About the Expert
Nayaswami Jaya is a founding member of Ananda, a Lightbearer, and a Kriyacharya (Kriya Yoga teacher).
After leading for many years the development of Ananda Village, Nayaswami Jaya and his wife Nayaswami Sadhana Devi, also an Ananda founding member, served at Ananda U.S. East Coast, and then moved to India to help start Ananda's work there.
Currently Nayaswami Jaya resides at Ananda Pune in India, where he overseed the initial development of the land for Ananda's community just outside the city. He and Sadhana Devi are teaching meditation and Kriya Yoga classes in Pune and other major cities in India.
Posts by Nayaswami Jaya:
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I have started practicing meditation everyday. Can i focus my attention on the form of any Indian God when i meditate?
Paramhansa Yogananda defined meditation as "one pointed concentration upon God or one of His aspects." Raja Yoga typically defines the "aspects" of God as: sound, light, love, wisdom, peace, calmness, power and bliss.
Each of these can be expressed in multiple ways but, in essence, are experiential - not imaginings or mental images.
As we concentrate, as we calm the breath through techniques and interiorize our mind, we begin to feel the presence of God as a tangible experience within, ultimately expanding our consciousness beyond the body.
God manifests in an infinite variety of forms in response to the devotion of His devotees, but is limited to no form.
To concentrate your attention upon a traditional diety can be useful if it helps you to focus your inner gaze and if it stimulates your heart's devotion. God is beyond form but within form too.
Through your concentration and heart's call, you will eventually experience one of the aspects mentioned above. Call to that diety you love, "Reveal Thyself, reveal Thyself!" You will come to know the particular form you worship is but an expression of the Sat-Chit-Ananda (ever-existing, ever-conscious, ever-new Bliss) shining behind it.
My Kriya practice has become very important to me and I fear losing the discipline to continue meditating consistently due to my outer life creating distractions. My question is how to keep strong attunement to God and Gurus while maintaining a demanding outer life of service.
I think most kriyabans experience a tug-of-war between the outward pull of responsibilities and an inner call to maintain attunement and a regular sadhana. Here are a few suggestions:
1. Try to keep God and Gurus in your consciousness during your outward service. Serve them through whatever it is you are called to do. Include them and ask for their guidance in your outer duties. Let them work with you and through you as your partner during the day. In other words, don't make too rigid a separation between your inner and outer life.
2. Spiritual indifference can be our greatest enemy on the spiritual path. Fan your desire for God and feed it. If it burns brightly, the rest will follow naturally and you need not worry. Ask yourself, "Is my love for God growing? Is it strong within me?" Keep in mind why you came to these teachings in the first place and don't be satisfied until your heart's true longing is satisfied.
3. Dive even more deeply into your kriya practice to experience joy. As Paramhansa Yogananda used to say, "Once you taste good cheese, you will no longer be satisfied with stale cheese." If you feel God's blessings in meditation, you will want to return again and again to experience more. The temptation to become distracted with outer duties will lessen.
4. I can't emphasize enough the importance of spiritual company - satsanga. Associate as much as possible with others who share your spiritual ideals. You will be carried over the rough spots. But even if you are without such friends and company, remember what Yoganandaji asked a disciple, "Am I not always with you?"
I hope these few thoughts prove helpful.
Did Jesus forgive Judas for Betraying him?
A disciple who was reprimanded by Paramhansa Yogananda once asked, "Will you forgive me, Sir?" The Master replied, "What else can I do?" In that loving spirit, certainly Jesus forgave Judas and included him in his statement on the cross, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do."
A Master is ever kind and eager to help a disciple if the devotee is willing to receive his forgiveness. Part of the disciple's willingness is demonstrated by correcting the error in his own behavior or thoughts that invited his guru's displeasure.
In this regard, Yoganandaji told his disciples, when a similar question was posed to him, that Judas expiated his karma in the early 20th century while living in India as a disciple of Ramakrishna, to whom he had been sent for this task, and that he (Yogananda) had met him.
