Touch of Peace
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237 pages

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The peace beyond all understanding!
This fourth collection of blogs in the Touch of Light series shines the light of wisdom on the problems and puzzlements, delusions and dilemmas sincere seekers encounter on the spiritual path.
Through engaging stories of Yogananda (author of the classic Autobiography of a Yogi) and of his disciple Swami Kriyananda, and through many personal anecdotes, Nayaswamis Jyotish and Devi (recipients in 2017 of the Global Ambassador Peace Award) warmly share tips and tools, guidance and encouragement from their own experiences on how to walk the spiritual path with confidence and a joyful heart.
Each stand-alone blog is an instructional jewel clarifying the nuances of such subjects as right attitude, selfless service, and how to balance the inner life of meditation with the outer life of work. Tales of forgiveness, grace, challenge, and triumph will inspire and sustain the reader through every bend in the road.
Nayaswamis Jyotish and Devi Novak are lifelong disciples of Paramhansa Yogananda, and were close friends and students of Swami Kriyananda, one of Yogananda’s foremost direct disciples and Ananda’s founder, for over fifty years. As Spiritual Directors of Ananda Worldwide, their mission is to share the life-changing teachings of those two great teachers as widely as possible through their blogs, books, and lectures. To see their programs and scheduled appearances both online and in person, go to
With all of the changes taking place in the world around us, the need for inner peace is greater than ever before. Learning to live in peace under all circumstances is the secret of a happy life.
Touch of Peace is a powerful collection of spiritual writings that will change your life by guiding you through with inspiration and new perspectives for facing life’s challenges and finding peace within. Drawing from the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda (author of the classic Autobiography of a Yogi), Touch of Peace shares practical tools, instructive stories, and right attitudes to help you tap the wellsprings of peace inside you.
These blogs, then, are not mind-born, or an expression of what “we want to say.” Rather, they represent what we feel people need to hear. Often, when we sit down each week to write, we’ll think, “I don’t really know what to write about,” and then a wonderful idea will emerge resplendent like a butterfly from the dull chrysalis of our mind. As we say, it’s a three-way collaboration between our role as middlemen, the needs of the readers, and Paramhansa Yogananda’s life-changing teachings.
This book marks the fourth in the series of our compiled weekly blogs: Touch of Light came out in 2015, followed by Touch of Joy in 2017, Touch of Love in 2019, and now Touch of Peace. When we began writing these blogs back in 2013, we had no idea how long we’d keep going, or how well they’d be received. We’ve been at it now for eight years, and have passed the four-hundred-blog milepost; it grows more fulfilling for us with each passing year.



Publié par
Date de parution 21 juin 2021
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781565895966
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 3 Mo

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Paramhansa Yogananda
Paramhansa Yogananda
2021 by Hansa Trust
All rights reserved. Published 2021
Printed in the United States of America
1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2

Crystal Clarity Publishers
1123 Goodrich Blvd. | Commerce, California | 800-424-1055
ISBN 978-1-56589-096-1 (print), CIP: 2021013344
ISBN 978-1-56589-596-6 (e-book), CIP: 2021013345
Cover and interior layout design by Tejindra Scott Tully
Cover image by Markos Mant on Unsplash

