AWAKE: The Life of Yogananda, a Guest Post About the New Film

I am very happy to post this information about a new film that details the life of Paramahansa Yogananda. I cannot wait to see it myself, for it was the writings of the Swami from India that opened my heart to Jesus Christ. Just as Christ did, Paramahansa Yogananda embodied divine love on Earth.

AWAKE_POSTER_11x17_GOLD-rgbA_18JUL14-smallOn January 5, 2015, tens of thousands of yogis and spiritual seekers around the world will commemorate the anniversary of Paramahansa Yogananda’s birth. Yogananda (author of the acclaimed spiritual book Autobiography of a Yogi) has been hailed as the “Father of Yoga in the West” for his pioneering role in making known India’s ancient philosophy of Yoga and its time-honored tradition of meditation.

Just as Yogananda (1893-1952) filled lecture halls to capacity across the country in the 1920s and 1930s to teach the techniques and benefits of yoga meditation, the film about his extraordinary life, AWAKE: The Life of Yogananda, is drawing thousands of filmgoers to theatres around the country today.

The award-winning film, AWAKE: The Life of Yogananda, which debuted in October 2014, details the human struggles the Swami from India faced as he traveled across the U.S. during a time of religious intolerance and racism, as well as the profound impact that his teachings still have today. He made an indelible impression on the spiritual landscape of the United States by encouraging people to seek a more personal relationship with God through meditation, a radical idea in the early 20th century. The film’s success continues to grow as spiritual seekers, yogis, and film fans alike flock to theatres across North America.

With so many seekers focused on this beloved spiritual figure’s yoga teachings as a result of the film (which has screened or is scheduled to screen in more than 85 theaters in the U.S. and Canada), the following excerpt  taken from his published writings is especially relevant as we enter the New Year:

“If you want to be loved, start loving others who need your love….If you want others to sympathize with you, start showing sympathy to those around you. If you want to be respected, you must learn to be respectful to everyone, both young and old….Whatever you want others to be, first be that yourself; then you will find others responding in like manner to you.” – Paramahansa Yogananda

The Second Coming of ChristAnother timely work is Paramahansa Yogananda’s unprecedented masterwork of inspiration, The Second Coming of Christ, which takes the reader on a profoundly enriching journey through the four Christian Gospels. Verse by verse, he illumines the universal path to oneness with God taught by Jesus to his immediate disciples but obscured through centuries of misinterpretation: how to become like Christ, how to resurrect the Eternal Christ within one’s self.

This landmark work transcends divisive sectarianism to reveal a unifying harmony underlying all true religions. A groundbreaking synthesis of East and West, it imparts the life-transforming realization that each of us can experience for ourselves the promised Second Coming — awakening of the all-fulfilling Divine Consciousness latent within our souls.

Yogananda said, “In titling this work The Second Coming of Christ, I am not referring to a literal return of Jesus to earth. He came two thousand years ago and, after imparting a universal path to God’s kingdom, was crucified and resurrected; his reappearance to the masses now is not necessary for the fulfillment of his teachings. What is necessary is for the cosmic wisdom and divine perception of Jesus to speak again through each one’s own experience and understanding of the infinite Christ Consciousness that was incarnate in Jesus. That will be his true Second Coming.”

For more information about the movie, click on www.awaketheyoganandamovie.com. To learn more about Paramahansa Yogananda and the organization he established, the Self Realization Fellowship, go to http://www.yogananda-srf.org.

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Why Does Evil Exist? A Guest Post from Paramahansa Yogananda

The problem of evil in human lives has always perplexed me. Paramahansa Yogananda writes extensively on, “The Role of Satan in God’s Creation.” I will periodically post more of his East/West teachings here. Quoted from: The Second Coming of Christ: The Resurrection of the Christ Within You, By Paramahansa Yogananda

“An ideal existence is not impossible, but it is for a different time and realm reserved for those who have graduated from the learning assignments of earth life. For the ordinary man in his present stage of evolution, a life without difficulties would be of little value. No lessons of growth would be learned, no transformations of inflexible natures into Godly consciousness, no compelling incentives to seek and know one’s Maker.”

