About the Expert
Previously, Dharmadevi lived at Ananda Village, where she helped launch Online with Ananda (then, Ananda Online Classes) and its Virtual Community. She has been practicing and teaching alternative healing modalities since 2000 and especially enjoys sharing Paramhansa Yogananda’s teachings on health and healing. Dharmadevi is currently teaching the Ancient Keys to Attaining Success & Happiness (AKASH) series that Swami Kriyananda wrote while in LA, and she is part of the founding team of Yogananda Institute.
Posts by Dharmadevi Romano:
Did Jesus teach a meditation technique to his disciples? How did his close disciples become so purified? Was it just by his grace due to karmic link from previous lives which dissolved their karma or due to them simply praying to God.
Thank you for your question! Paramhansa Yogananda tells us that Jesus did practice and teach his disciples a form of Kriya Yoga. What the differences are (if any), I do not know.
We read in the Bible about how the disciples were purified and blessed sometime soon after Jesus' crucifixion, when the Holy Ghost comes to them. This purification was a direct blessing from the Guru to his disciples.
You asked: "Was it just by his grace due to karmic link from previous lives which dissolved their karma or due to them simply praying to God."
I am prone to think it is both, rather than either or. Grace is a big part of it but they also had to get there through their own devotion and practice of inner communion with God. Yogananda gives a helpful formula for thinking about the spiritual path to union with God. He says it is 25% our own effort, 25% the Guru's effort on our behalf, and 50% the Grace of God.
I hope this is helpful. You might also like to read Swami Kriyananda's book Revelations of Christ for Yogananda's insights into the New Testament.
Where there is Dharma, there is Victory!
July 16, 2012
I have a PhD but my academic career didn't work out. Now I have a dilemma: if I put the PhD and postdoc years in my CV it will be next to impossible to find a "normal" job like in a supermarket; if I don't put it I have a big gap in my CV.
I think finding a job is a dharmic thing to do. Does it make it alright to say I worked in a supermarket in my homecountry, or should I stick to the truth at all costs even in the face of unreasonable discrimination for my higher degree?
Thank you for your question. I hope you don't mind, but I'd like to share a story that Swami Kriyananda shares quite often, as it relates to dharma:
I was in the Hospital in India several years ago with double pneumonia, lying barely conscious in my bed, when a doctor came into the room. Usually under such circumstances doctors come into one's room to offer help. This one, however, had a different agenda.
"Sir," he said, "Can you help me?"
"I can try," I murmured weakly.
"I have a son in college in Canada," he continued. "I also have many other financial obligations. I believe in spiritual principles, but how can I make ends meet and not bend the rules of right action at least a little bit?"
I replied, still very weakly, "I have always found that by adhering rigidly to right action, I have achieved all the success I wanted and needed in life."
And indeed, Swamiji is an incredible example to all of us that even in the face of extreme adversity, if we stick to dharma, we will be successful in everything we do.
If you're interested, he went on to create the AKASH (Ancient Keys to Attaining Success & Happiness) Course after that interaction with the doctor in India.
Here is a link to that course on Online With Ananda:
Love & Blessings,
Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God...
July 3, 2012
I've been realizing nowadays that I'm not focusing on the spiritual path like I used to before. I'm in my 12th grade, and therefore there are expectations by my parents and relatives that I study hard and get high marks to join a good college later on. But my mind doesn't seem to be focused at the moment. What must I do to be more spiritual and joyful with the thought of God, and apply that to my studies as well?
Thank you for your question. It is great that you are thinking of how to deepen your spiritual life in the midst of all the pressure to succeed on the physical plane.
We cannot be truly successful without first addressing our connection with God. As it says in the Bible:
Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto thee.
When we make God our first priority, He takes care of all the rest!
I would highly recommend practicing Yoganandaji's technique for Concentration. It is incredibly effective and will help with every aspect of your life.
Here is a link with detailed information on the technique called "Hong-Sau"
Many blessings to you!
Use the Hong-Sau Technique for Concentration
February 16, 2012
How to concentrate on one point in meditation. Swamiji I can concentrate on the wall by placing dot but I am unable to concentrate on one point in kutastha (place between eye brows) please help me Swamiji.
Thank you for your question.
Yoganandaji called Hong-Sau the most powerful technique of concentration. I would highly recommend that you try it and see how it works for you.
You can start by feeling the breath come in at the nostrils - cool on inhalation, warm on exhalation. Then, focus on feeling the sensations higher and higher in the nose, until it reaches the point between the eyebrows.
Here is a link for more information on the technique.
I hope you find this helpful!
Love & Blessings,
When I Fall in Love...