A true Guru is a perfect instrument of God and wants nothing less than soul freedom for his disciples. He is ever loving. Judas had to have been a very high soul from past lives to have been one of Jesus's trusted and close disciples. He opened his consciousness to evil and made a grievous error for which he no doubt suffered greatly, but such suffering was not wished upon him by Jesus. It was the karmic law.
Jesus was ever his guru and as such, continued to help him to his final liberation.
I had read in 'The New Path' that Babaji was Lord krishna in Mahabharat, and again now in reading a book about Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa I read that Ramakrishna had stated that he was Lord Krishna in Mahabharat times. which is true??or both are true?? please answer.
Was Mahavatar Babaji or Ramakrishna Paramhansa an incarnation of Lord Krishna?
I think some questions, such as this one, must remain unanswered until we, ourselves, attain omniscience. Until we have direct realization, we can only go by what the Masters have passed down to us, thus making our knowledge tentative. I wonder if it really matters.
Paramhansa Yogananda claimed that Babaji had previously lived as Lord Krishna and that he (Yogananda) had been his disciple Arjuna.
He was quite firm about this and if you study their lives, I think you can understand why this is plausible.
My feeling is that Ramakrishna Paramhansa, a saint of broad universality, was speaking allegorically that the spirit of Lord Krishna was alive within him and manifesting through him.
It might be interesting to find sources other than the one you reference. Yogananda knew, personally, many of the disciples of Ramakrishna and never, to my knowledge, mentioned anything that would indicate that great saint as having a previous incarnation as Lord Krishna.
I understand that after an extensive practice of deep meditation on the spiritual eye the kundalini begins to wake up and gradually raises up through the different chakras. Are there any signs or sensations on the physical body when the kundalini begins to wake up and go upward? Do you feel a tingling sensation or some kind of energy at the base of the spine? Anything different than the normal peace and joy?
Swami Kriyananda explains in this book "The Art and Science of Raja Yoga" that any positive feeling stimulates an upward movement of energy in the spine and can be considered a spark of kundalini rising.
It is useful for the aspiring yogi to pay attention to these feelings of upward movement as they attune us to an inner awareness that the source of our joy is within, not in outward circumstances or things.
Awareness of energy moving within is a beginning step toward controlling, increasing and directing that energy.
One pointed concentration upon the spiritual eye will center our awareness there - to create magnetism that uplifts energy from the base of the spine to the brain.
Typically, so long as our awarenss remains centered in the physical body as evidenced by the breath, limited "awakenings" of kundalini will be fleeting. Energy tends to be drawn outward into the realm of ego, likes, and dislikes so long as the primary channels for life force are the ida and pingala.
But even so, stirrings of kundalini can sometimes be felt physically as sensations such as a "crawling" feeling in the spine, feelings of coolness and warmth, subtle feelings of energy movement or stimulation in the chakras.
These will be accompanied by inward joy, focus and calmness.
Your attention will often be magnetically pulled to the point between the eyebrows.
A surer indication of chakra awakening is the experience of the particular lnner lights and astral sounds heard and seen within. Seeing the spiritual eye is a good indication that you are headed in the right direction.
Don't be distracted by the small manifestations you may encounter on your inward journey.
They can be positive if they give us encouragement but you will want to go deeper.
Calm concentration and devotional ardor will take you beyond the breath. Remember the saying, "Breathlessness is deathlessness."
In this state, energy can begin its journey up the inner channels of the astral spine. Ego then temporarily relaxes its confining grip upon the kundalini and it begins to stir joyfully.
When this happens, there will be little room for doubts.
I have a neighbour whos been constantly fighting with me since I have been opposing the unfair activities of the managing body of the apt cmplx where I stay. In the last meeting among us this guy threatened me and my mom that he would thrash our faces, arms and legs. He also pointed to my fractured leg and said that God has given it to me for my sins. I am deeply hurt by these words and am foreseeing him doing grave harm to me and my mother. I wish to know how I can get divine help to fight this
There are a number of issues here. No one has a right to threaten another with violence and physical harm. If what you relate is as you say, I recommend you take this man's threats to the proper authorites for resolution and not confront him on your own or with your family. Were there witnesses to his threats? What was their perspective? Was the man speaking seriously? If so, let there be a record of the incident as a deterent to his doing it again.