The Joy Symbol is registered by Ananda Church of Self-Realization of Nevada County, California.
Art and Photo Credits
1. Happy Birthday, Master!
2. Beating Karma at Its Own Game
3. Ten Portals to Joy
4. Solutions
5. Leave It Better Than When You Came
6. The Spiritual Path, an Overview
7. Why We Need the Saints
8. The Balanced Life
9. Lift Up Your Eyes!
10. The Rest of the Story
11. What Forgiveness Gives Us
12. Warm Handoff
13. How a Star Is Born
14. Blissonite
15. Through Your Eyes Only
16. Till Only Love Remains
17. Life Is the Teacher
18. A Spiritual Color Wheel
19. Staying Young
20. When Worries Howl
21. Unexpected Saints
22. Sharing
23. What Work Do You Do?
24. Birthdays
25. So Many More Could Be Free
26. Fifty Years!!!
27. Fifty Years-How We Did It!
28. The One Light in All Religions
29. This Broken Temple
30. Many Hands Made a Temple
31. What Part Will You Play?
32. When We Cooperate with Grace
33. What Doesn t Look Like an Elephant
34. Blockades
35. Practice When It s Easy
36. No Longer Earthbound
37. Achieving Our Goals
38. Do What You Can
39. We Need Reminders
40. Finding Calmness in the Midst of Activity
41. Don t Be Formal with God
42. A Fast Track to Happiness
43. Penniless in Brindaban
44. Overcoming Conflict
45. Glimpsing the Red-Billed Blue Magpie
46. Working for God
47. The Currents of the Ganges
48. How We Pray
49. How to Love
50. How to Enjoy Long Meditations
51. Toward Christ Consciousness
52. Christmas Eve
53. Investment Tips
54. The AUM Vibration
55. I Wish I Had Met You
56. Guru Seva
57. Enjoy Your Self
58. Dissolving the Ego
59. Weathering the Storm
60. Relax and Accept
61. Who Is the Prisoner?
62. My First Day
63. Embrace Your Fears
64. Be a Warrior for the Light
65. Seeing Kanchenjunga
66. Good Advice
67. A Season of Change
68. Opportunity in Adversity
69. From Lockdown to Lift-Off
70. Controlling the Uncontrollable
71. Three Mirrors
72. Tribute to Kriyananda
73. A Light in Dark Times
74. Taking Charge of Your Life
75. Amazing Grace
76. The Balance Scales of Karma
77. What Can We Do?
78. Buddha s Enlightenment
79. Five Formulae to Achieve Your Life Goals
80. Obstacle or Opportunity?
81. Just for Fun
82. How I Paint
83. What a Coincidence!
84. Dealing with Low Energy
85. Babaji
86. Master s Reassurance
87. Our Greatest Adventure
88. Saying Yes
89. Rippling Waves of Awakening
90. Paramhansa Yogananda-100 Years
91. Understanding People
92. Seeing Spirit Everywhere
93. The Beast in the Jungle
94. One Life on Earth
95. How Does the Story End?
96. Eight Tips from Your Friends
97. Saints and Wild Strawberries
98. Running a Marathon
99. Unrequited Love
100. Thank You
101. Now More Than Ever
102. World Brotherhood
103. Creating a New Language
104. Coming Full Circle
105. Four Lamps to Illumine 2021
Other Resources
The paintings you re about to enjoy in a number of these blogs were all done by Nayaswami Jyotish. We list each of them here along with its page number and a link you can use to view it as a larger image and, if you d like, to purchase it as a print. These are just a few of Jyotish s many paintings; you can see them all at .
I Am Always with You |
Sacred Source |
God s Boatman |
Master with the Children |
Amazing Grace |
Master and the Spiritual Eye |
If You Call Me |
Kirtani |
Are You Coming? |
Vastness |
Flow of Grace |
Master and the Twin Peaks |
We offer grateful appreciation to the many Ananda residents who over the years have contributed photographs to the Ananda Image Library. Almost all the photos in the book that aren t listed below were taken from that library. A handful of others are in the public domain.
Mario Zauner, NASA
Barbara Bingham
Woodcut artist unknown; W.J. Moses, printer; stereotyped by Dennis Bros. Co. - Scenes in the Life of Harriet Tubman by Sarah H. Bradford
Barbara Bingham
Barbara Bingham
Barbara Bingham
Barbara Bingham
Frati minori Umbria
Ruby Stoppe
Sharing Nature Worldwide
Paramhansa Yogananda Charitable Trust
Nayaswami Devi
Sunil Sharma
Nayaswami Devi
Nayaswami Devi
Nayaswami Devi
Bhakti Ruggiero
DC Assam (license: )
Barbara Bingham
David Mark
Andrea St ckel-Kowall
Avalok Sastri
Shree Shree Anandamayee Sangha
Jonny Belvedere
Laci D me
Mskathrynne and Jeff Jacobs
Jan Zatloukal
T his book marks the fourth in the series of our compiled weekly blogs: Touch of Light came out in 2015, followed by Touch of Joy in 2017, Touch of Love in 2019, and now Touch of Peace . When we began writing these blogs back in 2013, we had no idea how long we d keep going, or how well they d be received. We ve been at it now for eight years, and have passed the four-hundred-blog milepost; it grows more fulfilling for us with each passing year.
Honestly, it s because of faithful readers and their uplifting comments that we ve been able to keep at it for so long. This feels to us like a collaborative effort. Your sincere spiritual interest is the magnet; we meditate and try to feel what would be helpful and inspiring for you on your spiritual journey.
These blogs, then, are not mind-born, or an expression of what we want to say. Rather, they represent what we feel people need to hear. Often, when we sit down each week to write, we ll think, I don t really know what to write about, and then a wonderful idea will emerge resplendent like a butterfly from the dull chrysalis of our mind. As we say, it s a three-way collaboration between our role as middlemen, the needs of the readers, and Paramhansa Yogananda s life-changing teachings.
In March 2020 came the global tsunami of the Covid-19 pandemic. Since its onset, and the resulting dramatic changes in all of our lives, many of the blogs have offered perspectives, practices, and teachings to help us deal with the special challenges we re all facing. It s felt as though Yoganandaji, whose disciples we ve been for more than fifty years, was showing all of us how to find light, joy, love, and peace in the midst of trials. Hence, this new volume: Touch of Peace . Many who follow our weekly blogs contained in this book have written that in the past year these offerings have been their lifeline in a sea of fear and uncertainty.
It is our hope that these offerings will show you the way forward, in spite of all outward challenges, toward inner peace and strength, and into a brighter future.
Ananda Village April 2021
1 January 3, 2019
T he closest of dear friends, she made one feel, yet an aura of remoteness was ever around her-the paradoxical isolation of Omnipresence. In this way Paramhansa Yogananda wrote of the great woman saint, Anandamayi Ma, in Autobiography of a Yogi .
This describes the dilemma we, too, face in trying to deepen our love for our Guru. It s often easier to visualize Yoganandaji s consciousness as impersonal and spanning infinity than to think of him as the closest of dear friends.
Why do we shrink back from receiving a love that has been waiting for us eternally? Why do we hesitate to sing the melody of divine love that constantly plays, often unheard, within our own hearts?
As we celebrate Yoganandaji s birthday on January 5, let s consider some ways that we create these barriers, and how we can break them down.
One common self-defeating thought is: I know my Guru loves other, more deserving disciples more than me. We may try to feel his love, but we place others (who we think meditate better or serve more) before us to receive the guru s affection. We accept our place as the neglected, overlooked stepchild in the family.
This concept may apply where human affection is concerned, but with the love of the guru for his disciples it s a harmful misunderstanding. Divine love is unconditional, not based on outer achievements, nor given to one at the expense of another.
If this thought plagues you, try this: Blend the personal and impersonal nature of the guru. Feel that he loves you (and every one of his disciples) completely and equally, because that is the nature of omnipresence.

