A friend of mine is desperately wanting to become a vegetarian, however is facing some issues. She is allergic to many vegetarian food sources and is prone to anaemia. She has anaphylactic reactions to nuts, seaweed, mushrooms and chickpeas; and is sensitive to pomegranate, potatoes, eggs, soya, dairy and fermented products. Do you have any advice considering her dietary restrictions and guilt surrounding her meat-eating?
This is not an easy question to answer, since your friend is anemic and has many allergic reactions to vegetarian foods.
Paramhansa Yogananda recommended to eliminate beef and pork as they are high in saturated fats and toxins. Fish, chicken and sheep are not as evolved animals as cows and pigs, so she can eat those.
Besides eating fish, chicken and lamb, she can focus on what she can eat in the plant kingdom, and see if it works. Experiment, use common sense, and consider seeing an ayurvedic practitioner that can work with her diet and tailor it more specifically to her needs.
I was wondering when you die the astral body or soul goes to the spiritual world. But the question is when you get born again and your soul goes into a new body. Does that mean you die in the astral world. To be reincarnated again do you need to die in the astral plane ?. Or is it that you just automatically get reborn after a certain time. ?
I find your question to be quite mental — a question that is fun to contemplate, not really needed to pursue enlightenment, but interesting.
And Paramhansa Yogananda does talk a great deal about the three worlds our souls are enclosed within. You will find this extensively covered in his book, Autobiography of a Yogi, Chapter 43, Resurrection of Sri Yukteswar. Let’s go direct to what he says about astral death:
Physical death is attended by the disappearance of breath and the disintegration of fleshly cells. Astral death consists of the disbursement of lifetrons, those manifest units of energy which constitute the life of astral beings…Experiencing astral death in due time, a being thus passes from the consciousness of astral birth and death to that of physical birth and death. These recurrent cycles of astral and physical encasement are the ineluctable destiny of all unenlightened beings.
Yogananda does state that reincarnating from the astral world to the physical world is determined by one’s karma. Our karma also determines into what astral plane we go to.
Therefore, dear friend, do spend your time and energy meditating, diving deep into the thought of God, opening your heart to Him, and serve Him in others. Also read this thrilling chapter in the Autobiography of a Yogi.
Joy to you,
In Meditation, Focus on the Medulla Oblongata?
August 24, 2015
How to concentrate on agya chakra (spiritual eye) having conciousness on medulla oblongata..is dis method really taught by lahiri mahasaya and gurudev..if so why it is not taught in ananda classes?
I’m not certain to what extent that Lahiri Mahasaya or Paramhansa Yogananda emphasized having one’s focus on the medulla oblongata while practicing concentration but it is something Swami Kriyananda did suggest as a helpful approach to meditation.
Here is a quote from Swami Kriyananda, from the book The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam Explained:
The fact of the ego’s centeredness in the medulla oblongata (agya chakra) is not dynamic to most people’s awareness. They objectify their energy, and are therefore more conscious of its outer effects than of its source within.
Beginning meditators, consequently, when they try to concentrate at the Christ center, come at it from outer awareness, and often create in themselves a vague feeling of tension, even of confusion. Concentration on the medulla oblongata is not recommended, obviously, for the purpose of strengthening ego-consciousness. The important thing is to direct the energy from its natural source to the Christ center. The energy must be released from ego-consciousness to attain a more universal awareness.
That is why, in all cultures, the recognized gesture of humility is a bowed head. To reach the Christ center, one must first be aware of one’s present focus in the medulla.
Don’t hold the thought of ego at the medulla, but gather your self-awareness, simply, to pass it onward in a spirit of self-offering and freedom. From the medulla, gaze mentally at the Christ center (kutastha) between the eyebrows.
