Questions and Answers
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.
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.
Costin Chiroiu Boteanu
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.
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.
I am Yuvraj Arude 27 years old and want a guru. How do I find one?
It is well said that “When the disciple is ready, the guru appears!”
Seek inspiration and truth from those sources available to you by sincere study, meditation, service and prayer. As your soul is purified by your efforts, you will attract, step-by-step, the inspiration and guidance that you need.
The real question is NOT “Where is my guru?”, but “How can I grow spiritually?” This means “I am open and receptive to the lessons and teachings that I attract.” Always, however, use your common sense and trust your own inner guidance, lest you attract a false teacher. True gurus are very, very, very rare. But never give up, for God answers all prayers and deep and sincere prayers are answered more quickly.
Do you know of Ananda Sangha in India? I recommend that you visit the website, www.anandaindia.org. Paramhansa Yogananda, though no longer in the body, is a true guru. His teachings and his living presence through his disciples can help and guide you. Also, have you read his (now famous) life story, Autobiography of a Yogi? It is a must-read!
I am not able to understand what is the basis of relationship in this world? every time i feel some guy is suitable for me, he ditches me in the most horrible way known and i have always been truthful in all my relations. Is it karma or my ignorance that i am not able to see through people as they are? How can i develop this judgement for others so that i am protected in future?
The spiritual goal of human relationships is to help us get closer to God.
When someone is drawn to you, it is the result of your magnetism. It is not always easy to understand your own magnetism, but daily practice of meditation and daily constructive introspection can help you. Through these practices you will get to know yourself better, and begin to understand why these things have been happening to you. Then you will see more clearly the direction in which you need to change. All the while, pray to God to help you understand what kind of energy you are putting out that keeps drawing to you the wrong sort of men, and how you can change it. Also pray to God for the strength to make the changes that you need to make.
Here is a page where you can learn how to meditate. There is a video and written instruction as well.
I also recommend that you read Paramhansa Yogananda’s book, How to Love and Be Loved — also published as Spiritual Relationships in America. It will give you a much deeper understanding of human relationships.
Finally, it can be difficult to change your magnetism while you are in a relationship, so I suggest that you take a break from relationships for a while, until you can gain a better perspective on yourself and your relationships.
Blessings to you,
Is there anything wrong for a beginner to worship 'OM' as a form of God? I am a beginner. I am not interested in developing devotion towards any particular physical form of God. I am interested in Jnana Yoga rather than Bhakti Yoga. So is it alright to worship OM as a form of God by a beginner?
AUM is wonderful, the sound of the creation of the universe! But, as a beginner, you might want to approach meditation and the spiritual teachings with more of a sense of exploration. Otherwise you are determining from your beginning understanding of them what they have to offer you. It would be like coming to a professional to learn to play the game of tennis, but determining how you want to play before you even know much about it.
In the beginning of my own spiritual life and meditation practice, I also was drawn (by my mind and intellect) to a more gyana (also spelled "jnana") type of approach. But it was so dry and abstract that I didn’t really engage seriously in the practices. It wasn’t until I found a more balanced teaching that things began to fall into place. Without this I would have given up the practices completely — yet again.
Paramhansa Yogananda’s guru, Sri Yukteswar, who was considered a Gyanavatar (incarnation of gyana) during his lifetime, said that you cannot take one step along the spiritual path without developing the heart’s natural love. It’s not a matter of bhakti or gyana, it’s a matter of doing what works. And it’s not a matter of what we "worship," but of what we experience and become. So you don’t so much want to worship AUM, as to "become" AUM. It’s not enough to hear the sound of AUM. You need to eventually, through your deepening meditation practice, become one with it.
On the path of yoga, what matters most is your own direct experience in meditation. To gain this direct experience you have to commit to practicing, with devotion, the meditation techniques that will give this to you. Without having this, the ideas we have about spirituality, and how we relate to it, are only that — interesting ideas.
The meditation techniques that Ananda offers, based on Paramhansa Yogananda teachings, are very good for doing this. You might want to explore them through our Ananda Centers in India. You can find out more about this at the Ananda Sangha India website.
I hope these thoughts will be helpful for you, and I wish you many blessings in your practices.