Another thought-barrier to break down is: How can my Guru possibly love me if he knows all the mistakes I make? That doubt may lead us to hope that one who is omniscient doesn t know that we ate all those cookies when we were supposed to be fasting, or that we spent our morning meditation with random thoughts flitting through our mind. But of course the guru knows. As Yoganandaji told Swami Kriyananda, I know every thought you think.
So instead of hiding the cookie crumbs in a dark corner, try this: Share every mistake, every error in judgment, every lapse in self-discipline with your guru. Even let him know how good the cookies were that you ate (he already knows that you enjoyed them). When we trust that divine love grows in honesty and openness, then we begin to experience the joy of feeling totally accepted for who we are. In that complete acceptance, it s also easier for us to change.
Finally, we may mistakenly think: Someday I ll feel my Guru s love, but it won t be for a long time. Instead, tonight before you go to bed, eagerly share with him everything that happened throughout the day: the tests, the joys, the silliness, the pain, the whole experience. When you wake up tomorrow, let your first thought be, I love you, Master. Please come share the day with me. Why wait for time to pass to express our love for our Guru? Offer it today. Only by giving the cup of our love each and every day can we receive the ocean of his love eternally.
Swami Kriyananda wrote these words as an introduction to his song, You Remain Our Friend :
Why do we flee Him
Whose hand is outstretched in kindness?
Is not the answer obvious?
It is the emptiness in our own hearts!
We flee because He asks of us the greatest gift:
He asks our love.
We wish you a blessed celebration of Master s birthday in which you joyously give him this treasure from your heart. Once we fully share the love that radiates from within us, we draw the living presence of this premavatar , incarnation of divine love, our beloved Guru.
Your friend in God ,
2 January 10, 2019
G ood karma is that which moves you closer to God, and bad karma is that which moves you farther away from Him. Swami Kriyananda once gave this reply to a young man s question. His answer not only clears up much of the confusion around the subject of karma, but also gives us a guideline for living: Always strive to do that which moves you closer to God. At another time Swamiji said, The whole spiritual path is meant to dissolve the ego. So, good karma is that which dissolves the ego, and bad karma is that which reinforces it.
Paramhansa Yogananda explained that thought is a force similar to magnetism. Each thought, word, or action sends out a pulse of energy that attracts to us a similar energy, just as a stone dropped into a pond creates a wave that bounces back to the original spot. Actions that are in tune with universal law attract a positive karmic response, and those that are against universal truth attract a negative one. Thus, we gradually learn right from wrong.
We make a serious mistake when we think that karma is meant to punish us. It is meant to teach us. Think of it as a super-advanced and benevolent AI (Almighty Intelligence) that gives each individual an exquisitely customized lesson plan based on past performance. Since the goal is for us to develop right attitudes, what happens to us is far less important than what we become by dealing with our karma correctly.
Some people react to the term God because they define Him erroneously. It might help if, instead of God, we think in terms of one of His qualities. So, does a particular action expand your love? If so, it produces good karma because God is love. It works the same way if we substitute wisdom, or peace, or joy.
So how do we beat karma? Not by trying to make everything pleasant. Some of our most powerful spiritual growth comes as a result of the most unpleasant experiences. Cancer, for instance: I ve had many people tell me (generally after a bit of time has passed) that a bout with cancer was the best thing that ever happened to them. The same can be said of financial loss, or the passing of a loved one. None of these experiences are pleasant, but each can be a mighty spiritual teacher.
To beat karma at its own game, we need to develop the right attitudes before the karmic test arrives. If we are already moving in the right direction, then our karma will simply tap us on the back and nudge us the more quickly along toward freedom. The right attitude allows us to defeat even death; wrong ones make us cower before even the common cold.

