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Clarity magazine fall 2004 16pgs

  1. 1. N. San Juan, CA CLARITY Non-Profit Org. Permit No. 9 U.S. Postage PAID F R O M A N A N D A S A N G H A A Magazine of Spiritual Teachings & Practices for Everyday Living The time for knowing God has come. Fall 2004 —Paramhansa Yogananda Dwapara Consciousness: Living Your Beliefs Dealing with Fear The Devotee Who Tried Unsuccesfully to Change
  2. 2. CLARITY F R O M A N A N D A S A N G H A A Magazine of Spiritual Teachings & Practices for Everyday Living 20 The Importance of Listening Swami Kriyananda Contents 4 Dwapara Conscoiusness: 22 Spiritual Practices Contributors Living Your Beliefs Swami Kriyananda Swami Kriyananda The 5-Minute Experiment Barbara Bingham Jyotish Novak Devi Novak Diana Taylor 8 Sacred ”Selfishness” John Lenti Jyotish Novak Paramhansa Yogananda Clarity Editor: Sheila Rush Editorial Staff: John Lenti 10 Spirituality and Science 25 When You Can’t Meditate Graphic Design: Barbara Bingham Nicole DeAvilla-Whiting Clarity is the quarterly The Miracle of the Shroud magazine of Ananda Church Ken Atwell of Self-Realization. For information about Clarity magazine, Ananda Meditation Groups, Centers, Colonies, or The Expanding Light guest retreat, please contact: ANANDA SANGHA OFFICE AT ANANDA VILLAGE 14 Stories of Grace 28 The Devotee Who Tried Phone: 530-478-7560 Unsuccessfully To Change Email: The Man in Orange Paramhansa Yogananda Happy Winingham For information on books & tapes, please contact: CRYSTAL CLARITY PUBLISHERS Phone: 800-424-1055 30 New Books from Ananda For Clarity magazine questions, com- ments, or suggestions please email: 18 Spiritualizing Daily Life 31 Letters of Encouragement Swami Kriyananda Dealing with Fear © 2004 by Ananda Church of Jyotish and Devi Novak Self-Realization Clarity magazine is supported by your donations to the Annual Appeal of Ananda Worldwide. Cover photo - see p. 7 2 Fall 2004 3
  3. 3. Dwapara Consciousness: Living Your Beliefs by Swami Kriyananda In India--less bigotry Dwapara Yuga will bring people the WHEN PARAMHANSA YOGANANDA It always struck me as a sad testimony understanding that religion is about experi- was a young monk in India, a skeptic once to religious bigotry that some Christian ment and personal experience. Many more said to him, “Some day all you swamis will missionaries in India were outraged to see people will come to God in this age than be very disappointed when you wake up and me in the orange robes of a swami. But all previously because they will understand that discover that there is no God. Yogananda the Indian Christians I met were, without religion is a matter of individual effort, not replied, "Well, you may be right, but mean- exception, gratified to see fixed and brittle concepts. while we'll at least have had the satisfaction me. The Indian Christians In Kali Yuga there is the of knowing that we've done some good." would say, "Oh, how I feel so in love tendency to box things into The importance of living your beliefs inspiring to see you in your with God. fixed definitions. A definition That was a very Dwapara Yuga kind of ochre robes." is not the truth. I can say God answer. The important thing is not how we They saw me not as an outrage to their is love and yet live a life totally contradicting define our beliefs, but how we live them. beliefs but as someone who also loved God. this principle. It’s what we do that matters. Giving lip service to the concept of God It is inbred in their culture that it doesn't We must all become Christ-like Swami Kriyananda in India, June 2004 matter how you define truth. The important isn't nearly as important as living in a way Our goal in life should be to become that gives you inspiration and fulfillment. People used to say that the earth was flat, thing is how you live it and experience it. Christ-like. It's entirely false to say, "He Definitions of sabikalpa and nirbikalpa but their belief didn’t make it so. People also It's wonderful in India to see Hindus was so great. We could never be like him." samadhi, as I heard some pundit expound- used to say that the earth was the center of pass in front of a church and bow in rever- Jesus didn't come to show us how great he ing on in a lecture in India, are simply beside the universe, but they eventually found that ence. They know that the same God they was, but to show us what we are. He kept the point. Someday we'll all have samadhi, it wasn’t so. Again and again, experiment love is being loved and worshipped also in bringing it back to this truth and telling the but meanwhile we must start where we are has proved that certain dogmas, beliefs, and that church. crowds, “Don’t your scriptures say, ‘You, right now. suppositions simply weren’t valid. The religion of the future too, are gods?’” We all want more happiness, less sorrow; Judge by your personal experience This is what religion in Dwapara Yuga But to reach that level of realization, we more love, less meanness of heart; more And so it is in our search for truth. We is all about. It's a matter of living the prin- need to meditate. We need to practice Kriya charity, less narrow-mindedness and self- must approach the search for truth experi- ciples and the teachings. And that always Yoga. We need to develop devotion to God. ishness. These are universal desires. We all entially. When I meditate I feel great joy. I comes back to the individual. Yogananda It isn't enough merely to pass pamphlets out want to find happiness and to avoid unhap- feel God's love. That's what makes it worth- used to say, “You have to individually make in the streets. piness. It's really that simple. while to me. love to God." Spirituality is inward Moreover, we learn by trial and error. If love were only an intellectual belief it In his discussions of Dwapara Yuga, In Dwapara Yuga there's going to be Over time, as we experience the results of our would mean nothing. But I feel so in love Yogananda said, "The religion of the future more recognition in religion that church actions, we begin to move in the direction of with God that I want to do whatever I will be Self-realization." He wasn’t talking authorities don't necessarily know truth. avoiding those things that bring sorrow and can to know Him more fully. We all want about building an organization. He meant seeking out those that produce happiness. to experience God's presence in ourselves. that in the future, every religion will under- A new way of seeking truth When we experience His presence, others stand that the true purpose of religion is to People sometimes worry that science can feel it, too. help you in your own personal relationship has undermined faith in religion. In some This is the basis of spiritual teaching with God, in your private devotions. ways, of course, it has. But basically what in India—to judge by your own personal Why do the great masters come? Not science has done is wonderful. It has said experience. The Indian teachings rest not to create institutions like General Motors. that without experiment, which in religious on an institution declaring what ought to No! They come to help us individually terms would be experience, you can't claim be, but on people—the great masters—who to realize that what we're looking for is to know anything. have actually experienced the truth. within ourselves. Dharmadas at Kriya initiation in New Delhi. 4 5
