Audience at 2008 International Kriya Yoga Retreat in India
Audience at 2008 International Kriya Yoga Retreat in India

Ananda recently held its second International Kriya Yoga Retreat in Gurgaon, India. You can watch and listen to all the talks here. I would like to expand on something I mentioned in one of my classes there.

There is a great deal of talk in modern times about investing wisely for a hoped-for future retirement. Most people invest their most valuable resources—money, time, and energy—into feeding, clothing, and sheltering the body, stimulating the senses, and feeling comfortable. What people don’t understand is that they are investing everything in a “rapidly depreciating asset”—since the human body is guaranteed to decrease in value until it is “pushing up daisies” in the end.

On the other hand, when we put our time and energy into feeding the soul, spiritually changing ourselves, and dedicating to a practice such as Kriya Yoga, we are putting our resources into an asset that will continue to appreciate over time—even over many lifetimes.

What if you don’t believe in reincarnation? You can compare the end of life of a worldly person who has lived selfishly, to the lives of saints. Saints’ bodies have ‘depreciated’ just like everyone else’s, but they are living in a state of divine joy, and are able to share that joy with others.

Audience at 2008 International Kriya Yoga Retreat in IndiaI have seen this truth proven in the lives of many Kriya Yogis, even those who may not have yet reached the most exalted spiritual states. Compared to people who have lived selfish or worldly lives, I can say unequivocally that dedication to spiritual practices is the best investment of time and energy one can possibly make.

People sometimes think, “It’s too late. I should have begun practicing Kriya Yoga when I was young. Now my worldly life is all I have, so I guess I’ll just keep living like this.” This is called “throwing good money after the bad.” It is similar to a homeowner who keeps throwing more and more of his hard-earned money to put a new roof on a house with a completely rotten foundation.

It is never too late! Paramhansa Yogananda told the story of a woman who took up his teachings late in life:

I once met a lady in the state of Washington. She was 80 years old, and all her life she’d been an atheist. By God’s grace, at our meeting she became converted to this path. Thereafter she sought God intensely. For the better part of every day, whenever she wasn’t meditating, she would play a recording of my poem God! God! God!” She lived only a few years longer, but in that short time she attained liberation.

It is never too soon or too late to dedicate yourself to living a spiritual life. It is the greatest investment we can make for our future, and in the end, it is the only thing we can take with us when we leave this world.