“What Have You to Fear?” a Guest Post from Paramahansa Yogananda

From the Self-Realization Fellowship:

Paramahansa Yogananda  in 1924

Paramahansa Yogananda in 1924

“Enter the portals of the New Year with new hope. Remember that you are a child of God. It lies with you as to what you are going to be. Be proud that you are a child of God. What have you to fear? No matter what comes, believe it is the Lord who is sending that to you; and you must succeed in conquering those daily challenges. Therein lies your victory. Do His will; nothing can hurt you then. He loves you everlastingly. Think that. Believe that. Know that. And suddenly one day you will find you are immortally alive in God.Meditate more and believe in the strong consciousness that God is always with you regardless of what happens. Then you will see that the veil of delusion will be taken away and you will be one with That which is God. That is how I found my greatest happiness in life.”

From a New Year’s letter by Sri Mrinalini Mata, in which she quotes the great master, Paramahansa Yogananda, on New Year’s Eve in 1934.

Place for Him the Gift of Your Heart, A Guest Post from Paramahansa Yogananda

Paramahansa Yogananda in 1924

Paramahansa Yogananda in 1924

“Make your heart an altar of Christ-love — which lives in all races and loves them equally — so that you may love all people, seeing in their body-temples the dwelling place of omnipresent Christ… Exchange gifts as offerings to the Christ in all; and on the Christmas tree of your calm consciousness, richly decorated and glistening with divine soul qualities, place for him the gift of your heart.”– From The Second Coming of Christ: The Resurrection of the Christ Within You by Paramahansa Yogananda (Self-Realization Fellowship, Los Angeles, CA. All rights reserved).

Paramahansa Yogananda, author of the spiritual classic Autobiography of a Yogi and founder of Self-Realization Fellowship, encourages us through his writings and talks to look beyond the material celebration of the holidays, to focus also on the spiritual celebration: our connection with the Divine, which resides within each one of us.

 

Honoring Christ from Our ‘Inner Temples’ A Guest Post from SRF

Paramahansa Yogananda, author of the spiritual classic Autobiography of a Yogi and founder of Self-Realization Fellowship, encourages us through his writings and talks to look beyond the material celebration of the holidays, to focus also on the spiritual celebration: our connection with the Divine, which resides within each one of us.

The following quote by one of Paramahansa Yogananda’s foremost disciples, Sri Daya Mata, president and sanghamata of SRF from 1955 until her passing in 2010, is shared here with permission from SRF.

“Doesn’t almost everyone feel aglow with happiness at Christmas time? There is a deep spiritual reason. It isn’t just the pleasure of exchanging gifts and loving messages, and doing for others. [Paramahansa Yogananda] said that on the birthdays of great ones such as Jesus, there is tremendous rejoicing in heaven. Vibrations of that celestial joy permeate the atmosphere. Those who have open and loving hearts are stirred by it, and those who strive for deeper attunement through devotion and meditation fully participate in that sublime celebration. The degree to which we are in tune with heaven’s joyous recognition of Jesus’ birth depends upon the effort we make to commune with Christ — not just in the outward spiritual festivities in his honor, but in the inner temple of deep meditation.”

– Sri Daya Mata (fromSelf-Realization Magazine, Winter 2006; Self-Realization Fellowship, Los Angeles, CA. All rights reserved).

Change Bad Habits with Determination, A Guest Post from Paramahansa Yogananda

By Paramahansa YoganandaThe following excerpts are from a talk given by Paramahansa Yogananda at the International Headquarters of the society he founded, Self-Realization Fellowship, on New Year’s Eve, 1934. The entire talk is published in Journey to Self-realization, Volume III of Paramahansa Yogananda’s Collected Talks and Essays. (Self-Realization Fellowship, copyright©1997, Los Angeles; reprinted with permission.) For more information about the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda, visit www.yogananda-srf.org.

Bad habits are the worst enemies you can have. You are punished by those habits. They make you do things you do not want to do, and leave you to suffer the consequences. You must drop bad habits and leave them behind you as you move forward. Every day should be a transition from old habits to better habits. In this coming year make a solemn resolution to keep only those habits that are for your highest good.

The best way to get rid of your undesirable tendencies is not to think about them; do not acknowledge them. Never concede that a habit has a hold on you….You must develop “won’t” habits. And stay away from those things that stimulate bad habits.

