Ask Ananda’s Experts
Questions and Answers About Meditation, Yoga, the Spiritual Life, and More
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How Do We Know That Jesus Practiced Kriya Yoga?
July 31, 2015
I was wondering how do we really know that Jesus and his disciples practiced Kriya Yoga?
What we know is that an avatar who lived in the 20th century, Paramhansa Yogananda, said that Jesus probably practiced either Kriya yoga or “a technique very similar to it.” In Autobiography of a Yogi, he wrote:
St. Paul knew Kriya Yoga, or a technique very similar to it, by which he could switch life currents to and from the senses. He was therefore able to say: “Verily, I protest by our rejoicing which I have in Christ, I die daily.”
The statement of a great master is a fairly strong indicator that this was true.
In addition, Swami Kriyananda said he had been told about a tradition in Spain which stated that at the time of his death on the cross, Jesus made certain movements with his head that are very similar to those taught in the higher Kriya initiations.
Both the statement of Yogananda, as well as this tradition in Spain, link Jesus Christ to Kriya Yoga or “a technique very similar to it.”
In divine friendship,
What Should I Do During Short Meditations?
July 27, 2015
I hope this is not a point I missed when taking the course path for Kriya, but what is the recommendation for a brief meditation like the ones always done near the beginning of the Sunday services at Ananda Village, and also during many of the other online events? I’m not sure what is best to do. 2 regular breathing breaths, a minute of hong sau followed by a minute or so of changing AUM and then expansion like my favorite visualization. Many choices, not much time.
For brief meditations it’s really according to what you feel inspired to do. In general, however, exactly as you have outlined is just fine. But don’t feel "pressured" to go through a predictable routine each time. (I assume you do not, as yet, practice Kriya Yoga?). Do, of course, allow a little time to simply sit quietly, feeling devotion or energy, joy, or peace (etc.) without actively practicing any specific technique.
There have been times when, for me, a brief meditation went very deep because right away I went into the silence (or maybe after just a few breaths or even a few kriyas). A brief meditation is also an opportunity to emphasize devotion over technique, and, to enjoy God’s presence as Divine Mother, as the guru or as one of the aspects of God (such as peace, etc.).
So, most of all enjoy a brief meditation; do a few simple practices and then dive deep into the ocean of silence! OK?
Are Conditions Always Neutral?
July 27, 2015
Yogananda said that "conditions are neither good nor bad; they are always neutral." I understand that morality is relative, but that doesn’t mean it’s subjective. Isn’t it true, for e.g., that harming an innocent child for pleasure is objectively bad? We have a moral duty to do good. Kriyananda also said that morality is directional in its relativity. So how can all conditions be "neutral"?
This is a subtle and sensitive issue that you raise; one that can easily be misunderstood.
My understanding of Yogananda’s words is that they relate to the level of attachment (the “good and bad”), that we bring to conditions. That doesn’t mean we should let bad things happen around us; it has to do with not reacting to those things, but rather acting in a way that involves dharma, or right action. “Rightness,” or dharma, can be understood as those feelings, thoughts, and actions, which directionally, are bringing us closer to God.
If we see a situation such as you describe, it is certainly appropriate to not condone abusive behavior. It is also appropriate to take action if warranted. However, if we react to wrong behavior in others by getting angry, then we are basically just adding more fuel to the problem.
It is difficult for us to view the play (“lila”) of God and understand that everything in life, good or bad, is happening so as to offer us opportunities for spiritual growth. God is in everything, even when we have a hard time accepting that reality. Perhaps this is the most important thing to gain from Yogananda’s words, "conditions are neither good nor bad; they are always neutral."
I hope this is helpful.
In divine friendship,
Healing After a Devastating Loss
July 22, 2015
My wife passed at 33 years age in a train accident 2 month ago.in 8 years of our married life she left me with my 7 years daughter. Will she forgive me for any mistake of mine that ever I hert her intensionaly or unintentionally.?is this accident took her away from me & my daughter due to any negative karma of mine.? That she has to face this accident. How do I connect to her for confess something or realize her absence?
First, I want to express my deepest condolences to you for the devastating loss of your wife and your daughter’s mother. Paramhansa Yogananda said that God never gives us a test that is greater than we can handle, but when we are in the midst of such a big loss, we can feel overwhelmed with sadness. This leads us to wish we could do it all over, but with even more love.
