We are in Assisi, immersed in a Spiritual Renewal Week with the theme “How to Develop Spiritual Power Against Troubled Times.” There is a common misperception in which people confuse developing spiritual power with spiritual powers, the ability to perform miracles.

In today’s class one of the speakers talked about the time when Paramhansa Yogananda visited Therese Neumann, the Bavarian saint. In a chapter about this visit in Autobiography of a Yogi, Yogananda revealed that, in her elevated consciousness, Therese had transcended the need for food. She said that she awoke one day with neither the need nor the desire to eat. In other words, this “power” came to her spontaneously.

One of the guests attending the program posed the question, “Why didn’t she teach others how to do this? It seems selfish that she kept this ability to herself.” I admit that I was a little shocked by the audacity of the question. I suspect that while many might wonder quietly why the saints don’t share their secrets more openly, few would voice such a question in a class.

Uma, one of the teachers, gave a marvelous answer. She said that the saints and masters tell us quite openly how to develop such abilities. We just don’t like their answers or their methods. We want to be given a quick fix, but they tell us that it doesn’t work that way. Powers come naturally as our consciousness becomes expanded and elevated. In Therese’s profound connection and attunement to Jesus, she had effectively merged with him. His sufferings became hers to the extent that in her weekly trances she exhibited his wounds on her own body. So the answer to the question of how to rise above the need to eat is to become so immersed in love and devotion that hunger, along with everything else, becomes irrelevant.

yogananda teachings building spiritual power against troubled times painting in hawaii by jyotish of master

“Master in Hawaii,” by Nayaswami Jyotish.

How does one develop such powers? We don’t so much acquire them as embody them. In a sense, Jesus gave us clear instructions for how to walk on water, or heal others, or feed the masses: “Love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength.” As long as we, the ego, want powers, they will elude us. But as the ego dissolves, God, the only power in the universe, will use us as He wills.

Many years ago we heard a miraculous story from Malka, an Indian friend of ours. After visiting Ananda Village on a pilgrimage, she headed to New York to spend time with her sister. One evening, she fell down some stairs and crushed her arm. At the hospital she was told that she would need emergency surgery. The injuries were so extensive, however, that the surgeon didn’t know if he could knit the shattered bones together, or if he would have to amputate her arm.

Understandably distraught, she sleeplessly awaited her impending surgery. Amidst her pain and fear, Swami Kriyananda walked into her room. Gently stroking her arm, he assured her, “Don’t worry, Malka. Everything will be fine.” At his soothing words, she fell into a peaceful sleep. The morning surgery was a success, and when we saw her a year later, she joyfully waved her arm in the air to demonstrate the complete healing.

The remarkable feature of the story is that Swami Kriyananda was in California the entire time. When we told him about it, he said, “I have no conscious knowledge of doing that.” But then he added a very deep teaching about the essence of spiritual power: “The soul can act independently of the ego. Nor does it need the ego’s permission to do so.”

This is another way of saying that when we transcend the limitations of ego, God can work wonders through us. Our part is to cooperate with His grace by developing limitless love and the deep desire to help others. Once we fully allow God to flow through us, we will have both spiritual power and, if needed, spiritual powers.

In His love and joy,

Nayaswami Jyotish

P.S. You might enjoy watching these videos from my 80th birthday celebration, including greetings from our spiritual family around the world.

Listen to Jyotish as he first reads the blog, then expands on its meaning and messages for readers with behind-the-blog commentary. Subscribe to the podcast or download the audio recording by right-clicking here. Or listen to it here (8:54):


  1. Forgive me, but didn’t Yogananda ask that same question: Can you teach others the ability to live without food? And she answered, that God doesn’t want her to reveal it. Is my memory correct? In any case, thank you for a great message.

    1. Thank you and I understand that living in God brings inner freedom. Like all the Masters told us.
      Meditating, chanting and affirmations helpt us to find God in our inner self.

  2. There is a feeling in the heart that it is as you stated. Thank you for the message.

    With Love

  3. I am seeing how after really getting serious about meditation, the connection of spirit and mind transcends

  4. Thank you for sharing this. I especially appreciated hearing what Swami said about the souls ability to act independently of the ego without its knowledge. This explains so many things. Blessings to you both on your travels.

  5. mm

    Thank you. Beautiful. Stories of Swamiji are very precious.

  6. Dear ji
    Thank you for this beautiful story . This message helps us to overcome our ignorance and to attune with higher consciousness.We are eagerly waiting for your arrival on chennai in november.

  7. What a blessing. This story has been so uplifting. A reminder to strive for inner love and joy for oneness with God.

  8. Thank you! This story touched my heart so deeply because that’s my only desire, to never one with God!

  9. I am truly blessed by these beautiful stories and so grateful to be a part of the Love. 🙏🙏Thank you for sharing this with us. We are all servants of God …in need of what morsels of love and truth are thrown to us to empower our Trust.
    Radha Sweet Swami

  10. Thank you. Wonder if this is why I’ve lost interest in eating. I find I’d rather sit in bliss, but this is just coming to me so we shall see what comes next. It’s funny tho, I was just wondering the other day how the breatharians can go without food, and now you’ve answered it!

  11. Beautifully said. Very poignant. So simple yet requiring 100% focus, concentration and self offering. Uma’s answer is indeed a perfect one. Thank you Jyotish and Uma. I will return to re-read this over and over again.
    In loving friendship,

  12. “in delusion still Garoknaut?” I can more fully appreciate this story and your presentation of why ‘powers’ are still another delusion of the ego. I most appreciate the simple words of Christ: “Love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength”. This is my goal. I admit that I think powers would be ‘cool’ but for lasting Divine Connection it is the deeper understanding to seek the goal of oneness with God and Guru and “NEVER GIVE UP”. Thank you Guru, thank you Swamiji, thank you Jyotish. I can never get enough reminders of the simplicity yet also the dedication to attain Samadhi. Namaste

  13. Dear Nayaswami Jyotish Ji,

    Thank you for sharing this blog and the wonderful explanation for the question…
    It’s profound and to be practiced.


  14. Thank you so very much for sharing. Your words enlighten xx
    Much love and light

  15. Dear Jyotish ji
    Thank you so much for explaining the very fine aspect of ego and power of soul.

  16. What a remarkable story . Indeed we have to love and want god and settle for nothing less and miracles will embrace .

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