* * *

Do not limit yourself with the narrowness of selfishness. Include others in your achievements and happiness, then you are doing the will of God. Whenever you think of yourself, think also of others. When you think of seeking peace, think of others who are in need of peace. If you do your utmost to make others happy, you will find that you are pleasing the Father.

To live in harmony, to live with strong will power to do the will of Him who sent you, is all you should be interested in. Never lose courage, and always be smiling. Have the smile of the heart and the smile of the face completely in harmony. If your body, mind, and soul register the smile of the inner consciousness of God, you can scatter smiles about you wherever you go.

* * *

Be always with people who inspire you; surround yourself with people who lift you up. Do not let your resolutions and positive thinking be poisoned by bad company. Even if you cannot find good company to inspire you, you can find it in meditation. The best company you can have is the joy of meditation.

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

Love Your Enemies, Quoted from Paramahansa Yogananda

I am reading Paramahansa Yogananda’s book, The Second Coming of Christ: The Resurrection of the Christ Within You, as we humans read all holy books—slowly and while in a contemplative mood. In this two-book set he shares, in depth, his Eastern wisdom as it relates to the verses of the New Testament.

I am quoting several paragraphs below from his discourse on John 1:29-34, in which he writes about the most important of all subjects: the power of love over evil–and Jesus’ role in God’s great plan:

P.Y. writes that Jesus, “was not the arrogant power of a tyrannical crusader out to destroy evil by force. Rather he came…to offer himself as a sacrifice to exemplify the supreme power of love. If God used his omnipotence to punish man, it would be impossible for a mere mortal to exercise independent judgment and thus learn and grow by his mistakes. The karmic law works whereby man punishes himself proportionate to his misdeeds, while at the same time God uses love to encourage discriminative right behavior and to awaken in the human spirit the higher soul qualities of God’s image within the true Self.

“Jesus exemplified God’s love in a rare expression of spiritual magnanimity: the willing oblation of his own life. By sacrificing himself for the spiritual welfare of others, a savior who is empowered by God to do so can expiate the sins of others. Jesus, a world savior, took on himself not only the karmic debt of his disciples but also the sin of the masses by allowing himself to be crucified.”

Jesus offered himself as, “an exemplar of the consummate power of love over evil, wisdom over ignorance, forgiveness over vengefulness, light over darkness.

“Jesus’ sacrifice was, primarily, to exemplify for all time the power of spiritual force over ignorance and brute force. He showed that the power of love could conquer the Roman Empire, with which all its might could not suppress his philosophy. His reign has outlasted
that of all warrior conquerors, based on the divine edict: “Love your enemies.”

Love your enemies. This, whether they know it or not, is the calling of the world’s young people (but old souls) who have entered this world now, as a college grad said on the news a few nights ago “to stop the hate.” Thanks be to God, Creator, Love, Universe, Great Mystery.

Oh, Those Spiritual Mysteries

The sacred symbol, AUM, courtesy of http://www.bbc.co.uk

Do you ever wonder about spiritual mysteries? I’ve grappled with the idea of our world and our very lives being a delusion. What does that really mean? (I have lots of questions.)

I’m reading, ‘THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST, THE RESURRECTION OF THE CHRIST WITHIN YOU,’  by Paramanhansa Yogananda, and have realized early on that most, if not all, of my spiritual questions will be answered within the pages of this beautifully bound two-volume set. Paramanhansa Yogananda was sent to America by his guru to illustrate that the spiritual experiences and wisdom of the masters of the East is the same spirituality and wisdom of the true Jesus Christ. As P.Y. writes, he quotes from the King James Bible and the Hindu Bible, the Bhagavad Gita, showing how the sacred teachings are the same.

Here I’m quoting from the book about delusion:

“There are two manifestations of the darkness of delusion: one is maya, cosmic delusion, “that which measures the Infinite;” and the other is avidya, which means ignorance or individual illusion…Maya is the mass hypnosis of God by which he makes every human being believe in the same illusory ‘reality’ of creation as perceived by the senses; avidya gives individuality of form, experience and expression (it supports the ego or I-consciousness).

…The light of God shines within the darkness of cosmic delusion, but man, the perceiver, suffers from two blinding maladies: the limitation of his senses, or individual delusive ignorance, and the cosmic delusion, combined.