Arati during the Festival of Light at Ananda Village .
If we can, we should be grateful for everything that happens. If this bar is too high, then remember a phrase that Swami Kriyananda wrote into his Festival of Light: Whereas suffering and sorrow, in the past, were the coin of man s redemption, for us now the payment has been exchanged for calm acceptance and joy.
Endeavor, during all of life s many complexities, to offer up your ego with calm acceptance and joy and you will be able to sail over the sea of karma, whether sunny and pleasant or dark and stormy.
In freedom ,
3 January 17, 2019
I t s not always easy to feel joy in life, especially when we re bombarded with discouraging news and wrenching images of human suffering. Yet holding on to happiness in spite of everything is a challenge which confronts everyone. As Paramhansa Yogananda wrote: Life is a struggle for joy all along the way. May I fight to win the battle on the very spot where I now am.
In this same regard, Swami Kriyananda said, Joy is the solution, not the reward. In other words, joy is a dynamic choice we can make every day, not a passive response we feel only when favorable circumstances warmly greet us.
Here are ten portals you can choose every day that will expand your joy. Select a few of them, or as many as you like, but do some of them every day. You ll be surprised how your joy level begins to rise.
Door #1: Do Something You Love. Decide for yourself what it is-walk, paint, call an old friend, knit, read a good book, pet your cat-but make sure it s something that you re doing for the joy of it, not from a sense of obligation. Joy Password: I Enjoy.
Door #2: Challenge Yourself. Find something that you thought you couldn t do, and then put out the energy to accomplish it. Begin with little things-don t start with running a marathon, if you ve never done it before. Think rather of things that are doable but above your present level of skill or experience, then persevere until you ve done it. Joy Password: I Can.
Door #3: Do a Task You ve Been Avoiding. How much energy and peace is wasted in all the niggling, little things that we keep putting off! Clean out your desk drawers, give away all those books you re done with, or answer those complicated emails you keep in the Hope They Disappear folder. Joy Password: I Will.
Door #4: Read or Listen to Something Inspiring. The gifts of the great spiritual teachers are abundant, but we pass them over in the midst of our busy lives. If you take only five minutes each day to immerse yourself in the wisdom from enlightened souls, you ll be laying a foundation of joy that nothing can destroy. Joy Password: I Attune.
Door #5: Tell Someone They re Appreciated. Yogananda once said to a group of his disciples, If you only knew how beautiful you are. I see you all as beings of light. This is how God sees each of His children-as their divine potential. By serving as a channel to express His love and appreciation for others, we draw closer to His bliss. Joy Password: I Care.
Door #6: Be Grateful for Something in Your Life. Don t be grateful just for the good things. Think appreciatively about each setback and test, and realize how much you gained from the experience. So whether it s a loving friend or an undermining competitor, simply think, Thank You, God. Joy Password: I Give Thanks.
Door #7: Make Someone Smile or Laugh. As your joy increases, be sure to share it with others-with friends, strangers, and even those who are difficult for you. Let your joy be like an unseen effervescence in the water of life that you offer to everyone. Joy Password: I Share.
Door #8: Gaze at Something Beautiful in Nature. Find something in the natural world-a flower, a pinecone, a leaf of a houseplant, the rings of a tree stump. Gaze at it until you see its beauty. Then close your eyes, and try to feel the divine thought that created it. Finally, open your eyes and look at it anew with appreciation for the joy our Creator has put into everything. Joy Password: I See.
Door #9: Do an Anonymous Act of Kindness. Be a secret agent for help and support to others. Service is even sweeter when it s offered without any thought of personal recognition. Joy Password: I Serve.
Door #10: Meditate with Joy. Don t wait for joy to come to you. Bring it into your meditation, until you remember that it is who and what you really are. Yoganandaji wrote, From joy I came, for joy I live, in sacred joy I melt. Joy Password: I Am.
May all the portals of joy open for you.
4 January 24, 2019
T wo students had just arrived from India to attend high school at Ananda Village, and we were welcoming them and their teachers to our home over tea. We had known both of these wonderful, creative girls from our time in India. One of them asked, What were the essential qualities that went into creating Ananda?

