Category: Spiritual Path
Why Watching Sexually Explicit Material Is NOT a Good Idea
February 9, 2015
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
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!
Are My Misfortunes the Result of Kriya Yoga?
February 2, 2015
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.
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.
Service Is Simply an Attitude
January 30, 2015
What is meant by service to God? What is the need of service? What does God get by Being served?
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,
“The Greatest Sin” — How to Overcome Guilt
January 26, 2015
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?
"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,
On Finding a Guru and Attaining Samadhi
December 31, 2014
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?
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.
If I become a saint, will my life be more challenging?
December 29, 2014
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?
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!
Resources to help you get started on the spiritual path
December 29, 2014
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?
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.
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,
Allow God's love to flow through you
December 15, 2014
What is the meaning of serving the God? God is the supreme, how can I serve Him?
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,
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