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Meet Your Tests with Courage
April 29, 2010

A monastic disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda once had a dream in which his fellow disciples were running in a race. He understood the race to be toward soul liberation.

In this dream each runner, at some point, fell to the ground. Some devotees got up right away, while others took longer. What was important, the disciple said, was that everyone did get up eventually, and kept moving toward the light.

To progress on the spiritual path, we have to keep moving toward greater soul freedom no matter what challenges we face.

As we evolve from finite awareness, identifying with one tiny body and personality, to soul-thrilling, infinite consciousness, we must expect challenges along the way.

Certainly over our millions of incarnations, we have developed a few soul-negating attitudes and limitations. When we finally become aware of these limitations, we must meet them, and overcome them, with courage.

Discouragement, Paramhansa Yogananda said, is the greatest test of Satan for the devotee, because discouragement paralyzes our will and prevents us from moving forward on the path.

We must keep our minds calm and be like a tractor that moves “easily over the ups and downs in the field of life.”

In the following excerpts (below) from the new book by Paramhansa Yogananda How to Have Courage, Calmness, and Confidence, he tells us how to live as a confident child of God, and embrace the path as a spiritual warrior, with a heart filled with courage and determination.

May you feel the presence of God through every test and challenge, and may the joy of your soul shine ever brighter with God’s light.

In divine friendship,

Nayaswami Bharat

How To Have Courage, Calmness, and Confidence

—Paramhansa Yogananda, excerpts from the book

Yogananda with a tiger skin

Yogananda with a tiger skin

Meet everybody and every circumstance on the battlefield of life with the courage of a hero and the smile of a conqueror. Give little weight to the trials that beset you. Eventually, you will pass beyond every shadow of bad karma, beyond all tests and difficulties, and will behold at last the dawn of divine fulfillment.


Tears and sighs on the battlefield of life are the liquid cowardice of a weak mind. Those who give up the fight become prisoners within the walls of their own ignorance. Life is nothing if not a continuous overcoming of problems. Every problem that waits for a solution at your hand is the religious duty imposed upon you by life itself.


Avoid associating with those who always complain about life. They may ruin your newly awakened spirituality, which is like a tender plant growing within you. Avoid such people and try to be happy always, no matter how you are situated.


Change—even change for the better—is often approached with apprehension. “In giving up something,” people think, “will I be left with nothing?” It takes courage to renounce the known for the unknown. It is not easy even to renounce a familiar pain for an unknown, and therefore uncertain, happiness.

The mind is like a horse that for years has pulled its delivery wagon. The horse grows accustomed to its daily route, and cannot be convinced easily to walk a new one. The mind, too, will not lightly abandon its old habits, even when it knows they cause only misery.


The sincere seeker… takes heart at the thought of the hard work before him. A true warrior, though afraid, plunges courageously into battle when the strength of his arm is needed.

A true alpinist, though apprehensive of the sheer cliff he faces, sets out resolutely to conquer it. And the sincere truth seeker tells himself, “I know what an arduous task it must be to achieve perfection, but I will give it all I have. With God’s help, success, surely, must be mine!”


Karma is best worked out by meeting life’s tests cheerfully and courageously. If you still fear something, that karma has not yet been worked out. To dissipate it, don’t try to avoid the tests you have to face. Rise above them bravely, by dwelling in God’s joy within.


Sorrow has no objective existence. If you constantly affirm it, it exists. Deny it in your mind, and it will exist no longer.

Always remember that your real nature is eternal bliss, and nothing else. The one thing that will never leave you is the joy of your soul.


Every worldly man seeking success must keep his mind calm to meet the constantly changing circumstances of his life. He must be able, like a tractor, to move easily over ups and downs in the field of life.

The moral aspirant should not be overjoyed when he is victorious over a mighty temptation, nor should he be discouraged if he finds himself suddenly a prisoner of temptation. The resolute, even-minded moral individual moves steadily forward until he reaches his goal of complete self-mastery.


When a spiritual devotee, after a few years of deep meditation, acquires a divine joy, he should not be over-confident in the lasting quality of that experience, until he reaches the final beatitude.

