Swami Kriyananda was a man of deep spiritual realization, and he also had a delightful sense of humor. His laughter helped us to understand that if God is joy, then the spiritual path should be fun, too. One of Swamiji’s favorite writers was the British humorist P. G. Wodehouse. Much to our delight, he loved to entertain his friends by reading a Wodehouse story. If you haven’t heard him read one, enjoy this video, “Unpleasantness at Bloodleigh Court.”

Sharing amusing stories was also a teaching technique that Swamiji used to drive home deeper truths and principles. One such example is a true story from the life of the Irish playwright, George Bernard Shaw. One evening Shaw, who was known for his dry wit, was attending a large high-society party. Apparently not interested in the social chitchat of the other guests, Shaw withdrew into a corner.

His attentive hostess, seeing him standing alone, inquired, “Aren’t you enjoying yourself, Mr. Shaw?”

“Yes, my dear,” he replied, no doubt with a wry smile. “That’s all I am enjoying.”

This witty reply actually reflects a deeper truth. Ultimately all we ever can enjoy is our own Self. Most of the time we experience life indirectly through our mind and senses. Our positive or negative responses are only reactions to the unreal world of maya, or delusion. No outward occurrence has the power, in itself, to affect us positively or negatively. It’s in our mind that we decide whether that experience makes us happy or sad.

The only thing that we can experience directly, unfiltered by the mind or the senses, is our own Self, and the nature of this Self is joy. We can find this joy in meditation when we still the mind and limit the input from the senses. There, in the quiet of our own being, we experience a joy that isn’t dependent on anything outside of ourselves — it just is.

Once awakened, this inner joy will be the filter through which we experience everything in life. Then, no matter what happens, joy will permeate our responses on some level. Swamiji once said that there is a joy appropriate to each situation. This doesn’t mean that we’ll be lighthearted if we lose a loved one or receive a serious medical diagnosis. What it does mean, however, is that no matter what happens, this inner joy will give us the understanding and strength to deal positively with the tests that inevitably will come.

Swamiji told us that he once was going through a period of great suffering in his life, and was reluctant to offer classes because he didn’t want to inflict his pain on others. Yet, to his amazement, during this time people invariably told him that what they derived from his lectures was a sense of deep joy. He came to realize that despite his suffering, there was a subterranean river of bliss flowing beneath his conscious mind — the joy of his own Self. This is what people were feeling.

So, my friend, I encourage you to keep meditating until you, too, find this hidden river of joy within yourself. As Yoganandaji once said, “Ask with all your heart, again and again: ‘Reveal Thyself!’ At last, like an invisible earthquake, He will suddenly make Himself manifest. And then you will be consciously face to face with YOURSELF at last.”

Enjoy your Self so that its bliss illumines everything in your life and drives away all darkness.

Nayaswami Devi

P.S. One of the most joyful people we know is Joseph Bharat Cornell, whose books on nature awareness have won awards internationally. These books, starting with Sharing Nature with Children, have helped people all over the world to experience God in nature. Deep Nature Play: A Guide to Wholeness, Aliveness, Creativity, and Inspired Learning, his latest book, is available now until Feb. 9 with a special offer of an additional six gifts. Here’s a link where you can check out Bharat’s book and the offer: https://www.crystalclarity.com/deep-nature-play/

Subscribe to the Touch of Light podcast. Download the audio recording of this week’s blog by right-clicking here. Or listen to it here (5:45):

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With gratitude,

Your friends at Ananda Worldwide

10 Comments

  1. Respected all swami clan. Why are you all always cry for donations you are a follower s of so highest standards souls please do it on your money don’t ask poor people’s to donate. With regards to s kirya Nanda jee. Lahiri mahasya jee. Thanks

    1. Dear friend,

      We offer an ever-growing variety of spiritual materials and services to our broader spiritual family and to the world at large. It takes many people a lot of time to make all that happen: They are not rich, and need to eat. One way to fund these activities is to charge for them, but as much as possible we prefer to offer them for free, for the benefit of those who can’t afford to pay, or haven’t yet come to appreciate their value. We have been able to do so thanks to the growing, generous support of many, who’ve felt benefited by these offerings and want to help make them available to others. But if you’re not in a position to do so, or simply don’t feel inspired that way, we understand, and that’s fine: We hope you’ll continue to find benefit from blogs like this, and that we can offer you “more and better” in the days and years to come.

  2. ….. And the only dhana Or wealth to take away from a lifetime’s living really – The fruits of meditation, the goodwill of one’s good deeds & the resultant good karma!!

    Is THE ONLY GOAL & PURPOSE OF A HUMAN BIRTH.

  3. I so appreciate your soul-stirring messages. Thank you for sharing that river of joy with us.
    In Master,
    janakidevi

  4. SI alguien del Equipo de Ananda en Español, puede traducir a DEvi , Gracias por anticipado. NAMASTÉ

  5. Dear Nayaswami Devi Ji,

    Thank you for this inspiring blog. A much-needed one
    I enjoyed reading these lines “Enjoy your Self so that its bliss illumines everything in your life and drives away all darkness.”

    In Joy
    Prem

  6. thankyou for this lovely story, its so true that it is us who decide whether an experience will make us happy or sad..we always have a choice.

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