Questions and Answers
Is going almost breathless and having out of body experiences during meditation better than feeling calmness and inner peace after meditation?
Yogananda used to say, "Whatever comes of itself, let it come." He used this phrase to describe the right attitude for dealing with what life brings you — failure or success, poverty or wealth, sickness or health — just let it come but do not let what comes define you or determine your happiness. If you live centered within your Self then whatever does come cannot change your inner happiness.
I think this is also the right attitude for what you experience in meditation — "Whatever comes of itself, let it come." — don’t deliberately seek any particular kind of experience. One genuine experience of Divine consciousness is no "better" than another. Instead, concentrate on becoming still in body and mind, and offering yourself to God. What you experience in meditation will grow and change over time.
In the Autobiography of a Yogi, Yogananda wrote that God is "ever-new Joy." Don’t become fixed on what you want to experience. Let God’s blissful ever-newness beguile you. Let the guru decide what experiences you need.
Puru (Joseph) Selbie
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.
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!
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,
My small town has an Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF) meditation group that I meditate with periodically. I have noticed that their invocation of the lineage includes both "Mahavatar Krishna" and Babaji separately. Their photos on the altar always include Krishna. I noticed this also in the Yogananda movie. Why does Ananda combine Babaji and Krishna? If this change was made by Swami Kriyananda, why? In most ways, SRF’s satsang is just like Ananda’s, but this difference stands out.
Actually, it was Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF) that made the change sometime in the late 1960's; at that time they decided to separate Krishna and Babaji. It was at that time they added the photo of Krishna to the altar and changed the invocation. Ananda has felt to retain both the altar and the invocation as was given by Paramhansa Yogananda himself. If you look back to photos of the time when Yogananda was still in his body, you'll notice that Krishna was not included on the altar.
How do I repent for my sins? I have committed same mistakes again and again consciously. I have broken the Brahmacharya vrat in in depression many times. How do I come out of this guilt complex?
Paramhansa Yogananda said, "Life is a battle all along the way. May I win the battle on the very spot in which I stand."
It sounds like you are aware of your mistakes and you want to overcome them. Here is a question that you might want to look at:
Are you working with yourself as you are, or are you trying to become someone that you are not, forcing yourself to act in ways that are not suited to your nature?
Guilt is a waste of time. It keeps you stuck, constantly blaming yourself without doing anything to improve the situation. You need to use your will power to resist the guilt urge, and when it comes up anyway, to affirm the opposite.
Here are a few suggestions that might help you:
- Daily meditation practice, by yourself and with a support group. If you don’t have one, please check Ananda’s meditation section.
- Choose battles that you can win. Start with a small battle that you have a chance winning, and gradually take on bigger battles. Remember: You can’t fight all the battles at once. Maybe at this time in your life, Brahmacharya is not right for you. Maybe being in a relationship will actually help you grow and expand your consciousness.
- Choose to be in a positive supportive environment that will help you overcome negative tendencies.
- Use your will power consciously and direct your energy in positive directions. Our will power is one of the greatest tools that God gave us to become successful and to overcome negative habits. You need to use it wisely.
Best wishes to you,
How can I reduce my sleep quota? I am asking this question because I cannot wake up at Bram Muhurt for chanting.
Many factors affect how much sleep you need, so it’s impossible to say exactly what might best help you reduce your need for sleep. In fact, some people, due to their personal constitution and/or their life circumstances, should not try to reduce that need.
In any case, I suggest that you begin by exploring how to improve the quality of your sleep. The first places you might look are your diet and your daily schedule. I recommend Vegetarian Cooking for Starters for an excellent treatment of yogic diet. As for your daily schedule, the more consistent your bedtime and rising time, the better will be the quality of your sleep, and hence the greater will be your potential for sleeping less. Here is a post on my personal website on my personal website where you'll find a number of simple tips for better sleep.
At the same time, strive to meditate regularly and ever deeper. When meditation is deep enough, it will reduce your need for sleep. Here is an excellent meditation technique that Paramhansa Yogananda taught.
