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Yale University recently offered a course that’s proved to be the most popular one ever given there. The topic was “Happiness.” One-quarter of the student body — 1200 undergraduates — enrolled, requiring the largest auditorium on campus for the classes. Why so much interest? One student said, “In reality, a lot of us are anxious, stressed, unhappy, and numb.”…

I never met Swami Kriyananda in person, but his words have been a guiding force in my life. Swami’s books and his guru Paramhansa Yogananda’s books are basically the only spiritual books I read. I do not feel an interest in other spiritual readings and also, my full-time job for a global company and my two children keep me quite busy.

Most people meditate for relaxation, stress relief, better health, and calmer emotions. Those who practice meditation regularly with attention, sooner or later will have an experience of superconsciousness. Swami Kriyananda writes: Spiritual advancement is not a question of attaining anything. It is simply a matter of opening wide the door to a state of conscious…

New Book: Deep Nature Play

by Joseph Bharat Cornell

When absorbed in deep play our sensory awareness is heightened, we become immersed in the present moment and feel intensely alert and alive. Because play is fun and rewarding, we operate at the peak of our mental and physical capacity.

This book is for those who have forgotten how to play, or who want to incorporate more play into their lives and revive their innate curiosity and sense of wonder. Let Joseph Cornell, Founder of Sharing Nature Worldwide and one of the world’s most popular nature educators, empower you with the tools to maximize play, and transform it from mere entertainment into a doorway to enhanced living, creativity, and concentration.

Cost: $15.25

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When I owned a cabinet shop in the 1970s, it often happened that when it came time to pay my employees, I didn’t have enough to pay everyone.

I always made sure that I was the one who didn’t get paid. I had learned this concept from my father, who had impressed it upon me deeply – that true service to customers and employees means that the owner will have to come last in many, many situations.

As the years went by, I was deeply aware that my employees had families, and that if I paid them randomly, according to the ebb and flow of our income, as most cabinetmakers were paid, it would be a tough ride for them to support their families.

As a way to generate extra income, and as an interesting side project, we created a software program that was one of the first of its kind, for designing kitchens and producing a very useful parts list.

Soon we were running the cabinetmaking and software companies side by side. When the software company took off and started to grow exponentially, we sold the cabinet shop.

I was able to keep my employees – my friends – and pay them a very comfortable wage.

Some of the people who had worked for me in the early years had thought mainly of themselves. I could never pay them enough, no bonus was enough, and no amount I put into our profit-sharing plan was ever enough.

Over the years, I’ve known many people who had a powerful consciousness of lack, and who were never content. I’m reminded of a remark that Paramhansa Yogananda made to his disciple Swami Kriyananda, quoting the Bhagavad Gita: “The doubter is the most miserable of mortals.”

People who cling to a consciousness of lack will always doubt that God wants to take care of them. Their fearful hearts will refuse to believe that God cares enough to care for us.

How can we release this troublesome consciousness that may afflict us perhaps more than we would like to admit?

By changing our consciousness through the faith-affirming act of giving.

Whenever you feel eaten up by worries, find some way to give – to give your life more fully to God. When you are tempted to worry about money, give even one dollar, and do it regularly.

Never feel guilty if you aren’t giving ten percent of your income. As Krishna says, “Whoever offers to me with devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit, or water – that devotion offered from a pure soul I accept. Whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer, whatever you give, whatever austerity you practice, Kaunteya, do it as an offering to me. Thus you will be released from good and evil fruits, from the bonds of action. The soul united in the yoga of renunciation, liberated, you shall come to me.”

“If you tithe a portion of your income you will find that, far from depriving yourself, you will be connected to the source of all abundance, God. The more you live for Him, the more you will find Him taking care of you, even in the smallest details of your life.”

– Swami Kriyananda

The Dance of Life (Guna Lilies) Website:

In the great epic story, The Mahabharata, each character represents a positive or negative human quality, The personified war between constructive and destructive qualities describes our own inner battle against delusion. To gain success and happiness, Paramhansa Yogananda gave us many practical and useful tools. This little story illustrates one of the most powerful war-conquering tactics that he counseled us to use.

Hi, my name is Aspiring. It’s a quiet Saturday morning. Up in my attic room I’m enjoying doing a project that I’ve longed to get to. My friends, Contentment and Happiness, are helping me. My sister, In-The-Moment, is also with us. In-The-Moment rarely visits me and I’m enjoying her company very much. My brother, Meditation, has just left. We had a good visit. He regularly comes to see me.

The four of us have been peacefully working together for quite some time when the door downstairs opens, and I hear my cousin, Restless, calling me. “Aspiring, are you home?”  I get up and go downstairs. He’s brought his friend, Fault-Finding, with him. We are talking in the sitting room when I hear people coming into the house. “I invited some of our friends and relatives over,” said Restless. He’s like that, continually wanting to get some action going, often acting on impulse.