  4. 4. He alone knows who has experienced it. In the chapter, “An Experience in Sometimes the most ignorant person will be Cosmic Consciousness,” in Autobiography Ananda India Update the one who deserves the most respect. of a Yogi, Yogananda wrote, "I cognized the There's a beautiful story in Autobiography center of the empyrean as a point of intui- Two thousand people attended Ananda’s of a Yogi that shows how Yogananda saw tive perception in my own heart." Your real “launching” of the first Indian publication spirituality as inward, not outward; as indi- center of being is in the heart. This is the of the original 1946 edition of Yogananda’s vidual, not institutional. He told the story seat of intuition, and if you want to know Autobiography of a Yogi. of three hermits on an island in Greece who whether anything is true, see whether it Held on July 18th at the Siri Fort audi- had a very unusual prayer. They would resonates with your heart. torium in New Delhi, the event included pray, "We are three. Thou art three. Have In Dwapara Yuga the true expression of music and songs by Ananda staff, talks by mercy upon us." religion will be that of the two Indian swamis, and an inspiring thirty- It wasn't a sophisticated Your real center of individual’s love for God— five minute talk by Swami Kriyananda. prayer, but the people living God first, God second, God on the island reported that being is in the heart. all the time. Then with His Other Ananda events that are drawing large numbers include three new medita- many miracles took place in love you can love all. tion class series taught by Ananda staff. the presence of these hermits. Word of the But don't think that merely the feeling of Dharmadas Schuppe, Yogacharya of Ananda hermits eventually reached the local bishop love is the answer. When you feel great love India, is also receiving numerous requests who thought, "These hermits must be won- in your heart, that energy can go downward for speaking engagements. derful souls. For their edification I would as well as upward. It’s good to love out- Kriyananda’s daily TV program is now like to give them the prescribed prayers of wardly, but unless that love is based in an available on another cable outlet, Aastha our liturgy and church." upward flow toward the Spirit it will take TV, which is widely viewed throughout the So he went to the island and taught them you into delusion. world. the accepted, official prayers. The three “Do you love me?” In September, Ananda will be opening a hermits were humble men, who gratefully We need to love all with God’s love, and store as an outlet for its books, recordings, received his instruction, and the bishop left to love Him in all. In Dwapara Yuga people posters, and other products. Located in a feeling he'd accomplished a good thing. will come to understand more and more western style mall near the Ananda ashram, As he was on the boat leaving, however, that this is what life is about. the store will be an important new way of he suddenly saw the three hermits running When you die, the question God will ask reaching thousands of people each day with over the water hand-in-hand, crying out you will be, "Do you love me?" It couldn't Yogananda’s teachings. to him, “Wait, wait, wait, your Excellency, matter less to God whether you've been a please. We’ve forgotten the prayers you Baptist or a Protestant or a Jew or a Hindu, taught us. Could you go over them once or whether you've even gone to church. more?" He said, "My children, you don't The most important thing Yogananda need those prayers." taught was how to love God. It isn’t a mat- The simplicity of the heart ter of how long you meditate, or how many The future of religion is going to go more prayers you do. It's a matter of the devo- toward the simplicity of the heart and away tion, the energy, and the consciousness that from official dogmas and creeds. When I you bring to your search for God. This is was in college, people used to come to me the true religion of the future and for all From top to bottom: Swami Kriyananda with all sorts of learned theories wanting to eternity. addressing Siri Fort audience on July 18th; a know my opinion. I would say to them, “If it Excerpted from an August 2002 talk at view of the audience; Ananda Sangha Singers; doesn't feel right in your heart, don't accept Ananda Village. Swami Kriyananda with Swami Nikhilananda it.” There's great wisdom in the heart. and Swami Santosh Muni. Swami Kriyananda gazing at Siri Fort audience. 6 7
  5. 5. Sacred “Selfishness” The man of sacred selfishness takes on the suffering of others in by Paramhansa Yogananda order to make them free from further suffering. everyone into the circle of brotherhood. the range of his influence. When he does Good selfishness yields many harvests— anything for himself, he can do only that THE LAW OF SERVICE to others is return services from others, self-expansion, which is good for all. secondary to, and born out of, the law of happiness, divine sympathy. The man of sacred selfishness becomes self-interest and self-preservation. The real To avoid the pitfalls of evil selfishness, a the mind and feeling of all creatures and reason behind the scriptural injunction person should first establish himself in the his “self” becomes the Self of all. He whose to “Serve thy fellowmen” and “Love thy good forms of selfishness, where he thinks body and limbs consist of all humanity and neighbor as thyself” is the law of service, of his family and those he serves, as part of all creatures finds the universal, all-pervad- by which devotees expand the limits of their himself. From that attainment, he can then ing Spirit as himself. own selves. advance to the practice of sacred selfishness The altar of all-expanding goodness Gaining God’s favor (or unselfishness, as ordinary understand- Good selfishness and sacred selfishness put To serve others by financial, mental, or ing would term it), where one sees the entire one in touch with God, resting on the altar of moral help is to find self-satisfaction. If any- universe as oneself. all-expanding goodness. Those who realize one knew beyond doubt that by service to Paramhansa Yogananda