…In meditation this darkness of sensory dependence goes away and intuition prevails, revealing oneself as light in the magnitude of a whole universe of light.”

Aha! An explanation of why we see or not see what is.:)

Have you ever chanted the sound, AUM? I have and it’s powerful, clearing, even spine-tingling. AUM in the Bhagavad Gita is the Holy Ghost (or Spirit) in the Christian Bible. From the SECOND COMING OF CHRIST:

“The designation in the Hindu scriptures of this “Holy Ghost”as Aum signifies its role in God’s creative plan: A stands for akara, or creative vibration; U for ukara, preservative vibration; and M for makara, the vibratory power of dissolution…So the Aum or Holy Ghost creates all things, preserves them in myriad forms, and ultimately dissolves them in the sea-bosom of God to be again re-created—a continuing process of renewal of life and form in the ongoing cosmic dreaming of God.”

Each letter of the sacred sound, AUM, means something: creation, preservation and dissolution. Isn’t that interesting? I safely downloaded a one minute audio of the sound, AUM from: Meditation Music. (Audio 2 is great). Even one minute of this cosmic sound is healing.

Meditation For Christmas Morn

It is a blessing to publish here a Christmas meditation from the enlightened spiritual leader, Paramahansa Yogananda, who was sent from India to America by his guru to share stories about our Loving Creator and the oneness of all spiritual consciousness. 

By Paramahansa Yogananda

The following excerpt is from Metaphysical Meditations by Paramahansa Yogananda. Self-Realization Fellowship, Los Angeles. Reprinted with permission.

Paramahansa Yogananda in 1924, Photo Courtesy of Self Realization Fellowship, Los Angeles

Celebrate the birth of Christ in the cradle of your consciousness during the Christmas season. Let His vast perception in Nature, in space, and in universal love be felt within your heart.

Break the limitations of caste, color, race, religious prejudice, and inharmony, that the cradle of your heart be big enough to hold within you the Christ-love for all creation.

On every Christmas morn of your inner perception, prepare precious packages of divine qualities and deliver them to the beloved souls who gather around the Christmas tree of inner awakening to commemorate His birth in understanding, truth, and bliss.

Celebrating the birth of omniscient, omnipresent Christ Consciousness on the joyous Christmas festivity of your inner awakening, you will find the unbroken happiness of your dreams.

Let the omniscient Christ Consciousness come to earth a second time and be born in you, even as it was manifested in the consciousness of Jesus.

A Master’s Great Love

Paramahansa Yogananda in 1924, Photo Courtesy of Self Realization Fellowship, Los Angeles

One definition of enlightenment is: the realization of spiritual or religious understanding, or, especially in Buddhism, the state attained when the cycle of reincarnation ends and human desire and suffering are transcended. When I was in my 20s, a member of a spiritual group, meditating every day, I figured it wouldn’t be too long before I became ‘enlightened.’ Oh, my. You’re probably laughing at me—or, as my daughter says, you’re laughing with me, right?

I was recently reading from Autobiography of a Yogi, Paramahansa Yogananda’s telling of his journey to enlightenment and becoming a spiritual master, guru to many people around the world who personally knew him before he died in 1952, and to who-knows-how-many more persons he visits from the spiritual realms. (He was often visited by enlightened masters, including Jesus Christ, while alive and tells these stories in his autobiography.) He recounts being a baby, frustrated by visions of his past lives and wanting to talk with his mother and others about them, but he couldn’t yet speak. I read his book the first time in my mid-20s and couldn’t stop thinking about his story for years. Ultimately, it was his friendship with God that caused me to consider God my friend, too.

The qualities of a spiritual master include becoming a being of light who chooses to stay on Earth only to love and guide spiritual seekers, for nothing else of the world holds any interest for them. As a young man, P. Yogananda met a master, Swami Pranabananda, who could be in two places at one time—wherever his body was and also with a disciple in need. What a great love this is, this choosing not to go to the Divine–perhaps their last longing–but staying to serve others. Ultimately, it is the masters’ deep and abiding love for the Creator that brings about the final at-one-ment.

For more information about Paramahansa Yogananda, contact the organization he established, the Self Realization Fellowship,  in Los Angeles, Ca, before his passing. For an unforgettable summer read, you can pick up his autobiography at nearly every bookstore.