Many devotees become self-satisfied with the superconscious joy of the soul and with beholding a few astral lights. They do not make further deep efforts at meditation, and thus fail to unite their consciousness with the omnipresent joy and light of Spirit.


A devotee who meditates regularly but finds himself the victim of a sudden explosion of subconscious restlessness should not be discouraged nor stop making renewed efforts at deeper meditation and God-contact. Until one is anchored in the Infinite, he must valiantly race his mental ship of concentration on the calm or rough seas of inner experiences until he reaches the shores of unending communion with the Infinite.


God answers all prayers. Restless prayers, however, He answers only a little bit. If you offer to others something that isn’t yours to give, won’t that be an empty gesture? Similarly, if you pray to God, but lack control over your own thoughts, that prayer will have no power.

Thoughts and feelings, both, must be focused when you pray. Otherwise, God will meet your little trickle with another trickle of His own! He will dole out His answers to you in a teaspoon. Too often, prayer is more like the halfhearted mumbling of a beggar than the confident, loving demand of a friend.


Carry your love of God deep in your heart before you sleep. Cradle it there, so that when you dream you may dream of Him resting on the fragrant altar of sleep. Actually, God embraces you on His bosom as peace and joy when you sleep. You are sleeping locked in His arms of tranquility. So, before you fall asleep, remember that you are going to embrace Him in sleep and dreams.

 

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27 Responses

  1. Arnold Pineda says:

    I like that you say god anwers all prayers. I will keep praying for my blood pressure to be normal, I’m having problems I would like to have normal blood pressure. Thankyou for your beautiful words, it gives me joyfulness.

    Arnold Pineda

  2. Dambara says:

    Thank you, Bharat! (& Anandi, for the book!) In joy, Dambara

  3. Nancy Cralle says:

    What a wonderful article!! Thank you so much for sharing it. It helps a lot just at the right time. Also, what a wonderful feeling, resting on God’s bosom as we sleep, could we ask for anything more? Love and peace, Nancy

  4. Kate B says:

    Thank you Bharat. The loving message brings calm and more understanding/acceptance of current challenges. I am grateful to hear that challenges are a work in progress of healing karma. God’s blessings are felt before tonight’s rest. Blessings, Kate

  5. Krishna Dewey says:

    This is a wonderful book, full of encouragement and hope for every person for every point along life’s path. You can feel Yogananda talking to you directly as you read the book. Thank you!

  6. Fran says:

    Thank you for the article. This comes at a perfect time for me. I embraced the unknown by quitting my job “security”, knowing that I was losing my very self by being there. I was blessed with confidence when I did it but since then, have had my ups and downs. I know God was drawing me to a more spiritual life, and each day is another opportunity to keep growing. Just reading Master Yogananda’s words give me strength. Thank you for publishing them. Namaste. Fran

  7. Amir says:

    I thank him in you and in this, I thank HIM in him and for all that he left for us.

    Good be with Ananda

  8. Brindey says:

    Dearest Bharat, and Anandi,
    Thank you sooo very much!!. I have been feeling very much, in the concouring conscousness recently!! I have felt very much like there has been something lifted. Through Guru and Divine Mother I am feeling that I am being moved forward…..Master said, never, never give up….you don’t know how very close you may be to your goal .
    Many Blessings…………Brindey

  9. Ashok says:

    I want to share this story with everybody. About three years back, I was sitting in my office in Mumbai and I got a phone call from my brother at 12 noon. My brother lives in New Delhi. He told me that his wife is having a huge tumor in her brain. I was shocked. In office itself, I started praying to Param Guru Yoganand Ji with calmness and eyes closed. Suddenly there was a flash in which I saw open brain and light passing through it from all sides. I saw overjoyed to see this event. The tumor was sugically removed and patient is fine. I know Guru is always there to help but we should learn to pray.

  10. Ragunath says:

    I only wish the tiger skin / head seen in Paramahamsa yoganandaji’s picture is not a poached one.
    Why would yogis / sanyasis have to sit on a tiger skin ? what is the sanctity about this manifestation ?

