An Explanation For Why We Humans Suffer, from “Autobiography of a Yogi”

I am reading a worldwide bestselling book, Autobiography of a Yogi, by Paramahansa Yogananda, the beloved guru who came to America in the 1930s to establish the Self Realization Fellowship (as in the Realization that we are made of light); and to show that the universal threads of the teachings of the great masters of the Eastern world are one with the non-manipulated teachings of the extraordinary master of the Western world, Jesus Christ.I first read the book when I was 23. I was astonished, on the one hand, by the stories of the Indian swamis, saints and gurus who, among other things, appeared in two places at one time, levitated, and manifested objects from ‘thin air;’ on the other hand, I was struck by the rigorous discipline and profound devotion to God that was prevalent in India. (Attendance at our American weekend church services is mere fellowship in comparison.) Reading the book again in later years I thought, “Is there any human who loves God more than Paramahansa Yogananda?”

I have long struggled with accepting that all the suffering in the world is an aspect of God’s teaching plan; and with the idea that Mother Nature (who, at the very least, provides us all with our sustenance) is an illusion. Every time I stand in awe of a sunset, make friends with a critter, or hug a tree, I am blessed. I want to share a passage from the book here because it is the best explanation of what is real and what is not that I’ve ever seen: Continue reading