In divine friendship,
Millions of Lifetimes
August 21, 2015
Why does a human being keep getting born again? Unfuliflled desire is one thing which may be the reason but what about animals they would not have much desire other than food. What happens to reincarnation due to evil nature. does human become animal again
According to the yogic teachings, souls reincarnate repeatedly due to their desires. As long as these desires can only be fulfilled on the material plane of existence, such as the desire for good food, then the soul needs to come back into a material body. And since there are so many desires possible on this material plane, this repeated coming back happens many, many times. In the Indian scriptures it is said, and Paramhansa Yogananda corroborated this as well, that it takes five to eight million lifetimes to reach the human level, and then millions of lifetimes more in a human body to become free and realize our oneness with God.
The physical plane of existence provides such an entertaining show, that it’s difficult to want to leave it! But, after millions of lifetimes spent not only on the material plane, but living in the duality that accompanies it, we begin to realize that something is very wrong. Living within duality we realize that we can never be completely satisfied or fulfilled. Every pleasure we experience must be balanced by a pain, for this is the law of duality. For every fulfillment, we must experience a disappointment, for every joy, a sorrow — and so on and on it goes.
Yogananda said that the soul comes to the point in its evolution when it experiences “an anguishing sense of monotony.” It is anguishing because our soul can only find its fulfillment in union with the Divine, which in duality will never be possible. The monotony comes because we know that things we always be balanced by their opposite, and will never be completely satisfying.
The soul, which is that spark of the Divine within us, will never be satisfied until we begin our journey home to our oneness in God. It is this longing for union with the Divine that keeps us ever moving forward during our many lifetimes. It keeps us constantly looking for what will be truly fulfilling, searching for it in many bypaths of experience. We never find this fulfillment until we realize that it is our longing for reuniting with God that is the answer we have been looking for. It is at this point that we become interested in the spiritual path and begin our journey back to our oneness in God.
Animals and other creatures, being on lower levels in the evolution of consciousness, evolve more automatically, and therefore, more slowly. (According to Yogananda, it is very rare for a soul that has finally reached the human level to reincarnate once again in an animal body, but it can happen due to lower material desires and evil actions.) It is only when the soul finally reaches the human level, after millions of lifetimes, that it has the potential to evolve in consciousness more quickly. But it remains only a potential for many, many lifetimes, because we have to choose to do this. The material plane for most souls is very entertaining and seems in the beginning to be fulfilling. But we find material fulfillment is like a carrot on a stick, with its promised fulfillments being always just a little out of reach.
This is why, even in human incarnations, it takes many lifetimes to come to the point where you want something more. That something more is complete soul fulfillment. This is a fulfillment that we gradually realize is not possible through fulfilling our material desires.
In divine friendship,
Thoughts Are Universally Rooted
August 21, 2015
From my spiritual practices i’ve became a lot better person but now an problem has occured with me whenver i’m thinking or lost in thoughts unknowingly i project my thoughts to other people around the area so i don’t want them to hear my thoughts sometimes there are too much personal thoughts what can i do to stop people hearing my thoughts.
First of all, your thoughts are not your personal creations. Thoughts simply "are," and different people often tune into the same thought at the same time, especially if they happen to be in the same location.
If you think that other people are picking up "your" thoughts, that would be a wonderful incentive to be extra careful about what you think. Keep your mind focused and strive to have only good, constructive thoughts. Then you will be happier and you'll have a beneficial influence on others.
My chiropractor suggested I do the plank pose every day to strengthen certain muscles. I do not see this pose in my Raja Yoga book. Did Swamiji not teach it? Also, how does a person know which of the many poses to do? I did yoga postures while at The Expanding Light retreat, but don’t include it in my routine. Should I?
Plank pose is one of many helpful poses that Swami Kriyananda didn’t include in The Art and Science of Raja Yoga, for the simple reason that one can write about only so many poses.
I suspect that your chiropractor has determined that certain of your so-called "core" muscles need to be strengthened in order to support your spine properly. I would say, follow his/her recommendation and see what happens.
As for how to know which poses to do in general, it’s best to work with a qualified yoga teacher who will take into account your overall goals, special considerations, and your chiropractor’s advice in order to develop a routine that is right for you.