I have read a lot cases this past year over stories of school shootings / rapes / pedophilia, and it saddens me because these are preventable things — but these ppl are afraid to admit their issues for fear of being judged. Society today just labels them 'monsters' and doesn’t have any sympathy to them. But unless we are open to hearing them, they will fester hidden in society. What can we do on a personal/social level to help? How can we get over the 'gut' urge to reject and scorn them?
Thank you for your letter and your compassion on behalf of erring humanity. Since you have an urge not only to help individuals who are within your sphere of influence, but also society in general, you may want to examine what would be the best use of your time and energy.
Here are a few suggestions:
- When you hear a disturbing news item, pray for those involved. Pray for them NOW. Ask that the victims be comforted, but also that the perpetrator be healed of the dark tendencies that led to the act. Let your compassion flow both ways.
- Paramhansa Yogananda said we can do more good if we ourselves are transformed. Embrace your divinity on a more profound level so that you are able to send out deeper prayers for those areas that concern you.
- Find ways to help society in positive ways that bring upliftment to others.
- Meditate and love God. Then help others to meditate and love God.
- Pray for individuals, and pray for the upliftment of the planet.
- Pray that saintly souls be born to our nation, and to other regions of the world.
- Consider that you may be watching too much of the news and you are getting whipped around by it. Meditate deeply and then send rays of peace and blessing to all receptive souls. If you find that the news is disturbing your peace, then meditate more and watch the news less.
Also, in your compassion and non-judgement for those who have committed the crimes, be careful to not judge those who scorn said crimes. For they have their reasons, too. Perhaps they are afraid for what might happen to those they love. If you want to "listen" to the one, then you need to listen to the other, too. In the healing prayer ministry we have received many letters from families devastated by the crimes you mention.
The universe is Infinite. We are blessed that many children with good qualities are being born to this planet. Some people refer to these spiritually gifted ones as "indigo children." But the very crimes that you mention tell us that this planet is also drawing some very troubled souls who have fundamental lessons to learn in the Do unto others as you would have them do unto you department.
You are right that we should not scorn them, and that we should try to help them before they act — if they should choose to seek help.
But these dark tendencies are something that people hide, not so much from fear of judgment of others, but for fear of having to face themselves and change. People tend to justify their tendencies until life itself makes it clear they need to change their ways. That is why there are sometimes spiritual conversions in prisons.
Furthermore, Christ said on the cross, Father, forgive them for they know not what they do. He didn't say that they know darn well what they are doing, but they don’t have anyone who understands them to talk to about it. They were blind to the karma they were creating by putting Him to death.
Over the year we have received many letters from prisoners who have committed very serious crimes. Some of them have since turned their lives to prayer and meditation. We help them in every way we can, often with free books, correspondence, and other spiritual aid. Some of our Ananda ministers have gone into the prisons to offer spiritual counsel.
One prisoner wrote me a letter saying, "I did not commit this crime, and yet I know I am guilty. In my heart of hearts I realize that I got away with a very similar crime in a previous life, and that is why I accept my prison sentence now. There is no escaping karma. Please pray for me, and allow me to pray for others..."
Another prisoner had committed one of the crimes you mentioned above, pedophilia. He knew he had broken a great taboo in society, but it was only after three years in prison that he finally realized he had hurt the other person, the victim. He realized it was not simply a taboo that he had broken, but it was truly an emotional and psychological injury to the younger person.
Help already exists for those who grasp that they indeed have a problem that needs to be healed. When a person merely grasps that something is wrong because it breaks a societal taboo, then hidden in the mind is the thought that society needs to loosen up. The underlying feeling is "I am fine — but society should change."
But once a soul had changed for the better they may seek to help others with the same issues, now or in a future life. They know what it is to suffer from the particular delusion that led to their crimes. Indeed, helping other souls in that way would serve to expiate some of their karma.
We are all on an upward journey, except that sometimes the soul gets sidetracked or even trapped in a ditch of error.
Forget the past. The vanished lives of all men are dark with many shames. Human conduct is ever unreliable until man is anchored in the Divine. Everything in future will improve if you are making a spiritual effort now. - Swami Sri Yukteswar
I hope these ideas are helpful to you.
God bless you,
Director, Ananda Healing Prayer Ministry
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