As for the matter of angry words about why your leg has been injured, surely you don't believe such nonsense to be true so why let it bother you? How you respond to another is in your hands and you need not let it affect you so. Ask yourself when someone says something unkind, "Is it true?" If not, let it go. I suspect you were hurt, understandably so, by his emotional outburst toward you more than by the actual words. He was angry and acting like a schoolboy because you had crossed him. It's difficult to keep one's peace in these situations but the world is full of such people. You will not change this man but God can. Pray for this difference between you to be resolved in the highest way and for the right thing to happen, not for your view to prevail or for him to lose. Ask God for courage to act properly and for right understanding to guide you.
This man is trying to intimidate you and I pray you do not succumb but at the same time, do use common sense. Keep your distance from him. If in the future you must interact, do so in the company of friends and neighbors while maintaining your calm by asking God to surround you with His protective light. Mentally chant God's name and project a light onto the other person, especially seeing or imagining it at his forehead. Ask God also to touch his heart. Don't look into his eyes and be careful not to incite him with emotion or harsh words. Speak the truth calmly but do not make accusations.
I wish you joy,
I want to be a cricketer,but my parents donot agree with me. The want me to see as a docter,but i have no interest in it. How will god help me in this situation?how will i get success & is there any role of meditation? Plz. Help me..
I sympathize with your desire to be a cricketer but I suspect your parents realize your chances of reaching the top ranks are heavily against you. That's why they want you to be a doctor.
Their wish is rooted in their desire for you to pursue a path more likely, in their minds, to bring you success and long-term happiness. Becoming a doctor is difficult but less risky than pursuing the path of a sportsman because the former can be attained through your own study and hard work whereas success in sport depends not only upon your personal efforts but also upon your natural, God-given talent measured against very stiff competition.
Not everyone is gifted with a talent for sport. Are you a top level player now in the opinion of your coaches? If so, have them speak to your parents but remember, India needs many doctors but few cricketers.
Must you make a decision about your future now? Keep your options open at this stage and try not to see your problem in terms of either becoming a doctor or a cricketer. I assume you are a student, so is it not possible to pursue both cricket and academics now. In time, this will probably sort itself naturally. I suspect your parents desires for you are not absolute. My guess is they would be satisfied if you were to pursue any worthwhile academic path that leads to a lasting professional career.
My question to you is, "What else interests you besides cricket?" Surely there must be something for which you feel a little enthusiasm outside of sports. Why not explore alternatives to both sport and medicine to achieve a compromise with your family. If you show flexibility, your parents will pressure you less. How about something in the field of Sports Medicine?
Are you training your body regularly? To be a good athlete demands training and dedication but to be a professional demands something even more, usually a natural talent recognized at a young age, supplemented by proper coaching and honed by good competition in a sporting environment. Do you have these? Very few young people do, but even if you do not, sport is a worthwhile activity to keep your body fit and your spirits positive. I highly recommend athletics as a healthy, beneficial complement to academics.
If you do have these qualities, coaches will take notice and they can speak for you. This will have much greater impact upon your parents than your own claims. If you are serious about this, you should be willing to expend whatever effort is needed to pursue both an academic and sporting path until you are clearer about your future and have demonstrated positive results on the pitch in youth leagues.
Meditation can help you find direction and guide you rightly, but first you must become calm and impartial to receive clear guidance. You cannot meditate with a desire for this or that answer to your problems. You have to be willing to accept whatever answer is "Right" for you. Once you are calm and even-minded, God can speak to you if you direct your questions to Him and learn to listen in your heart, lovingly and impartially, for His answer. What feels right? Then, take small steps and test your guidance. Which way leads to happiness for both you and your family?