in a garden Becoming the Self of all this truth work conscientiously only to please others, his own soul would be lost, would The businessman who thinks and acts To be sacredly selfish is to seek happi- the ever-directing God-peace within. he serve? If Jesus knew that by sacrificing his only for himself, thinking neither of his ness in the joy of others, and to try con- Excerpted from East-West Magazine, life on the altar of ignorance he would dis- clients or customers, nor of those depen- stantly to remove the wants of larger and November-December 1929 please God, would he have acted as he did? dent on him for support, is engaged in evil larger groups of people. Using his best No. Though Jesus had selfishness. Such a man is judgment and intuition, the man to lose the body, he knew acting against his own best of sacred selfishness acts with- he was gaining his Father’s The martyrs make selfish interests, for in time out expectation, and helps him- favor. All the martyrs and a good investment. he will suffer. Evil selfish- self—as the many—with health, Krishna to Arjuna: saints make a good invest- ness hides its destructive food, work, success and spiritual ment—they spend the little teeth of suffering beneath emancipation. He lives to love his mortal body to gain immortal life. the seemingly innocent assurances of com- brethren, for he knows we are all One who beholds My presence everywhere, Even the most self-sacrificing act of ser- fort and gain. children of the one God. And all things dwelling equally in Me, vice to others is done with the thought of To delight in hurting others’ feelings The man of sacred selfishness by carping criticism is another form of evil He never loses loving sight of Me, self. It is logical, therefore, to say that the takes on the suffering of others higher selfishness, or the good of the higher selfishness. This malignant pleasure is not in order to make them free from Nor I of him, through all eternity. Self, is the goal of life rather than service to conducive to any lasting good. further suffering. He counts all That yogi finds security in Me, others without thought of self. Good selfishness leads to self-expansion his earthly losses as deliberately Who, though his days be rushed and action-filled, The cause of modern depressions The businessman who, by honest, chosen by himself for the good of Is anchored inwardly, at rest in Me, We must, however, clearly distinguish wholesome, constructive actions looks after others, and for his own and ulti- mate gain. And worships Me in every living form. between three kinds of selfishness—evil, his own and his family’s needs is engaged good, and sacred. The evil kind is that which in good selfishness. Good selfishness causes His entire selfishness is That one, Arjuna, is the best of men, actuates a man to seek his own comfort a man to seek his own comfort, prosperity, sacred, for whenever he thinks And truest he, of yogis, whose heart feels by destroying the comfort of others. To and happiness by also making others more of himself, he thinks, not of the The joys of all, their pains, their searing griefs, become rich at the cost of others’ loss is a prosperous and happy. small body and mind of ordinary With equal care as though they were his own. sin. Modern depressions are caused by evil Unlike evil selfishness, which isolates a understanding, but of the needs selfishness, which leads to unequal prosper- person and shuts out the rest of humanity, of all bodies and minds within ity amidst plenty. Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 6, stanzas 30-32 good selfishness reaches out and brings 8 9
  6. 6. Spirituality and Science We know that the man in the Shroud was a Jew approximately 5’9” The Miracle of the Shroud in height, and that he was crucified. by Ken Atwell We know that this man was prepared where for the first time it was displayed, full hurriedly for burial by Jewish custom and length, as the burial cloth of Jesus. placed in the Shroud in the Jewish manner. By 1578, the Shroud was sequestered in We know that he was allowed to be buried Turin by the Savoys, the first royal family of alone, (unusual for a Jewish crucifixion vic- Italy, where it resides to this day. At the time, THE SHROUD tim), rather than in a mass grave. Traces of most men of science generally accepted that of Turin is possibly limestone on the Shroud indicate that the the Shroud was fraudulent, merely a paint- the most remark- body was probably placed in a limestone ing. able relic in human cave near Jerusalem. history. Presented The first glimmerings of scientific interest We know that while the Shroud and body in the relic emerged in 1898 when Seconda as the burial cloth were in the cave the body did not decay, and Pia, a respected photographer of his time, of Jesus Christ, it that the body did not remain in the Shroud was allowed to photograph the Shroud. has been studied by for more than 2-3 days. We know that the Seen with the naked eye, the straw-yellow some of the most body was not manually moved from the image on the Shroud lacks clarity and tends respected scientists Shroud, or the bloodstains would have to blend into the background linen, espe- on the globe. An smeared. cially when viewed close up. estimated one-quar- ter million hours Yet within that time, the body in the The Shroud is a “negative!” Jesus being placed in the shroud Shroud vanished and in the process imprinted have been put into Upon developing his film, Pia, who had its examination, not a 3-dimensional negative image in a manner We know that he was beaten about the face expected to see a negative, was startled to see including the work of archeologists, his- and head, and that he sustained some thirty never before created in human history. a detailed positive image, and one so distinct torians, pathologists, botanists, and physi- blood staining wounds, similar to what might The “Mandylion” that the crucified man’s features, posture and cians working outside the main group. have been left by a crown of thorns. Until very recently, the Shroud’s history wounds were clearly visible. Since it is an Confirmation of the Gospels We know that a spike was driven through was only partly known. It is now strongly accepted scientific principle that a negative What does the scientific evidence tell us both feet and into the cross, and also through suspected that an ancient picture of Christ, of a negative always results in a positive, it about the Shroud? each of the wrists. We know that, like all know as the “Mandylion,” or “Image of became apparent that the body image seen crucifixion victims, it was impossible for him Edessa,” was actually the Shroud folded with the unaided eye was itself a “negative.” We know that the man in the Shroud to exhale unless he repeatedly straightened