Apathy Towards God

Question

What did Yogananda say about apatheism which is an attitude of apathy

towards the existence or non-existence of god(s). It is more of an attitude rather than a belief, claim, or belief system. Did Yogananda say anything about people who are just not interested in accepting or rejecting God?

—AA, World

Answer

Dear AA,

According to Yogananda, the Divine Presence is cosmic vibration that exists at the center of every particle of the universe. The Divine Presence is also beyond creation and is ever-existing, ever-conscious, ever-new bliss. Yogananda said that each individual must discover and relate to this presence in the way that is most personally meaningful for him. Swami Kriyananda, a direct disciple of Yogananda, frequently related this episode, which occurred after he gave a seminar on Yogananda’s teachings in Queensland, Australia.

A man approached me afterwards. ‘I entered the room toward the end of your talk,’ he said, ‘and heard you referring to God. Now then, I’m an atheist. How would you define God in a way that would be meaningful to me?’ I reflected a moment, then answered him, ‘Why not try thinking of God as the highest potential you can imagine for yourself?’ He stood there for a moment in surprise, then delivered his verdict: ‘Well now, that’s a definition I can live with!’

Mankind needs something to look up to – an ideal, a dream, an aspiration. We may think of that ideal as God, forever consciously awaiting and encouraging us to seek Him. Or we may think of it as merely some goal held consciously in our own minds. In any case, the goal is, in a sense, conscious, for to us its attainment implies something to do with consciousness, a conscious fulfillment. It is no wooden idol, certainly. So then, for heaven’s sake, why not call it God?” (from Education for Life by Swami Kriyananda)

Every thoughtful person has higher aspirations, which keep him engaged in the adventure of life. Apathy toward life, giving up on striving to reach our highest potential, is really giving up on living. A person need not feel a personal connection with a dogmatic definition of God to be aware of streams of consciousness that encourage us to the highest expression of ourselves. Look at the influences in your life that encourage your higher nature. Consciously tune into these uplifting influences and draw inspiration and guidance from them. Your direct experience and attunement with these higher influences will nourish the plant of realization of your higher Self, your Soul nature within you. As this plant grows and flourishes, your own experience of the Divine will become rich and true within you.

Many blessings,
Nayaswami Mukti