Is God Realization Luxurious?


I struggle to know what is more required of me in my situation of living in my grandmothers home, and being at the mercy of a financially struggling family. I want to make sure that I implement my responsibility as a contributor through monetary support, but I also feel that God realization is most important, yet seemingly luxurious.

What are your thoughts on this?

—Bakari, USA


Dear Bakari,

Sometimes life circumstances are hard for us as they provoke a reaction, karmic in nature. Circumstances are neutral, Yogananda said. Our reaction to them is due to memories in our energy fields that we associate with—who we define ourselves as. Surely you are a family member and want to contribute. And God-realization is not a luxury, it is your right and a joy! Yes, you can have both today and in these times.

You do not need to become a renunciate/monk in the traditional way to find the keys to your happiness, your joy, your bliss. So, learn to detach yourself from these circumstances by playing the part and seeing God playing the grandson through you and honor the karmic connections among your family.

Control the reactive process through the use of pranayam techniques, devotion, prayer, and meditation, all of which Ananda teaches from original yogic instructions of Paramhansa Yogananda.

Then supplant your old reactions with living the teachings you are learning from these lessons and classes. Again that equates to meditation and devotional practices, formal set-aside times, and informally practicing the presence of God in the minutes and hours of your day, using what the rishis called yamas and niyamas (traditions explained in our course).

Give that a try. Add more energy source to your life as well: outdoor activities, sun and oxygen, with cardiovascular exercise, especially Yogananda’s Energization Exercises, yoga, running, sports, etc. You will have plenty of energy and time to give good to others as well as yourself (this is Karma Yoga).

Remember to surround yourself with uplifting people, sounds, art, and media and avoid the ones that aren’t! Love and Joy are yours, Bakari. We followers of Yogananda are taught not to approach God as a beggar, but to see Him/Her as Divine Mother and us as Her child, spoiled and receiving what we need, just as long as we love her alone! Then all things flow to us and we find ourselves “home” not only in the spiritual sense but also in uplifting surroundings that nurture us. Family, friends, work, and play will all improve if we seek the Kingdom of God first, no matter the outward appearance or circumstances.

You’ve become a willing channel for spirit. Holding you in a vision of God’s Light, you must do the same for yourself, as Master Yogananda said. Give thanks for this grace— your family and circumstances and things will change, I know. Keep acknowledging this Grace of God, and have fun. Keep learning and applying these teachings through self-study and by getting help and support from like-minded souls. You will develop strength to overcome most reactions, fears, anxieties, and moods.

This current challenge you’re experiencing is the the dross left over from karma. Know that this can change very quickly: Yogananda said, to those who think 20 years, 20 years! To those who think 20 days, 20 days. Our teachings and practices increase your odds for success! So why not now? I hope to see you in one of our classes, by correspondence or online.

Joy to you,

Nayaswami Premdas