into eighth’s and placed in a rectangular These developments undermined the idea was a Jew approximately 5’9” in height, and himself upwards to release the stress on his frame showing only the head. that he was crucified. Judging from the clear abrasions left on his shoulders, we know arms, resulting in the image’s over-enlarged It is believed that Thaddeus, one of that he probably carried a beam of nearly chest area. the apostles of Jesus, took the Mandylion one hundred pounds. We know that he was We know that the man in the Shroud died, to Edessa, (now Urfa, Turkey), and with scourged by two Roman soldiers using fla- and that rigor mortis set in, while he was still it cured King Abgar between 13-50AD. grums that left over one hundreds wounds on the cross. Contrary to other crucifixion In 944 the Byzantines took it to on his front and back, and that he fell numer- victims, this man’s legs were not broken to Constantinople, where it was captured in ous times, leaving dirt and abrasions on his stop his upward movements and hasten his the Fourth Crusade. nose, knees, and feet. death. We know that after his death, his Accusations of fraud The pollen and flower imprints on the side was pierced by something similar to Three different theories have the Shroud Shroud tell us that he lived in Palestine, and a Roman lancet, and that blood and water finally making its way to Livey, France The Shroud seen with The Shroud seen as a that his crucifixion occurred in April or flowed from this wound. sometime between 1204 and the 1350s, the unaided eye. positiive image. 10 11
  7. 7. Upon developing the film, the crucified man’s features, posture and wounds were clearly visible. that the Shroud image was the work of means of draping a cloth over a human According to her theory, the energy that a medieval forger: photo-negativity was body, statue, or bas-relief. held the atoms of the Shroud body together unknown before the 19th century. was somehow released, causing a dispersal It was found also that the Shroud image of radiation and atomic particles (electrons, A perfect contour map was imprinted only on the uppermost sur- neutrons, protons, etc.) Some of these par- Then, in 1976, a breakthrough occurred. face fibers of the threads in the fabric. Were ticles turned the linen fibers a straw yellow Two scientists decided to process a photo the image a painting or drawing, the materi- and created the image of the crucified man. of the Shroud with a VP-8 Image Analyzer, als would have penetrated more deeply and Little’s theory may account for another What Is a Miracle? a device used in space probes to acquire caused the fibers to mat and bind. By Swami Kriyananda Shroud feature—its durability. The neu- accurate 3-dimensional images of celestial Evidence from bloodstains trons, electrons, and gamma rays would act objects. The analysis of the blood on the Shroud, What is a miracle? It is simply a as a kind of preservative, making the Shroud If the VP-8 is used on a normal photo- its flows and staining characteristics, chemi- more supple and resilient. Researchers have phenomenon waiting to be explained. graph, or on a drawing by an artist versed cal composition, and anatomical positioning found the Shroud to be in amazingly good Television would have been a miracle in how the VP-8 works, the resulting image were all as they would have been on the cru- condition. to the people in medieval times. For lacks true 3-dimensionality. To the scien- cified Jesus. The analysis showed that the that matter, the fact that it doesn’t Antonacci’s overall theory also seriously tists’ utter astonishment, the VP-8 image blood was that of a human, that it flowed seem miraculous to us now isn’t challenges the 1988 carbon-dating tests, of the Shroud was a perfect, 3-dimensional “downward” as it would on an upright cross because most of us understand it. We which suggested that the Shroud dated to rendering—a contour map of the body. victim, then “back-wards” as it would on accept it because it is commonplace. 1260-1380 AD. These findings are now Respect for the Shroud deepens someone later lain in a supine position, and There is no such thing, really, as a repudiated by most scientists because of Intrigued, the scientific community took that the stains were on the Shroud before bona fide miracle. There are only dif- fatal errors in the testing process, and the action and in 1978 organized the Shroud of the image was created. ferent workings of cosmic law. use of a fabric sample contaminated by Turin Research Project (STURP). Members STURP member John Heller expressed smoke, wax, and patching. Science will never be able to trace of the team—world-renowned scientists, his own frustration and that of his fellow the genesis of the universe to its ulti- B u t o b j e c t i o n s t o A n t o n a c c i ’s physicists, and pathologists from highly scientists when he stated, “If you were to mate source, for it is obliged by its “Historically Consistent Method” continue prestigious institutions—were given per- give me a budget of $10 million, and told me own disciplines to approach real- to be voiced, so the controversy continues. mission to examine the Shroud scientifi- to make a replica of [the Shroud], I would ity from its periphery, not from its Perhaps the planet must move more fully cally. For the first time in history there was not know how to do it.” center. Creation, on the other hand, into Dwapara Yuga before science will be unprecedented access to the relic. Still, the image looks back at us. How capable of understanding exactly how the is like a living tree: It is a radiation Most scientists thought that, under this did it get there? Shroud image came into existence. outward from its center in Pure scrutiny, the cloth would not live up to its The dematerialization of the body Ken Atwell Consciousness. traditional claims. But as the 1980s pro- Mark Antonacci, in his book, The lives with his The mysteries of cosmic creation gressed, and mountains of findings were Resurrection of the Shroud, puts forth his wife, Hridaya, at can be solved only by people who, published in scientific journals, respect for “Historically Consistent Method,” which Ananda Village in deep meditation, succeed in pen- the Shroud deepened. comes closest to matching all the evidence and oversees the etrating to the core of their own The researchers concluded that the gleaned thus far. A key component of Village water being—which, they find, is the center system. of Being everywhere. Shroud was not a painting, vapograph, this approach is the idea that the Shroud block print, or scorch. Nor was it an imprint might have undergone something similar E x c e r p t e d f r o m Aw a k e n t o of body heat or funeral anointing. It was to “nuclear disintegration,” a theory first Superconsciousness by Swami not produced by the rubbing of dry com- proposed by Dr. Kitty Little, a retired Kriyananda, Crystal Clarity, Publishers. pounds. Nor was it formed by any known nuclear physicist. 12 13