I get up and start to enter the dining room, but, catching a glimpse of my least favorite cousins, Vices and Bad-Habits, I go into the kitchen instead. There, I see Mr. Greed rummaging through the fridge. Who does he think he is, helping himself like that without asking? Good grief! I go into the living room and immediately see Rejection by the fire. He’s often cold and trying to get warm.

Ah, there’s Aunt Desire, looking beautiful as usual, sitting with her twin daughters, False-Happiness and Sorrow. I’m rather drawn to Aunt Desire. I often have her over for tea. We have the most fun conversations about interesting places we can go, beautiful things we can buy. She has a seemingly endless amount of ideas. I chat a bit, then get up to leave the room and spot Little Miss Whiney and Self-Pity, poor things, feeling apart from life and sitting in the corner commiserating together. I’m starting to feel quite unsettled. The peaceful feeling of this morning is evaporating.

Noticing that the basement door is open I tiptoe down the stairs to the storage room. I see Nostalgia and her friend, Attachment, going through old picture albums, oohing and awing, having a great time remembering the past. My cousin Worry is down there, too, but not paying attention, she’s totally caught up in her thoughts.

What’s that commotion I hear upstairs? I go up and see Anger and Frustration having an argument in one room. They’re really going at it. Best to leave them alone. I peek into the guestroom and see a little party of three: Mr. Judgmental, Mrs. Gossip and DestructiveCriticism, animatedly talking together. They obviously think they are having a good time. As I go down the hall I see LowSelfImage hiding out in the office, playing computer games. Walking back downstairs I pass Doubt, who has a very serious look on his face.

What a strange and gloomy collection of friends and relatives I have in my house. Where did they all come from? I’m not enjoying their company. I don’t want this party!

I have to get out of here. I feel overwhelmed with all this negative energy. I rush past my Auntie TooTired. The poor woman, constantly exhausted, refuses to take action on what she needs to do to have more energy. Just as I reach the door it opens, and in walk the very good looking, but oh, so insufferable, Ego and Pride brothers. This is too much!

I burst out of the house into the warm sunshine. With surprise, I see a whole different group of friends and relatives enjoying the fresh air and sunny day. Love and Compassion are sitting under a tree, showing little Kindness how to make paper cranes. Concentration and Willpower are immersed in a game of chess. My cousins, EvenMindedness, and her sister, Cheerful, are walking in the garden. Power is energizing with great gusto, he’s so full of energy. Wisdom is sitting on the patio swing with Peace and Calmness, while Light and Joy are choreographing a new dance. My heart swells with gladness to see them.

It’s wonderful to get out of that dark house. I really would like all those characters in there to leave. They make me feel so bad. I don’t know what to do. I think I’ll ask Wisdom’s advice.

“You don’t have to let them in,” he declares to me. “You’re so nice to them. You give them energy, you talk to them, feed them, and have an open door policy to your house. Stop giving them energy. When they come to the door, ignore them or tell them to go away. Let them know they are no longer welcome in your home. You can choose who you want in your life. Do you want to feel good or continue feeling unhappy?’

“Here’s a suggestion,” says Wisdom, “Take Willpower and Concentration with you for support, go into the house, and tell them all to leave. But first, you have to decide if you really want to be happy, rather than miserable.”

“Yes,” I decide, “I want happiness.”

As Willpower, Concentration and I start toward the house, the others jump up, exclaiming, “We’ll come with you, Aspiring!” My dearest friends Love, Compassion, Kindness, Calmness, Peace, Even-Minded, Cheerful, Light, and Joy gather around me. I feel the reassuring presence of Wisdom and Power behind me.

We enter the house and, to my amazement, everyone is gone. The living room, kitchen and dining area are empty. The door to the basement is closed and it’s totally quiet upstairs. The house seems clean and bright. I can’t believe they’ve all left!

We hear voices coming from the sitting room. Entering, we see a beautiful sight. Sitting talking are Love and Joy’s parents, Aum and Divine Mother. Twin siblings, Acceptance and Detachment look up and smile happily at us. And there, on a pillow on the floor, is my most beloved sister, Devotion. And, guess who they are visiting with? My Guru, Paramhansa Yogananda!

As I lovingly gaze at Sri Yoganandaji He seems to looks different, reminding me of Jesus Christ. But now, He is looking more like a King, resembling San Fernando III. His appearance then fades into a broader image of another King, William the Conqueror. I now see that His sword is becoming a bow, and the form of Arjuna sits in His chair. His outward appearance continues to transform into people I don’t recognize. Then, gradually, He again becomes my beloved Paramhansa Yogananda, whom God has given to me as His pure channel, showing me His Celestial Self through the Divine form of my Guru.

