There are certain times when a big wave comes along and if we catch it, it will carry us a long way spiritually. If we miss it, we can still make spiritual progress, though probably with much more effort.
The book recently completed by Swami Kriyananda The Essence of the Bhagavad Gita, Explained by Paramhansa Yogananda, is such a wave. One of the most powerful things we can do to deepen our attunement to Yogananda and this path is to tune in very, very deeply to The Essence of the Bhagavad Gita.
A powerful resonating device
A devotee once told us that because she’d always had trouble relating to Sri Yukteswar’s book, The Holy Science, she’d also had difficulty relating to him. So she decided to read a little of the book every night for a year.
It’s a short book and consequently she read through it several times over those twelve months. Afterwards she said, “I don’t know that I understand the book much better than before, but this practice changed my life. By reading this book I felt myself opening to, and receiving blessings from, Sri Yukteswar.”
Resonating with Yogananda’s “note.”
Swami Kriyananda has often used the illustration of a guitar string to explain what is meant by “resonance” or “attunement.” If you strike a note on a gong that’s tuned to one of the strings of a guitar, that particular guitar string will start to resonate.
The publication of Autobiography of a Yogi was like striking a powerful gong. Those who resonated with it were drawn to read the book and many also to become Yogananda’s disciples.
Toward the end of his life, Yogananda’s primary focus was on finishing his commentaries on the Bhagavad Gita. Just as with the writing of Autobiography of a Yogi, he put out a great soul call through the Gita. If we choose to resonate with the energy and power in this book, it will profoundly change us.
We would like to suggest that everyone read The Essence of the Bhagavad Gita every day for a year, even for ten or fifteen minutes. In this way we will open our hearts to Yogananda and draw his grace. A precious moment has arrived with the release of this book, and each of us can catch this powerful wave of his blessing.
A rock concert at Ananda Village?
Our task as devotees is to do those things that help us resonate with the divine will. It’s not so much what we do that changes us, but rather attunement with grace. When we align our self to God or Guru, negative aspects automatically begin to whither and positive qualities grow.
Over many lifetimes we’ve refined ourselves and eliminated the worst of the dross, but there still lurk negative traits that, given support, can grow and hold us back spiritually. As we all know, support for negative qualities can be found readily in today’s world.
Imbibing worldly vibrations dilutes one’s spiritual attunement. The downward spiral is a gradual process, but we grow more restless and discontent. We then try to recapture our lost happiness by stimulating the senses. This is how it’s possible to end up thinking that it’s all right to hold rock concerts in a completely spiritual setting.
Modeling ourselves after the guru
Reading The Essence of the Gita is a great way to counter negative influences and tune into the positive magnetism of Paramhansa Yogananda. A second even more powerful practice is to model your life after him.
This doesn’t mean taking on a Bengali accent—it’s an inner process. It comes from asking constantly, “What would Yogananda do in this situation? What would he think?” As Kriyananda explains in his discussion of the rock concert, this is something we all need to do consciously and dynamically.
“Millions will find God through this scripture”
When Yogananda completed his interpretations of the Bhagavad Gita, he said, “Millions will find God through this scripture. Not just thousands. Millions! I know. I have seen it.” Kriyananda’s book, The Essence of the Bhagavad Gita, is imbued with that kind of power.
Swami Kriyananda has spent his entire life preparing to write this book by tuning into Yogananda more and more deeply. During the writing, he felt Yogananda’s constant guidance. He didn’t originate the thoughts in the book; he tuned into Yogananda’s consciousness and wrote from that attunement. As he came to each stanza, he clearly remembered Yogananda’s explanation.
Kriyananda once said to us, “Sometimes people look at me as if I’m special. You should understand, I’m not special. I’ve just been at it a little bit longer.”
That’s true of Kriyananda in relation to us, but it’s also true of us in relation to the world we live in. Just as Kriyananda has been doing it a bit longer than we have, we’ve been doing it a bit longer than the people we’re trying to serve. Like Kriyananda, we too have a responsibility to become dynamic channels for Yogananda’s love and joy.
We don’t need to serve in a formal way
A third practice we’d like to recommend for the coming year is that we each try to understand how Yogananda can use us as a channel. It doesn’t matter whether we do this through teaching, through healing prayers, through friendship, or through any other way of being a channel.
Nor do we need to serve in any formal way. We can do it in the way we walk, in the way we work, in the way we cook, in the way we smile at a child. The essence of it is being open to Yogananda so he can flow through us.
Tune into Yogananda and ask him how he can flow through you. Then develop those particular interests, talents, and skills. In hundreds and hundreds of these little ways, we will be able to bring his vibrations into the world. As we do that, we will draw more and more of Yogananda’s power and inspiration into our lives.
A constant flow of inspiration
Receiving inspiration is like filling a cup. A cup can receive only as much as it can hold. If we don’t share it, the cup can’t be refilled. But if we share it again and again, more is given to us. Eventually, as we get ourselves out of the way, it’s as if the cup becomes a hose, a channel for divine grace to flow freely to everyone, everywhere.
All of us should daily share our inspiration. As we do that, it will be a great, great blessing to the world, to Ananda, and to each of us.
“What Would Yogananda Do?” by Swami Kriyananda
The Indian scriptures say that when you have a thorn in your flesh, use another thorn to pull it out. In each age what the masters offer us from a personality point of view, is a “thorn.” Paramhansa Yogananda demonstrated by his example the ideal human being of this time. By meditating on Yogananda’s life, his attitudes, and the way he did things, you will begin to understand the kind of personality that will help you be more in tune with the Divine.
Yogananda set an example, and there are certain attitudes that will help us to be more like him. I’ve often suggested that you meditate on Yogananda as light. But it’s also good to meditate on his personality.
What were the attributes of his personality that we can mediate on? His complete devotion to God; his warmth toward people; his powerful will power; his practicality— having his feet on the ground but always aspiring towards the heights; his enthusiasm; his great sense of humor; his wonderful sense of the absurd.
He had great consideration for other people and their needs, and the willingness to see their point of view. He was dignified. He spoke with proper language. He didn’t swear. He could be very outspoken, even about things people wouldn’t talk about in polite society, but it was always the right thing to do at that time.
We can meditate on all of these attributes and think, “I can be like that, too.” As you do that, naturally you’ll take on certain attitudes. You’re not being a copycat. You’re using his personality like a thorn in order to get rid of the delusion of the ego.
From a 1996 talk.