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Kailash
India

Question

I’ve just started to practice nishkam karma as much as I can, though it can be very difficult at times. The reason is there are some genuine interests of mine such as pursuing a job in some science subject and also a lifelong interest in it. But when doing nishkam karma, is it wrong to pursue such selfish interests? Is it wrong to work hard to go for a career in it? I’m confused how to maintain nishkam karma along with these interests or is it even right to. Please explain. Thank you!

Kristy Fassler-Hecht

Kristy Fassler-Hecht

Ananda Maine

Answer

Dear Kailash,

Nishkam karma simply means not being attached to the results of your actions. It is your God-given right and duty to pursue a livelihood in a field that interests you. Pursue an honest and industrious life filled with God’s presence in your heart and consciousness as the doer performing all actions through you.

Let the results of your efforts unfold as they will and give God the credit when something works out well and even the blame when perhaps it doesn’t. This is an opportunity for you to grow spiritually with a constant dialogue between you and Divine Mother. Become aware of Her guidance in all that you do and you will gradually succeed in the most important endeavor we can ever pursue, Oneness with our Divine Self.

In Divine Friendship,

Kristy

Jack Mason-Goodall
England

Question

I am currently following the path toward kriya intitiation and have been practicing the Hong-Sau technique daily. However, for me the mental chanting of Hong-Sau does not have the same peaceful energetic resonance for me as other mantras that I have used in the past. Om Namah Shivayah has always resonated with me.

Is there specific vibrations to Hong-Sau that make it more beneficial than other mantras, or would you recommend I use whichever mantra I personally resonate with?

Nayaswami Devarshi

Nayaswami Devarshi

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Jack,

There are a few ways that you can look at this. One of them, as you allude to, is that “Hong-Sau” is a beej mantra, or seed mantra. That means that it works with sound and vibration on the most elemental level, with the specific effect of calming the mind. It also has a meaning, but that’s much less important than it’s vibratory effect. Practiced over time, it will have much more of that calming effect than other mantras.

Other mantras can be fine for specific effects. Many of them also express devotion to different aspects of God, including Shiva.

My answer would also be different depending on whether someone is a disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda. If one is still “shopping” for a spiritual path or Guru, then it’s more appropriate to try different approaches, mantras, techniques, etc. When one is following one’s Guru, whoever that may be, then one should practice the techniques and teachings in the way the Guru gives them—rather than cobbling together different teachings.

joy,

devarshi

September 29
2014

harjit bali
India

Question

I am very confused. My question is: Does God Exist? I am 32 years old and still I am not settled yet. Daily morning I pray to God: “Please forgive me. Please god help me. Please God show me the way.” Were have I to go?

Nayaswami Hriman

Nayaswami Hriman

Ananda Seattle

Answer

Dear Friend,

At 32, you are ready to be settled and it is an age where it is right to wish for this. It is good and it is right.

Think about this: if a person is desperate to have a job or to find a marriage partner, his “desperate-ness” will show itself in nervousness, anxiety, and in making poor decisions, grabbing at the first opportunity instead of being patient for the right opportunity. To be desperate is to PUSH AWAY the very thing one wants the most.

Therefore, have calmness, contentment, even-mindedness, and cheerfulness: these are the best remedies for attracting success and fulfillment.

God answers all prayers, but restless prayers he answer only a little bit. Meditate first and make contact with God in the form of inner peace and contentment. Then, when you are near the end of meditation, hold up for prayer and guidance your goal of being settled. Feel how achieving your goal can help you and others spiritually by becoming a responsible, hard-working, generous and kind person in your family, your neighborhood, and your community. Ask God: “How can I serve you best? How can I love you more perfectly?”

Then, let the prayer go and go about your daily duties with joy, energy, and willingness to do the right thing and have a good attitude under all conditions.

Try this and be patient about this. We cannot see the karma from past lives that weaves itself into the present life. We must see our lives with the eyes of God and of eternity!

Blessings,

Nayaswami Hriman

Sangita
India

Question

Namashkar! We have grown up learning that a man of strength in character apologizes when he wrongs someone. He is not scared or ashamed to say sorry to make the victim feel better. On the contrary, recently I read an article in which American psychologists say that apologizing may not be a good idea always as we give away our power to the victim. It may lead to lowering of our self esteem. Which one holds more truth?

Nayaswami Hriman

Nayaswami Hriman

Ananda Seattle

Answer

Dear Sangita,

Those “American psychologists” may have had particular circumstances in mind, but, in general, it IS the right thing to apologize (and make amends, where possible). Under most circumstances there will be no DISadvantage to do so and every moral and spiritual reason to “do the right thing.”