I pray for your success.
Nayaswami Jaya Helin
Ananda Sangha, India
Nihar Ranjan Bhuyan
You have mentioned that we should concentrate between the eyebrows and watch the breath during meditation.
But,Sir, is really meditation a form of concentration? No it is not.When we try to focus in between the eyebrows, we are only making the meditation process effort full. And i know meditation is completely EFFORTLESS. All we have to do anchor ourselves on the breathe and watch the thoughts and emotions since identification with t is the real cause of suffering on earth.Am i right?
When practicing the technique of watching the breath as taught in the Ananda Lessons, your physical eyes should be gently inclined upward with your "inner gaze" directed toward the point between the eyebrows. Your concentration should be upon the breath, not upon that physical point toward which your eyes are directed.
At first, be aware of the breath wherever it is most dynamic to your attention: in the diaphragm, chest or perhaps the nostrils. Eventually, as the body relaxes and your attention becomes steady, feel the breath moving in the upper nasal cavity in the general area behind the point between the eyebrows. This will help correlate your inner attention upon the breath with the physical direction of your eyes toward the seat of concentration at the point between the eyebrows.
Maintain your attention on the breath and, in time, it will become slower as you begin to disassociate yourself from it. Notice the extended pauses between the breaths and enjoy the feelings of peace or stillness.
Paramhansa Yogananda defined meditation as one-pointed concentration upon God or one of His aspects. You are correct in pointing out that placement of our attention upon the breath is a form of concentration rather than meditation. But, as you practice and the breath slows, you will begin to feel a deep peace and calmness, which are both divine aspects, come over you. The breath itself becomes a flow of peace. Bathe yourself in these feelings until your consciousness is immersed in them and the little self recedes. Thus, concentration leads to meditation.
True meditation, once achieved, is "effortless," as you say, but it takes a great deal of "effort" for the beginner to come to this state. The undisciplined mind must first learn to concentrate, and for this, watching the breath is very helpful. Watching thoughts and emotions while anchoring oneself in the breath, as you suggest, can also be termed a form of concentration so long as one's "seat" of observation is still rooted in the ego self. True meditation begins only when that little "I" is transcended in absorption in God and/or His aspects.
If your practice is to watch (to be mindful of) the fluctuations of the mind and feelings, do so from a position of complete inner detachment. Anchoring yourself in the breath is very helpful but it demands effort and cannot be passive, or else the tendency of the mind toward mental involvement will predominate. While "watching", do so from a level of superconscious peace, deep calmness or joy to achieve self-understanding.
May you have ever deeper success in your practice.
Nayaswami Jaya Helin
Just wondering, How do seriously mentally ill or retarded people advance spiritually ?
Mental disease is a term that covers a broad range of maladies. You might say that we are all a little bit "peculiar" in our own, idiosyncratic way and that the term "mentally ill" is but a definition of degree of "abnormality." All souls can, and do, spiritually "evolve" in the sense of expiating and resolving past karma whether one's challenges are physical, mental or spiritual. Souls incarnated with mental illnesses or diminished capacities have unique obstacles and should be helped to overcome whatever they face, just as we would help those with physical disabilities.
I understand part of your question to be whether "ill" souls can simultaneously advance toward freedom and ultimate liberation. The answer is "yes" but "progress" may be constrained by the circumstances. If an illness negates one's free will and the ego's control of actions/choices, then progress may be limited. Conscious transcendence of ego may not be possible in severe cases where the "body/brain mechanism" is too impaired and subject solely to karmic influences with little ability to influence them. But, I think it fair to say that most mental illness is not to such a degree.