Yoganandaji looks at me with love and says, “Come in closer, so I can bless you.” He blesses me, putting his finger on my spiritual eye. Waves of joy pulse through me. I’ve never felt such bliss before. He looks deeply into my eyes, “I now give you the new name of Bliss.” I can hardly contain my joy.

I look around the room, and know for certain, these are the friends and relatives I choose to invite to my party.

Once you succeed in bringing God’s light into the dimly lit room of your consciousness, your spiritual darkness will vanish forever.

—Paramhansa Yogananda

In Hindu legend, Lord Shiva is depicted as Nataraja, lord of the dance that destroys the old and weary ways of the world. Whether by wisdom or whim, Shiva decides what must go, and with wild and ecstatic abandon, he performs its obliteration. His purpose, though widely misunderstood, is release of the soul from its false identification with illusion.

It matters not, or perhaps it matters most, if Shiva’s exterminating dance is at the expense of traits and things that we crave or long to keep. Where there is misery of loss over that which is taken away, the message would appear to be clear: a lesson in non-attachment is sorely needed.

We are only human, of course, and it is natural to feel sad about much of what Shiva destroys: a system that served us well for a time, a forest burned to the ground, a neighborhood lost to a storm or flood, and the lives of those harshly affected or swept away by tragic events. But gone is gone, at least in familiar form. When we do not let these go, part of us dies with them. Chaos is often a necessary pre-condition for new life, new growth, new systems, and new civilizations to emerge.

Shiva dances to undo our delusions. If we cling to them of desire or grief, we find ourselves also caught in his path of destruction. What is the use of that? We must control what we can, which is ourselves, and accept what we cannot, which is everything else. Shiva’s dance is done to break us of believing that we know better, to disrupt us of comforts that leave us complacent, to teach us that we are here to accept, adapt, and advance according to whatever occurs.

We want to be happy, and Shiva’s role, paradoxical though it seems, is meant to show us how. Mourn if you must, he is telling us, but then release your attachment to what is no longer there as before. Relationships need not end with death or departure, whether to a person, a place, or a piece of nostalgic connection. We may feel these always dear to us, and be grateful for what they have been; but when that feeling is one of deprivation, we suffer for no good reason.

In Shiva’s dance, earthquakes, hurricanes and volcanic eruptions are not born of wrath. They are simply dramatic instruments of change, perhaps with a portentous karmic purpose, but always for the sake of clearing a path for self-offering and receptivity to emerge. Tragedies and disasters are executioners of delusion. As we calmly see the truth in this – that we are not the doers of what is done, not the owners of what we name as ours, not the knowers of what is meant to be and why – and as we trust in God’s good will, even as displayed in Shiva’s fiery moves, our happiness gets remarkably easier to gain and sustain.

Shiva’s dance is said to take place at the center of the universe, which represents the heart. Though it tests us, sometimes terribly, it is ever a dance of love.

Interiority Simplex

by Narayan Romano

Question from Ambar Bandyopadhyay: where exactly to concentrate between the eyebrows?...the technique says you should lift ur eyes and concentrate on the middle of…

Question from S Chow: Dear Nayaswami Diksha, I read your writings and also I see your videos regularly. It’s life changing and its very…

Question from Tanya: Thank you for answering my question on fear. But this is continuation of same. You said God must be having…

Question from Kanishk: Is it necessary to exercise to get control over your mind or meditation is enough. I have started meditating on…

Question from Tanya: I feel fearful about many things...about losing family members, job. Yogananda said fear comes from attachment.. can you give me…

Question from priyanka bhosale: I recently started meditation-anulom vilom and chanting om....but I feel my head heavy, eyes pains and I feel pressure between…

Daily Inspiration
February 20, 2018

Leadership is enthusiasm! Win others to an idea by the joy you feel in it.

Be the Change You Want to See in the World

“I pledge to meditate daily, to open my heart and to radiate peace and harmony to all the world.”
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Ananda receives Global Ambassador Peace Award

On November 17, 2017 Ananda received a Global Ambassador Peace Award from the Institute of International Social Development (IISD) at the United Nations Church Center in New York City. Read More

Nayaswamis Jyotish and Devi gave a talk recently in India called “Change Your Destiny through Kriya Yoga.” As part of the event, superstar Sri Rajinikanth, Krishna Sweets Murali, and Sri. D. R. Kaarthikeyan, former Director, CBI were presented with copies of Affirmations for Self-Healing by Swami Kriyananda that had recently been translated into Tamil.…

We are part of a great tide of loving, joyful energy that wants to give and give as long as people are happy to receive it.

—Swami Kriyananda

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