  8. 8. Stories of Grace The Man in Orange by Happy Carol Winingham between my eyebrows and I experienced a ing. I knew I had died and left the materialWho is my guide? tremendous upward surge of energy, like world. My answer to the familiar presence My memories of leaving the body lent bouncing in the air from a trampoline—a was, “I haven’t met the right people yet, and urgency to the process of recovering and WHEN I WAS 19 years old and living in I haven’t learned to serve.” feeling of going up but not coming down embracing life. I knew I wouldn’t die again Texas, I was critically injured in a 100-mile- again. The realization dawned that I wasn’t The reply that came until I had learned the an-hour collision with a drunk driver. What breathing. back was, “If you go lessons my soul had happened next isn’t something I could have There was a liberating sense of relief in back, you will experi- In that moment, a man chosen. And I knew explained in familiar terms at the time—in the helicopter on the way to the hospital I not being in the body, an almost amusing ence physical suffering. in orange handed Bobby a there was a loving guide awareness of how heavy it had been. I felt It will not be easy for who watched over me, had a heart attack and “died.” like I was floating in a pool of warm water you physically.” And flashlight. who would help me The last thing I remember before I died my soul said, “I need to find my way home. with the sun shining on me, the warmth was that my body began to convulse vio- go back because I need to do these things absorbing me as I absorbed it. I was com- After I awoke from the coma my mother lently and I felt exceptionally cold. But I before I can come home.” fortable and relaxed. told me details of the accident, the first being could still hear the loud, droning rhythm of The only sound was like wind rushing Back in the body that my friend Joe, who had been with me in the propellers overhead. through trees. In front of me was a tunnel As soon as there was an understanding, the car, had survived and would be fine. A tunnel of light of light. I could again hear the loud beat of the heli- Then she told me something that she had A speck of light appeared at the point copter blades and then, a man’s voice yelling, learned from Bobbie and Jodie, two close “Do you want to stay?” I passed quickly through the tunnel and “Clear!” After a violent shock, I felt myself friends who had been in the car behind us. came out into a big open space where I was thrust upward, and the heaviness of being in When Bobbie and Jodie pulled Joe and surrounded by a powerful presence. This the body returned. The medical technician me out of the burning car, it was dark and presence consisted of many souls and ema- had used defibrillation paddles and restored raining. I was choking on blood but Bobbie nated pure light, pure golden warmth, pure my heartbeat. couldn’t see well enough to help me. Bobbie nurturing comfort, and an overwhelming At the time, no books had been pub- yelled for Jodie to go to their car and get a feeling of love. lished on the near-death experience, so I had flashlight so he could clear my air passage— It seemed that I had merged with all these no reassuring explanation for what occurred. something he had learned in law enforce- souls. We were all one and yet individual, But somewhere deep inside I understood ment training. too. Nothing else existed; nothing else mat- that my soul had chosen a mission in life. Flashlight from an angel tered. It felt like home. Who were these people I needed to meet? Jodie returned empty-handed and Bobby Then, from the midst of these souls, a What did it mean to “learn to serve?” exclaimed, “God, I need a flashlight!” In that loving, gentle presence spoke to me, not in For several days I was in a coma. The moment, Bobbie noticed a man behind him words but through the medium of feelings. doctors said my survival was miraculous. I who handed him a flashlight. He said that the The question asked was, “Do you want to had suffered a ruptured spleen, six broken man was short, rotund, olive-skinned, with stay, or do you want to go back?” ribs, a collapsed lung, a deep laceration to long black hair and small hands, and was wear- Somehow my soul knew exactly where it the head, and a contusion of the heart that ing what appeared to be an orange choir robe. Happy and friends at Ananda Village was, why it was here, and what was happen- would have killed me instantly had it been a After clearing my passage, Bobby turned fraction of an inch to either side. 14 15
  9. 9. I knew I would not die again until I had learned the lessons my soul had chosen. Paramhansa Yogananda: to thank the man but he had vanished, and there were no car tracks. Bobby later discov- A Great Modern Channel ered that there wasn’t a farm for two miles in any direction. Mom said, “Bobby still has that flashlight and calls it his flashlight from Paramhansa Yogananda spoke—from personal, visionary heaven, delivered by an angel.” experience, and not from book learning—of countless mysteries A second miracle occurred shortly after of the universe: of how it was made, and why. He told us of life on the first. Two cars stopped within minutes other planets, and predicted a time of interstellar travel—which of the collision. In the first car was a doc- he said was a reality, despite its seeming impossibility, according tor on his way back to Mexico, who had to the known laws of modern physics. decided to take this remote, scenic route to He described—again, from direct experience—levels of real- avoid the highways. ity that are much too subtle to be perceived by the physical In the second car was a couple return- senses. He spoke of the ages of civilization on earth, and of the ing to their farm two miles away. The doc- implications for mankind of having entered, as we now have, a tor attended to Joe and me while the couple went to their farm to call an ambulance and new age. Joe’s and my parents. He revealed to our imagination a divine creation so marvel- Finding Ananda ous, so infinitely vast and complex, so inspiring in its beauty and Over the years I continued to be puz- lofty purpose that I think not all the books in the world could zled by what it meant to “meet the right equal what we heard from him in person. people and learn to serve.” Eventually, I He could see people in the astral world, converse with them, discovered the Autobiography of a Yogi by and receive messages from them. He could tune in to high souls just when Bobby needed it. Bobby’s descrip- Paramhansa Yogananda. Later, I found