About the Expert
Devi is one of the founding members of Ananda, having lived at Ananda Village and other Ananda colonies since 1969. She is a Kriyacharya (authorized Kriya Yoga teacher). Over the years, her duties included teaching, outselling, and directing many aspects of Ananda's work.
Together with her husband Jyotish, Devi serves as a Spiritual Director for Ananda Sangha Worldwide.
She travels and lectures extensively throughout the world sharing Yogananda's teachings of integrating meditation and spirituality into daily life.
Posts by Nayaswami Devi:
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The Four Ashrams, or Stages, of Life
i read Yogananda's autobiography in the early '70's and have been meditating ever since. Love to read Swami Kriyananda's books too. My worldly duties seem to have ended....children grown....their Mom is off on her own live in a cave. My question is, "what to do, when all that is left is the "search" for God??
i am not at all wealthy, but have little interest in financial concerns, realizing my responsibility to support myself others as possible.
if i were in India, i would be in a cave
As you may remember from "Autobiography of a Yogi," Master talks about the 4 ashrams or stages of life: the young student, the householder with family responsibilities, the mature person whose responsibilities are lessening and who begins to withdraw, and final sannyas, or renunciation.
It's a beautiful flow that takes into account the changing patterns of life and how to fulfill your dharma, or spiritual duty, each step of the way to find God.
So for you personally, it would be good to see what you can detach from, what you still need to be responsible for, and make a deeper effort with your meditation and attunement with Master. It doesn't matter if we are in a cave or in the market place. We will find God when we've finished our karma, have made the divine search our top priority, and completely surrendered to God and Guru.
May your search be blessed,
Love God First
One of my references in spiritual life are the 2 commandments of Jesus, "love God above anything and love your neighbour as yourself".
I notice though that in order to lift selfesteem and being able to love others, you need to love yourself first.
What is your view on the correct order and the most direct way of finding freedom. Mainly focussing on the relationship with God or focussing on loving oneself unconditionally.
Jesus' words: "Thou shalt love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself" have such profundity and beauty. To answer your questions: What order should we approach these two practices? and Do we need to love ourselves first before we can love others?, I'll share these thoughts.
One of the aspects of God is love - universal, unconditional, unlimited love. Without first touching this love within ourselves through meditation and devotion, we can't begin to share love with others. If we wait until we accept ourselves and overcome low self-esteem, we may wait a long time.
But to feel the power of God's love flowing through us - not because of our worth but because it is a force in the universe - is to be able truly to love others.
If we can forget ourselves by absorption in our love for God, then all of these questions are anwered in one beautiful flow.
God bless you,
Where to Direct Our Love
I'm having difficulty understanding the concept of "be more loving and you will attract love." This is something I hear repeatedly from many teachings. However, I'm don't understand who to be loving towards - Myself, God, others? Where do I start? Is there a prayer or affirmation? Thank you
We can't love anything - yourself, God, or others - in the abstract. We need to start from our own heart and feel a flow of energy (which is God's love for all) flowing through us.
In Swami Kriyananda's book, "Living Wisely, Living Well," he writes, "How can one love everyone on earth? Here is one way: Reflect that God's nature is Satchidananda - ever-existing, ever-conscious, ever-new Bliss. He, the Creator, gives to each of us the motivation to seek bliss as our true nature, also. Everyone on earth hungers for that fulfillment, though people usually seek it indirectly. Isn't this reason enough to love, and to be compassionate toward, every being on earth?"
In meditation, as the hold of the ego begins to dissolve our ingrained sense of separateness, we naturally begin to feel our unity with all. Then as we feel our common purpose in life - seeking the joy of our own nature - the natural love of the heart flows through us. Then we become magnets for love to flow back to us - from God, from others, from the very universe.
Never think about what you will get in return, but give love freely and generously to all. In that consciousness, you will find everything that you are seeking.
Finding God's Joy Anywhere
What does Divine mother want from me? I am training to become a scientist, but Ive been feeling hugely disillusioned by science and I find joy only in the company of spiritual people and in contemplating love/god. Many days, I just feel like quitting and becoming a spiritual teacher. However, for what ever reason, I'm constantly given more opportunities and career breaks than most others who actually enjoy science! why? is this gods way of telling me to remain in science? How do I find out?
One of my favorite quotes from Yoganandaji is: "Life is a battle for joy every step of the way. Let me win that battle on the very spot on which I now stand." What we do in life is less important than the inner environment that we create within ourselves by practicing meditation and right attitudes.
So what does Divine Mother want of you? She wants you to find the joy of your own Self - a joy which is not dependent on any outward circumstance. If the opportunity presents itself for you to make a career change, you could consider it. But since the doors keep opening for you in science, it seems like the lesson is to live with the consciousness of God's joy always, and let Her take care of the details.
In divine friendship,
Finding God in the Workplace
I have a practical question.
Did Yogananda ever discuss special techniques on how to remain focused while in a hectic office environment. Specifically I am talking about Call Center work where it can be very draining listening to people asking many times the same things in multitude of different ways! Are there special things one should observe when dealing with people on the phone to protect energy levels? Clasping a bangle? Or is a deepening of a home meditation practise what is required?
I'm sure that everyone faces the challenges in life that you describe in one way or another - how to keep our minds focused and uplifted in midst of demanding activities.
First, as you mention, a deep, daily practice of meditation raises both our level of energy and our consciousness. Meditation fills our minds with calm, refreshing energy that enhances everything we do.
A daily practice of the Energization Exercises also fills us with vitality and enthusiasm for whatever we may encounter during the day.