I Am Always with You.
I had to think for a moment, then answered in a way I hadn t thought of before: Three things primarily: attunement to the guru, cooperation, and creative problem solving.
When we were creating Ananda, Swami Kriyananda often told us, Be solution-oriented, not problem-oriented. When he counseled someone, he would listen to them explain the situation only long enough to get a clear grasp of the problem. Then he would quickly move to talking about possible solutions. He didn t want people to dwell on the endless details of a problem, which would just pull their minds down. He wanted them to rise toward the light. Being solution-oriented gets a positive flow of energy going, without which you won t get anywhere.
So, how do we find solutions? The best way is to let the Divine solve the problem for you. If you can get yourself out of the way, and use your intuition, a solution will come quickly. This key element in Paramhansa Yogananda s teachings he articulated in one of his early, 1925, lectures, Using Cosmic Consciousness in Daily Life.
But if we could always do this right off the bat we probably wouldn t require any advice. Often we need something more, a way to move forward step by step. Here is a three-pronged approach for finding solutions.
1. Clarify your feelings . Start by trying to clarify your feelings, because the mind will follow the feelings. If you can clearly perceive how you feel about the issue, you are ninety percent of the way to the answer. This can be tricky, because feelings are different from emotions. Emotions follow our likes and dislikes, while our feeling nature is tuned to a deeper current. To clarify your feelings, get calm, and then attempt to feel what is trying to happen, not what you want to happen.
2. Visualize the outcome . Think clearly about the outcome you would like to see, not just for the situation you re addressing but, more importantly, for your consciousness. If, for example, you are considering a new job, suspend for a moment consideration of the practical details, and think instead about who you would like to be and what you would like to be doing in five years. Then ask whether the job is a step in that direction. The outcome, once clear, will usually lead you to the answer you re looking for.
3. The steps . Once you have the feeling and the outcome clarified, the steps to get there will become quickly apparent. This is where logic is valuable. When you know your destination, it is not too hard to generate a roadmap for how to get there.
The most important thing of all is to open your heart and mind to the Divine Will. If you do this you can never go too far wrong, at least on a soul level.
In the light ,
5 January 31, 2019
L ast week a dear friend of ours from India visited Ananda Village for the first time. What a wonderful experience it was showing her around and explaining to her the many aspects of this remarkable community.
Amazed by what she had experienced, our friend quietly said, No matter how much you told me about Ananda Village, there was no way I could imagine what I saw here. The radiance and purity of the people, the spirit of service, the simplicity of life, the flow of activity in every area-I ve never seen anything like it anywhere.
Seeing Ananda through her eyes we saw anew how living in a spirit of cooperation and service can change your consciousness, and transform the world around you. Every area we saw had been given the same conscious thought and care to make it the best it could be.
It was raining hard for the first few days that our friend was visiting, and the unpaved areas had become wet and muddy. One afternoon I made a quick trip to the community trash/recycling/ compost center to drop off our kitchen waste. Well-labeled bins and detailed instructions about what to put where had been posted there by the property services crew. As I avoided the muddy puddles, I thought to myself, Even this inglorious part of our community is well cared for.
Next to the compost bins is a hose for rinsing empty buckets. I added my contribution to our community gardens into the bin, and then saw that the hose was lying on the wet ground in a tangle. After straightening it out, I rinsed my bucket, then let the hose fall back into a muddy puddle. Then I hurried to get into my car and out of the rain.

St. Francis of Assisi statue at Ananda Village .
But something stopped me. Thinking about the beautiful ideals of cooperation and service that we d been discussing with our friend, I heard a voice within me say, Leave it better than when you came. I went back, lifted the hose out of the mud, and carefully coiled it on its stand. Driving home, I felt surprisingly moved by the impact of this simple act.
Later I shared the experience with our son, who said, When I m driving and see a nail on the road, I always pull over and pick it up. I d like someone to do that for me, so I ll do it first.
The accumulated power of these unseen acts of service can define one s whole life: Leave it better than when you came. Each day we can leave our home, our job, our family, our friends, our community, our consciousness, our world better than we found it.
The simple prayer commonly attributed to St. Francis of Assisi * expresses this in a beautiful and elevated way:
Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury: pardon;
Where there is error: truth;
Where there is doubt: faith;
Where there is despair: hope;
Where there is darkness: light;
And where there is sadness: joy.
Each simple act of selfless giving reminds us of our purpose on earth: to be an instrument of God s upliftment and love. At the end of our life s journey, what a joy it will be to say to our Creator, I left this world better than when I came.
With loving friendship ,
* Interestingly, the prayer for which St. Francis is best known, Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace, has been discovered in recent years, in the archives of a monastery in Belgium, actually to have been written by William the Great (also called the Conqueror ), who Yogananda himself said he had been. -Swami Kriyananda, in Paramhansa Yogananda: A Biography
6 February 7, 2019
F or the last year we ve been working on a very important project, The Indira Institute . The purpose of the Institute is to bring the universal teachings of Ananda s line of masters to a much larger audience. Until now, Ananda has concentrated largely on training and supporting devotees, those who want to find God. Noble though this is, there are many people who want to improve their lives and know this involves changing their consciousness, but don t currently define themselves as spiritual. This is the audience we want to reach.