out and let them speak through him. From what he told us, and from tion fit him perfectly. about Ananda Village. what seemed to us truly our own experience with him, God Excerpted from AIDS: Pathway of Miracles, It wasn’t long before I understood that by Happy Carol Winingham. For a copy of the Himself used his voice to teach us and guide us. Yogananda was my spiritual guide, and that book, e-mail He saw things in people’s past that even they had forgotten. at Ananda I had found the “right people.” Several years after moving to Ananda Village He saw far back in time, also, beyond the portals of this life, In this family of friendly God-centered dev- in the 1980s, Happy was diagnosed with AIDS, and helped people thereby to understand problems in the pres- otees, I knew I would “learn to serve.” and given 6-12 months to live. Despite ongo- ent lifetime that, until then, had left them confused, perplexed, When I prayed or meditated, I felt ing health challenges, she lived ten more or resentful. And he saw things in their future, as well. People Yogananda’s presence all around me. I knew I had spent many lifetimes as a disciple of years and was able couldn’t bring themselves to believe all the predictions he made, this great teacher, and that he had been guid- to “serve” in many but they proved right nonetheless. ing my life long before I found Ananda. ways—as a spiri- Excerpted from How to Be a True Channel by Swami Kriyananda, tual teacher, actress Crystal Clarity, Publishers In fact, it seems that Yogananda was and playwright, and present at the scene of the accident—the AIDS activist. “man in orange,” ready with the flashlight 16 17
  10. 10. Spiritualizing Daily Life Dealing with Fear by Jyotish and Devi Novak Start with small steps. Concentrate first on simply increasing the flow of physical energy. Exercise daily, do some deep breath- ing, and, best of all, be sure to practice the Energization Exercises that Paramhansa Yogananda taught. Then apply your increased energy to overcoming fear. Think of fear like a wild- fire in the brain. Stomp out the small sparks right away before they have time to start a conflagration. “I live protected by God’s infinite light. Giving love and security WE’VE RECENTLY HAD several So long as I remain in the heart of it, noth- Here is a final tool to change thought conversations with friends who mentioned ing and no one can harm me.” It is followed habits: Give to others that which you want Non-attachment how prevalent fear is today in the general by this beautiful prayer: “I look to Thee for for yourself. In this case, give love and secu- Most fear centers around losing some- consciousness. “Fear of what?” we asked. my strength, Lord. Hold me closely in Thy rity to others. Look for at least two oppor- thing you value. The more you develop “Everything,” they said. “Losing jobs, arms of love. Then, whatever happens in my tunities each day to help allay fear in some- non-attachment, the less vulnerable you will going broke, violence, relationships. You life I shall accept with joy.” one else. be. Every night, before you sleep, give all name it. People are just filled with fear your possessions and all your desires back Use this affirmation just before you go to One of the opportunities should be for these days.” to God. Make Him responsible for your sleep and immediately when you wake up. a friend or loved one. But the other, if pos- Fear is a pernicious problem that shuts well-being and security. Say it several times with deep sincerity, driv- sible, should be for a stranger. This practice down our life-force. Like depression or ing it into the subconsciousness, and then unleashes the infinite power of the law of He won’t mind. In fact, He is much bet- any other problem that inhibits the flow of finally lifting it into the superconsciousness. karma and the Golden Rule, which advises ter at taking care of us than we are ourselves. positive energy, fear starts a negative cycle It will become a powerful ally to help you us to give unto others that which we would In the morning you can have the responsi- that becomes self-reinforcing—decreased drive out fear whenever it tries to attack. like to receive ourselves. bility back again if you want. energy causes a decrease in will which, in Remember, that God’s infinite love and Try especially to give Him negative turn, reduces our energy even further. But, Visualization protection already surrounds you. Your desires, the ones that contract your con- fortunately, there are ways to reverse this Fear originates in parts of the primitive job is simply to recognize its presence sciousness and cause you to emphasize your cycle. Here, are some tools from our spiri- brain that are pre-verbal. Visualization helps and let it work its magic. As Paramhansa ego or little self. They are the main source of tual path. re-program reactive processes in these areas. Yogananda said, “To those who think me our fears and anxiety. They include all the Visualize yourself bathed in a golden light near, I will be near.” ways we don’t say “yes” to life. that both protects and strengthens you. Jyotish and Devi Novak are acharyas (spiri- The law of opposites tual directors) for Ananda Sangha. Jyotish is In theory at least, it is easy to overcome See the light especially bright in your Affirmation also spiritual director of the Ananda Sevaka any problem: Simply put out equal or heart center, radiating away all little dark Replace fear thoughts through the use of Order, worldwide. greater energy in the opposite direction. The clouds of attachment and anxiety. The more affirmation. Here is an affirmation for cour- best way to cancel a negative tendency is to clearly and powerfully you visualize, the age that Swami Kriyananda suggests in his develop its positive counterpart. To over- more quickly the light can change your very book, Affirmations for Self-Healing: come fear, develop faith or non-attachment. brain cells. 18 19
