At Prince Siddhartha’s birth, his father, the king of the realm, was told that his son would be either a powerful ruler or a great spiritual leader. Wanting his royal lineage to continue, the king did everything he could to prevent the young prince from seeing the ephemeral nature of life. This, he hoped, would keep him from seeking higher realities.

The king therefore instructed the royal charioteers never to take the prince into the city, where he would see the common lot of human suffering. To keep him further absorbed in the transitory world, the king built a beautiful pleasure palace for Siddhartha filled with lovely young maidens and youths whose company he could continually enjoy.

But the day eventually arrived when Prince Siddhartha grew restless and tired of his idyllic life. He called his charioteer and told him to drive him into the nearby city. Knowing that the king had forbidden this, the chariot driver tried to dissuade his prince from going, but Siddhartha insisted.

Into the city the golden chariot went. Here, for the first time, Siddhartha saw someone desperately ill. Shocked, the young prince demanded, “What is that?” His charioteer replied, “That is sickness, my lord.”

“Does it happen to everyone?” he asked.

“Yes, my lord,” the driver replied. Siddhartha struggled to absorb this new reality.

On they went through the city until they spotted someone old and decrepit. “What is that?” the prince asked in a trembling voice.

“That is old age, my lord.”

“Does it happen to everyone?” Siddhartha again asked in disbelief.

“Yes, my lord.” Now the prince was in a state of deep turmoil as he saw the suffering inherent in human life.

Finally they saw a funeral procession with a dead body being carried to the cremation grounds. Deeply shocked, he asked one last time, “What is that, driver?”

“That, my lord, is death.”

“Does it come to everyone?” he asked with great earnestness.

“Yes, my lord. It comes to everyone.”

So deep had been Siddhartha’s absorption in the transitory nature of the world, it seemed as though time had now stopped. The next day he left behind his kingdom, his pleasure palace, and all the comforts he had known. He was determined to find enlightenment in order to alleviate the suffering of mankind.

After years of seeking and striving, he finally achieved his goal and became the Buddha, “the Enlightened One.” On the day of his spiritual awakening, in the forests of Bodh Gaya, the unseen power of one soul uniting with God reverberated throughout the land.

Storytellers recount that in distant parts of the country a fishmonger and his wife ceased arguing; a dishonest merchant decided to treat his customers fairly; a widow lost in grief was suddenly comforted; and a ruler abandoned his plans to wage war on a neighboring kingdom. A great pulse of peace, compassion, and harmony spread across rivers, mountains, and valleys, and changed everyone it touched. That is the power of one.

The world in which we live today is rife with tension, dishonesty, power-seeking, violence, and warfare. In the face of it all, feeling helpless and hopeless as so many do, it is far too easy to fall into a pit of despair. Yet each of us has within him the power to make a difference. Here are three ways that we can release the power of one.

Expand Your Inner Peace Through Meditation

Spend some time during each meditation consciously resting in inner peace. When you feel this aspect of God, concentrate on its vibration, and let peace permeate your being. Then expand it outward to touch other people and lands. Each day, try to expand the time you are absorbed in peace, and return to this awareness throughout the day. Make it your reality. Feel that you live and move in a bubble of peace, and share it with all.

Love Heroically

Once, when Swami Kriyananda was asked for the best way to prepare for hard times in the world, he replied, “Learn to love heroically.” Be more aware of the needs of others, and do what you can to help them. Pray for those people and nations that are suffering. Pray especially for anyone for whom you’ve had negative feelings. Transform your heart into a fountain of unconditional love for all—whether they be good or evil, wise or foolish, friend or foe. Without any regard for such distinctions God loves all equally. We should strive to do likewise.

Whatever lies ahead, we should keep our hearts filled with love for God, and faith in Him. Trust in the thought that His loving protection is with us always. Perhaps this finds its best expression in the immortal words of the Twenty-Third Psalm:

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths ofrighteousness for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

When Buddha attained enlightenment, he gave us a model of how we, too, can help others through our spiritual efforts. The power of one soul can make a difference in this world of suffering. Let us unite our efforts and expand this power of one to embrace countless numbers of people everywhere. Then, the world will know true peace and harmony.