Please know that your wife forgives you for anything and everything. The soul, once freed from the body, can see things from a more expanded view. Also, in the astral world, when souls are ready, they often have a spiritual guide to help them review their life with greater understanding.
Karma is complex. All we can really see is that which is right before us. We all have so much karma from so many lives. Your wife had the karma to die young, and you and your daughter had this karma to lose her much too soon. But mass karma is also a factor in this, since she died in a train accident, which I assume took other lives, as well. Swami Kriyananda taught that if we are caught in a mass karma situation, it may not mean that we had the strong karma to die that day, but perhaps we needed stronger good karma to counter that mass karma, so that we could survive it. This can happen in small way, such as maybe some people never got on that train, eve though they had a ticket, or maybe they went to another car right in time, etc.
Please know that I am not saying these things to deepen your anguish in any way. Rather, I am trying to help you get past the personal aspect of blaming yourself, or your own karma, for causing her demise. Karma is so vast.
You can send your love now to the soul of your wife, even now. Paramhansa Yogananda wrote:
To send your thoughts to loved ones who have passed on, sit quietly in your room and meditate upon God. When you feel His peace within you, concentrate deeply at the Christ center, the center of will at the point between the two eyebrows, and broadcast your love to those dear ones who are gone. Visualize at the Spiritual Eye the person you wish to contact. Send to that soul your vibrations of love, and of strength and courage. If you do this continuously, and if you don’t lose the intensity of your interest in that loved one, that soul will definitely receive your vibrations. Such thoughts give your loved ones a sense of well-being, a sense of being loved. They have not forgotten you any more than you have forgotten them.
Send your thoughts of love and goodwill to your loved ones as often as you feel inclined to do so, but at least once a year — perhaps on some special anniversary. Mentally tell them, “We will meet again sometime and continue to develop our divine love and friendship with one another.” If you send them your loving thoughts continuously now, someday you will surely meet them again. You will know that this life is not the end, but merely one link in the eternal chain of your relationship with your loved ones.
This book can also be of great help to you now. It is available in India: Karma and Reincarnation, by Paramhansa Yogananda.
God bless you.
The Guru's Ray, Flowing Through Disciples
July 21, 2015
Hello. I understand that disciplic lineage is important in finding a guru, a teacher. How do I go about doing this, or is this one of those when the student is ready, the teacher will appear situations? Thank you for your time.
I think the right response is one of those BOTH-AND responses. Yes, when the disciple is ready, the "guru" (which includes the teachings, other disciples, the lineage, and the techniques) "appears," but that won’t happen unless we put out some energy in that direction. Running around helter-skelter to chase after gurus is, of course, silly. But sincere searching for one’s path is serious and committed, if calm and sometimes even humorous!
Paramhansa Yogananda put it this way: at first, one is guided and inspired by books; then lesser teachers, and, in time, by the true (or sat) guru. The implication, and the reality that I have observed, is that most of us find our spiritual path in the context of other disciples, perhaps long before we meet the true guru in human form. I put it this way: "The question isn’t who is a true guru, but who is a true disciple!"
We must prove (mostly to ourselves!) that our search is pure and sincere before we can attract that soul who actually has the power to free us. The good news is that God, in the form of one’s true guru, need not be physically present. The guru can guide us through other disciples, through the teachings and techniques and in other ways by our inner attunement. There has to be, as our teacher explained it, one "touch" of the guru at some point in one or more of these ways. But it makes sense because so fulfilling that in some lifetime we will have the living presence and friendship of our guru to guide us to freedom.
One who rejects contact with other disciples in favor of the claim of having a direct connection is warned of pride. So, continue your search and be open to the help offered by those who represent the divine ray to which you are drawn. Step by step we are guided as we grow, spiritually.
Blessings to you,
Helping a Child's Broken Heart
July 21, 2015
My husband issued me a legal notice during 4th month of my pregnancy.I blindly trusted him but he deceived me and my daughter.I had a chance to terminate my pregnancy but being a Mother I didnt.From the community which I belong,father has a prime importance for upbringing of the child.I take all the responsibility upon my shoulders as Shri Swami Vivekanada says and accept what destiny has to offer. But I am unable to c sufferings of my daughter. How can I suffice her pain?
