Paramhansa Yogananda’s birthday is January 5. Usually we give people presents on their birthday, but what do you give to someone who has everything? who is everything? No choice is left us but to offer our love and appreciation. This is all we can truly give, and the hidden gift behind all outward symbols.
In a spirit of appreciation, then, I’d like to share how Yogananda’s qualities have helped shape my life. Master said that he particularly manifested three of the eight aspects of God: wisdom, love, and joy. As I try to attune my will with his, I let these three qualities be my primary guides. Here are some ways that I do this.
First, let’s consider wisdom: Swami Kriyananda said that wisdom is different from intellect or discrimination. Wisdom springs from a combination of heart and mind. You need both qualities truly to understand anything or anyone. As the great botanist George Washington Carver once said, “Anything in nature will speak to you if you love it enough.”
There are many ways to tune in to Yogananda’s wisdom, especially through reading his numerous books, lessons, and talks, but lately I‘ve hit upon a new one. I’ve read that he considered three books to be scripture: the Christian Bible, the Bhagavad Gita, and his own book of prayer demands, Whispers from Eternity. Whispers is a treasure chest of wisdom. It combines deep devotion—the highest form of love—with sensitive guidance showing the appropriate attitudes to hold in most any circumstance. I have started reading and meditating on a different one of these prayers toward the end of each meditation. It is proving to be an absolutely marvelous practice.
Next, there is love: This is one of the most powerful forces in creation. It is the vibration that brings about union, and it expresses itself in various forms in all human relationships. But it is a much more universal force than just this. It is the power that holds atoms together and keeps planets in their orbits.
I’ve found that one of the best ways to feel and express love is through kindness expressed as friendship. Swami Kriyananda was a model in this. I’ve seen instances where virtual strangers immediately felt his love and friendship and wept when he was about to leave. Why? Because he was constantly radiating love and friendship like a surrounding aura as he went about his daily business. People felt it and it changed their lives.
Finally, let’s talk about joy: Joy is constantly flowing within us as part of our very being. We don’t have to try to feel joy, we just need to become aware of its constant presence. It is like feeling your heartbeat: You can sense it as soon as you become calm and pay attention. Feel joy toward the end of each meditation and try to expand it. Then keep an awareness of that feeling throughout the day.
It is said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. The best way to imitate Yogananda is to feel ourselves swimming in a sea of wisdom, love, and joy. Do this and don’t worry about anything else. The mere act of attunement will take care of all the details.
In love and appreciation,
Here is a recording of the celebration honoring Master’s birthday, with inspirational talks by Jyotish and Devi.
This past week Jyotish and Devi began offering a commentary on each blog, which follows their recording of the blog itself. Subscribe to the podcast or download the audio recording by right-clicking here. Or listen to it here (7:16):
In addition, you might enjoy joining Jyotish and Devi for their keynote talk LIVE at the global virtual conference, Recharge:Health, Saturday, January 9 at 7:30pm PST (Overcoming Bereavement and Loss). Both of their talk recordings are included in the price of this program.