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Questions and Answers About Meditation, Yoga, the Spiritual Life, and More

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Melanie
UK

Question

Hi

I can often have difficulty with trusting my own intuition. Because of this I often use divination such as the I Ching or Tarot to check against my own decisions. I’m not sure how much help they provide — I often end up more confused.

I wondered whether Paramhansa Yogananda or Swami Kriyananda — or the Ananda experts — had any advice about this.

Many thanks

Melanie

Kristy Fassler-Hecht

Kristy Fassler-Hecht

Ananda Maine

Answer

Dear Melanie,

Master and Swamiji shared the following regarding how to develop one’s intuition and have faith in God’s guidance through intuition. First it is important to have a daily meditation practice that stills and interiorizes your consciousness. The meditation techniques taught by Yogananda and Kriyananda through Ananda all promote calming the breath and interiorizing your awareness to a point of deep stillness. When you feel deep stillness and peace in meditation, offer your question up to Divine Mother at the point between the eyebrows with faith and then feel for Her response in your heart. The responsive feeling in your heart should be very calm and clear. If you feel any agitation or favoritism in yourself, you are not feeling a true response. The inner response may not be what you prefer in the moment, but if you trust it and follow it, you will find it’s the best solution to your question or problem.

Swamiji often shared how he would practice this technique when writing music or seeking Divine inspiration. Many times he would be surprised at the response that came to him, but he found it worked beautifully!

Perhaps Tarot and the I Ching are entertaining or a habit you have developed. You mention you are often more confused after trying these options. At some point you will need to tune in to God’s inner guidance and it’s easier to do when you practice with faith. Faith is developed by experiencing for yourself the truths of these teachings in your own self and in your life. Take baby steps at first and build on those as you become more confident of God’s guidance within.

May you experience God’s inner guidance ever more perfectly in your self,

Kristy

The Touch of the Guru
March 9, 2015

Amor
Inda

Question

Greeting to Yogis of Ananda,

I met Swami Kriyananda on his birthday in 2008. I had long wished to meet him as he wrote that a physical contact with your Guru is important. I touched his feet and Swamiji touched me on my forehead saying Aum. The next moment, I feel a sensation in the the pineal gland and between my chest. The sensation on my chest remained for few days but the sensation in the pineal gland still remains. All those who received Him... Is this the power to become the son of God?

Nayaswami Hriman

Nayaswami Hriman

Ananda Seattle

Answer

Dear Amor,

What a great blessing you describe from your meeting of Swami Kriyananda! The spiritual power of the awakened spiritual eye (Kutastha Chaitanya) is indeed the Christ (or "Kristna") consciousness, otherwise latent in our soul’s consciousness. To feel God’s touch there is but the beginning however. To quote Paramhansa Yogananda’s famous poem, “Samadhi,” “by deeper, longer, thirsty, guru-given meditation comes this celestial Samadhi.”

Therefore, deepen this blessing, this touch of the guru (Paramhansa Yogananda through a direct disciple, Swami Kriyananda) by daily meditation, devotion, prayer, and nishkam karma (selfless action spoken of by Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita). Also, by association with other gurbhais, especially from Ananda, you can daily “receive Him” as you evolve ever more certainly toward moksha, liberation in God.

Blessings to you,

Nayaswami Hriman

I Saw God in a Dream
March 5, 2015

ruchit
india

Question

I had a dream which was so good that it felt real. I'll not forget that dream for my whole life. What I saw was God. Yes, I saw God. He was in a child’s form and he had an 'AUM' symbol on his forehead. He said something to me from inside of me. I believe he was trying to convey some message. What do you think?

Nayaswami Savitri

Nayaswami Savitri

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Ruchit,

God can and often does speak to us through our dreams, which is a great blessing when it happens. Sometimes the message is in the form of symbols. In your dreams the obvious symbols would be the child’s form and the AUM symbol on the child’s forehead.

The best way to understand the message of the dream is to pray deeply at the beginning of your next meditation. Prayer is talking to God and meditation is listening for the answer. So pray to understand what God wants to convey to you through this dream, then let your questions go, calming your mind and meditating deeply.

At the close of your meditation, wait patiently in quietness of mind to see if an answer slips gently into your mind. If it does not appear immediately (often it does) don’t be concerned. The answer may come later, when you least expect it.

However, if nothing is ever especially revealed to you about how to interpret your dream, then know that your dream was still a great blessing for you. Leave it at that, and just be grateful for that blessing.

It’s always best that we ask God/Gurus to help us interpret our dreams rather than relying on a book or another person to help interpret our dreams for us. This is because your dreams, particularly superconscious dreams, are given to you personally and generally have a unique meaning for you alone.

The Yugas
March 2, 2015

Bahniman Kakati
India

Question

I have read in books that there are four yugas; Kali, Dwapara, Treta & Satya. Also, that Kali yuga started just after Krishna left his body which lasted for 6000 years ascending and 6000 years descending before Dwapara ascending since 1900.

