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

Category: Spiritual Path

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Amor
India

Question

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?

Nayaswami Hriman

Nayaswami Hriman

Ananda Seattle

Answer

Dear Friend,

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!

Nayaswami Hriman

Rush
USA

Question

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?

Nayaswami Hriman

Nayaswami Hriman

Ananda Seattle

Answer

Dear Rush,

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,

Nayaswami Hriman

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

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