From a spiritual and karmic point of view, and a human one as well, apologizing (and making appropriate amends) is to help balance the karma of the harm one has done to another. Apologizing affirms self-honesty and transcendence of ego-affirming and ego-protective tendencies. The soul does not hesitate to apologize and make amends. Socially and humanly, an apology opens the heart: the one harmed has an incentive to forgive while the one apologizing feels remorse for the harm inflicted.

Are there any circumstances where it would be wise NOT to apologize and where to do so would be “giving away one’s power?” Well, I suppose it’s possible if a person (apologizing) tends to be self-abasing and the person being apologized to would likely respond to the apology by being abusive, angry or hurtful when the apology is being given. So, sure.

But it could also be true that if I had harmed someone, even someone who was, themselves, an abusive person, I might still feel to apologize to him and to do so with dignity and calmness. If I could remain centered even as I was lectured to and yelled at by the person to whom I apologized, it could still be “good for me” spiritually and the right thing, in any case, to do. After all, I am admitting I harmed him and am “taking my lumps” calmly. So, it really depends on specific circumstances and personalities. Do you see what I mean?

Sometimes the middle path is to wait a while until the person you have harmed has calmed down or recovered a bit before apologizing.

OK?

Blessings to you,

Nayaswami Hriman

Indrani
India

Question

If despite not so good behavior, one has a soft corner for someone due to past connections, is it a weakness and attachment, or is it true love?

Nayaswami Seva

Nayaswami Seva

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Indrani,

Choose always to love. But understand that love needs to come from a higher source, such as your guru or God. I have found that we do not really know what love is as it gets all tangled with emotions and past experiences. It is best to always turn toward God and draw his light and love into your heart and spiritual eye. You are ready then to give love to all.

This means that keeping an open and positive attitude to all is essential — for them and particularly for yourself. This does not mean that you need to interact with everyone, especially those who show bad behavior. In fact, it’s best not to be around such individuals as their energies can sometimes be stronger than yours. If this is the case they will bring your energies down to their level. Never let this happen. Do not be around them, but send them God’s love in prayer.

To live in this world it is best to keep your energy strong and in the light. You can always send this person or persons prayers for their well being. If you need to interact with negative, harmful people, keep your energy strong and in the light. Be brief and positive. They will soon get the message and leave you alone or possibly change their attitudes.

If you are talking of a specific person in your life who has bad attitudes, best to not see him/her until your energy is stronger. Again, you can always send them love and light from the divine. This will keep your energy in the light and it will definitely bring light to that person.

Bless you, Seva

theotis
USA

Question

I have seen many friends with very little spiritual disposition become interested in spiritual teachings due to LSD and other psychedelic experiences. Yet these things are not spoken well of in most teachings. Will you help me to understand why these things that can draw souls to spiritual interests are condemned?

Kristy Fassler-Hecht

Kristy Fassler-Hecht

Ananda Maine

Answer

Dear Theotis,

Thanks for your question regarding the use of hallucinatory drugs, such as LSD, to awaken spiritual yearning. In Swami Kriyananda’s book, Letters to Truth Seekers, he answers your question very well.

November 7, 1967

You ask what my views are on drugs. In a nutshell I might say that I do not approve of them, but nor do I condemn them completely for I have seen many people brought to the spiritual path as a result of them. Yet I don’t think it is drugs that have actually given those people anything concrete. What has been accomplished, rather, is that the drugs have released certain spiritual samskars, or impressions born of past spiritual actions, that were lying dormant within them, awaiting the opportunity to express themselves. Those impressions would have to come out sooner or later anyway. My claim that drugs release what was there already, instead of giving one anything new, is supported by the fact that some people, taking the same drugs, have had quite opposite and even terrifying experiences.

But I have noticed that when people take drugs not only once or twice, but continuously, the effect on their personality seems to be deleterious. One or two doses may at least make one aware that uncommon states of consciousness exist (though it seems foolish to me even then to offer one’s mind up as a guinea pig to dangerous experiments). But what I have observed is that, in time, a subtle form of egotism develops which is even more insidious than the competitive, worldly ego toward which drug users are so condescending.

The path to God – to Truth; call it what you will – is one of self-offering, not of self-indulgence. My Guru’s guru, Swami Sri Yukteswar, said, “Many people forsake worldly attachments only to seek them again on a subtler level of miracles and astral phenomena.” It is not what God gives us in meditation in the form of visions and the like that determines our inner progress, but our increasing willingness to give all that we are to Him. Drugs seem to inspire a sort of spiritual self-centeredness, an attachment to experiences, that is the very opposite of self-giving. Quite apart from the fact that the experiences themselves are certainly of a lower order (subconscious, mostly, not superconscious), the very human attitude that these drugs engender is one of indifference to the “realities” of other people. In this sense drugs, in the long run, actually reduce one’s sensitivity to reality as a whole, in spite of the claim that they make one more sensitive.

