Heaven and Earth
Paramhansa Yogananda came to the West to show us how we can attain the state of yoga-union with God. He taught that our true home is not the mud of this earth, but the light of heaven.
He described earth as that which is finite, fleeting, temporary, and giving pseudo-happiness, and heaven as that which is eternal, permanent, and giving true happiness.
To help us experience the heaven that lives within us, Yogananda brought timeless practices of yoga. Here are some of Yogananda’s words, comparing Heaven and Earth:
The Journey of the Soul
“The fleshly house is perishable and the soul, being the image of Spirit, is imperishable…Because of the soul’s intimate contact with the body, it develops physical desires. These imperfect material attachments cling to the disembodied soul and prevent it from returning to the Spirit. Thus, the immortal soul has no other alternative but to come back to the mortal school of life to work out its imperfections.”
The Return to Heaven
“Immortal soul children are sent to the movie house of Life to make pictures or to watch pictures of Life, both tragedies and comedies, with an unruffled equanimity. When these divine children can go back to God and say, ‘Father, I enjoyed acting in and watching Thy earthly moving pictures, but I have no more desire for evanescent amusements,’ they are no longer forced by their material desires to come back to earth.”
Diksha’s Experience of Heaven
Some years ago, I watched a movie that conveyed the harsh reality and the sufferings of the people in Afghanistan. It was not an easy movie to watch, and later that night, I had hard time sleeping.
The next morning, as I sat to meditate, scenes from the movie flashed into my inner gaze and tortured me. My heart was so agitated that I couldn’t meditate.
Desperately I prayed to Paramhansa Yogananda for help. Immediately, I heard a voice inside of me, saying: “Cut the cord, watch the breath.”
This inner voice woke me up, as if from a dream. I was hypnotized by the suffering in this world.
I tried to obey the voice, to cut the cord of my attachment, and withdraw my energy inward and upward, but it wasn’t easy. I had to use all my will power; after some attempts, I was finally able to detach myself from outwardness, watch the breath, and calm down. As I became quieter, the scenes that haunted me vanished, and I entered a state of deep calmness, where the reality of this earth did not exist. Only vastness of space, of deep stillness, enveloped me and soothed my nerves and heart.
Later, I read in Yogananda’s writings about soul nervousness:
“When the soul is so identified with the body and the senses, it forgets its true nature. Only through the practice of meditation can we transfer our attention from the sensations of the body to the infinite nature of our true Self.”
Meditation — the Pathway Back Home
“You have been in a state of hallucination thinking that you are a mortal, struggling and suffering. Through meditation you come in contact with your Real Self and forget what you thought you were.
Every day you should sit quietly and say:
‘I am not the earth, nor the sky. No birth nor death have I. Father, mother, have I none; I am infinite Happiness.’ If you repeat this often and think about it day and night, you will realize what you really are. Only those who meditate realize that in the superconscious mind is a land of eternal happiness.
God is moving nearer and nearer to you the more deeply you meditate. The peace of meditation is the language and embracing comfort of God.
Nothing except God can satisfy you or completely wipe away your miseries.
Your soul, a separate Part, must find the Whole to be complete.”
What Keep Us Bound to Earth?
“After eight million lives, the human life is finally attained, according to Hindu masters. Do not waste this precious, hard-earned human life in foolishness, wading in the mud of the senses and ignorance, but realize that in this human life you have the chance, by conscious unity with omnipresent Spirit and by feeling brotherhood with all creation, to know yourself as not wholly belonging to anything, or any race, but as belonging to everything, and every being.”
Freedom from Reincarnation
The Bhagavad Gita describes reincarnation as a wheel, constantly turning. To get off the wheel, you have to desire freedom very intensely. Then only will God release you. Your longing has to be fervent. If it is, and if you are determined no more to want to play, the Lord has to release you. He tries to keep you here with tests, but in His higher aspect, as the Cosmic Lover, He hates this show, and wants you out of it. Why shouldn’t He release you, once He sees that you really want Him alone, and not His show: that you want only freedom in Him?
Help from the Great Masters
“Free souls like Jesus, Krishna, and our Guru-Preceptor, Babaji, can visit the earthly prison to parole soul prisoners and bring them back to their kingdom of unending happiness.”
The Path of Kriya Yoga
Paramhansa Yogananda brought the path of Kriya Yoga to help us reconnect and finally unite with our divine nature.
- The Energization Exercises help us to experience God as energy.
- The Hong-Sau technique gives us the perception of God as peace.
- The Aum technique gives us the perception of God as cosmic vibration or sound.
- The Kriya technique helps us to commune with God as joy-bliss.
The more we experience God within us, the more we can bring the Spirit of Heaven into Earth.
Swami Kriyananda Wrote a Beautiful Song Called: Blessed the Life
This song is to be sung during weddings to remind couples that people’s love is blessed when they place God first in their lives. And also, for the true devotee, this song is a reminder, that whatever tests God gives us, bliss will always be ours if we remain firm in our commitment to God.