Should I Use the Original English Version of Yogananda’s Prayers, or My Mother-Tongue?

Question

Should I recite the prayers and affirmations penned down by Paramahansa Yogananda in my mother tongue, or in English? If I recite them in my native language i.e., Hindi then I feel very much connected to the prayer, but I think that reciting them in the original classical English version would be better as they were written by Gurudev himself. But I don’t feel connected to the English version and I often forget it as it contains tough vocabulary which disturbs my meditative state. What should I do?

—Sukhmandeep Singh, India

Answer

Dear Sukhmandeep,
It is usually better to recite the prayers and affirmations in our mother tongue. This is why we have translated all of Yogananda’s chants, affirmations, prayers into the various languages. The most important element in prayer is the spontaneous love which you feel. That comes much more easily when we talk our own language, which naturally comes from deep inside.

Only for people for whom English has become like a second skin, English is equally ok. Otherwise it tends to become a bit too mental, not really coming from the depth of our being.

Even Yogananda, when he returned home to his beloved India to meet his beloved Guru Sri Yukteswar, naturally abandoned the English language, although both Swamis spoke English very well. Richard Wright narrates in the Autobiography of a Yogi: “I tried and tried to penetrate the Bengali conversation between the two Swamijis – for English, I discovered, is null and void when they are together, although Swamiji Maharaj, as the great guru is called by others, can and often does speak it.”

हिंदी में कविताओं और प्रार्थनाओं का आनंद लें,
Jayadev