Questions and Answers
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?
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!
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?
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,
An older man in my meditation group who has been meditating for decades began giving me lots of attention. He began calling me, writing me spiritual love notes, etc.. I enjoyed this friendship because I felt supported in my meditation efforts and nurtured in friendship. We had a couple of nurturing moments on the more intimate side. Then he wrote, "feelings change but we’d always be friends in God." I feel used and energetically dry. My meditation has not been the same since.
I am sorry that your intimate relationship with this man didn’t last long, and that you are now going through a rough time.
In a meditation group, it is quite normal for hearts to open and people to feel attracted to each other. You freely opened the door of your heart and allowed him in, so why do you see yourself as having been used? He might have been confused himself, and only after the two of you became intimate was the energy strong enough that he realized that he was looking for something different, so he withdrew—perhaps out of consideration for your feelings. In any case, at least he had the integrity to end it quickly. There is no one here to blame; simply learn from it and move on.
If you are yearning for a loving relationship with a spiritual man, pray deeply to God and ask for it. Keep your meditation practice strong, your priorities clear, and ask God to help you heal.
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.
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,
Greeting to Yogis of Ananda,
I met Swami Kriyananda on his birthday in 2008. I had long wished to meet him as he wrote that a physical contact with your Guru is important. I touched his feet and Swamiji touched me on my forehead saying Aum. The next moment, I feel a sensation in the the pineal gland and between my chest. The sensation on my chest remained for few days but the sensation in the pineal gland still remains. All those who received Him... Is this the power to become the son of God?
What a great blessing you describe from your meeting of Swami Kriyananda! The spiritual power of the awakened spiritual eye (Kutastha Chaitanya) is indeed the Christ (or "Kristna") consciousness, otherwise latent in our soul’s consciousness. To feel God’s touch there is but the beginning however. To quote Paramhansa Yogananda’s famous poem, “Samadhi,” “by deeper, longer, thirsty, guru-given meditation comes this celestial Samadhi.”
Therefore, deepen this blessing, this touch of the guru (Paramhansa Yogananda through a direct disciple, Swami Kriyananda) by daily meditation, devotion, prayer, and nishkam karma (selfless action spoken of by Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita). Also, by association with other gurbhais, especially from Ananda, you can daily “receive Him” as you evolve ever more certainly toward moksha, liberation in God.
Blessings to you,
I had a dream which was so good that it felt real. I'll not forget that dream for my whole life. What I saw was God. Yes, I saw God. He was in a child’s form and he had an 'AUM' symbol on his forehead. He said something to me from inside of me. I believe he was trying to convey some message. What do you think?
God can and often does speak to us through our dreams, which is a great blessing when it happens. Sometimes the message is in the form of symbols. In your dreams the obvious symbols would be the child’s form and the AUM symbol on the child’s forehead.
The best way to understand the message of the dream is to pray deeply at the beginning of your next meditation. Prayer is talking to God and meditation is listening for the answer. So pray to understand what God wants to convey to you through this dream, then let your questions go, calming your mind and meditating deeply.
At the close of your meditation, wait patiently in quietness of mind to see if an answer slips gently into your mind. If it does not appear immediately (often it does) don’t be concerned. The answer may come later, when you least expect it.
However, if nothing is ever especially revealed to you about how to interpret your dream, then know that your dream was still a great blessing for you. Leave it at that, and just be grateful for that blessing.
It’s always best that we ask God/Gurus to help us interpret our dreams rather than relying on a book or another person to help interpret our dreams for us. This is because your dreams, particularly superconscious dreams, are given to you personally and generally have a unique meaning for you alone.
I have read in books that there are four yugas; Kali, Dwapara, Treta & Satya. Also, that Kali yuga started just after Krishna left his body which lasted for 6000 years ascending and 6000 years descending before Dwapara ascending since 1900.
1. How long will Dwapara & Treta ascend and descend before ascending to Satya?
2. Is Satya yuga the last yuga ascending forever or descends again to Kali?
3. If Kali yuga started after Krishna left his body, what was the yuga he was born?
Not all traditions use the same dating for the yugas. I prefer the dating of Sri Yukteswar as outlined in his book, The Holy Science. Sri Yukteswar uses the duration of the yugas found in the Vedas and the Book of Manu. Satya Yuga is 4000 years long with 400 year transitions at the beginning and the end for a total of 4800 years (4000+400+400=4800). Treta Yuga is 3000 years long with 300 year transitions at the beginning and end for a total of 3600 years (3000+300+300=3600). Dwapara Yuga is 2000 years long with 200 year transitions at the beginning and end for a total of 2400 years (2000+200+200=2400). Kali Yuga is 1000 years with 100 year transitions at the beginning and end for a total of 1200 years (1000+100+100=1200). By adding together the length of all the yugas — 4800+3600+2400+1200 — we see that the ascending and descending half of the yuga cycle each last 12,000 years, for a total cycle of 24,000 years.
Sri Yukteswar calculated that the last Dwapara Yuga ended in 700BC, shortly after the passing of Krishna. According to his calculations we passed through both descending and ascending Kali Yugas from 700BC to 1700AD, and into ascending Dwapara Yuga transition in 1700AD and into Dwapara proper in 1900AD. Our current Dwapara Yuga will end in 4100AD, followed by ascending Treta Yuga until 7700AD, followed by ascending Satya Yuga until 11,500AD.
Sri Yukteswar said that our current Dwapara Yuga bestows on mankind the awareness of energy and the fine structures of matter — thus we call it the energy age. In the energy age we have learned that all matter is energy in a condensed form. We have also begun to become more aware of subtle energy — life force, prana, chi — that is the gateway to deeper spiritual awareness. Many practices, such as meditation, yoga postures, and acupuncture, whose effectiveness arises from becoming aware of and using subtle energy, come down to us from the previous descending Dwapara energy age that began in 3100BC and ended in 700BC.
If you would like to know more about the yugas, I have a website devoted to the subject: http://www.theyugas.com.
Puru (Joseph) Selbie
hello. I’ve got anxiety disorder, on meds. I’ve noticed when in meditation, sometimes intense unpleasant heat is generated in parts esp near ears. harder I try to concentrate hotter it gets. Ive noticed it is associated with an unfocussed mind. Medically they call this psychosomatic symptoms. But when strongly focused on my Guru, it dissapears. Is this me unable to channel energy properly? I’d like to know your take on this. Thank you.
Since you have specific health conditions which are being treated by a health care professional, I must be cautious in my comments. If you are having good results by concentrating on your Guru, this seems a good and safe course of action. As to whether your symptoms are the result of an unfocused mind, that is a much broader question and could be as much related to medical conditions as to the mind itself. There’s nothing wrong with developing your concentration skills. Any one can benefit from doing THAT, whether during meditation or by engaging in specific mental concentration techniques.
During meditation, it is always good to avoid concentrating so "hard" that tension (and heat!) results. Think of something that you enjoy doing where the need to concentrate doesn’t exist because you enjoy doing it! That’s how meditation should be. Swami Kriyananda, in his popular book, Awaken to Superconsciousness, describes meditation as "upward relaxation into superconsciousness." Always emphasize RELAXATION first in the art of meditation. From devotion and sincere yearning for God, Guru, or inner peace, concentration becomes natural and not a strain upon the brain or the mind.
Approach, therefore, meditation with joy; with devotion; with sincere love. It would help you, I think, to practice some hatha yoga before sitting. Certainly, to practice some pranayama as your guru recommends. Paramhansa Yogananda commented that "Chanting is half the battle." This can include mantra also. So, try chanting both as part of meditation and part of daily life.
Remember: RELAXATION IS THE KEY!
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