1. How long will Dwapara & Treta ascend and descend before ascending to Satya?

2. Is Satya yuga the last yuga ascending forever or descends again to Kali?

3. If Kali yuga started after Krishna left his body, what was the yuga he was born?

Puru (Joseph) Selbie

Puru (Joseph) Selbie

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Bahniman,

Not all traditions use the same dating for the yugas. I prefer the dating of Sri Yukteswar as outlined in his book, The Holy Science. Sri Yukteswar uses the duration of the yugas found in the Vedas and the Book of Manu. Satya Yuga is 4000 years long with 400 year transitions at the beginning and the end for a total of 4800 years (4000+400+400=4800). Treta Yuga is 3000 years long with 300 year transitions at the beginning and end for a total of 3600 years (3000+300+300=3600). Dwapara Yuga is 2000 years long with 200 year transitions at the beginning and end for a total of 2400 years (2000+200+200=2400). Kali Yuga is 1000 years with 100 year transitions at the beginning and end for a total of 1200 years (1000+100+100=1200). By adding together the length of all the yugas — 4800+3600+2400+1200 — we see that the ascending and descending half of the yuga cycle each last 12,000 years, for a total cycle of 24,000 years.

Sri Yukteswar calculated that the last Dwapara Yuga ended in 700BC, shortly after the passing of Krishna. According to his calculations we passed through both descending and ascending Kali Yugas from 700BC to 1700AD, and into ascending Dwapara Yuga transition in 1700AD and into Dwapara proper in 1900AD. Our current Dwapara Yuga will end in 4100AD, followed by ascending Treta Yuga until 7700AD, followed by ascending Satya Yuga until 11,500AD.

Sri Yukteswar said that our current Dwapara Yuga bestows on mankind the awareness of energy and the fine structures of matter — thus we call it the energy age. In the energy age we have learned that all matter is energy in a condensed form. We have also begun to become more aware of subtle energy — life force, prana, chi — that is the gateway to deeper spiritual awareness. Many practices, such as meditation, yoga postures, and acupuncture, whose effectiveness arises from becoming aware of and using subtle energy, come down to us from the previous descending Dwapara energy age that began in 3100BC and ended in 700BC.

If you would like to know more about the yugas, I have a website devoted to the subject: http://www.theyugas.com.

Warm regards,

Puru (Joseph) Selbie

Sumukh Hegde
India

Question

hello. I’ve got anxiety disorder, on meds. I’ve noticed when in meditation, sometimes intense unpleasant heat is generated in parts esp near ears. harder I try to concentrate hotter it gets. Ive noticed it is associated with an unfocussed mind. Medically they call this psychosomatic symptoms. But when strongly focused on my Guru, it dissapears. Is this me unable to channel energy properly? I’d like to know your take on this. Thank you.

Nayaswami Hriman

Nayaswami Hriman

Ananda Seattle

Answer

Dear Friend,

Since you have specific health conditions which are being treated by a health care professional, I must be cautious in my comments. If you are having good results by concentrating on your Guru, this seems a good and safe course of action. As to whether your symptoms are the result of an unfocused mind, that is a much broader question and could be as much related to medical conditions as to the mind itself. There’s nothing wrong with developing your concentration skills. Any one can benefit from doing THAT, whether during meditation or by engaging in specific mental concentration techniques.

During meditation, it is always good to avoid concentrating so "hard" that tension (and heat!) results. Think of something that you enjoy doing where the need to concentrate doesn’t exist because you enjoy doing it! That’s how meditation should be. Swami Kriyananda, in his popular book, Awaken to Superconsciousness, describes meditation as "upward relaxation into superconsciousness." Always emphasize RELAXATION first in the art of meditation. From devotion and sincere yearning for God, Guru, or inner peace, concentration becomes natural and not a strain upon the brain or the mind.

Approach, therefore, meditation with joy; with devotion; with sincere love. It would help you, I think, to practice some hatha yoga before sitting. Certainly, to practice some pranayama as your guru recommends. Paramhansa Yogananda commented that "Chanting is half the battle." This can include mantra also. So, try chanting both as part of meditation and part of daily life.

Remember: RELAXATION IS THE KEY!

Blessings,

Swami Hrimananda

sanjay
india

Question

Can you give me tips on becoming aware of the natural breath in the upper nostril area?

Nayaswami Savitri

Nayaswami Savitri

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Sanjay, The best way to become aware of the breath in the upper part of your nostrils is through learning and practicing daily Yogananda’s Hong-Sau Technique of concentration/meditation. In the Art and Science of Raja Yoga, Swami Kriyananda, while carefully explaining this technique, includes the following information about breathing in different parts of the nostrils:

"Begin by mentally watching the breathing process: the movement of lungs, navel, and diaphragm; gradually only, as you grow calmer, shift your attention to the breath itself. At this point, feel it as it enters the nostrils. And even here you may find it natural to go through a transition from physical to more subtle awareness. That is, as the breath becomes finer, feel it gradually higher and higher in the nasal passage. In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna gives the counsel to concentrate on nasikagram, 'the beginning of the nose.' Commentators often interpret this passage to mean 'the tip of the nose,' since agra means 'front' as well as 'beginning.' But no subtle chakra, or nerve plexus, exists in the tip of the nose. It is at the other end of the nose that yogis concentrate. Here is the seat of spiritual vision. Normally, to make it easier to locate, this seat is spoken of as being located at the point between the eyebrows. But where the breath is considered as part of the concentrative process, it is more appropriate to think of this seat as being located at the origin of the nose. In fact, the real center is situated in the frontal lobe of the brain. The breath, as it enters and leaves the nasal passage, passes very close to this point. To visualize the breath passing this point helps to stimulate this center. As you watch the breath in the nose, then, feel it becoming gradually calmer until you can feel it at the point between the eyebrows."

