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Nirja
India

Question

Dear friend,

I had a big teary episode this morning after meditation where the thought of Ma and Gurudev abandoning me crossed my mind. I cried and cried. I know that our studies say that God is with us, as us, but the idea still broke me down, and now I am scared. I can’t imagine life without the solace of the idea of a higher truth, and if God were to “let me go” due to some karma or my own folly, what would I do? How does one stay unattached with their love for God whilst being brave? :(

Nayaswami Seva

Nayaswami Seva

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Nirja,

I can’t imagine a better reason for crying than thinking of God even in the way you have done. I also can’t imagine that God would ever leave you. He, according to my guru, Paramhansa Yogananda, only wants your love. It seems that in your attachment to Him, you are showing that you have great love for Him.

S.M.B
India

Question

I’m a beginner at meditation. The practice of Hong Sau has made me far more calm and peaceful than before. However, my self esteem still remains low. How can I build confidence through meditation? Do advanced kriya techniques help in overcoming emotional vulnerability?

Nayaswami Parvati

Nayaswami Parvati

Ananda Village

Answer

If you continue your meditation practice with regularity you will find that your self confidence will increase. This is because your practice of meditation is putting you in touch with who you really are at the core of your being, a child of God. Daily experience of this reality will gradually remove feelings of lack, and replace them with feelings of peace, love, and joy. Hong Sau will do this as well as the other techniques of the path of Kriya Yoga — Aum, and Kriya proper.

Lynn
US

Question

I have been a kriyaban for 15 years and feel strongly that Yogananda is my guru. Sometimes though, I find deep inspiration in writings by teachers from other paths — and then I feel guilty! I know that, on the one hand, we are the Church of All Religions. On the other, I know that Swami Kriyananda warned on occasion about spreading our attention around. How do I know when I should not read or study another spiritual writing?

Nayaswami Gyandev

Nayaswami Gyandev

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Lynn,

Those who are new on any path need to strive to make a clear connection with the particular ray of divine light that is expressing through that path. During this stage, one’s discrimination may not yet be clear enough to discern what’s best for him or her. That’s why it’s important to focus exclusively on one’s own path, for although other teachings may be perfectly valid, they can have different vibrations, different emphases that can confuse the devotee, or take him/her off track. So for those newer on the path, definite guidelines are in order: This way only!

Quinn
USA

Question

Is reincarnation immediate? My brother died four years ago, and my two-year-old exhibits many of his characteristics and always points him out in pictures even though I haven’t explained who he is or brought attention to him.

Puru (Joseph) Selbie

Puru (Joseph) Selbie

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Quinn,

In the Autobiography of a Yogi Paramhansa Yogananda writes of his promise to a young disciple, Kashi, that if he died young Yogananda would find him again when he reincarnated and help him once again onto the spiritual path. The chapter “Kashi, Reborn and Rediscovered” has many fascinating insights into reincarnation, but it also answers your specific question: Yogananda “found” Kashi six months later in the womb of his new mother. Visiting the family sometime later, Yogananada noted how similar the infant looked to the Kashi he knew before. Yogananda fulfilled his promise and guided Kashi to a Himalayan master.

S
India

Question

Is it okay to be nice and normal to an ex, who has done something very very incorrect and adharmic with us in the past, even if we have not been able to forgive his actions?

Nayaswami Hriman

Nayaswami Hriman

Ananda Seattle

Answer

Dear Friend,

There’s no point, spiritually speaking, in behaving rudely to anyone. Politeness and ordinary human kindness should be natural to you in respect to virtually everyone (who isn’t otherwise a present threat).

There’s a difference, too, between forgiving and forgetting. So long as someone is around who might still even harm you, you mustn’t fall into the same trap and be harmed again. Most people don’t forget such things and probably shouldn’t. But forgiveness which flows from a divine power, a grace, is right and good.

February 3
2014

Diana Barrett
USA

Question

For the past 6 months, I have had significant disruption in my sleeping patterns. (One day awake 20 hours, next day exhausted). I have historically always “needed” 9 hours of sleep and been a person with lower energy level. N ow I am aging (58,) still raising kids and the world moves so fast! With many factors coming in to play in this issue, I am interested to learn HOW meditation affects the sleep requirement. My meditations have never been longer, deeper or more regular than now. Thank you!

Nayaswami Diksha

Nayaswami Diksha

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Diana,

Meditation techniques, have been found to calm the sympathetic nervous system’s “fight or flight response” and decrease worry and restlessness — all the things that interfere with good sleep.

Meditation helps to relax the body, calm the mind and the nervous system, and most important helps one to tap into higher states of consciousness. When one meditates deeply and able to tap into super conscious state of awareness, one is recharged more than in sleep.

Jeremie
France

Question

I’m a bit confused regarding the practice of Bhastrika. I always thought it was practiced by breathing forcefully (but not too much) pressing and pulling the stomach in and out. But a teacher I lately met with told to practice this way: “Breathing is done only in the chest, not in the abdomen. It should be shallow and rapid.” He has another practice he calls Bhastrika plus Agnisara looking closer to the way I used to practice Bhastrika. Can you give me your point of view on this practice?

Nayaswami Gyandev

Nayaswami Gyandev

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Jeremie,

As you have discovered, different traditions practice Bhastrika in different ways. In Ananda Yoga, it’s done with the abdomen, and it’s as follows:

Quickly push the abdomen out, thereby causing an inhalation through the nose. Then quickly squeeze the abdomen inward, causing an exhalation through the nose. Both movements should be smooth and firm—not shallow, but not as deep as possible, either. Your inhalations and exhalations should be of equal duration. Practice at a rate of about one breath per second.

craig
usa

Question

Where is the phrase “Banat banat ban jai” found in Autobiography of Yogi?

Nayaswami Pranaba

Nayaswami Pranaba

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Craig,

This quote is one that Lahiri Mahasaya often used, and is recalled by his disciple, Swami Pranabananda, in chapter 27 of the Autobiography of a Yogi (page 246 in the original reprint of the 1946 edition, available from Crystal Clarity Publishers).

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