What would you say are the 10 core teachings of Yogananda's path?
— Sundara, U.S.A
You asked a very good question. As I see it, the first and most important of Yogananda’s top ten core teachings starts with the thought, love God. This means love God with all, your mind, with all your body and with all your strength. I say this because after reading, “The Autobiography of a Yogi” (AY) by Yogananda. After reading that book I couldn’t help but feel Master was trying to share with us how deeply the saints he wrote about loved God. Their love and devotion for God and guru is extremely inspiring to me.
Some of the saints loved God as their Heavenly Father, some loved God as their Divine Mother and some loved God as though God were their best friend. The way they showed their love for God was quite diverse, some prayed to God, some meditated to God, some stayed in a cave all alone praying and meditating while others spent just about every waking moment serving others as though they serving Him. The common thread was their deep and sincere love for God. They put loving God first and foremost.
If you have not read The Autobiography of a Yogi, I highly recommend you stop reading this letter and start reading that book immediately. It will answer a lot of questions regarding Yogananda’s core teaching. At the same time you read it also read his book, Whispers from Eternity. Equally important, as reading the books mentioned, start meditating deeper, longer, and with every fiber of love in your heart.
It is to say, the essence of Master core teachings go far beyond knowing the teachings mentally. They are to be experienced.
Yogananda came to this life with a mission to show all truth seekers regardless of the religion we may be committed to, the time for knowing (experiencing) God has come. All his teachings and his messages are designed to help us understand that the most important thing we could do with our life is to expand our love God. As the story goes, a learned man came to Master with a list of questions, almost as a test to see if he could trick the Master relative to his teachings. Each time the man asked Master a question Master replied, “Love God.” In a short amount of time the man left the interview a bit perturbed. This story has numerous interpretations of its meaning. I’m of the school of thought that all the teachings are intended to help deepen our love for God. If we can love God truly, we will experience Him in a way that all questions get answered almost as if by magic. And by loving Him, we will know Him, and by knowing Him we learn to know our selves in Him. We will merge into the teachings thus we will know them much more than mentally. To know the teachings is one thing. To experience them is another.
I could list ten teachings that could constitute his core teachings, such as, find and follow a true guru, meditate with the Kriya Yoga Techniques, destroy the ego, keep the company of high minded people, know God is the doer, see God in others, live simply and on and on respectively. And make no mistake about it, they are extremely important teachings. But I have found that above all else, learning how to love God is by far the most important teaching of his core teachings.
Again, please don’t quote me, but, when they asked Jesus, of all the laws and teachings which is the most important to follow, his answer was to love God with all your body, with your entire mind, and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as your self.
So knowing a lot about core teachings is one thing. Loving God sincerely, with deep devotion and learning how to receive His love is beyond words.
In His love and joy,