I was the General Manager of Ananda Village for many years during its early days. Sometimes, as you can imagine, I felt overwhelmed by all of the problems and challenges we faced, and would go to Swami Kriyananda for advice and solace. Often he would tell me, “Don’t think overmuch about the problems, but keep your focus on finding solutions.”
In this time of worldwide challenges, it is easy to get so caught up in the difficulties that we forget to look for the solutions. As seekers we should prioritize our efforts.
Spiritual solutions come first, because they last the longest. Only they are capable of ripping out the root causes of our difficulties. Other solutions are like mowing the grass—it will come back again and again. So the first priority is to deepen your meditations and your faith in God.
Second, strengthen your mind with positive thinking and adamant willpower. The mind is as powerful as we allow it to be. Keep your thoughts positive and uplifted, keep your resolve unbreakable, and keep your heart open through empathy for others and active service to the God in them.
Finally, take logical and practical steps on the physical plane, but realize that these steps work primarily on the symptoms, not the problem itself.
Last week a friend sent me a copy of a letter that Paramhansa Yogananda wrote to a devotee in India in 1951. It is filled with timeless advice and blessings. Imagine that Yogananda has written this to you:
I have received your letter and thank you for writing to me about your difficulties. Do not be discouraged by them, but realize that for many lives you have been used to following habits or whims of the mind and now, when you are trying to bring the mind under your control, it naturally rebels against such discipline. Most devotees undergo this experience to a lesser or greater degree, so it is nothing to worry about. The important factor is to keep on trying to better yourself. No one can do this for you. You must whip the mind into submission through the constant application of will power.
Remember that you are a child of God, created in His divine image. These weaknesses which you have put on do not belong to you. You must be strong and conquer them, one by one, if you would know God. At the same time, be not discouraged when you fall, but lift yourself again and again out of your mental lethargy by longer and deeper periods of meditation.
If you apply the teachings every day, you will see yourself change. Do not expect to change all at once, but by continuous effort and faith in God the change will take place.
Above all, love the Father, in spite of your weaknesses. Love Him unconditionally, and mentally surrender yourself to Him. In Him will you find the fulfillment of all your longings.
Start right now doing little services for others, no matter how small they may be. Feel that you are serving the God in them. And should you fall in trying to lift yourself, get up and try, try again. Never allow yourself to feel discouraged.
God bless you and your family. My prayers will be with each of you.
Remember Swami Kriyananda’s advice and don’t emphasize the challenges you are facing. Focus, rather, on solutions, such as those offered by Paramhansa Yogananda. Whatever tests come to us are meant to bring us to liberation. They are given to us with love. Yes, sometimes it is tough love, but always it is for our benefit.
With love and faith,
Download the PDF of this letter from Paramhansa Yogananda to a devotee.
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Thank you for such a wonderful message and advice
Thank you so much, it is very useful. And the letter of the Master serms written for us, as well.
Thank you so much for your wonderful guidence and advice.
When I went through Paramhansa Yogananda’s letter, I felt as if the letter was in response to my own doubts and questions; answered so beautifully and with such authority behind. I really feel enlightened and guided on the doubts of my mind, for solutions of which I was going haphazardly through the jungles of internet.
Thank you Jyotishji and Deviji for sending us the advice that will enable us to be strong and positive during these difficult times. Thanks also for sending the blessings of Guru Yogananda.
Thank you Jyotish!
For sharing this beautiful letter from master!
Thank you so much with all my Heart, with all my Mind and with all my Soul
Thank you so much for a wonderful letter and thank you so much for sharing the letter of Master Paramhansa Yogananda ?
This is some good advice
I felt as though it was written for me
I needed this.
Thank You so much for the wonderful & brilliant message …….reading your mail was like God sent which was very much required . ”It was the need of the hour ” to stay calm & look for solutions !!
It really uplifted my confidence & enlightened me.
Big thnx for sharing the letter of our Great Master.
Thank you. I wish you Love, light and Happiness always.
Good title – that is some of the best advice I’ve read for these troubled times, when it is so easy to get discouraged. I printed Yogananda’s letter and will treasure it as if he’d written it to me personally.
PS. Your own commentary was also priceless!
Grazie per questa meravigliosa lettera. Senza la forza che voi ci date, in questo momento così drammatico per tutti, la nostra vita sarebbe molto più difficile. Grazie di essere una fonte di luce così luminosa!
This is the straight-up real goods. Thanks, Buddy!
I’ve been keenly aware in recent weeks of how much better it makes me feel when I (a) eat high-nutrient density foods, (b) do the rechargers with the gusto of a hound dog, (c) get sun and exercise, (d) communicate with treasured friends, (e) pray in the morning that Divine Mother fill my heart with her kindness and compassion, and (f) sing Swami’s songs for at least 30 minutes every (bad word) day.
Also and in no way less important – doing meaningful work that helps others. That’s a biggie.
I couldn’t have stated it better myself, which means I rate it a perfect plus! Word for verbatim word, I have been practicing the content of Master’s letter for a long, often times agonizing LONG time. And the fruits of the struggle, have left me in a state of perpetual trancendental ecstacy! Divine Mother’s blessings to you all! ??
Thank you, Jyotish. This is beautiful and uplifting. ?
Now THAT’s keeper, Jyotish! Thanks. ?
Thanks a lot, dear Jyotish ji!
It’s a treasure blog packed with wonderful, pacifying and healing words from Master, Swamiji and you and it’s perfect and needed for us now. We feel so inspired to be uplifted and serve others in need. Thanks a ton.
Wow!! Just what I needed, and thanks so much, dear Jyotish. I’m going to hang this on my fridge!
In deep gratitude for your loving Self. Namaste
Thank you Jyotish! What you wrote is very inspiring. I will remember to apply these teachings in my life. Joy, gaurja
Dear Nayaswami Jyotish Ji,
Thank you very much for this blog and for sharing the letter from Master. Much needed during this time
We hope you, Devi ji and all our friends in the Village are safe.
In Master’s Love,
How perfect for me to come across this today. Thank You so very much for this guidance during these times and Masters letter as well..
I am on day 6 of home alone with my young daughter, and needed to hear something like this. Some real gems to also share with those I work with when I return to work in medical clinic after Easter. AUM ??Blessings to you both Jyotish and Devi and to All our Ananda friends worldwide !
Thanks a lot for this blog. It really helps going through this advice.
Thank you for your words of wisdom.