In addition, you might try feeling/experiencing the coolness of the air as you inhale and it passes through the nose up into the sinus area, then in turn, feel the warmth of the air as you exhale and as the air passes back out of the sinuses into the nostrils.

In the beginning of this process, try placing your right index finger horizontally under your nose and feel the gentle sensations of coolness and warmth being created there, as you inhale and exhale. When you have a good sense of these sensations, move your finger away and transfer the feeling into the lower nose, then up into upper nostrils, and finally into the area of the sinuses and the point between the eyebrows.

ruchit
india

Question

When i’m calm and meditate i can hear some sounds and there’s an starting sound like piinggg is what i experience i kept wondering about that sounds after sometime i came across to an expert he said that it’s really very good if i can hear those sounds he said when you are calm and again when meditate try to hear those sounds from your right side he also said on following those you'll reach omkar'AUM'source of all creations but i’m pretty much confused

Nayaswami Seva

Nayaswami Seva

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Ruchit,

The sounds that you hear when meditating or when very calm are the sounds coming from the chakras. The chakras are vortices of energy at seven points along our spine, actually they are deep in our astral spine. But for most of us we can think of them as along our spinal column. There are different sounds coming from each chakra, and the one you may have heard is from the third chakra, the manipur chakra. All these sounds are good. They are all part of the raising of the Kundalini, which when fully raised to the 7th chakra, you become enlightened.

To know more about this subject you should purchase the following books from Ananda India. The teachers of our path of Raja Yoga have clarified the esoteric teachings of yoga. If you are finding unusual sounds or unusual colors before your vision, you need to get clarity. Do either go to an Ananda center, if one is near you, or purchase these books, as both will help you greatly.

The books are The Art & Science of Raja Yoga, which is a complete book of meditation, philosophy, affirmations, and more that encompass the whole of the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda. The other book is on the chakras called, Chakras for Starters. These books can be purchased through anandaindia.org. It is essential to have them as they will help you understand all that your expert was explaining to you.

Listening to these sounds on the right side is correct as the right side is the positive side of the body. But if you hear these sounds, just listen to them in the calmness of your own self. Eventually you will hear them more deeply. And if you keep your concentration calmly at the Spiritual Eye (the sixth chakra), the energy in your spine will go upward toward that center and you will hear other sounds and eventually the all important sound of AUM. You will also be drawing the Kundalini up to this center. Keep your concentration at the Spiritual Eye as much as you can during your meditations and eventually you will realize your goal — one with the Divine.

Blessings to you, Seva

Why We Need to Pray
March 2, 2015

anniebasent
india

Question

Does prayer change your fate and karma? From last 6 years of my experience, it is not. If like that then , why do we need to pray ? Why do we need to waste time? We can do many good things with that time?

Nayaswami Parvati

Nayaswami Parvati

Ananda Village

Answer

Prayer is about your relationship with God. It is not about what you receive, but what you give. Praying is a way to open up to the presence of a Higher Reality in your life. Some people call this God, other people have other names for it. Whatever name you give it, asking for help from a source that is higher than your own small self is a necessary first step on the road to a fuller life. This is one of the reasons why people pray. They have reached the end of the road with trying to find their own answers in life, and they are seeking something greater.

When you pray, you are asking a higher consciousness to come into your life and help you. To do this you must quiet your mind so that you can truly receive what is being given to you. That is why prayer is about giving first. If you don’t make the effort to quiet your mind, you won’t be able to “hear” the responses to your prayers.

I think many prayers are answered, but people are not listening in the right way for the answers that come. A quiet mind is essential to prayer. For this reason, we strongly suggest that people offer prayers at the end of their meditation.

Another big block to answered prayers is that you don’t want to hear the answer that is being given you. Many people pray saying, “Please, God, give me an answer to this problem in my life, and let it be this answer.” If you are praying in this way, then no answer will be able to come to you. You simply won’t be able to hear it. So we must pray with an open mind to what might come to us. And we must be willing to accept the answer and to give it a try. In fact it has been found in studies done on prayer, that the most effective way to pray is to offer your prayer saying, “Thy will be done, Lord.” In prayer, this is how you will achieve the best results.

So, quieting the mind, listening inwardly, and being receptive are three essential elements for effective prayer. Using these you should be able to test prayer in your own life and see what results you receive. Your own direct experience of prayer will be the proof of how effective it can be for you.

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