Swami Kriyananda led an exemplary life.
He said that his primary goal in this life had been to find Truth and help others to find Truth.
At the age of 15, Swami began thinking of intentional communities where people could live in harmony and peace.
In his 20s, he decided to become a playwright, hoping that his work could inspire people to know the truth. While he was in Charleston, North Carolina at the Dock Street Theater after the summer season had just ended, he said:
I went out for a long walk into the evening and I thought, what is God? There must be a God. Where do we come from if there isn’t some sort of consciousness out of which we were manifested? I said well, He cannot be a vindictive judge. He cannot be a policeman up there waiting for us to make a mistake so He can clap us into hell. He’s got to be some sort of infinite consciousness. If so, I too am consciousness…and there must be a higher consciousness in everything. I decided that the most important thing in life is to be in tune with this infinite consciousness.
I want to be your discipleSwami Kriyananda to Paramhansa YoganandaAlthough he’d thought there was no one who could help him in his spiritual quest, that changed dramatically after he read Autobiography of a Yogi. He immediately took a bus to Los Angeles to meet Paramhansa Yogananda. Kriyananda’s first words to him were, “I want to be your disciple.” Yogananda blessed him and fully accepted him into his work in just half an hour. That meeting set up a lifetime of selfless service and discipleship.
One could ask, that once the awakening comes that you want God, isn’t it all set then, and God will take care of everything? He does take charge of our lives once we open the door and let Him in, but the other part of the equation is that we need to keep calling Him all the time. That is our job. We need to always remind ourselves.
How Did Swami Stay in God’s Presence All the Time?
Here is a story from a friend of mine who had an experience with Swami Kriyananda that reveals one key answer to that very question.
Each year for many decades, there was a fundraising dinner for Crystal Clarity Publishers, the distributors of Swami Kriyananda’s books, music, and audiobooks. The event took place in Kriyananda’s home at Crystal Hermitage in Nevada City, California.
My friend Gurupriya (which means Beloved of the Guru) was the first guest to arrive at the dinner. When she walked in, Kriyananda was alone and whispering something. As she got closer, she heard that ‘something’ was ‘Aum Guru.’ This made a big impression on her and as she recounted the experience, it also made a big impression on me. Gurupriya said to herself, ‘If it works for him, it can work for me.’
Therefore, dear reader, it can work for you! When Kriyananda asked Yogananda, what mantra is good for us on this path, the answer was – ‘Aum Guru.’
Mantra can also take other forms, like a chant, an affirmation, a prayer, or whatever inspires you. Whatever your chosen focus is, stick with it and use it all the time. You can ask yourself, What computer program is my brain playing at this moment? Bring the mind back to God-remembrance any time it strays.
We do not need to be too hard on ourselves by counting up all the times the mind has strayed. Gently remind yourself and use willpower to bring the mind back to what you want to have on your ‘repeat play’ setting.
Affirmations and mantras are good ways of practicing God’s presence but to really experience His presence, there needs to be a constant dialogue.
Infusing Daily Life with God’s Presence
This practice reminds us that our spiritual life is not developed in the grand, dramatic moments, but through the little moments of our daily lives. By practicing God’s presence in the little things, we build spiritual habits that will help us transcend our most difficult tests.
Here are a few tips:
- Meditate every day and establish a set time. You can start by meditating for at least 15 minutes when you wake up in the morning.
- Never leave your meditation with practicing techniques only. At the end of the techniques, when the mind is still and focused and the heart is uplifted, pray deeply and practice devotion for at least a few minutes. When you feel His presence, try to keep that presence in your heart and then try to hold onto it a little bit longer.
- Use an alarm for thinking of God. Try using a clock or watch that chimes every half-hour or so. Every time you hear the chime, make it a reminder, “I must think of God.” This can become a habit to the point where you are thinking of Him in the back of your mind even when you are laughing, talking, and working.
- Keep the company of people who have the magnetism you are seeking inwardly and/or outwardly. If you do not live near other truth seekers, use the internet or read a book to spend time, even just a few minutes, with people who inspire you, or take classes.
- Patience is the shortest path to God. Why? Because God is not in the future. God is in the eternal present and we can only find Him when we live in that eternal present.
- Ask God for more devotion.
- Live in your heart and love God. He doesn’t mind your faults. The important thing is that you love Him. Live every day, every moment in the thought of Him.
Listen to the following talks from Treasures Along the Path that inspired this article: