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Siddharth Patel
India

Question

What is meant by service to God? What is the need of service? What does God get by Being served?

Nayaswami Parvati

Nayaswami Parvati

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Siddharth,

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,

Nayaswami Parvati

ruchit
india

Question

i’m meditating at night and concentrating on god within myself and i don’t sleep so will this not getting sleep affect me in any way??

also sometime i feel tingling sensation on my forehead point like getting pulled or some ants moving on that point what is it?

Nayaswami Hriman

Nayaswami Hriman

Ananda Seattle

Answer

Dear Friend,

Meditation will sometimes cause sleeplessness or reduce one’s need for sleep, but sleeplessness is also very common and can be caused by many other factors. The first and most important thing is whether your lack of sleep is causing problems in your life: doing your work during day is an obvious one; mood swings, fatigue, sleepiness, irritability and similar symptoms usually occur as well.

If, therefore, lack of sleep is causing problems (as I assume it is, or, soon will), you should adjust the time during the day when you meditate. Perhaps meditate earlier in the evening rather than just before bed. You might also have your longer meditation in the morning rather than late at night. It is important to have balance in your life that allows you to sustain your meditation practices over the years. Krishna in Bhagavad Gita says that yoga is not for those who sleep too much or sleep too little. The balanced, middle path is the way to find God.

As to the other symptom of — tingling in the forehead — that does indeed happen sometimes as a result of concentration at the point between the eyebrows. Of course, there can be other, natural causes as well. Unless it is very bothersome, I wouldn’t be concerned. If helpful, rub your forehead when it occurs; or, simply ignore it. Beyond that I would not ascribe any particular spiritual meaning to that phenomenon.

Ok?

Blessings to you,

Nayaswami Hriman

Henric Niles
Netherlands

Question

Yesterday I meditated and saw Europe from above, and I could see dark and gray energy covering it. From where I was I could see light energy pushing it away. Just before I almost fainted I saw a turquoise dragon with the golden mustache thing that Chinese dragons have. It had yellow eyes with a red iris. It came towards me, and it felt like it went through me. After I was just exhausted. What I saw, what does it mean? I have to say that I saw the dragon before multiple times while meditating.

Nayaswami Savitri

Nayaswami Savitri

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Henric, Thank you for writing us all the way from the Netherlands! Blessings to you!

Regarding visions in meditation: Just as is true in trying to analyze nightly dreams, it is not always necessary or even helpful to do so, unless it feels especially important to you for some reason. In any case, it is your vision or dream and no one can determine what it means better than you can.

Here’s one good way to do that for yourself. Just before your next meditation, write down the most striking elements of your vision. In this case, I’d say that would be the dark, gray energy covering Europe and the dragon. Pray for guidance, then set your list aside and try hard to forget it completely while you quiet your mind, watch your breath, and do whatever meditation techniques you practice ordinarily.

At the close of your meditation, ask again (without attachment or trying to figure it out on your own) what these symbols mean for you. Sit quietly and wait for the answers to come into your mind. If they don’t come immediately, then prayerfully wait a while — even for a few days or weeks, if necessary — don’t be impatient. Almost always, the true answers will be revealed to you at some point — and you'll know without question that they are true —  if you humbly and quietly keep asking for divine guidance. And remember that often the symbols represent a part of your inner being, rather than representing something or someone outside yourself.

Ricardo
Brazil

Question

Sitting in Half Lotus Position at the end of hong-sau technique, when I exhaled and held the breath as much as is comfortable, something strange happened. I did not feel the need to breathe again and the top of my body began to spin counter clockwise faster and faster. I was scared and went back to breathe forcefully. I meditate using the SRF techniques for more than two years and is the first time this happens. I ask, is it normal? and what should I do? Should I keep breathlessness and allow the spin?

Nayaswami Gyandev

Nayaswami Gyandev

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Ricardo,

An experience such as you had is a very good thing. It is not unique, but as your past experience bears out, neither is it ordinary. The spinning was likely the result of your Kundalini energy beginning to rise, which needs to happen in order for one to grow spiritually. Kundalini rising should be a pleasant, enjoyable experience, not a scary one. However, even a positive thing can be a bit scary if it is extremely unfamiliar.

Swami Kriyananda recommended that, in a case such as this, you simply try to keep the body still so the experience stays as inward as possible, rather than getting translated into so much outward movement that it takes you out of the experience.

