I had read in one of Master Yogananda’s books, Man’s Eternal Quest, that Lahiri Mayashaya was working on helping animals to evolve more quickly. And Yogananda also knew of some ways to help animals quickly evolve. Is there any info you can provide about how this was being accomplished?
—Frank Mitchell, USA
You are asking a good and interesting question.
I know the quote you are talking about. Here is Yogananda’s exact wording: “Learn how to cultivate the consciousness of Spirit. That is why you were born a human being. You were created under the evolutionary law that you might exercise your divine powers to find God. The animal can’t find Him. Lahiri Mahasaya was working on the science of helping animals to evolve more quickly; but he didn’t live to finish this work. I, also, know of some ways to quicken the evolution of the lower forms of life.”
So what is this “science of helping animals to evolve more quickly”? Which ways did they apply to quicken the evolution of animals?
Having no direct information from the Masters, can only infer from their teachings. Here are the techniques I could see. I have come up with a few, since Yogananda talks about “some ways” (plural).
Technique 1) Raising the energy in the animal’s spine
What speeds up our evolution is a rising of energy in the spine. Swami Kriyananda: “When that energy moves upward, the mist of incomprehension gradually lifts from human consciousness.” So my guess is that Lahiri Mahasaya’s practice was a form of “shaktipat” (a great yogi transmits energy into his disciple). Why shouldn’t that energy-transferral also work with animals?
Technique 2) Taking off animal koshas
Swami Kriyananda explains further: “In the yoga writings, especially the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, what I’ve described as a mist is described as “sheaths,” or koshas. These koshas enclose man’s consciousness, and even more so the consciousness of lower creatures. In man’s case they act like too much dust on a pair of glasses, which prevents one from seeing anything clearly. Take an example from a much lower level of evolution than mankind’s: the common earthworm. The worm’s potential for comprehension is—I think one may safely assume—almost wholly obscured, revealing nothing outside its own extremely circumscribed periphery: the earth with which it is actually in touch. We don’t think of the earthworm as minutely interested even in its immediate environment, except possibly to question whether it is edible. The worm’s understanding is enclosed as if in a cocoon, by the thick layers of its koshas.” (Material Success Through Yoga Principles)
In short: the soul is divine. The more layers of these sheaths the soul has around it, the more covered is its consciousness. Evolution is a matter of taking off these “layers”, like mist. So my guess is that Lahiri Mahasaya worked on a way how to “scientifically” dissolve some of these layers around the animal. How? Maybe again through energy transmittal, as in Technique 1.
Technique 3) Taking on animal karma
Lahiri Mahasaya may have dissolved, or taken on himself, some of its animal karma. Masters can do that with human beings, as Yogananda explains. So why couldn’t they do it with animals? The karma is lodged in the brain and in the chakras. We read in the Autobiography of a Yogi: “Man’s body is precious. It has the highest evolutionary value because of unique brain and spinal centers [chakras]. These enable the advanced devotee to fully grasp and express the loftiest aspects of divinity. No lower form is so equipped.”
So it might be that Lahiri Mahasaya freed the animal chakras from karmic compulsions, developing them into more human chakras.
Technique 4) Bringing the animal closer to a human being
Swami Kriyananda explains: “Animals evolve more rapidly if they mix closely with human beings.” (Essence of the Bhagavad Gita). Possibly Lahiri Mahasaya was also exploring ways of uniting the animal’s consciousness with that of human beings. How? For example by taking his own consciousness to theirs. Masters in fact are able to communicate with animals (even with plants and atoms, Yogananda teaches). So communicating with an animal brings it closer to the human being, which makes it evolve more quickly.
So starting from our teachings, these are the techniques (the “science”) I could see, which Lahiri Mahasaya might have been exploring.
You seem to be an animal lover. Love is the power which unites. So if you love an animal, and it loves you, that love will certainly speed up its evolution mightily.
All the best,