God's Love Is Always with You
February 14, 2021
Nayaswami Anandi shares from the Bhagavad Gita and Paramhansa Yogananda's commentary during her inspiring Sunday Service on February 14th 2021.
Sunday Service and the Avatar
This Sunday service, The Law is Perfected in Love, it's interestingly the third in what seems to me to be a series of Sunday services. Two weeks ago, Nayaswami Parvati talked about the mystery of the Avatar. What is the Avatar? And last week, Nayaswami Jyotish talked on how the Avatar works with the disciple. And this week, it seems that the reading is telling the disciple how to work with the Avatar, with the guru. And what does it say?
It says this is how we work with the Guru. These are the words of Krishna, who represents the Avatar and also represents God, talking to His beloved disciple and telling him how he should work with him.
Precious thou art to Me; right well-beloved!
Listen! I tell thee for thy comfort this.
Give Me thy heart! adore Me! serve Me! cling
In faith and love and reverence to Me!
So shalt thou come to Me! I promise true,
For thou art sweet to Me!
Krishna's Instruction to Us
So this is interestingly, the Bhagavad Gita is one of the great world scriptures. And in this scripture, Krishna, God, is giving instruction to us, the disciple, on how to realize the Self, and how to find God. And it's a very broad and deep scripture covering so many different things, karma and gyana (jnana) yoga, discernment, and nonattachment and desire and reincarnation, and so on, and so on, many, many things. But this reading that I just read is almost the very last thing that Krishna says to Arjuna. Yes, I've told you about meditation, I've told you about the path. I've told you all the things you should do. But this is what you should do. You should forget everything. And you should love me.
Reassurance From God as Krishna, the Avatar in the Bhagavad Gita
And so I was reflecting. I've been studying the Gita in several groups over the last few years. And we go through all the different things, and it gets very, very deep in parts and very practical and so on. But every now and then, repeatedly through the Scripture, Krishna, God, the Avatar, reassures the devotee that you're fine. You love me. I love you. Everything is taken care of.
And so, I thought it would be nice to start by sharing just a few passages where Krishna is reassuring his disciple. I was thinking this morning it would make a nice little mini scripture to just assemble all these many, many times that Krishna gives reassurance to his disciple Arjuna, but I'll just read a few of them to you now.
This one lifted. “He who beholds me everywhere, and who beholds everything in me, He never loses sight of me. Nor do I lose sight of him.” Swami said Master often quoted this.
And in one of the places not in the Gita itself but in Yogananda is commentary on the Gita. He says, “The devotee who serves God sincerely, with loving devotion, need never be anxious, that God might possibly be displeased with him.”
Anandi: Isn’t that a good thing to hear?
“And to those who meditate on me, as their very own their hearts ever united to me by incessant inward worship, I supply their deficiencies and make permanent their gains.”
Anandi: This is certainly something we've seen in the history of Ananda and certainly something I've seen in my life. Deficiencies have been fulfilled in very amazing ways by the Grace of the Guru
“And I am impartial to all. No one is specially hateful or dear to me. Those, however, who give me their heart’s love, are in me, as I am in them. Know this for certainty. My devotee is never lost.”
So if you want copies of those, I'm happy to share them. Good to have a little reassurance now and again. And that's exactly what it says in the Gita that often the disciple needs that reassurance from God because we're in a long journey, and we don't know all the time if we're moving forward or we're moving backward. So it's nice for the Guru, God, Avatar, to reassure us.
Does God Put Condition on Us?
This reading was very interesting to me because it caused me to reflect on my religious upbringing and what it felt like, and I, in reflecting on it, the word that came to my mind was conditional. The idea was that there were certain things you needed to do. Ten Commandments definitely, and other things that were expected of you, if you wanted to be acceptable in the sight of God. And that's an interesting concept.