We also mustn't overlook the ability of a person to act on levels beyond the rational mind. Is a person capable of love, feelings and intuitive insight? On these levels, expansion of sympathy and awareness might flower and lead to significant spiritual growth. The answer to the question of "how" souls evolve is not essentially different for those healthy or ill. Is the sense of "self" expanding beyond the limitations of ego or is it contracting into the firmer grip of limitation and identification with the body, likes/dislikes, and emotions? To achieve freedom, we need a healthy sense of "I" in order to ultimately transcend it, but any movement in a positive direction, however limited, is to our benefit.
i have fear & nervousness in speaking in groups. its my ego problem i think. i have basically a social relationship problem too. i dont get along with people sometimes. i hesitate meeting with people. it may be my relatives or any one. i want to get rid of this weakness in me. i am 22 now and this feeling has been in me i think since the past six years. i m not really very very frustrated. can you help me?
It is said that public speaking, even in small groups, is the most commonly held fear. Most of us have at one time or another felt nervous in social situations or in meetings when asked to contribute. We can find ourselves "tongue-tied" and overly self-conscious. If persistent, such fears can gradually degrade our relationships, job performance and self esteem.
Swami Kriyananda recounts in his autobiography how he dealt with his early brushes with stage fright when first asked to speak publicly. He inwardly accepted the likelihood that his audience would think him foolish, unqualified or immature. He didn't resist the possibility that these opinions were, in fact, true and accepted them with equinimity. "What does it matter?" he thought. "I will do my best." He felt in his heart that he had something of value and wanted to share it with others.
Social fear is often irrational and can come upon us without reason. Most of us know that feeling but what can we do about it? The fact that you recognize your problem and want to find a solution is a first good step. This will help you summon the strength needed to face your fears. You must be courageous and not allow yourself to become so paralyzed that you cannot constructively move toward a solution. An overly shy person will tend to avoid all group situations. Try not to make this mistake because it is ultimately self defeating as it only strengthens one's negative tendencies. You must think of yourself as an athelete-in-training, willfully putting yourself in social situations in which you may feel uncomfortable because you will be called upon to interact with others. Take small steps and gradually you will gain confidence to take larger ones. Remember that the goal of this is not necessarily for you to enjoy these situations but to gain confidence enough to interact appropriately.
Sooner or later we all are called upon to speak publicly. This is a skill that can be learned with practice. You might consider joining a group or club that specializes in helping people learn to speak. There are many such options available. It takes practice to learn to speak extemporaniously so you must build up that level. In the meantime, learn to be prepared. Think about situations ahead of time and memorize a few simple things to say. You will have noticed that much social conversation is about standard, even trivial, things. When in a social group, take the initiative to use what you have rehearsed and say it. By taking the initiative, you will avoid finding yourself reacting to something for which you may not be prepared and be overcome. Start by using a friend as someone with whom you can talk. Keep good posture so that you project through your body an aura of confidence. Keep your chest forward and your spine straight. Breathe deeply. Look into the faces of other people when speaking and listening and be approachable. Smile.
A great way to be a good conversationalist is to learn how to ask questions of others. Be prepared with a few questions for those you meet. Even simple things like, "How are you?" or "What have you been doing lately?" can be effective. "Where do you stay? Is the weather nice there?" "I've never been there but everyone says it's lovely. What do you think?" These will get the other person talking. Even though you may not, most people do like to speak about themselves and if you show interest, people will appreciate you. They too may be shy. Listen closely to what the other person says so you can ask followup questions. Let the other person speak but you must show interest by looking at that person, occasionally making eye contact, smiling and nodding your head from time to time. You are not being insincere when you do this. It is simply being polite. Showing interest in other people will not only win friends but it will help you reduce your tendency to think about your own fears.
Feelings of social inadequacy will diminish as you get older because with experience comes self-confidence. From a spiritual perspective, you are overly concerned about yourself. Problems of inferiority and superiority have the same root in ego consciousness and too much self involvement. The spiritual answer is to forget the little ego-self by thinking more of the welfare of others, service, focusing on whatever tasks you have before you, exerting constructive, outwardly directed energy and being more impersonal in your outlook. If you are a spiritual devotee, you will direct more attention to God and ask for His help. Pray that God's power flow through you, guide you and give you strenght to act according to His Will. Keep your focus on serving as God's channel and your fear and nervousness will begin to melt away.
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