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melanya
usa

Question

What is the difference between sympathy and empathy? And which is the more important quality to develop on the spiritual path?

Nayaswami Pranaba

Nayaswami Pranaba

Ananda Village

Answer

A simple way to understand the difference is that sympathy is when we feel pity or sorrow for someone else’s misfortunes, whereas empathy is when we understand and share the feelings of someone else.

Empathy is more important to develop on the spiritual path since one is able to feel the connection with someone who is suffering rather than just feel sorry for someone. Of course we also need to emphasize non-attachment so we are not caught in the potential whirlpool of emotions.

August 6
2014

Annalisa Rishika
Italy

Question

Hello, I am a disciple of Yogananda since 1992. My name is Anna, and Rishika is the name that Ananda has chosen for me as a gift from Guruji. I would like to know something about how to use this gift for creating a new habit, toward a positive goal, about which, as I read, Yogananda spoke.

Tyagi Jayadev

Tyagi Jayadev

Ananda Assisi, Italy

Answer

Dear Rishika, Many greetings.

Your name is indeed a gift, as it means “saintly.” It speaks to your soul and is a direction of your growth. We all have an ego and a soul, and there is a battle going on between these two. Your name stimulates you to win that battle, as it always reminds you of your true, beautiful, divine Self.

Shrey
India

Question

I have understood that God is our ultimate goal and our job on this earth is to decrease the gap that we have created by our ego. So I am determined to transform this lower nature and become one with the Divine Mother. But this battle requires a Guru. Do you think Yoganandaji or Kriyanandaji will guide me? I have not been initiated, but I have mentally always regarded them as my gurus from the books and Internet. Also, can any Ananda ashram in India help me receive initiation the path of kriy ?

Nayaswami Dharmarajan

Nayaswami Dharmarajan

Ananda India

Answer

Dear Shrey,

Thank you for your question — it is an important one. When the student first takes up the spiritual search, God sends him or her books and lesser teachers. As the student begins to seek intensely, God sends the guru. I say “the” guru because each of us has only one true guru (or satguru). That guru is assigned to each of us — Yogananda said, shockingly — at the time of our soul’s first manifestation.

sangeeta
India

Question

Thank you so much in advance for taking time to answer my question! How do I deal with a situation where two people who are very very close to my heart are in conflict? If I try to speak, one of them gets hurt and I do not want them to get hurt. I try my best to help them but nothing seems to be working. One of them is extremely emotional and its hard to tell him anything, so I just say yes for everything. How do I handle this situation? It pains to see them suffering.

Kristy Fassler-Hecht

Kristy Fassler-Hecht

Ananda Maine

Answer

Dear Sangeeta,

As I understand your situation, you are very close to two other individuals who do not get along. You are trying to help them resolve their disharmony with each other so there may be harmony between the three of you. You mention one person is very emotional and you simply say yes to everything he asks to keep the peace. You suffer with their suffering and would like to resolve the issues to relieve everyone’s pain including your own.

Dennis Anao
USA

Question

Hi fellow devotee,

Ever since I stared to practice yoga and pranayama and meditation every time I eat the top of my head gets tingly. What is this? Thank you.

Nayaswami Diksha

Nayaswami Diksha

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Dennis,

As you practice yoga, pranayama, and meditation, more energy starts to flow through the body. This can cause you to have a variety of experiences that you wouldn’t otherwise experience. The tingling sensation is probably one such experience.

Whatever kind of yoga, pranayama, or meditation you practice, you should use common sense, avoid overdoing any practice, and make sure that you are relaxed and comfortable while practicing. It’s particularly important that you don’t practice in an extreme way if you are a beginner.

July 28
2014

Jeni
Israel

Question

Dear Gyandev: Why do the animals suffer? Someone answered me that they don’t have an ego and therefore do not suffer, and I know that neither do they have karma. I’m not sure, because clearly they feel physical pain! Why is there suffering and torture of animals, such as in slaughterhouses and hatcheries? I can understand a personal pain or suffering as an action-reaction? But how is the law of animal life, that without karma, any animal can be a victim of any painful torture by anyone?

Nayaswami Gyandev

Nayaswami Gyandev

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Jeni,

When animals experience pain, usually it’s simply nature taking its course: the animal has an accident or gets attacked by another animal. Neither ego nor karma nor torture is involved; instinct rules the animal world, and they are locked into a fixed progression of expanding consciousness.

GPM
USA

Question

In the question and answer series Swamiji addresses a question about our line of gurus coming back to our planet or others. I loved his answer. Of particular interest to me is his statement that “Lahiri is in the Himalayas now.” Was Swamiji ever known to elaborate on this?

Nayaswami Diksha

Nayaswami Diksha

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear GPM,

I am not aware that Swami Kriyananda has ever elaborated on Lahiri reincarnating and now being in the Himalayas.

Blessings,

Diksha

Sangita
India

Question

Hi,

I am generally patient and respectful with people around me, and am considered to be calm and polite. However, at times we come across people who are excessively rude and harsh, and behave like a dangerous explosive as soon as we come into contact with them, for no reason. Such people are very, very difficult to handle. It can be anyone; the local grocer, a bus conductor, an auto driver, or some acquaintance. How do we handle such people? I often lose my temper with them and have a big time clash.

Nayaswami Pranaba

Nayaswami Pranaba

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Sangita,

Here is something that can be very helpful when you are dealing with tensions involving other people:

Step back mentally from the situation or the person that is causing you stress; curb your instinct to react immediately.

Breathe Use abdominal (belly) breathing; deep breathing naturally relaxes the body. For deep breathing — be sure to inhale and exhale only through the nose. Let the abdomen expand outward with your inhalation and release back in with your exhalation.

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