In the Gita, Krishna instructs Arjuna on moving from limited ego-consciousness to soul-consciousness .
We ll start in India by offering a weekend Signature Course based on universal principles expressed in the Bhagavad Gita. As we looked closely, we came up with nine themes or gems, so we re calling the weekend course, Gita Navaratna, Nine Gems for Living the Gita in Modern Life .
We ve been intensely busy the last few weeks working on this course, feeling a sense of urgency because we will present the very first, prototype version during Inner Renewal Week, which starts on February 16. Recently I realized that these nine gems represent a brief, but complete, overview of the universal spiritual path. Here, then, with nine gems from the Bhagavad Gita, is a five-minute overview of the evolution of consciousness we all must experience.
The battle of Kurukshetra is an allegory of the battle between our positive and negative tendencies, represented by the opposing armies. We each must fight this battle in order to regain our natural kingdom of peace, harmony, and happiness.
The soul (a spark of the eternal consciousness of the Creator) reincarnates repeatedly, taking on an ego, or particular body and personality, in each incarnation. In the Gita, Krishna instructs Arjuna on how to move from limited ego-consciousness to soul-consciousness.
In order to move from ego-consciousness, (the limited realm that is perceivable by our senses) to soul-consciousness (our eternal Self), we must be willing to offer up the desires and attachments that enmesh us.
This takes time. Evolution is like a spiral stairway, and for each individual there are steps leading upward and those that lead downward; things that expand our consciousness and those that contract us. We evolve through four distinct stages: heavy, ego-active but contractive, ego-active and expansive, and light.
Karma is the mechanism by which we learn and evolve. Every thought, word, feeling, and action produces a pulse of energy that is reflected back to us, just as an echo returns a sound to its source. If we project angry or negative energy, we will experience that quality reflected back to us. If we give out love and friendship, the same will be returned. Gradually, the soul learns to act in accordance with higher universal principles.
Dharma has two meanings: universal righteousness, and one s life purpose. Right actions are activities and duties performed in accordance with dharma. When done without attachment, they lead us toward freedom.
Pandu symbolically represents discrimination, but he dies young, leaving his sons (our spiritual qualities) as orphans. When our power to know right from wrong dies, we lose our moral compass. We then fall under the control of the blind, sensory mind, which is unable to perceive what brings true happiness.
The heart s feelings are pivotal. When our emotions are negative, our consciousness contracts. When we guide the feelings in an upward and expansive direction, we not only move toward super-consciousness, but also magnetically draw the support of universal forces.
The ultimate goal of life is to expand our consciousness until it becomes infinite. The most direct pathway to this is through deep meditation.
There is so much more that can be said, so, in a sense, this is just a teaser. We invite you to join us for Inner Renewal Week, which will be live-streamed and also videoed. We also invite your feedback and comments on this wonderful adventure that we are all experiencing together.
In joy ,
7 February 14, 2019
A s above, so below. These words from an ancient school of wisdom can be taken on different levels, and will help us understand the subtle laws of creation. On the highest level, it means that the universe is a reflection of the overarching Spirit that created it. On a lower level, it means that the consciousness of people who have authority or power in this world has an influence (for better or for worse) on others.
Fortunately-these days especially, when worldly power seems more often than not to be an influence for the worse-there is a class of people among us who exercise power in quite another way. I am referring to the saints.
Who are the saints, and how can they help us? We find them in every religion, and also belonging to no religion at all. Appearing in every generation, these men and women of God-realization show us the way to inner freedom, and help us awaken to our own highest potential.
In India, where spirituality and devotion to God are more deeply woven into the fabric of life than perhaps anywhere else, there is widespread understanding of the importance of the saints in our lives. The Indian scriptures declare that One moment in the company of a saint will be your raft over the ocean of delusion.
In Paramhansa Yogananda s Autobiography of a Yogi we read of his frequent trips to visit saints whenever he learned of a new one, and of the great blessings that flowed from even the mere sight of such a one.