First of all, there's a certain separation between you and God; that was always the big that was what took me away from religion and searching for more. Where is God? It wasn't answered, but it certainly wasn't very close. But he was watching; make sure you were doing everything right. And that kind of went along with everything else in life. You know, in school, they watch to make sure you're doing everything right. So you can get good grades. And when you get a job, they watch to make sure you're doing everything right. And so, you know, there it is, with God, he's watching to make sure you're doing everything right.
And so when I came to Ananda, it was really thrilling to discover a very, very different relationship with God. And I remember, and I've mentioned this to you before, I remember the day, the moment when Swami Kriyananda was explaining about creation and that God did not create the world. God became the world. And that just reverberated so strongly inside of me that God was not separate from me, that He had become me. And that meant everything. That meant my negative thoughts, my positive thoughts, everything, all around me, all the people, all of nature, everything was created and was part of God. A profound difference. And so I came to realize that I had a really different task ahead of me, having come to the Indian religion, having come to Master’s path.
Before the job I had was to strive to be worthy of God. Now the job I had was to strive to remember that I was never separate from God and that I was always loved by God. And that was not an easy thing to do. And I suspect I'm not alone in this because many of us who grew up in Western religions had that sort of conditional relationship with God put into our minds, not everyone, but many. And now to just be able to drop that and to more and more say, I am loved even in this moment, no matter what my mistakes, God is never separate from me.
How Do We Get Closer to God?
And then, I was also thinking, well, actually, I'll get to this later. But, this journey of how to get closer to God. At one point, Swami Kriyananda talks about being with Yogananda in the early days of his discipleship, and Master said to him, why doesn't the earth just fly off into space? Why does he keep going around the sun? And Swami said, well, that's the magnetism of the sun, Sir is always pulling the earth toward it. And Master said, well, why doesn't the earth just fly right into the sun? And Swami explained carefully from his background in astronomy that that was the centrifugal force of the earth that kept it pulling away from the sun. And he said it took him months to realize that Master was telling him about the relationship of the soul and God, that God is the magnet pulling us toward him. But we have so many karmas, so many desires that are constantly pulling us away. And so we're in a dynamic, a dynamic relationship; we can't be totally pulled in, but we can't fly off.
But where is that magnet? That magnet is here. (Anandi touches her third eye.) That magnet is here. (Anandi touches the top of her head.) It's not out there. It's here. It's right inside of us. That magnetism of love is pulling us all the time, trying to lift our consciousness. And again, this was the other thing I wanted to say that I remember. The moment Swami said this, he said, you are one with God right now. The consciousness of oneness with God lives right here. It's there. All we have to do is bring our energy up there to unite with it.
So then the question comes, how, how are we going to do that? And one of the great things, as Parvati mentioned last week in the Avatar, that Master brought to us was meditation. And I think sometimes people think, well, love is here. (Anandi motions with her left hand.) And meditation is here. (Anandi motions with her right hand.) And yes, I have to bring love into my meditation. But we also have to understand that it's meditation that helps us to discover God and helps us to fall in love with God. And so I wanted to explain that just a little bit more. And how integral that is to developing our love for God.
There was a, Swami wrote an article in the recent Ananda Worldwide email messages that come out, and it was all about love. And at the end, somebody wrote a comment that just said, Yes, I really, really get this thing about love, and why do we have to bother with all these techniques? What we always do is love God. But the fact is, we aren't able to love God fully and completely. And the techniques help us to pull away some of what keeps us from loving God.
Yogananda's Techniques for Getting Closer to God
The energization is teaching us that we not only have to raise our energy because we can't just be huddled on the floor, a little lump. We have to, actually, God is tremendous energy, and we have to raise our energy to move in his direction. But also we have to begin to identify ourselves not as these little lumps of clay but as energy, and the energization exercises are given to us to help us do that.
Hong Sau technique: I was some time ago, I was sitting in meditation, and I actually could, I could feel that God was very, very close. And I could feel that what was keeping me from him was my breath, which was moving. And my mind, which was moving, I was in motion. And I couldn't; I couldn't perceive the closeness of God. So Hong Sau helps us to go inward and to quiet that which is blocking God from us.
