One of our friends from Europe sent us a beautiful Christmas story that we’d like to share with you:
“I’ll accept anything”
A young boy went to see the Christ child and saw that the kings from the Orient had brought him lovely gifts. The Christ child mentally projected the question to the boy, “What have you brought me?”
The little boy said, “Oh, I’m very poor. I have nothing to give.” The Christ child asked, “What about that artwork, the painting you did the other day?”
The boy said, “Oh, no one liked it and I just tore it up and threw it away.” The Christ child said, “Find it and give it to me. And what about a song? Will you sing me a song?”
The boy answered, “I can’t sing well. Nobody wants to hear me sing.” And the Christ child said, “I want to hear you sing. Sing me a song.”
After the boy sang, the Christ child said, “What about the plate you eat your food on? Bring me that.” And the boy said, “Oh, I dropped the plate and it broke.” He paused, looked down for moment, then said, “Well, that’s not really true. I was mad at my mother, so I threw the plate on the ground, and that’s how it broke.”
The Christ child said, “Bring me that. Remember this, you never need make an excuse to me. You never need lie to me. I’ll accept anything that you have. Bring it to me.”
So it is with these great ones. They don’t see a great difference between those with wealth and power, and those who live in poverty; between those who live what the world considers “good” lives and those who are error-torn.
They accept us as we, desiring only our highest happiness. They see each of us as extensions of the one God who is in everything and is everything.
The birth of divine consciousness
It’s very interesting that both Krishna and Jesus, two great masters of East and West, were born under extremely adverse circumstances. Krishna was born in a prison, and Jesus in a manger. Very soon after their births, the rulers of the land tried to kill them, and yet of course they survived.
The births of these great souls are not only historical but also symbolic. They’re symbolic of the birth of the divine consciousness within us, which comes in very quietly and unassumingly. And it comes in hated by worldly power—hated by that which rules the kingdom of our mind, the ego.
The first impulse of the threatened ego is to try to exterminate the tiny baby of divine consciousness. The divine within us can’t be killed, but the ego does perhaps force it into exile by keeping it out of our minds, through forgetfulness.
There’s a battle going on within us from the very beginning. For along with the impulse to banish the divine consciousness, we also have the impulse to protect and nurture it—even as a gnarled old shepherd had the impulse to nurture and protect the Christ child.
The core problem: forgetfulness
At a certain point in the soul’s long journey, we begin to welcome more and more deeply the divine consciousness within us. One of the most important ways we do this is by opening our hearts to these great world saviors and, in our case, especially to Paramhansa Yogananda. When we open our hearts to their influence we receive their magnetism, which changes us from within.
The most important question we can ask Yogananda is: how can I attune my consciousness to you? Much of the task is accomplished as soon as we ask the question because the core of the problem is forgetfulness.
We forget to connect with the divine consciousness within. But as soon as we remember to connect to do so, by that very act, we open a channel for grace and blessings to flow.
Activating his presence
There are many things we can do to form the habit of deeply welcoming Yogananda into our consciousness. For example, we should develop the habit of asking, “Master, how would you act in this situation?” or “How would you like me to act in this situation?” As we do that, he becomes much more dynamically present in our minds and lives.
He’s already with us, but we need to become aware of his presence. He said, “To those who think me near, I will be near.” We only have to think of him and he’s right there. The more clearly and frequently we do that, the more dynamic his presence becomes.
Otherwise, he awaits us in the realm of good intentions or half-hearted devotion. He’s like a guest who is always at our door but won’t come in, uninvited. He doesn’t judge or condemn us. He just waits.
But as soon as we invite him with love, he comes in and loves us back. As soon as we laugh with him he laughs with us. As soon as we open to him, he reflects back to us the higher vibration of the qualities we express.
It all depends on love
Ultimately, it all depends on love. Yogananda said he was a Premavatar, an avatar of love. He came into this world to love us, and to teach us how to love him back—and how to live in that love. Love is the light that drives out all darkness in relationships between people. It is the antidote to negativity, jealousy, or judgmental attitudes.
If you have any problem with another person, it’s because the love between you has diminished. To solve the problem, increase the love. You can’t control how the other person will respond, but you can control your own heart and mind.
The foundation of our attunement
We can express love through friendship, through service, and in many different ways. But love is the foundation of our attunement with Yogananda.
So, if you want to be in tune with Yogananda, you first need to get centered in expansive love. We can’t feel his presence without the quality of love. Otherwise, the darkness is too strong and we shut him out.
As Sri Yukteswar said, “ Without the natural love of the heart, you cannot take a single step on the spiritual path.” We will deepen our relationship with Yogananda primarily through the quality of love. We need to offer our love to him in meditation and throughout the day. We need to look into his eyes and also to visualize his eyes.
We also need to establish a habit of automatically including Yogananda as a silent friend in whatever we’re planning or doing, so that we’re always planning or acting with him, not separate from him. Say to him always: “Be here as my friend, my guide.” “Help me feel how to do this.”
We can even bring it down to the level of slicing bread. For as we saw in the story of the Christ child and the little boy, these great ones will accept anything we offer them.
The joy also increases
As we increase the love, the joy also increases. Yogananda said that by increasing not only love but also the quality of joy, we begin to weaken the hold of ego. So, in meditation, and throughout the day, let’s try to feel and express more and more love and joy, and, through that, feel a deeper attunement with Yogananda.
Yogananda is a condensation of love and joy that has come into this world to awaken those qualities in us, through his teachings, yes, but especially through the magnetism of his being. As those qualities awaken in us, then and only then, will we be true disciples.