Swami Kriyananda pronams to Anandamayi Ma .
To understand more about their power, humility, simplicity, and wisdom, I recommend that you read a newly released book by Swami Kriyananda, Visits to Saints of India: Sacred Experiences and Insights . In it, Swamiji recounts his meetings with great saints that took place from 1959-1973. All of them have since passed away, but the depth and vibrancy of Swamiji s experiences, and the advice they gave him, remain a deep and still-vibrant source from which we can all continue to draw inspiration. Here are but a few examples:
From Anandamayi Ma: Always practice japa . Keep your mind busy chanting God s name, and you won t have time to think of anything else . Filled with His joy, you will laugh at all dangers. [Take your Guru s name.] Everything you have attained has come to you through his blessings.
From Sri Rama Yogi: Doing your guru s will is undoubtedly your highest sadhana. Even so, and above everything else, remember that his will for you is that you become immersed in the Self. All actions he has enjoined on you are only to help you to reach that state.
From Swami Narayan, when Kriyanandaji asked him about someone who, citing scriptural authority, had contradicted Yoganandaji s teachings: People who don t have an adequate knowledge of the Vedas go about creating their own misunderstandings. Whatever Guru says is higher than any scripture. ( Because, as Swamiji went on to explain, it contains his power, and because it is specific to the disciple, rather than something general for all mankind. )
In reading these few brief quotes, I felt my mind uplifted and calmed by their deep spiritual authority and wisdom.
Why do we need the saints? What they offer us is much more than mere words: It is their subtle ability to guide, uplift, and transform us. Read about their lives; reflect on their words; gaze at their image, especially their eyes; and meditate on their state of consciousness. Whether you are ever in their living presence or not is immaterial: One moment of true inward contact will change you forever.
With joy in their presence ,
8 February 20, 2019
T his has been a very intense week for Devi and me. We re in the middle of our annual Inner Renewal Week, and are launching the pilot course that we hope will be a whole new way of sharing Yogananda s teachings. The daily classes, all new, have needed a lot of thought and preparation. It has been exhilarating and exhausting at the same time. I m sure you must have had similar experiences in your own life.
Today s class was on living a balanced, integrated life. Paramhansa Yogananda said that a true scripture must address all levels of our being: physical, energetic, mental/emotional, and spiritual. The same is true of the balanced life, as we discussed in the class. In this blog I ll address only the physical level, but perhaps in future we can write about the other levels as well.

Eat mainly fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh juices, whole grains, and legumes .
There are three areas that strongly influence our physical well-being: our diet, our habits for exercise and sleep, and the ability to avoid addictive substances such as alcohol, tobacco, and drugs.
If we can change our habits in these areas it will greatly improve our lives. Here are some of the pointers we shared this morning.
Yogananda suggested a simple, commonsense diet and gave it the charming name, propereatarianism. He advised us to eat mainly fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh juices, whole grains, and legumes. He also suggested that we fast on fresh orange juice one day each week, and for three days once each month. And he developed a Nine-Day Cleansing Diet, which we have tried with great success. Here s a link if you d like to give it a try yourself: .
The way you eat is as important as what you eat. See your food as a source of prana, not just taste. Always pray before eating, and feel a sense of gratitude not only for the food, but for all the divine gifts that sustain us. Cook and eat in a sattwic manner, because you absorb vibrations when you eat. Follow these simple ideas and your health and vitality are bound to improve.
During a period when Swami Kriyananda was working with his guru, Yogananda sent him a letter with detailed and practical advice about his daily routine. Though we may need to vary the details of his suggestions, the principles are very helpful. Here is the advice:

The way you eat is as important as what you eat .
You should take hour walk in the morning after a meditation and breakfast.
Work 9 hours a day with deep concentration.
Meditate two hours deeply at night after dining at 6:30. Adjust routine to whatever is possible.
Sleep 7 hours.
Be sure to walk briskly or run for 5 minutes every 2 hours. This will keep strain out.
After dinner at night walk on the road, and not in jungly brush, for one hour. [This was in the desert near Twentynine Palms, California.]
We have a friend who is a doctor and a devotee and has seen great changes over his career in the medical guidelines for diet and exercise. He told us that, interestingly, the more science studies these areas, the closer their recommendations come to what Yogananda advised his students many decades ago.
These timeless principles are given to us out of God s love and His desire that our lives be balanced, integrated, and healthy. Let s all take them to heart.
In His love ,
P.S. If you would like to see this week s classes, here is the link: .
9 February 28, 2019
L ife can sometimes be downright discouraging when things don t go the way we want or expect. I d like to share a simple practice with you that can change your reaction to life s ups and downs. First, let s begin with an incident from Swami Kriyananda s life.
After Swamiji had been with Paramhansa Yogananda for about six months, a period came when his guru was away from the ashram for several weeks. Missing him keenly, Swamiji was eager for a chance to see the Master again.
The day after Yoganandaji s return, word came that he needed someone to carry a five-gallon bottle of drinking water up to his kitchen. Happily appropriating the job to himself, Swamiji brought the large jug to the kitchen, from where he could hear his guru dictating a letter in his adjacent sitting room.
Hoping to attract his attention, Swamiji rattled the water bottle and made as much noise as was decently possible. The Master paid no attention. After some time Kriyanandaji plunged into a depression and thought, He doesn t care that I miss him. I m just a nameless worker to him!
Attempting to reason with himself, he thought, He s obviously busy. Why should he drop everything just for you?
Oh, yeah? retorted his recalcitrant mind. Back and forth his thoughts flew as they vied turbulently with one another. He realized that reason wasn t going to pull him out of his mental whirlpool. ( Indeed, as he wrote later, reason s tendency is to support any feeling that happens to be uppermost in the mind. ) If reasoning won t do it, he declared forcefully to himself, let s see if changing my level of consciousness will do the trick.
He went into his meditation room, raised his eyes to the point between the eyebrows, and strongly held his mind there. Five minutes was all it took. By the end of that time his mood was so positive that he no longer needed to affirm anything, but saw things in an objective, expansive way.
In Kriyanandaji s book, Awaken to Superconsciousness , he gives us a simple but powerful technique for changing our state of consciousness to deal with life s challenges:

