Swami Kriyananda BirthdayLast weekend we celebrated Swami Kriyananda’s 81st birthday at Ananda Village. He spoke for over three hours during several occasions, covering many topics.

Swamiji shared a lifetime’s worth of spiritual insight from the perspective of someone who has overcome the tests given to those who seek final freedom in God. He has mentioned a few times during the last weeks that after a lifetime of those tests — and of grateful service to his Guru — he feels divine bliss all the time now.

In one of his talks, he said with deep feeling in his voice, “The joy of God is beyond imagination of expectancy. All those little ups and downs, they didn’t mean a thing. I see what it’s all for now, all the wandering.”

Of God’s unconditional love, and the right attitude toward our faults, he said:

“Don’t worry about your faults. If you work on them, you will become purified. The Masters are perfectly willing to wait, because they know that it takes time. It may take a long time. In fact Master told me that it takes a long time. But it doesn’t have to. You can find God in this life if you will make the effort….

“No matter who you are, no matter your limitations, no matter how many times you fall, or how many mistakes you make, He’s always there waiting for you.

“There is a picture on the altar of the Sistine Chapel, where God is condemning the damned. All his energy is directed toward condemning those poor damned. What a picture! Art it may be, but what a philosophy! God loves you. He knows that the dice are loaded. Is God going to get angry with you for falling into a pit he himself had dug for you?”

On attunement to the Guru, and the practice of Kriya Yoga and devotion, Swamiji remarked:

“The process of being in tune with the Guru is not just being around a good guy. He’s working on your mind!

Swami Kriyananda Birthday Talk“Yogananda used to say that the spiritual path consists of 25% your own effort, 25% the Guru’s effort on your behalf, and 50% the grace of God

“Where is your effort? There are two things. You can try to be close to the guru, to attune your mind to him.

“But you also have to make your own effort, and this is where Kriya Yoga comes in. Kriya aligns the [subtle] molecules in your spine. It helps to raise up the samskars [desires and inclinations that reside in the astral spine]. As you practice Kriya Yoga, the samskars that were buried in the spine are lifted up to the brain, and released.

“This is a very, very important technique. [You can find freedom through it] as long as you don’t develop the kind of ego that many yogis develop. They think, ‘I’m the one that’s doing it’….

“I’ve met many yogis who are so arrogant. They’ll never find God that way. They’ll fall again and again. People that practice tantra [a certain type of yogic practice] often rise very quickly, but then fall very hard.

“No, freedom comes from devotion. You have to have devotion. Devotion is not a sentiment. Devotion is an absolute longing for the Truth. It must be a longing of the heart. The more we long for it and for God, the more we find that He is there. He wants you to come back.”

The underlying feeling of the weekend was conveyed best by Swami Kriyananda himself, when he said this about the fruit of the spiritual life:

“It’s a blissful life. There’s nothing but joy underneath everything.”

Please take the time to listen to his talks. Along with those of us who were present at Ananda Village, you may find that your life will be transformed.