The AUM technique helps us to enfold ourselves in the presence of God. Just this past week, I got an email from one of our new Kriyabans from our Ananda Online Preparation for Kriya Course. And this man said I've been practicing; he’s very new to these teachings. He said, I practice the AUM technique, and I feel like I'm being given a hug by God. And I thought, well, that's perfect. AUM is the comforter, and he just feels that embrace as he practices.
And finally, Kriya. Kriya helps us to, all those little, those little karmas that are pulling us away from God, Kriya helps to burn those up, and it helps to magnetize the pathway of the spine, leading us toward the magnet of God. If we can clear what is the obstacle that keeps us from God, that magnet just operates on us automatically. It's operating all the time, but just imagine if it had no obstacles. We can help that process through meditation.
Stories of the Presence of God
But I also wanted to tell some stories about how present God is with us that, you know, as I, as I learned as a child, God was very far away, but not at all. And that when we, when the moment is right, you can feel an instantaneous response. And I just wanted to share a few stories about this.
The first was a story from my life that happened some years ago. I was in a situation that was very frustrating to me. So the situation was frustrating to me. And my response was also frustrating to me. And, of course, at some point, the combination became intolerable. And I sat down. And I think because what, for whatever reason, I was 100%, I had no other option. And I said, Master, “You have to help me. You either have to give me enough strength,” I already tried to change the circumstances I couldn't, but I felt if he gave me enough strength, I could change the circumstances, “or you have to change me. And I just, I didn't have any. I didn't have any safety net. It was just this is it. I'm just I'm 100% hanging on your response to this prayer. And perhaps because of that, there was a very quick response.
Inside my mind was a very calm, clear sentence. And the sentence was, this is a benediction. So that I knew had come not from me. Benediction is a word I know. Obviously, it means blessing. But I don't think I've ever used the word benediction in a sentence. In speaking, in writing, it's not a word I use, but there it was, in my mind, and I felt that was Master’s answer to me. He had wisely chosen to change me, not my circumstances, for which I'm very, very grateful because the circumstances didn't change. But I changed right then. And the circumstances which continued never bothered me because thanks to the response of God to my prayer, I was changed.
Another story that I I love so much is from the life of Peggy Dietz. Peggy Dietz was a direct disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda. And she visited Ananda in 1993 for the 100th anniversary of Yogananda's birth and told the story of how she met Yogananda. And she was very devoted to God from childhood. She was always talking with God. And as she got older, she said, God, I want you to be my teacher. I don't want anyone to come between us. It's just you and me. And so now, as she was getting older, she was feeling like something was missing. She needed more teachings, but she laid down the groundwork that nobody could come between her and God. And she was out for a walk one day, and she suddenly had the realization that I've been dictating to God. And she, she felt, Peggy Dietz has this delightful personality, but she just felt so apologetic and said, Okay, God, I understand, I don't want to dictate to You. If you want to send me a teacher, I'm totally open to whatever you want to do.
So she's out on that walk, and she comes back to her bedroom. And in the center of her bedroom, there's like a little scrap of paper on the floor. She kind of unconsciously picks it up, wads it into a wad, and throws it in the wastebasket. And then she said, then immediately, I dove after that piece of paper, she pulls it out, she opens it up, and it says, Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramhansa Yogananda. She said this is God's answer.
So that very, you know, this is all happening like, minutes after she said that to God, everything in her life turns around, she goes out, she buys the book, she comes home. She's so thrilled to just finally start reading this when she's getting into it. And the phone rings and it's a friend of hers who is also a lover of God. She’s a devout Christian. She says, Peggy, there's somebody down here I want you to meet. I think you'll really, really like him. Can you come tonight? And she says, Oh Oh, you know, I'd love to, I'd love to, dear. I just I just can't leave. She just doesn't want to leave that book. She just feels like this is my priority. And her friend said, Oh, too, too bad. I really, really think you'd like him. He has a funny name. It's Paramhansa Yogananda. Peggy says I'm coming. I'll be right there.
