Dear Friend, In the gang-ridden Englewood neighborhood of Chicago’s South Side, a place where children playing outside can lose their lives in drive-by shootings, where a young man’s ambition is more often to be “like my big homie L.D.” than to be a teacher or a doctor — where his future is likely to be the penitentiary,…

Songbirds come regularly to drink and bathe in a small birdbath just outside my window. The adults approach cautiously, flitting from branch to branch, looking around anxiously at each stop, lest the local hawk catch them unawares. Finally they land on the outermost edge, there to continue poised for flight even while drinking and bathing.…

“Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added unto you.” Keshav Bhat, a pious brahmin, wishes to travel to Dwarka, but fears carrying rupees through the robber-infested countryside. “When the Lord of the world,” it is said, “sees His bhaktas in distress, He rushes to their help.” Responding to…

A hen turkey has arrived just outside my window where the bird feeders hang, five tiny poults clustering around her long red legs. They are so recently hatched that they don’t yet know to scratch and peck for food. The mother rakes the ground with talons the size of her babies. The most adventurous of…

Our Master has urged us to become so inwardly strong and centered that we “stand unshaken amidst the crash of breaking worlds”—not only that we stand unshaken, but that, whatever tests may come, we pour out vibrations of love and joy. We have made it a spiritual practice this year, as a worldwide family of…

Dear friends, “The guru helps us by giving us extra strength,” Swamiji writes, “by reaching down and lending us a hand up, but still we have the hard job of climbing that mountain to reach the heights.” For the devotee, the need for self-effort is inescapable. In a boyhood vision, Yogananda looked up from a…

Joyful Freedom

On March 7, 2016, we celebrated the mahasamadhi of our Master. By the altar were relics given the community by Yogananda’s loving family, relics that included the esraj he played, a cane he used, rose petals that came from a garland he wore on his last birthday (January 5, 1952), and a pocket watch. “Master…

Ninety years ago Paramhansa Yogananda inspired three thousand New Yorkers in Carnegie Hall to chant “O God Beautiful” for one hour and twenty-five minutes. Recently we gathered to follow our Master’s example — to celebrate the presence of God in nature, in the human heart, in service and devotion. To Arjuna, Krishna proclaims, “I am…

Picking Up Branches

Dear friend, Next door to our family farm lived our second-grade teacher. Mrs. Bailey was large, comfortable, motherly, and welcoming. As a teacher and as a person she inspired respect, and even more, love — the sort of love that looked for ways to express itself in some good service that would bring forth her approving smile.…

Dear Friend, Even as small children we were gathered up, still asleep, and carried to the midnight Christmas Eve service at St. Thomas Episcopal Church. Somewhere between wakefulness and dreaming, standing with our heads about level with a forest of adult knees, we watched, awestruck, as the crèche scene came to life. Over our heads…

What Is Tithing?

Tithing is the regular act of giving the “first fruits” of your labors to God.

It is a spiritual practice — just like prayer or meditation — based on the divine principle that everything we have comes from God’s hands.

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