Spiritual Effort and Outward Success


"Everything in future will improve if you are making a spiritual effort now." - Autobiography of a Yogi

How can I reconcile this statement with the fact that I have gone bankrupt and am now living in a 10 x 12 shed on the property of a relative after practicing Kriya for nearly 7 years? I have no money and am unable - despite a university degree and over 20 years of business experience - to find a job. I've always believed Master would protect and help me. Why would this happen?

—Tym, USA


Dear Tym,

I’m sorry for the difficult times you’re going through. It’s important to realize, however, that Sri Yukteswar’s word “improve” doesn’t necessarily mean improve outwardly. To the guru, improvement means getting closer to God. Nothing else counts.

You are burning up karma at this time in your life. Small consolation, I know, but when things fall apart, that creates a great potential for getting closer to God. When Swami Kriyananda was thrown out of SRF, Anandamayee Ma told him to think of it as guru’s grace. That seemed impossible to him at the time, as it was the end of all that he had felt to be meaningful in his life – above all, being able to serve his guru. But in retrospect, he feels it was the best thing that ever happened to him, because it enabled him to do his great life work and serve Master in a higher way than would have been possible within SRF.

I suggest that you focus, not on “Why has this happened to me? It’s not right,” but on “What do I do about it?” Part of doing something about it is accepting that it is right, that it has come from God and Guru for your highest good. Not an easy attitude to have, I know, but it’s certainly worth trying. I recall a story of one of Swamiji’s brother monks who fell off a ladder and broke his arm. His immediate reaction, before he even got to his feet, was to say, “Yes, Master!” Wow.

Another part of doing something about this lies in seeing it as an opportunity to get closer to Guru. Try to feel that he’s with you in this situation, that he’s actually placed you in this situation for some reason that you don’t yet understand. Maybe this whole thing is about forcing you to turn more fully to him. What if you actually started practicing gratitude for this situation? I wonder where that would lead you.

Maybe Master wants you to take a different life direction, and has had to “becalm” you to create the space for it to happen. Try to feel his hand in this situation, ready to guide you in your next step – yes, outwardly as well as inwardly – and try to feel where that next step should take you. (Just the next step, not 10 steps down the line.) Then do whatever you can to move forward in that direction. As Master said, “If I didn’t have a job, I’d shake the universe until it gave me one.”

And pray a lot – for acceptance, for understanding, for help, and above all, for a greater awareness of Master’s presence and guidance in your life. Ask others to pray for you as well. Put your name on Ananda’s healing prayer list so others can do that. Here’s a link.

I wish you all the best.