And so she drives down. They go to the talk. Her friend says I have a feeling he's gonna want to talk to you. I'll be waiting in the car. And sure enough, she goes up to Master. And he says, he said, you know, we have an opening for a job at Mount Washington, do you think you'd like to take it? She said, well, can we think about it? And he said, Of course, he said, I'm not sure how long this job is going to be open. And she said she says, well if God wants me to have the job, I'm sure he'll keep it open for me. So she was very new. But that was the beginning. She ended up moving to Mount Washington. Miracles associated with that as well. But she moved there. And that was her life. Her discipleship to Yogananda but it started in that moment, God was paying attention to every thought. And the minute the door was open. There was the answer.
And the last story I wanted to share is not God in the same way that I've just been sharing, but Swami Kriyananda. Swami Kriyananda, who said to us, you know, I'm not an Avatar, and I’m not a realized saint, whatever. But he was always connecting with God, and He was listening, and God was telling him. And a friend of ours named Joy moved to New Delhi. And she was, she went to hear a talk, Swami Kriyananda gave, a book launch. And if you, if you've been to India, you know how incredibly jammed and crushed every event is. So many people around. And she said, as the event was over, she saw Swami leaving, and she just was overwhelmed with how much she loved him. And she put her hand over her heart like this. And she was just mentally saying, I love you, Swami. I love you, Swami. And immediately, he turned around, made eye contact with her, and put his hand over his heart. So God is listening to everything? And how can, we how can we open ourselves to that?
A Few Points For Rising Above Challenges
I’ll just share a few, just a few points. The first is to pray for more love. The second is to spend time with God. And it occurred to me, you know, all those times that you find yourself in a mental whirlpool going around and around and around about something, that's time that you know, you're not with God. So when you're in a mental whirlpool, trying to figure something out, just let it go and say the only way I'm going to get this answer is by being with God. And what if you feel I can't feel God's presence, which certainly in the beginning of the path is certainly true. But even if you've been on the path a long time, and you've even had moments where you feel God's presence, there's times when you don't, and not to worry. Sister Gyanamata said you have to affirm the presence of God whether you feel it or not. It doesn't matter. You may feel really lousy that day, but God is just as present that day as He was the day when you felt him so close, even if that day was years ago. He’s just as close to you. And to say, what am I thinking about right now? Is what I’m thinking now making me feel closer to God or making me feel farther away from God? Very simple. Make a choice. And if, if those thoughts are negative, if you're judging yourself, if you're judging others, those are thoughts that make you feel farther away because God is love.
And finally, never worry if it seems like the amount of love you have to give is so little. God doesn't care. That's why Krishna in the Gita says even a leaf, I accept even a leaf if you offer it to me. I don't care what you give me. Just give it to me. Give me your love, whatever it is. Swami Kriyananda says that sometimes we can feel strained in trying to love God. You know what we're, ah, I want to love you more or want to love you more, but we're straining. He said, try to feel that the universe basically is offering its love through you to God. It's not your love. It's pure consciousness. Pure Consciousness is loving God through you.
When You Are Like This, I Can Take You by the Hand
And I'd like to end with a story that is very sweet. There's a disciple, a direct disciple of Yogananda named Leo Cox. And he wrote a little booklet about his life with Yogananda, and in reading the booklet, you get the feeling that hermitage discipline was a little hard on Leo Cox. I don't think he ended up staying with Master. So he had some battles going on inside of himself. But one day, he was walking with Master, and he just, he was overwhelmed with the love that he felt. And he, just as he walked, he just kept saying, I love you Master, I love your Master. He said I knew he was knowing what I was saying, and he just said he was just offering himself more and more deeply to the Guru. And Master just stopped, and he turned to him, and he said, Oh Leo, he said when you're like this, I can take you by the hand and lead you straight to God. And that, I think, is his message to every one of us. Oh my disciple, oh my devotee, just, just love me. That's all I ask of you. And I can take you to God
Jai Guru. God bless us all.
(Ends with the song, What is Love)