  11. 11. The Importance of Listening By Swami Kriyananda Yogananda came to teach us how to listen with our entire being. silence. Disciples working around him were universe. We are all are part of that sound. THERE’S A STORY of a Bengali man permitted to speak only when necessary. But because most people haven’t learned who liked to talk a lot. One day he said to “Silence is the altar of God,” he often told to listen, they are deaf to the symphony of a young man, “My boy, are you married?” us. He said that only in silence can you sounds in the world around them. And the young man said, “What do you really feel God’s presence. If you go to a quiet place in the country- mean, am I married? I’m married to your I once told him I was having trouble side where there’s complete silence, behind own daughter!” calming my breath in meditation. “That,” that silence you can sometimes hear a “Oh, yes, yes. I know that. I just wanted he replied, “is because you used to talk a lot. sound—a soft hum or a gentle murmur like something to say and couldn’t think of any- The influence has carried over.” Gradually, the whisper of wind in the trees, sometimes thing else.” inspired by his example, I learned to speak a deep roar. The sound emerges from no dis- Spiritual Renewal Week, Ananda Village, less, and to listen more to God’s soundless cernible point in space but seems, rather, to Well, when you’re so busy wanting August 2004 whispers in my soul. come from everywhere. something to say, even if it makes no sense, then you’re not going to hear what’s going Listening is receptivity If you could eliminate every sound of the Having felt God’s presence in the silence on in life. Listening involves a mental attitude of world around you, you would still hear that within, you see all things, and all people receptivity. The great scientists, to a large sound. It underlies everything. By closing Why most people don’t listen everywhere, as opportunities for commun- extent, are yogis—because they listen. They your ears and listening quietly in deep med- Most people talk from their own reality, ing with that Presence without. don’t try to create what the world ought to itation, you can begin to hear that sound. their own point of view. They’re always talk- When you speak, it’s from a conscious- be. They try to observe what it really is. The most important teaching of yoga ing about what they think, what you ought ness of inner silence. You refrain from to do, and why can’t speaking when speech A true yogi is even better than that. The most important teaching in yoga is you see their point is likely to become A true yogi calms his mind and simply to attune to that AUM sound. As you com- of view? They don’t When a person has achieved chatter. perceives. mune with AUM, you begin to perceive even communicate. We saw this in This is the secret of human living, also. If that there are many different levels of real- a certain level of maturity, he Rajarsi Janakananda, you want to know what the world is, you’ve ity, of which we are all a part. You begin to They’re like peo- understand your connection to all life. ple living on two dis- is able to listen to others. Yogananda’s chief got to calm your mind. You can’t be making tant islands shouting disciple and successor. a loud noise all the time. The more quiet you By communing deeply with AUM, you at each other. No He was humble, com- are, the more ready you are to listen. become conscious of God as the underlying matter how long pletely dispassionate, Yoga helps people to eliminate the agita- reality of everything in existence. You enter they shout, the islands remain separated and always centered in the Self within. He took tion in their own minds and, in the calmness into the stream of vibration that proceeded they can't hear each other. almost no interest in small talk. that ensues, to begin to perceive the higher out from Spirit and that merges back into Though a self-made man of considerable realities in the world around them. Spirit at creation’s end. When a person has achieved a certain level of maturity, he is able to listen to worldly means, he referred hardly ever to This is what Yogananda came to teach us. God’s voice is silence. If you really others. He is able to absorb what they're his outer life. For all we heard from him per- He came to teach us how to meditate. And want to commune with Him, it must be saying and relate it to what he already sonally, he might have been a man of few he came to teach us how to listen—how to done first in the silence of your own mind, understands, and often come up with new achievements. listen, first of all, to God, not with the ear and then in the silence of the Infinite. In insights. Virtually his sole topics of conversation only, but with our entire being. that silence, you will hear the voice of the were God, Guru, and meditation. His mind Infinite booming with the great power of A consciousness of inner silence. The sound of God’s voice AUM all through creation. was always focused inwardly on God. God has a sound. It’s not as if He were The more deeply you meditate, the more Excerpted from talks and books. you lose the worldly habit of “small talk,”of Yogananda’s habitual silence up there speaking in the clouds, but there talking just to have something to say. Yogananda placed great importance on is an AUM sound, the infinite vibration of 20 21
  12. 12. Spiritual Practices The 5-Minute Experiment by Jyotish Novak of the Pilgrim, by an anonymous Russian Not an “I and Thou” relationship writer, about a man who, while in church, This is an extraordinary state to reach heard the priest say that one should pray and one we should all strive for. But, SWAMI KRIYANANDA recently Now we don’t have to produce that continuously. That idea stayed with him extraordinary as it is, even that isn’t practic- challenged Ananda members to practice the desire, thank goodness. It resides in our and he began to wonder how he could do ing the presence of God on the deepest level. presence of God for five minutes a day. It souls. In fact, the most powerful force in it. There’s still an “I-Thou” relationship with doesn’t sound like much, but it’s a bit like the universe is the soul trying to recover its God, a bit of separation. He began asking people how one could challenging someone to dunk a basketball unity with God. We need to bring to the We should strive for the state where pray continuously, and was led from teacher once a day. You have to fore this dynamic desire there’s no separation to teacher until he rise to a certain level just to reunite with God, between us and God. met one who knew to do it once. Practicing and nourish it so that the presence of God for it becomes more and how. The teacher The most powerful force in This is the deeper said to him, “I want aspect of practicing even five minutes a day more powerful. you to repeat five the universe is the soul trying the presence of God. takes a certain elevation Practice outwardly to recover its unity with God. But how do we get hundred times a day of consciousness. there? first this simple prayer, A life-transforming So how do we get ‘Lord, Jesus Christ, On our spiritual practice there? Well, it takes have mercy upon me,’ and come back in path we have the techniques of yoga. By But if we really do a lot of energy to get a week.” When he came back, his teacher practicing Hong Sau and Kriya Yoga we it, this practice has the there. On the deep- doubled the number. can withdraw the life force from the senses potential to transform est level practicing Week after week the man returned and and calm the mind in meditation. When the our