What Omens Did Yogananda Believe?


I heard Yogananda also believed in certain “omens,” like not starting a long journey on Thursday. And that Swami Kriyananda mentioned them in one of his books. Can you tell me about what omens Master believed in?

—Stan, Belgium


Dear Stan, In one of Swami Kriyananda’s very early books called A Visit to the Saints of India, he offers a long list of omens or superstitions, which he had just learned about while visiting India in 1972, which are commonly believed there. He then says:

Master [also] had a few such ‘superstitions’…. Here are several that I happen to remember:

Don’t begin a long journey on Thursday afternoon.

Don’t leave brooms out where they can be seen.

Don’t greet anyone the first thing in the morning with one eye closed. If inadvertently you should happen to do so, at once close the other eye also; otherwise some misunderstanding may flare up between you that day.

Gifts should be given and received with the right hand only. (The usual explanation for this common Indian practice is that in India it is customary to reserve the left hand for matters of personal hygiene. I got the impression, however, that Master felt there was a deeper meaning behind the custom. For yogis consider the right side of the body to express a more positive energy than the left. To exchange gifts with the right hand would therefore seem a greater affirmation of good will.)

I recall Master telling a prospective newcomer to his ashram in Mt. Washington that the most auspicious time to arrive would be on Tuesday before eleven in the morning….

Having related what Swamiji says about Master’s “superstitions,” we should understand that superstitions and omens, for a great Master like Paramhansa Yogananda, most likely would have been mentioned more in a spirit of fun than as serious spiritual laws.

Certainly he respected various energetic forces of nature, such as astrology (see the chapter called “Outwitting the Stars,” in Autobiography of a Yogi). But the deepest truth lies in the title of that chapter itself. Whatever is going on in one’s life, there is a greater force which can be called upon: the blessings and protection of God and Guru!