Thank you for your question. I am so sorry that you had to endure this shock during your pregnancy, in what ideally should be a time of peace and harmony between a couple. You do not mention how old your child is at this point, and in what ways she shows her suffering, but I will answer you in some general ways. Please do feel free to write back to me, as needed.
The main "cure" for your child is to pray for her every day, and feel that you are surrounding her heart chakra in love and healing light. We can pray for her, as well. In my private healing sessions I have sometimes come across a similar scenario in which a great trauma happened during pregnancy, and abortion was considered by the parents. In such cases, the baby sometimes internalizes all that angst, and believes on a core level they are somehow flawed, and is the cause of all the problems between the parents. This core thought of being "the problem" can continue through life, unless healed.
I am glad you did not have the abortion. Paramhansa Yogananda says that life begins at conception. So it is a spiritual victory that you did not take the easy way out at that time. She is blessed to have you as her mother.
Please feel free to request healing prayers for your daughter and for yourself, until you feel this issue is resolved in Light. try not to think of her father as the enemy in any way, as this is a burden for your child. He is her father. Some difficult karma was at play, and he wasn’t ready then to live up to the responsibilities of marriage and family. Maybe that will change in the future, or maybe in another life. But for now, simply see him as God’s erring child, who failed you in your time of great need. Hopefully this will help you to let go of some of the pain, and this in turn will help your daughter. Children are very connected to their mothers.
Surround yourself with the support of family and friends, if possible. How old is your daughter now? These spiritual resources may be helpful to you, once you have created a stable life for her. We will pray for you.
Please keep in touch.
Mary Kretzmann, Director,
I am suffering from depression which is caused by the problems of fear of decease n fear of death.i have been practicing haung-sau and om meditation techniques from last 1 year but these thoughts are keep coming during meditaion.plz advice to avoid these negative thoughs during meditation and general advice to improve my condition
Sometimes during times when one experiences depression, fear or other negative emotions, it might not be enough to practice meditation, as the heart is too agitated.
Try adding meditative activities, like walking meditation with a repetition of a positive affirmation like this one by Swami Kriyananda:
"I am strong in myself, I am complete in myself. The joy and perfection of the universe, await discovery within my inner being."
Try walking in nature and relating to the beauty of flowers, trees, and the sound of birds. Focus on deep breathing, and feeling life’s energy and vitality flowing through you. Feel the joy of your own being.
Spend time with positive supportive people.
Find a way to serve other people. Sharing and giving to other people will help you expand your self identity. As you feel more joyful, then you will find that the meditation practices will be more effective.
Right now, it is better to focus on self-expansion, through service to others, through meditative activities, and feeling the joy of your existence. And if you are taking prescription medication for depression, continue that.
Transmute Fear into Wisdom and Courage
July 14, 2015
I have been meditating for 1 month. Sometimes I meditate between the brows and sometimes on the chest center. When I meditate on the chest center, my body gets heated up quickly and a certain kind of fear gripes me. This completely freaks me out. And then I break my meditation. Please guide me as to at which point I should meditate. And why this fear happens.
Congratulations on beginning your practice of meditation. You mention you are either focusing on the heart chakra or the spiritual eye during your practice and that you are experiencing fearful feelings when concentrating on the heart chakra. The fear can be transmuted with regular, sincere practice of meditation and the grace of a true guru like Paramhansa Yogananda or any of the other masters of Self-realization.
I suggest you begin your meditation with devotional chants and offer the love of your heart to God at the spiritual eye and maintain your concentration there. Ask for God’s power to transmute all fear into wisdom and courage.
You have a wonderful opportunity to overcome fear through true spiritual teachings and meditation. May you grow ever more free and joyful as you practice the God given teachings of Self realization.
In Divine Friendship,
- Guru-Disciple Relationship
- Health and Healing
- Karma, Reincarnation
- Kriya Yoga
- Paramhansa Yogananda
- Science and Yoga
- Spiritual Community
- Spiritual Parenting
- Spiritual Path
- Swami Kriyananda
- The Arts
- The Yugas
- Yoga Postures