lives. Practicing the presence of God the teacher kept increasing the number until mind is calm we begin to feel God’s pres- the presence of God is means to feel Him in the man’s lips and tongue became numb ence. a central aspect of this ourselves and in the from repeating the prayer, and his fingers Yogananda said that when we meditate, spiritual path and an world around us. became calloused from moving the rosary. we should try to feel the presence of God in enormously powerful Because our minds But gradually the prayer began to go certain ways—as joy, love, or peace. Choose practice. To be able to are habituated to outward deeper and deeper into his conscious and one of these divine qualities and try to feel hold onto the conscious- expression, the first level subconscious mind until the day came when that vibration deeply in the heart. Try to Ram Smith plays the tamboura at ness of God’s presence of practicing the pres- his teacher said he no longer needed to count, become so connected with it that you iden- Spiritual Renewal Week, in daily activity is a very ence of God is to have a and that he should continually practice the tify yourself as that quality. Ananda Village 2004 high spiritual state. If we more continual relation- prayer during his waking hours. Become identified with God were able to do it throughout the day, even ship with Him in an outward sense. We should As he did this, he found that the prayer When you can identify yourself as joy, the hard times would seem like wonderful try to think of God in a form that attracts us— took on a life of its own. He would wake love, peace or any of the other divine quali- times. Yogananda, Divine Mother or perhaps another. up in the middle of the night and the prayer ties, you are identified with God. You are Practicing the presence of God begins But whatever the form, try to think more was still going on. It was as if his heart were actually practicing the presence of God. with the desire in the heart to be closer to of God. Connect your life with Him in an repeating that prayer. Then, if you can stay in that vibration after God. As Sri Yukteswar put it, “We can’t attitude of self-offering. Carry on a conver- you leave meditation, and project it as you Finally, he achieved the state of being take a single step on the spiritual path with- sation with Him throughout the day. go about your work, you will be practicing able to pray continuously. And the remain- out love.” In this context, Sri Yukteswar’s the presence of God on the deepest level. The ability to pray continuously der of the book is about the remarkable meaning is love for God, the desire to be There’s that beautiful story in The Way things that happened as he walked through Unless we can feel God’s presence when close to Him. the countryside in such an uplifted state. 22 23
  13. 13. To be able to hold onto the consciousness of God’s presence in daily When You Can’t Meditate activity is a very high spiritual state. by Nicole DeAvilla-Whiting we’re most quiet and centered, we aren’t accepting of ourselves because it’s not easy going to feel it when our minds are engaged to do. So don’t get down on yourself or on in the turmoil of phones ringing, people others. It doesn’t help the process at all. upset at us, and all the events of daily life. Just put intense love, devotion, and self- Maybe we can remember to think of Him a offering into your meditation. Offer up to few minutes a day here and there. Or we can God every thought, every attachment— thoughts were judgmental: “I would never set our watches on a beeper so that once an everything that keeps you from practicing be like that!” hour it reminds us to say a little prayer. But the presence of God. Then, after you feel I visualized myself not only as the dedi- it’s mainly affirmation. God’s presence, go out and try to practice it cated and loving mother, but also the prac- To practice the presence of God success- for five minutes a day. ticing yogi, and resolved to be teaching yoga fully throughout the day, you first need to Excerpted from a 1999 talk. Jyotish Novak classes six weeks after giving birth, as slen- do it deeply in an inner way. It’s a rare per- is spiritual director of the Ananda Sevaka Order, der as I was before pregnancy. son who can repeat a prayer so deeply and worldwide. I was slow to accept that the birth of my continuously that the mind spontaneously first child was changing my life more pro- goes into a meditative state. foundly than I had expected. My attempts A slow process to get my spiritual practices back on track Each day in meditation we should try to Nicole with her son Schuyler, teaching a ended in frustration. I was also gaining reach the state where the life force and con- mother/child yoga class. weight. sciousness are withdrawn. We should try to SWAMI KRIYANANDA WRITES Reality slowly sank in. Late one night go deep enough in meditation to feel God’s that what we judge in others we will have as I was up once again rocking my beloved presence. If we can feel God’s love or joy to experience ourselves. This is how God child, my body and mind tired from lack of deeply in our hearts, and then stay in that teaches us compassion. sleep, I made a decision that changed my vibration for five minutes outside of medita- Before becoming pregnant, I was medi- life. tion, it will transform our lives and the lives tating at least two hours a day and teaching Dealing with guilt of those around us 12 – 15 yoga postures classes a week. I was Jyotish conducting an Ananda wedding First I had to come to terms with my This is a slow process. We need to be very the San Francisco Ananda meditation group guilt over having judged the other yoga leader. Now, with two young children, I teacher, and to let go of trying to live up to an was doing none of that. impossible standard. I realized that holding Nothing Can Steal My Love for Thee on to preconceptions about what I should Judgmental thoughts By Paramhansa Yogananda Before my first pregnancy I ran into a be doing was making it harder for me to deal yoga teacher who told me that since the with the challenges of the moment. No loud or whispered words of prayer shall steal my love for Thee. birth of her first child, she had given up I was then able to accept that life was not With the soul’s unspoken language I will express my urge for Thee. teaching. I noticed she had also gained the way it used to be, and would never be Thy voice is silence, and through my silence, Thou must speak to me weight. My words were consoling, but again. Period. For me, this was a huge and and tell me Thou didst love me always, but that I knew it not. I decided that each day I would always find ways to deepen my From Whispers from Eternity, 1958 edition. attunement with God and Guru, no matter how modest. 24 25