Video and Audio

The Deeper Meaning of the Parable of the Prodigal Son

Nayaswami Pranaba
November 12, 2023

Watch this inspiring Sunday Service talk with Nayaswami Pranaba, recorded at Ananda Village on November 12th 2023.

The parable of the prodigal son is a very comforting way of understanding who we are as devotees on the spiritual path. It brings solace and more open-heartedness. Nayaswami Pranaba tells this famous story from the Bible and explains its deeper meaning of God's unconditional and eternal love.

The reading for this week from Swami Kriyananda's book "Rays of the One Light" is

"The Promise of the Scriptures".

Truth is one and eternal. Realize oneness with it in your deathless Self, within. The following commentary is based on the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda.

In the Gospel of St. Luke, Chapter 15, we read the famous Parable of the Prodigal Son. Jesus tells of the man who took the wealth bestowed on him by his father, and squandered it in foreign lands, where he fell into evil ways. At last, repentant, he returned to his father’s home. When his father saw him, he was (Jesus tells us) moved with compassion, and ran and fell upon his neck and kissed him. And the son said to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before thee. I am no longer worthy to be called thy son.”

But the father said to his servants, “Fetch quickly the best robe and put it on him, and give him a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet; and bring out the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and make merry; because this my son was dead, and has come to life again; he was lost, and is found.” And they began to make merry.

Small-hearted human beings, identified as they are with their little egos, give exaggerated importance to any slight they receive from others. Thus, they imagine God, like them, to be petty, unpardoning, and vindictive. In God’s eyes, however, when human beings go astray there is nothing to forgive. All of us are aspects, only, of His own Self. He who made us resides in us. He is not far away from us in some far-off heaven. His call to us, always, is to return to our own home, within.

The way of return is described in the Bhagavad Gita, in the sixth Chapter:

Supreme blessedness is that yogi’s who has completely calmed his mind, controlled his ego-active tendencies (rajas), and purged himself of desire, thereby attaining oneness with Brahma, the Infinite Spirit. 

Thus, through holy Scripture, God has spoken to mankind.