February 9, 2012
I suffer from a bad problem. Whenever I fall in love with someone I tend to give all my self in loving that person and forget about the rest of the world. But most of the time that relationship ends dramatically and I suffer tremendously. How can I develop the power of not concentrating on that person solely?
Thank you for your question. It is important for all of us to remember that we have to continually expand our love and compassion - not just to our spouse and family members, but to everyone.
Here is a beautiful message from Paramhansa Yogananda on the subject:
True friendship is broad and inclusive. Selfish attachment to a single individual, excluding all others, inhibits the development of divine friendship. Extend the boundaries of the glowing kingdom of your love, gradually including within them your family, your neighbors, your community, your country, all countries; in short, all sentient creatures. Be a cosmic friend, imbued with kindness and affection for all of God's creation, scattering love everywhere.
With Love & Divine Friendship,
When to Do Hatha Yoga?
January 26, 2012
When beginning my meditation practice, should I do hatha yoga before or after energization exercises, or does it matter?
Thank you for your question. I believe it depends upon you and whether Energization Exercises leave you feeling more inward and ready for meditation - or yoga postures do.
Do the one that feels most inward right before you start your meditation. Either way, doing both Energization Exercises and Hatha Yoga before your meditation is incredibly beneficial! Great work!
Ideal Worship vs. Idol Worship
October 18, 2011
Babaji and all the saints seem to discourage worshiping them, yet most will lay at their feet and try. I love the examples of God realized masters. God is the doer. What is proper respect to God and the saints?
That is a great question!
I think the point is to learn to recognize God as the Doer in everything and in everyone, so that our worship and reverence IS to the Divine.
You may have heard the story of the orchestra that played for Yogananda. Technically, they played perfectly, but when he was asked how he liked it, he slightly rebuked them for playing for him as a person, rather than with devotion to God.
Even those highly evolved on the spiritual path personify God into human terms in some fashion; the Masters endorse this practice. It is how we behave towards that personification that matters most.
We can't get stuck in the form because God, ultimately, is formless as well as being in everyone and everything at all times.
Swami Kriyananda talks about how the Hindu religion has been incorrectly recognized as worshiping idols because of their many gods. He points out that these gods are representatives of the many attributes of the one God. It is therefore "ideal worship" rather than "idol worship."
So, my answer would be that we should offer devotion to God in all forms. There is a beautiful story in Autobiography of a Yogi that describes it perfectly. Please read Chapter 13: The Sleepless Saint.
Love & Blessings,
Getting Through a Crisis Through Spiritual Success
October 13, 2011
I am in a big financial crises.How to overcome through spirituality? please guide me
You are obviously on the right track because you asked "how to overcome through spirituality".
The only way we can really get through any crisis is through spiritual success and connecting with that Divine reality within us. Of course, we do this to varying degrees throughout our lives but the more we make our spiritual life the main priority, the more outward success we see as well.
As Jesus says: "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God... and all these things shall be added unto you."
When we go within and lift our consciousness through meditation/inner communion, the answers to our life's situations become clear and we know which direction to go in more easily.
At the same time, we have to remember to put out tremendous amounts of energy when we know the direction we are meant to go in. We just have to continually check in to see that the direction is still the right one each day through our communion with Spirit.
I urge you to check out the AKASH Series that Swami Kriyananda wrote. It stands for: Ancient Keys to Attaining Success & Happiness and is available through Yogananda Institute.
Love & Blessings,
Hello and thanks for your answers
When I meditate i set my gaze at the point between the eyebrows.
1) Where do I put my attention and concentration? on the skin between the eyebrows or on the part of the brain behind the point between the eyebrows? or do I have to "look" and focus on the background of the dark I see (and that is a point, physically, in front of my forehead)?
2) where is located anja chakra?
Many thanks and sorry for my english
Thank you for your question. I think many people wonder what exactly is meant by the instruction "focus at the point between the eyebrows."
I found your answer, described perfectly in Savitri Simpson's book, Chakras for Starters:
In meditation, concentrate at a point midway between the eyebrows. Close your eyes (or keep them half-open and half-closed) and look upward-not crossing your eyes, but converging them slightly as though you were gazing at your thumbnail outstretched above you. Don't be too exact in this matter, however. The important thing is to bring your attention to that area. Don't try forcibly to bring your eyes to a focus, but gaze mentally towards that point, and let the spiritual eye draw you into itself. At all times keep your eyes relaxed and your brow smooth.
The ajna chakra is in the center of the spine with its negative pole being the medulla oblongata and its positive pole being the point between the eyebrows.
Love & Blessings,
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