During the workday at your Call Center, it's helpful to take "Energy Breaks" periodically, in which you consciously relax away physical and emotional tension and "reset" yourself. Do deep breathing or stretching or a few minutes of meditation.
Finally, when speaking to others on the phone, rather than thinking, "I've already answered this question 100 times today," think, "From my own higher Self, I am serving the God in others." Try to be a channel for divine peace and joy to everyone you speak with. You will literally never get tired if you work in this way.
We hope that these ideas are helpful to you.
May God and Guru bless your service,
Who Am I?
can you answer this? Who was i and who am i now
The Bhagavad Gita gives a poetic and inspiring description of the nature of the individual. This great Scripture tells us that we are the immortal soul that can never be destroyed. We are sparks of the infinite consciousness of God, and have played many different parts in past lives, but none of them have significance other than the fact that we are a part of God's great dream.
So when asking the question "Who am I?", Master's answer is a good one: Just a bulge on the great ocean of God's consciousness. The same answer applies to "Who was I?" and "Who will I be?"
In divine friendship,
Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God
Dear Minister: I'm 43, single mother for 13 years. I've always wanted to get marry and have a family. But I didn't find my soul mate. 2 years ago I had a dream.I felt the way GOD loves me, all I was love,an experience beyond words.This year I started to meditate and realized that I will never find a love like HIS in this world, that nobody it's going to love me like him.I've lost most of my desire to find my soul mate, but not completely. How do I do to concentratrate myself in looking for GOD?
The conclusion that you have drawn from your dream that no one can love you the way God does is absolutely true. There is a beautiful statement by a great Christian mystic, St. Augustine, "Lord, Thou hast made us for Thyself alone, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee."
Still the fulfillment of experiencing God's love does not exclude human love and happiness from our lives. Rather than think of it as one or the other, it's better to give our love to God and ask Him to bring us fulfillment in this world according to His will for us. That is why Christ says, "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you."
He can bless us with His love through friends, children, and partners. The important thing is to remember that it is his love coming to us through all these expressions. As Paramhansa Yogananda tells us, "Always try to see the Dreamer behind His dream." So try to feel God's love behind all the ways His love comes to us. Then we can enjoy this world, but inwardly remain free.
In divine friendship,
Why Our Hearts Are Restless
I have been on a spiritual path for 30 years. I had an intense spiritual experience and invited Jesus Christ to be my savoir. I have experienced alot of growth but still hunger for a more steady life in the spirit. My heart has been broken by childhood misunderstandings (never welcomed to just be) and two physically and emotionally abusive marriages, drug and alcohol addiction I must say I am growing but it still seems like too much effort. At times my heart still feels broken.
One of the greatest blessings in the life of a sincere devotee is a constant sense of longing in the heart for fulfillment. This can cause us much suffering, because we keep looking for this longing to be fulfilled by our experiences in the world. But ultimately it keeps us seeking the one source of true happiness and love — God.
St. Augustine put in beautifully, "Lord, Thou hast made us for Thyself alone, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee."
It is a great relief, and in fact turning point in our soul's evolution, when we realize that everything we've been seeking will be found in God.
In Autobiography of a Yogi, Yogananda says, "The devotee is finally freed from all instinctive compulsions. He transforms his need for human affection into aspiration for God alone, a love solitary because omnipresent."
If you can realize that all of your life's experiences have been to help you accept this truth, you will find much joy and freedom.
In divine friendship,
Yoga Practice, Meditation, and Dreams
I have begun doing Yoga and meditating. Lately I have been bothered by bad dreams, and when I awake I find that the fear and the problem persists in my mind throughout the day. I have prayed for relief, and do not get it. Should I just stop the spritual practice?
First, don't stop your yoga and meditation practice. In so many ways, these practices are healing and strengthening to our body, mind, and consciousness, and are part of the solution to your problem.
Someone once described the practice of meditation as being like pouring boiling water down a snake hole. It brings a lot of scary things to the surface. What is probably causing your bad dreams is that old, buried fears from the subconscious mind are being brought more powerfully to your awareness. They've always been there, but now they are coming into your conscious mind for you to deal with.
Here are a few things you can do:
1) When meditating try to keep your mind calm, clear, and alert so that you don't drift into a subconscious, dreamy state. If your mind is dynamically focussed, it will burn up old fears.
2) Look at these fears head on and let them know who's boss. Try saying, "My courage and will power are stronger than you are. You cannot frighten me."
3) Before going to sleep, pray to God to guard the portals of your mind so that only thoughts of light and joy and enter there. Relax into God's peace and light as you drift into sleep.
I hope these things will be useful to you.
In divine friendship,
Why is Forgiveness Hard?
I am baffled by the inability of people to forgive over petty things! I have recently tried to "bury the hatchet" with people whom I have had quite petty differences, only to find them unable to do so on their end. This transcends my comprehension as I find forgiveness to come quite naturally, especially over petty differences. Even when I resolve to hold a grudge I find it hard to do so. What makes people unable to forgive?
The ability to forgive is born of strength within ourselves. If we are fearful of being hurt (or hurt again) by someone, we close our hearts and build barriers to letting love and acceptance flow to them.
Swami Kriyananda has written, "Forgiveness is the sword of victory! When we forgive those who seek to hurt us, we rob them of their very power to do us harm. Better still, if they respond with love, they will unite their strength to ours, and so our strength becomes doubled."
If people are unwilling to "bury the hatchet," let them know that on your part you have left the issue behind you. Still we need to respect their process and give them the time they need to forgive.
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