One more thing: Do not force the breath to stay out after you exhale at the end of Hong-Sau practice. Let it stay out as long as it wants to, but not longer. True breathlessness will happen on its own, not by force.

Best wishes for many more deep meditations.

Blessings,

Gyandev

shiffali
india

Question

Namaste,

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?

Kristy Fassler-Hecht

Kristy Fassler-Hecht

Ananda Maine

Answer

Dear Shiffali,

"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,

Kristy

dodge
usa

Question

Hi, a couple days ago I had quite the experience. Usually before going to sleep I meditate, while I was doing this I started to feel the beginning stages of the "out of body". I told myself that I was just too tired and wanted to go to sleep, then I had a ray of golden light surround mainly my head and golden orbs were flying in to my head and with each orb I can feel a rush of energy go through my spine. What does this mean?

Nayaswami Pranaba

Nayaswami Pranaba

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Dodge,

These types of experiences indicate that you are likely tuning into the subtle astral realms of light and energy.

As we go deeper in our awareness, often the inner obstacles are released, which then allow these experiences to come to us. Enjoy them as gifts from the divine, but then release them back into the divine. Don’t cling to them. Rather, offer yourself into the center of whatever experience is coming to you. Give yourself more completely to God and then the right results will happen in the best possible way in your life.

Blessings,

Nayaswami Pranaba

Siddharth Patel
India

Question

Every sage teaches about non-duality and says there is nothing but The Self only. At the same time they talk about love for God. And here duality is created i.e. "I" and "God". Can you please help me understand this topic. Thank You.

Nayaswami Gyandev

Nayaswami Gyandev

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Siddharth,

Although there is nothing but God, our limited perception of reality tells us, “I am separate from God.” We simply can’t yet comprehend our oneness with Him.

Knowing this, the sages recommend that we work with what we can comprehend: a loving human relationship. When we love someone, our sense of sense of self begins to expand beyond the body and personality. Similarly, as we cultivate love for God, we begin to leave behind our limited self-identity. Because our separation from God is only an illusion, that is all we need to do; we need not become something else in order to experience our oneness with Him.

An oft-used analogy speaks of having a thorn stuck in your foot. You can use another thorn to dig it out, then throw both thorns away. Our sense of separateness is a misperception (a “thorn” that is stuck). We can use another thorn—love for God—to dig out that first thorn. Ultimately, we will throw away both thorns in the experience of our eternal oneness with Him.

Blessings,

Gyandev

Costin Chiroiu Boteanu
Romania

Question

Hello ,

and all the very best to everyone involved in every form in spreading Ananda’s teachings worldwide. I want to ask you what are the spiritual implications for both after death rituals: cremation and interment .

Thank you very much.

Nayaswami Savitri

Nayaswami Savitri

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Costin,

Thank you for your kind words and all the best to you also. Thank you for writing us all the way from Romania!

It would take too long to answer you completely about the spiritual implications of death. But for a lot of good information on that subject, please see "The Final Exam" from Swami Kriyananda’s book Religion in the New Age.

Here’s a little more to answer your questions. After-death rituals? If you are with someone who has just died, Paramhansa Yogananda says it is good to chant AUM (Om-m-m) several times in his or her right ear. And pray deeply for the person to let go and go on into the astral world smoothly and without any fears, trying your best not to indulge in too much crying, emotional grief, that sort of thing. It might tend to hold a person down to his or her body, which you really wouldn’t want to do! Though you may be very sad for yourself, try to rejoice in their freedom! See them soaring in Divine Light.

We also have a beautiful Ananda funeral and graveside ceremony created by Swami Kriyananda. Part of that is the "Ananda Astral Ascension Ceremony" with really beautiful words, which are addressed to the soul of the departed. Let us know if you want more specific information about that.

Yogananda definitely said that a person’s body should be cremated as soon as possible after death (not buried). That way, the soul can go ahead and leave more quickly, to dwell in better places in the astral world, and not cling to the material body or this material world. We are now in the process of creating a beautiful new Memorial Garden by Lotus Lake at Ananda Village — a place for the scattering of ashes for all who wish to have that done for them here. Before now, people have done a variety of things, scattering ashes in the Ganges River in India or at any other place special or sacred to the deceased.

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