Why Seek Phenomena? Seek God Instead



What do you think about out-of-body experiences (OBEs)? Yogananda said the astral world is the place where we go after death, and in his Essence of Self Realization he wrote he can see this world almost all the time, and how beautiful this world is. Did he talk about the same astral world as being what we can see when having OBEs? What’s the difference between astral projection, and those other techniques, for advanced kriya yogis? Thank you

—Tom, Lithuania


Dear Tom,

Thank you for writing us from Lithuania. Joy and blessings to you!

Paramhansa Yogananda and Swami Kriyananda both emphasize that the deeply committed truthseeker should never seek psychic phenomena, such as out-of-body experiences or astral projection though their meditations or in any other way.

If these phenomena happen in a natural or un-sought-out way, then that is a different thing. At that point, one should pray deeply to God and Guru to be guided on what is trying to happen for you and how best to work with what is happening, so that the ego doesn’t get involved.

The Masters and great ones certainly are able to do things like astral travel, if they are so directed by God. But for anyone else (you mention advanced Kriya Yogis, and I include them in this advice), to “play around” with trying to make them happen is not a good thing to do.

You ask: “Did Yogananda talk about the astral world as being what we can see when having out-of-body experiences (OBEs)?” Not to my knowledge. My best guess, and from what I have read that people say about OBE’s, is that they could be experiencing either the astral worlds or some other location in a material world.

Your progress in meditation is based on your moving toward oneness with God (Self-realization) and you can best determine how well that happening by noticing how you are changing for the better as a person in daily life. That is a much better “measuring stick” of spiritual progress than visions, phenomena, etc., or the lack of these things.

To learn more about the subjects you are bringing up, I’d suggest that you read or re-read the chapter from Autobiography of a Yogi called “The Resurrection of Sri Yuktewsar.” Another book on this subject, which I’d highly recommend to you is by Swami Kriyananda and is called How To Be a True Channel.