I know some theory about Karma. As per my understanding, the fruits whether good are bad that we experience in this life are the results of the past lives.
Having said that, If somebody got murdered even if he is an innocent person and done no harm to anyone in this life, how to know whether this is a cause or effect? i.e. Is the murdered done some bad in his past life OR the murderer will experience the effects of this incident in his next life. Is it the beginning or the ending of Karma?
What you’re asking is, “Do unpleasant things ever happen to us without our having caused them, with the result that our karmic bank account shows a positive balance?” I suspect we all would like it to be true, so that when unpleasantness happens to us, the blow would be softened by the knowledge of a balancing pleasant event in the future.
But the simple answer is no: Everything that happens to us — pleasant or unpleasant — is the result of our past actions. In your example, the murder victim will have done something in the past (this life or a previous life) that has brought this upon him/her in this life. And the murderer will have to suffer the consequences of his/her crime, either in this life or a future life. So the event is the completion (partial or full) of a karma for the victim, and the beginning of a karma for the criminal.
This is a simple answer, because karma is a highly complex issue. For example, some people who die in accidents don’t necessarily have the karma to die; rather, they don’t have strong enough karma to live, and their karma to live gets overwhelmed by others' karma to die in that accident.
Hello. I have a fears of darkness, all those dark energies, beings from lower astral plane, etc. How can i transform them into the presence of God? I also noticed the more closer i get to God the more these unreasonable fears appears. Give me some powerful prayers or any other techniques to feel God’s presence immeadiately when i need it most. How can i get free of these fears? Thank you very much.
In the presence of God (as joy, light or love) nothing and no one can harm you. Happiness is like a light from which all shadow must flee! Be joyful; help others; bless others. Chant God’s name aloud or silently; chant Aum! Here’s a powerful mantra to use whenever you feel the need: Aum, Hring Kleeng Krishnaya namaha. You can also chant the Trinity as "Aum, Tat, Sat" and as you do move your arms in opposite directions meeting (palms touching) in front of you and behind. Write Aum on your pillow at night before sleeping.
When feeling "attacked" place your thumbs in the shape of a cross and send light all around you as a protection as you chant.
Most of all, call upon God, Christ, or one of the masters whenever you are in need and make a strong effort to be positive and mentally chanting throughout the day. Spend time with others of stronger spiritual magnetism. Meditate daily: with eyes open if necessary and never in complete darkness.
I pray that you be freed of these fears. The nearer you are to the presence of God, the more protected you feel. God can come to you as peace, as joy, as light and as love. Manifest these qualities in your own consciousness and you will immediately be closer to God.
Blessings always and in the Light,
Hello, thank you for brilliant answer.Just a few very important questions for me. When i try to put my concentration on spiritual eye, i feel tension on my forehead and cant mentally find that point between the eyebrows, what wrong im doing? Im new in meditation, does only Hong-sau for the first months is ok? How can i concentrate on spiritual eye, breathing, mantra and looking upward at the same time?It seems too hard. When i say mantra but dont understand the meaning of thewords its ok?Thanks
When you experience tension on your forehead while gazing at the spiritual eye, it usually a result of either trying to position the eyes awkwardly, or a long-time habit of squeezing your eyebrows together when you try to concentrate.
When you close your eyes, turn your eyes slightly upward, as if looking at a peak of a mountain in the distance, slightly above the horizon level. This should not involve any strain. Feel as if your eyes are resting in this upward position, not as if you’re trying to look into the distance.
Here is how to look slightly upward with no strain:
Sit up right, and extend right arm forward, and make a fist with the hand. Bring thumb up, and raise arm 2"-3" above the horizon. Gaze at your thumbnail, then close your eyes and visualize that thumbnail. Bring arm down. Your gaze should be out and up about arm’s length.
When you first start to practice the Hong-Sau technique, it takes time to get used to doing all parts of the technique (just like all the different things you have to do when driving a car), but gradually it becomes natural and easy. Be patient.
The mantra Hong-Sau means: I am Spirit. The mantra has power in it, and it has impact on your energy. You don’t need to focus on the meaning of the words; it’s the vibration of the mantra that will help you. Just keep practicing it.
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