Your friend in God,

Nayaswami Devi

Listen to Devi as she 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 (9:58):


  1. Thank you for this reminder 🙏 So helpful and motivational 💗

  2. The Buddha’s tale is never in the past, such is the power of his teachings. Thank you for yet another soulful share.

  3. Pranam Maa,
    Thank you for your divine narration of the well known story. As Yudhisthira says in “The Mahabharata” , it is the greatest wonder of this world to find that though humans see death and sufferings before them, they hardly change. It is only Divine Souls like Siddhartha who could understand the implicit truth behind all this sufferings.
    Humble prayers to God and Gurus to awaken us. My humble pranams to Divine Souls like you who are a light to this dismal world. Jai Gurudev

  4. Sending love and appreciation to you. Thank you for your compassion. Thank you for your devotion to God.

  5. Dear Nayaswami Devi,
    Thank you so much for this! I was moved to tears, and inspired!
    Blessings and joy to you!

  6. Thank you Devi, this is just what I needed at this particular time of decision making and understanding why barriers were in my way to a better place.

  7. Thank you so much. Awesome and beautiful. Many Blessings

  8. Thanks Devi ji, it’s rejoicing and rejuvenating to read any spiritual esoteric piece of wisdom; indeed, your writeup is soulful.
    Still trying to find the identical comparison between teachings of Buddha and those of the psalms here.
    Budda , in his enlightened wisdom, ultimately found emptiness without theophany; In budhism circle ⭕️ represents nothingness or nihilism. There are no theomorphic references in his enlightenment while Judaism expounds ONE universal power before and after creation, ever-existing self-abundant ultimate and absolute.

    The psalms, quoted in the discourse are referring to God with His power and guidance while Budda with all his teachings to escape sufferings, couldn’t reach that state of God realization.

    I want to understand that meditation for enlightenments on the path of budha and Judaism are same and one should hold two teachings or they are different ones and follow one path to understand enlightenment.

    Regards 🙏

    1. Hi Jaffer,
      Nayaswami Devi asked if I could respond to your note. Yogananda said that Buddha, himself a yogi and perfected soul, experienced and preached the same “end result” as all yogis: samadhi, which is complete union with God as Ever-new-bliss. His teachings were misunderstood over time, until now the understanding has become that it all ends in “nothingness or emptiness.” Nirvana means emptying out the ego. The circle, a zero, expresses the pure, absolute consciousness. But the nature of that consciousness is Bliss.

      This is explained as follow in Swami Kriyananda’s book The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam Explained, which is based on Yogananda’s commentaries of the same scripture:

      Divine freedom seems, at first, an annihilation: nirvana – a void, or wasteland, of desirelessness. Then, moments later, the soul is flooded with oceanic bliss! It realizes itself as the wellspring of existence, the secret life behind all creatures’ animation. In perfect joy it realizes the fulfillment of all its human desires. Bliss-consciousness is the “happy ending” to the story of endless incarnations, and of years, in this life, of negative renunciation.

      [Nirvana is] the negative state of inner void, perceived in deep concentration. This state is experienced by the soul when, in deep meditation, it becomes oblivious of all creation but is not, as yet, fully conscious of the ever-joyous Spirit, the Creator. Nirvana, although negative, is a very high state of realization. In nirvana, all creation is dissolved in the infinite void. This is the Buddhistic concept of Finality. There is a further goal, however. It is described in the Hindu Scriptures, and was experienced by Buddha himself. This is the positive state of ever-conscious, ever-existing, ever-new Joy. Perfect Joy is the ultimate illumination of the soul.

    2. Thanks Sagar for your time and reply to my following query:

      Budda , in his enlightened wisdom, ultimately found emptiness without theophany; In budhism, circle ⭕️ represents nothingness or nihilism. There are no theomorphic references in his enlightenment while Judaism expounds ONE universal power before and after creation, ever-existing self-abundant ultimate and absolute.

      I don’t question Buddha’s enlightenment and his transcendence. Yes, it’s well known understanding that Buddha was enlightened and that he achieved nirvana. I sought only an identical comparison between the psalm and teachings of Buddha for enlightenment purpose. A seeker follows the steps of the path of an enlightened master he has already identified and promulgated.

      There are existentialists, like Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus, who were neither completely theomorphic nor outright theistic in their ideas; they were atheistic mystics. There can be catharsis, a purgation of negative emotions and joy in living in the Now, having rid of psychological time. William Wordsworth in his poem Daffodils entered in a jocund company by recalling the dancing daffodils: he says: “which is the bliss of my solitude”. But they all are not pointing to the core teachings in the 23rd psalm

      As to Paramahansa Yogananda, he was a God realized yogi. Intentions determine destiny. He sought for a merger into Supreme Being. In Yogananda’s all prayers divinity is recurring reference. To quote one of his prayers for instance: (Divine) father make me realize again that thou and I are one.