I suggest you bear in mind the words of Sister Gyanamata: “Remember, your religion is tested in the cold light of day.”

In Divine Friendship, Swami Kriyananda

I will add here Paramhansa Yogananda’s words, “The path to God is not a circus.” One doesn’t find God through shortcuts but through total self-offering as mentioned above by Swami Kriyananda. It is difficult to offer one self to a Higher Reality if one’s consciousness is not under one’s own control.

Joy to you, Kristy

July 22
2014

dhruv parikh
india

Question

I have few questions, please clear my confusions..

1) What is the fourth consciousness state of “turia”?

2) In “The Time Tunnel” I read that “Time is deep cosmic secret, no one knows what it means! We must try to solve this secret.” Can you please explain real nature of time and how it flows?

Nayaswami Gyandev

Nayaswami Gyandev

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Dhruv,

Turiya is the so-called fourth state of consciousness (conscious, dreaming, dreamless sleep, turiya). It is the state beyond deep, dreamless sleep, in which the superconscious is active. It is the constant background consciousness that we all have, but upon which the other three states can—and usually do—intrude and thereby interfere with the experience of reality as it truly is.

As for time, all great masters say that time and space are illusions. But as long as we are in the illusion, time is a reality. So to understand the true nature of time, we must be able to step outside of the illusion. That can be done only in the superconscious state; any explanation I could offer would be mere words, which are of the conscious mind. Yet the conscious mind wants to have some understanding of time, and I hope you will find some of the following helpful.

First, Paramhansa Yogananda offered an analogy: He compared time to a movie film, which can be run through a movie projector quickly or slowly, forward or backward. Think about it.

Another step toward understanding time can come by noting that outward reality is full of change, and it is change that gives rise to our experience of time. Without change, we would have no sense of time. Change and time are the same. (Again, think of the movie film analogy.) If we live in the superconscious state, however, we perceive the changeless, timeless nature of the one true reality.

Now let’s leave philosophy and analogy in favor of a practical suggestion from Swami Kriyananda’s Success and Happiness Through Yoga Principles: “The secret of turning the truth of timelessness to best present advantage is to see change, and even evolution itself, as a process of unfolding awareness. Allow no fleeting concern to lead you away from that goal. At the same time, don’t allow theoretical philosophy to blind you to present realities.”

Blessings,

Gyandev

July 22
2014

P
India

Question

Hi... I have been on the spiritual path for over a year now. It has helped me in many ways. Recently in a aura capture by an aura camera, it was found that my root chakra is shrunk. I am told that it determines our career and the money we attract in our life? It is true that I don’t attract as much money as the amount f hard work I put in. Also I feel lethargic despite doing energization exercises. What is the safest way to balance this chakra? I don’t think more meditation will help.

Nayaswami Savitri

Nayaswami Savitri

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear P,

We are very glad to hear of your being on the spiritual path for some time now and that it has helped you in many ways. I’m sure it will continue to be a great blessing for you.

Regarding the chakras, an “aura photo” is fun to have made, but it cannot show a permanent picture of what is going on in one or more of your chakras. This is because the chakras are made of energy and are always in motion, fluctuating rapidly. As the saying goes: “You can’t step into the same river twice.” Your chakra system is like a river of energy — always changing! An aura photo today will look very different from one made at a different time, depending on your attitudes at that moment.

Also, a chakra cannot shrink. It is made of light and therefore has no “size.” Radiations of light from the chakras can seem dimmer if the energy is “stuck” and or not able to flow in it’s positive channels, inward and upward through the chakras system to the higher chakras.

Our path’s teachings on the 1st chakra explain that its positive qualities are steadfastness, loyalty, strength, courage, holding fast, with faith, to truth and to your spiritual path. The negative qualities are stubbornness,, bigotry, and unwillingness to grow and change. Perhaps these attitudes could affect your career or your relationship to money. Also, feeling lethargic might be a negative quality of this chakra.

You ask what is the safest way to “balance this chakra?” Offer its energy, in meditation, inward and upward to the spiritual eye. Visualize it. Breathe it. You say that you think meditation will not help? Not so! It is the major tool for working with the chakras, along with changing your negative attitudes to positive ones, in each chakra. Energization is a HUGE help also.

It is important also not to single out one chakra and try to work on it alone. The chakras are a part of a dynamic system and need to be worked with as a whole, by running prana (conscious, cosmic energy) through all the chakras. This is because prana is conscious, it knows where to go and what to do for ANY chakra which might need help.

If you have further interest in Paramhansa Yogananda’s and Swami Kriyananda’s teachings on the chakras, please read Chakras for Starters.

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