Ask Ananda’s Experts
Questions and answers about meditation, yoga, the spiritual life, and more

Ask a question

About the Expert
Regular Answerers

Tyagi Hanuman

Tyagi Hanuman

Hanuman has been a part of Ananda since 1981 when he and he wife Mari lived in the Ananda Atherton Ashram. In 1984 they moved to Ananda Village, where Hanuman worked as a carpenter, an ICU nurse, and a chiropractor.

In 1989, Swami Kriyananda made he and his wife Lightbearer Ministers for Ananda. The two moved to Portland in 1991 and have lived there for nearly 20 years, serving as community and cafe managers, co-directors of the church, and ministers. He is a certified parish nurse for the Ananda Portland community and congregation.

In May of 2010 Hanuman and Mari purchased an adult living home across the street from Ananda Laurelwood. Ananda House is a spiritual assisted living home based on the Evening Hospice precepts set forth by Swami Kriyananda. It is a multigenerational home where practicing adults can have assistance with all aspects of living while continuing to live a conscious active life for God. Hanuman is also working on a upcoming book, Conscious Exits.

Posts by Tyagi Hanuman:

July 1
2012

V
India

Question

Hello, I was wondering how accurate are astrological readings? People have said that when certain planets are in retrograde on your chart, it may cause you to experience insecurities etc. For a long time, I just thought this was just nonsense... however when I look back at my life, almost all the major challenges I have faced seem to fall squarely at times when different planets were in retrograde! Now I'm puzzled..can you pls offer some insight on this? also how can we remain untouched ?

Thanks

V

Tyagi Hanuman

Answer

Hello V,

Did you know that Sri Yukteswar studied astrology? It is quite commonly used by many on the path of yoga. Many folks wear bangles to help guard against the affects of the planets and energy in general. In the cycles of time, the yugas we see that our abilities in general are affected by the position of the planets relative to our dual sun and solar system. The tides of the oceans are affected by the moon. What to do?

in Yogananda's poem Samadhi he says" All space floats like an iceberg in My mental sea. Colossal Container, I, of all things made. By deeper, longer, thirsty, guru-given meditation comes this celestial samadhi."

The best thing that any of us can do to neutralize the waves of duality, is to meditate, be with those who meditate, and serve God by serving others. The cosmos is grand and so is Her energy. To know the Divine we have to aspire towards the Divine through guru given meditation. Love all, serve all, forgive all, and All will come to you.

Aditya R Joshi
India

Question

Can a person be spiritual and selfish at same time, So Many people meditate these days and talk about spirituality but they can be cold and selfish, even turn their back on a person who needs their help! Spirituality just realizing God with out compassion for others or using God as excuse for turn their back! So many people call them spiritual and their acts are selfish, mean and scary, I wonder whether the word spirituality be Holy or some thing yearned by pure heart person.

Tyagi Hanuman

Answer

The spiritual path is a continuum and progress is relative to where you are on it.

Can a spiritual person be selfish? Of course! We are all spirit in essence. We are all at different levels of understanding of that spirit.

On any given day, a good person could make a bad judgment. I wouldn't waste your time worrying about others. Learn from your observations and commit yourself to doing better in your own life.

Diana
USA

Question

I have been a nurse in both oncology and the ICU for most of my career. I am "comfortable" with death of the body, and have witnessed many. Several were quite significant gifts to me spiritually. My question now, as a kriya yogi, is, what is the "best" way to be with someone who is dying? On what, or where to focus my energy for their benefit etc? This is for family, not patients, if there is any difference. Thank you!

[From "Ask Ananda's Experts" administrator:
For information about Kriya Yoga, visit http://www.ananda.org/kriya-yoga/]

Tyagi Hanuman

Answer

Dear Diana,

Being present with anyone is, of course, most important.

What does it mean to be present? To be aware. Be aware of your feelings as well as the feelings of the one you are with. Focus your attention at the point between the eyebrows and listen to your heart. What needs to be said? How can you be of service? Be aware of the breath. It is a very good indicator of how we are reacting to a situation.

The Gayatri mantra and Mahamrityunjaya mantra are very helpful. When asked about what to listen to at the time of death, Swami Kriyananda replied, "AUM is inextricably linked to the Gayatri Mantra; it helps the soul embrace death at the right time. The powerful vibrations of this mantra can also help remove the fear of death."

As a Kriyaban, you can offer your Kriyas up for your loved one.

With each Kriya breath, draw the energy up to the point between the eyebrows, and as you chant AUM, feel that your loved one's spirit is being held in the light.

You will feel an expanded awareness of the heart and a sense of deepening oneness with the infinite.

Rekha
India

Question

I have a lovely niece who is now turning out to be rude and arrogant with me.My sister tells her negative things about me.My niece feels that we are attacking her mom and overreacts for everything.Last night I was tired of her arrogance and told her to either speak to me politely or stay quiet.I love her dearly but am unable to handle her animosity.At the same time the relationship with my Sister has strained so much that now I cant mend it. Please guide me.

Thank you

Rekha

Tyagi Hanuman

Answer

Hi Rekha,

It sounds like there is more going on than the issue of you and your niece. Is it possible that there is a larger family issue going on? In any case, you can't change individuals; you can only change yourself.

You might ask yourself what is more important to you: your relationship with your sister and your niece, or being right? As I said, there is something else going on here.

Love is always the answer. You don't need to accept poor behavior.

You can say, "When you talk to me that way it hurts, and I know that isn't what you mean to do. How can we talk so that we are both heard?"

Blessings,
Hanuman

November 6
2011

CJ
USA

Question

Hello,

Is there a way to detach from emotional and physical (energy) draggings or burdens while taking care of a sick loved one?

Thank you.

Tyagi Hanuman

Answer

Dear CJ,

Caring for loved ones can be very trying. We generally don't expect to become caregivers, and yet more and more people are finding themselves taking care of mom or dad, the grandchildren, or each other.

You have to ask the question, how did I get into this situation? And the answer, of course, is karma. Nothing comes our way that is not ours to deal with. It is a universal law.

Swami Kriyananda shares a story in the path where he and a brother disciple were just about to go to lunch when Paramhansa Yogananda asked if they would smooth out a mound of sand created when the swimming pool had been dug out. They were happy to do this for the Master.

But then he asked them to do another mound, and then another and another. At some point Swami saw that the Master was trying them to see if they would break in a positive way. Swami began to laugh and Yogananda said, "I was playing with you."

The test was this - could they put out more energy and not resist what life was presenting? Yes!

In the case of caring for loved ones, you have to realize that it is God through the loved one - testing you, strengthening and guiding you towards Self realization. When we are able to depersonalize these situations and see that it is for our own education and entertainment, then things go much easier.

Finally, it is important for the caregiver to take care of themselves. Caregiver burn-out is a real problem. A few statistics may help put things into perspective:

23 percent of family caregivers caring for loved ones for 5 years or more report their health is fair or poor.*

40 to 70 percent of family caregivers have clinically significant symptoms of depression, and approximately a quarter to half of these caregivers meet the diagnostic criteria for major depression.**

Fortunately, the practicing yogi has meditation techniques and life style perspectives that support and rejuvenate the individual. These are even more important for the caregiver yogi.

*Caregiving in the United States; National Alliance for Caregiving in collaboration with AARP; November 2009.
**Zarit, S. (2006). Assessment of Family Caregivers: A Research Perspective