  11. Gwin says:

    As I read the exerpts of Paramhansa Yogananda I see the truth I have discovered and truth I have yet to see. These words of wisdom written here show me how far I have come at such a young age and how much more I can soak up. I am thankful for his life in this world and his faithful servants to show me his works. Love and blessings to all Gwin

  12. Cris Crisman says:

    Thanks Barat. I got this book the other day and it’s a real treasure.

  13. Shilpa says:

    I got so many answers to my un-asked questions by reading this.
    Thanks.

  14. Nagin Patel says:

    Writer’s encouraged me. Thank you and God Bless.
    Nagin Patel

  15. Subhash Kaushal says:

    Life is a learning process.
    Move like a ‘tractor’. How beautiful and meaningful. Thank you Bharat for your email.

  16. Padma Mohan Kumar says:

    Every word of this article contains a profound truth! So much to think over in our moments of solitude.

  17. Connor Burke says:

    No matter what level of determination I’m experiencing in the moment, reading these articles always boosts my encouragement.
    Thank you, kindly.

    Joy to you

  18. Anjali Sehgal says:

    Yogananda’s teachings are beautiful as ever. I am only confused how he could have written a new book. Maybe you mean to say that these are some of his teachings put together in a book by Ananda

  19. K. Harper says:

    Barat,
    Thank you for this newsletter and these beautiful, powerful and encouraging words. Master has always impressed me on so many levels the ability to put into words the subtleness of the divine within us as humans. May his grace be with you. -Ken

  20. Sylvia L. says:

    Bharat and Anandi,
    This is just the message I needed and at just the right time. I especially liked the passage: “Meet everybody and every circumstance on the battlefield of life with the courage of a hero and the smile of a conqueror”. The juxtaposition of thoughts in that statement are amazing. It says everybody and every circumstance not just some. “The smile of a conqueror” is something to ponder. I think it relates to faith and confidence, a wholeness in being. Joy, Sylvia L.

  21. Bharat says:

    Ragunath, re: #10,
    There is a tradition in India of great yogis meditating on a tiger skin that has died of natural causes. Doing so, insulates the meditator from the currents of the earth and adds power to one’s meditation.

  22. Bharat says:

    Ashok, Re: # 9
    Thank you for sharing such a moving experience of Yoganandaji’s grace after you prayed for your brother’s wife. It is so thrilling to hear stories like yours and to see how Master is guiding and blessing each of us!

  23. Julio Colorado says:

    Intellectually, I know these things. The challenge is to “walk the talk”. I move forward every day knowing that the steps I take are small steps, yet steps in the right direction. I’m plowing…thank you.

  24. Sridhar Kaushik says:

    Nice article. So inspiring. Our mind is like that little boat tossed around in tumultous waters. It is never at rest. Some days are better than others.
    One who conquers the mind is the real “conqueror” i guess. It would be better if Ananda can share with viewers some inspiring stories of people (past saints, prophets etc) who have “walked the talk”, conquered “mind” and become one with God.

  25. Chandi Holliman says:

    Bharat and Anandi,
    Thank you for your deep love and inspiration to all searching for God and self realization. Your column is a treasure.” May all be one in that light someday.” Aum Shanti

  26. Joe Yoyoda says:

    thanks

  27. Leonore Alaniz says:

    To hear it from the “Master’s mouth” is always the most potent dose. Common-sensically pushing buttons.
    Thank you Nayaswamis, for high-lightening them once again so beautifully. Leonore

 
Nayaswami Bharat

Nayaswami Bharat

Director of Meditation Support

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How to Have Courage, Calmness and Confidence

Book cover

Book by Paramhansa Yogananda

“Walk with courage. Go forward from day to day with calm, inner faith.

“Eventually, you will pass beyond every shadow of bad karma, beyond all tests and difficulties, and will behold at last the dawn of divine fulfillment.”

Communing with AUM July 16 – 18, 2010

Program with Nayaswami Bharat at The Expanding Light Retreat, Ananda Village.

It is for those who have previously learned the AUM technique.