God Is Love
August 19, 2015
I am Amit: I have a question.
- How should I think of god while meditating.
- What visualizations should I make?
- What is prana, kundalini & virya?
Thank you for asking these questions. They are very deep subjects about which much has been written. It’s not possible to answer them fully here but I can give some simple explanations to get you started. You will, of course, need to study the path of yoga, and I suggest that you study Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. Swami Kriyananda has written much on this subject throughout most of his books, especially in the Art and Science of Raja Yoga and in Demystifying Patanjali.
Your first question — how to think of God while meditating? It is said that God comes in the aspects of love, light, sound, peace, calmness, power, wisdom and bliss. You can then meditate on any one of these aspects and go deep into them thinking of God while doing so to keep your focus on Him. An affirmation to use is: Thy light flows into me; I am filled with Thy peace (or whatever aspect you choose to focus on). Throughout the day keep calling to Him as He is with you always.
I'll try to give you simple definitions of Prana, Kundalini and Virya, but know that these words hold deeper meanings.
A quote here for the meaning of Prana is taken from Art and Science of Raja Yoga: "The Hindu word for "breath," "life," and "energy" is the same: prana. . . When a deliberate mental effort is made to absorb prana from the air that we breathe, then breathing can give us psycho-spiritual benefits."
Again from Art and Science of Raja Yoga on Kundalini: "Whatever energy flows in the superficial spine, even by deep yoga practice, is as nothing compared to the immense reservoir of energy waiting to be tapped at the base of the spine. This energy is spoken of in the yoga teachings as Kundalini… Kundalini represents the entrenched vitality of our mortal delusion. But Kundalini is also man’s greatest single key to enlightenment. Only by arousing this force from its ancient resistance to divine truth can the soul hope to reunite itself with the Spirit."
Virya is spiritual vigor. It is the energy needed to find God. There is a whole passage about this energy found in the book by Sri Yukteswar, The Holy Science.
Bless you dear soul,
How to Develop Confidence
August 18, 2015
I am a dancer, and always set a standard of perfection and the highest for myself. As a result, I am always stressed. I reject programmes and shun public performance many times as I think I am not well prepared. I am always scared of performing less than perfect, and as a result, half of my life is already wasted in waiting for a time when I will be perfect. Most of my energy is drained in fear and nervousness. I will be happy if you suggest a way to come out of it.
It’s important to be able to release the tensions that come from expectations. Try to feel that the Divine is the one moving through you rather than you have to do it all.
True confidence comes from being in tune with God and feeling that flow within us.
Here are some suggestions from Paramhansa Yogananda, from the book, How to Have Courage, Calmness and Confidence:
- Deep breathing: Breathe deeply a few times, concentrating at the point between the eyebrows, just before the performance. This will remove timidity and insure self-confidence.
- Mentally rehearse very clearly how masterfully, joyously, and eagerly you are going to perform.
- Remove nervousness by tensing and relaxing.
- Take a bath two hours before, or immediately before, the performance. If time is limited, simply wash all the openings of the body with cold water.
- Humbleness is magnetic and will draw kind attention and sympathy from your audience, while pride will cause sneers and apathy. An inferiority complex will cause pity, disbelief, and lack of enthusiasm in your audience. An inferiority complex will cause you to underestimate your real ability and will destroy whatever faculty you may possess. Cool confidence in your ability and the positive outcome of your performance, due to God working with you, must always keep you happy and contented just before your debut. Make up your mind to do your very utmost to make people appreciate your performance.
Yogananda also recommended going on “worry fasts” to free us from anxiety and tension that results from worrying. Simply take a few times during the day to be free from any worries that assail you. Be disciplined in this effort and then gradually extend the times until you can go the whole day without getting caught by worries. Also, go on “joy feasts” by associating with those who have a contagious joy in their lives.
I hope this will be helpful to you.
In divine friendship,
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