

Answer

Dear Melanie,

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,

Kristy

ruchit
india

Question

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

Nayaswami Seva

Nayaswami Seva

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Ruchit,

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

Lila
INDIA

Question

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?

Kristy Fassler-Hecht

Kristy Fassler-Hecht

Ananda Maine

Answer

Dear Lila,

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,

Kristy

shiffali
india

Question

Namaste,

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

Nayaswami Seva

Nayaswami Seva

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Shiffali,

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,

Seva

ASP
India

Question

Hi Ananda Family,

With all your spiritual understanding, please explain me if at all watching porn is bad, how does it affect an individual’s karma?...Isn’t that state of mind a perfect one where the mind stays undisturbed even when looking at something close to porn?....The television and media is full of these things ....It is almost everywhere....how can one stay firm and controlled even in presence of these?

Many thanks for your help

Nayaswami Hriman

Nayaswami Hriman

Ananda Seattle

Answer

Dear Friend,

You ask "Isn’t that state of mind a perfect one where the mind stays undisturbed even when looking at something close to porn?" But that IS the question. Consider: Who would choose to watch such things whose mind would indeed remain undisturbed? Answer: essentially: NO ONE!

Most devotees and yogis choose to avoid watching media that emphasizes and provides gratuitous sexuality or violence for the simple reason that such images impress themselves upon the mind. Elemental lusts derive from a consciousness whose power is far greater than that of an individual ego. The soul, struggling to win the battle of life over material desires, must not imagine the power of maya is easily dismissed. Why grovel in the mud of enticing vibrations of delusion and the false allure of pleasure (which the wise know give rise eventually only to suffering, mental or physical)?

There may be circumstances where one is exposed to gross sexuality or violence and in such circumstances remaining inward and centered is, given no other choice, the best course of action. But no one would purposely do so: not if he is sincere, self-honest, and wisely pursuing true happiness and an expansion of consciousness toward freedom in God! To trifle with these temptations is courting spiritual disaster.

The subconscious mind and the influence of maya will suggest to you that you can be exposed to these things without being affected. That is a lie born of the hidden desire to enjoy these things.

The pleasures of the human body can never satisfy our desire for happiness. Not only this, but to indulge in the delusion (whether vicariously or physically) plants the seeds of further desires. In time, the burning flames of forever-unfulfilled desires for pleasure will eat away at your mind, your emotions, and even your physical health. Thus it is sometimes described as "going to hell" because the flames of sense desire can never be fulfilled, only temporarily sated. Like a drug addict, even when there’s no longer pleasure there is a compulsion to indulge. Self-respect is thus the first victim.

And why is this so? Because pleasure is, by necessity, a temporary experience. Repeated indulgence eventually wears down the body and nervous system and brain causing nervousness, tension, dullness and loss of vitality and memory. The only true happiness to be found lies in the Self, within: from which all things are created. In God alone is the true and lasting pleasure of Bliss. If not long before, at least eventually, illness, old-age and death bring to an end all earthly pleasures.

So while it is true that the mind should be on its guard from avidly seeking and indulging, one should not unnecessarily expose oneself to the magnetic attraction of a universal and deeply embedded delusion, lest one risk spiritual death (at least for this lifetime).

Thus it is a fact that throughout the world, society and spiritual teachers counsel that we must keep our sexual impulses in check by the boundaries of love, trust, loyalty, respect and friendship born of a committed relationship.

Don’t think for a minute that you are different and can flaunt humankind’s wisdom. Media is simply a business and sex sells. Don’t think these things are "normal" even if pervasive in the world today. It IS a delusion and it IS a powerful delusion. Just because "everybody does it" doesn’t make it appropriate for a truthseeker. The world is filled with foolish and ignorant people, most "enjoying" varying degrees of misery. The amount of suffering on this planet caused by inappropriate sexual activity and promotion of sex is beyond measure. Keep your distance, my friend!

Pray for guidance and for self-honesty!

Nayaswami Hriman

Lijo joseph
India

Question

Hi am 32 old, catholic, and live with my mother. I took kriya initiation from YSS 1 year back and am facing many problems. I'm afraid, after entering into this path, many misfortunes are visiting me one by one. After one year I began to learn the lessons, my father passed away suddenly, then after 2 years I got married and within one month she left me and filed many false cases against me and demands money to withdraw the cases,now my job is at stake. why all these happens ? how i can solve ? help me.

Nayaswami Hriman

Nayaswami Hriman

Ananda Seattle

Answer

Dear Lijo,

I am sorry to hear of your troubles. I want to assure you that these troubles are not the result of Kriya Yoga. Troubles come to all of us from time to time in life and a meditation practice like kriya can help strengthen our faith to accept what we can’t change and find the energy to change what we can.

Use your daily kriya practice to contact God through the guru so you can have the inner strength and guidance to move through life and difficulties with calmness, confidence and courage. Changes and disappointments always seem hurtful when they come but perhaps these are opening up your life for new directions and opportunities.

Do you stay in contact with YSS (Yogoda Satsanga Society) or Ananda? It is important to meditate with others who practice Kriya and who study the teachings of your gurus.

There are Ananda centers in many of the major cities of India. I think you would benefit from the satsang and counsel of Ananda members and acharyas.

May the light of the Masters guide your path toward freedom in God.

Nayaswami Hriman

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

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