      Where there is a will there is a way. As we see Buddha’s trigger was human sufferings which made him to reject a royal living for himself over an ascetic life and to meditate a way out to liberation. There was, of course , a Power, towing Buddha out of the palace. Although , he was liberated when he renounced all desires and deeds of a princely life; but he was all out focused on human sufferings. With this aim in hand, he wandered for years in jungle and was enlightened for what he meditated : he taught four noble truths and noble eightfold path. Like Newton meditated: why the apple fell to the ground and the truth of gravity was revealed upon him. Because, Buddha did not focus on soul as the immortal-self or soul, a derivative from the Creator, his conception of self was that of a subject, a doer of karma and his teachings for his followers go around suffering and freedom based on his four noble truths.

      Sagar, it is millennia now that facts about Buddha🙏 have come to us with different interpretations and sources. Pali tradition and Sanskrit tradition have their perspectives on Buddha’s Nirvana; there are more additions to it. Although, these traditions have followed his philosophy throughout generations. However, his core teachings of Four Noble Truths and Noble Eightfold Path have come down to us unaltered as is practised today with unanimity by his followers.

      Inside of circle ⭕️ represents nothingness, emptiness, silence or void; they all refer to the same transcendence or beyond physical existence, or ego-free state or consciousness but if Buddha experienced only joy and bliss in his state of Nirvana, as you say, then I believe that the emptiness experience of Buddha and Yogananda are at two different degrees based upon their respective approaches and experiences. . Obviously, God or no God are two different paths.( Rubaiyat of) Omar Khayyam,, (Psalm23rd of) David, Yogananda and Buddha spoke what they conceived and experienced and we know them by their teachings.

      You haven’t brought into discussion Buddha’s teachings for his followers which have been, as you say, misunderstood. As a seeker student of truth, I want to learn from you the teachings (I have missed) as an enlightened teacher Buddha preached to his followers to attain enlightenment with special reference to divinity; Alternatively , if divinity is not integral to the core of enlightenment.

      With utmost reverence and regards,

  9. The power of one is the most powerful way to bring peace to this world….blessings and thank you…

  10. Thank you! This is so poignant as the warfare in Israel and Ukraine and other places escalate and many friends and those we don’t know are challenged.

    Again and again mankind is facing the supreme challenge of how to stay centered in God and find harmony. Thank you for the reminders of meditation and our own efforts to be one with God and also the 23rd Psalm with the challenging but true message: Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

    Here is a link to Crystal Clarity Publishers about Swami Kriyananda’s book Hope for a Better World:

  11. There is a lot of power behind your story telling Devi. It surely stems from your attunement with the states of consciousness you write about. Thank you for giving us inspiration and keys to transcend ther world🙏

  12. How did I happen to open Just This Email when I was just coming out of my own little meditation group and feeling these very things????
    Great Peace and Blessings to All.

  13. Jai Guru 🙏🌹
    Thank you for sharing such a beautiful story of Lord Buddha , I would love to hear more Joy, love peace to all

  14. most Graciously Grateful for the sharing the wisdom……….the Story….. the love the 23 Psalm that King David was inspired to write those precious words of gratefulness

  15. Thank you for your direction and guidance to live life consistently uniting us as one to sending out love, peace and joy.

  16. Well done, the Deity Devi! My sincere thanks and pranams.

  17. Thank you, Devi! This is a wonderful reminder of what we can all do. The 23º Psalm has been my particular “mantra” for many years now, and the power within those words is undeniable. It is great to know that you see it that way too.

  18. Thank You Devi Ji. Psalm 23.. truly immortal words.

  19. I just talked with a friend this week about all the disharmony in the world right now and how we, as an individual, can do something about it, and then I read this beautiful answer in your blog. Thank you Devi, in Joy, Ilse

  20. Dear Nayaswami Devi Ji,

    Thank you for this blog. Very important message and particularly during this period of what is going on in the world.
    ‘Love Heroically’. – Such a profound statement. Thanks for sharing. Will strive to do that


  21. Thank you so much Devi ji . Your words are full of wisdom .My gratitude to you for motivating me and reminding me about the power of love and prayer.

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