Sacred Source.
1. Look down, closing your eyes. Feel yourself relaxing and drifting downward as if sinking through water, through forests of waving seaweed. Affirm mentally, Through slowly drifting waters, I sink into subconsciousness.
2. Now, with a quick burst of will power, open your eyes and gaze straight ahead. Affirm, With a burst of energy I rise to greet the world!
3. Then look upward and affirm, I awake in Thy light! I am joyful! I am free! I awake in Thy light!
Swamiji wrote that this simple practice will give you the ability to control your state of consciousness at will. It can also help you to deepen your meditation. When you feel yourself sinking into the dreamy state of subconsciousness, or when your mind is racing with thoughts and plans, stop and do this exercise. Without much effort, you ll find that your energy rises and your boisterous thoughts quietly fade into the background.
May your thoughts be positive and your meditations deep.
With joy ,
10 March 7, 2019
The REST of the STORY
H ave you ever seen a snapshot of a child and wondered what happened to him later in life? Well, then, here is the rest of the story for one young boy. And although it may not be factual, it is true. In fact, it is the rest of the story for all of us.
Swami Kriyananda told us the tale of a boy who came to a saint and asked to become his disciple. The holy man said, Come with me, and took him down to the river Ganges. He proceeded to hold the boy s head under the water, until the boy began kicking furiously. Still he held him under, until the lad was struggling with all his strength to break free. Finally he let him up.
Then he asked the boy, What did you want just now, more than anything else? The gasping boy replied, AAir, AAAir!!! The saint replied, When you want God as much as you wanted air, come back, and I ll accept you as my disciple.
But here is what happened next, or at least I like to think so: The boy, whose name was Anand, left feeling angry at the saint, and a little ashamed at his own weakness. As the years passed and the incident faded to a dim memory, Anand still thought about God, but never seemed able to find any time to spare for Him. For you see, Anand had become so successful that he was the envy of the nation. He had a wonderful family, a fine reputation, and more wealth and more possessions than he could ever use.

God s Boatman.
As happens for all of us, time passed, and now it was nearly two years since his wife had died. His children were grown and living abroad, and Anand s life had settled into a routine that began to grow tiresome. One day, in a pensive mood, he started to think, I have everything anyone could want, except happiness. Then, remembering his youth, he thought, I wonder what became of that saint who held my head in the Ganges?
He discovered that the saint had become quite famous, due to a miraculous power: Although he was usually seen in the river, praying and giving counsel, he occasionally left the water and wandered through the region. At these times his simple dhoti always remained wet even under the blazing sun, as did his skin. And whenever a drop of that water fell upon some fortunate onlooker, that person received an instant healing.
Anand decided to visit him once again. When he arrived at the river he was astounded to see that the saint not only hadn t aged at all, but was standing in exactly the same spot where he had first seen him some fifty years earlier.
Anand approached shyly, and said, I came to you many years ago, but you probably don t remember me.
The saint began to weep, and softly replied, Oh, my son, my very own, you ve finally returned. I have waited for you all these years, praying that you would come back to me.
Anand, now weeping too, said, I realized finally that I do want God more than I want air. You can hold my head under the water for as long as you like, even if I die.
The saint laughed and said, What good would it do to kill your body? You would simply come back again. I want to help you destroy your ego. The Ganges, you see, is only a symbol of the energy in the inner spine. I ll teach you techniques that will allow you to submerge yourself in those sacred waters. Then you will find a fulfillment that all those paltry possessions could never give.
And so, this is the rest of the story for each of us. Somewhere, our master is waiting. When we begin to want God more than we want air, we will return to him, and he will immerse us in that true Ganges which will carry us into the ocean of bliss.
In joy ,
11 March 14, 2019
I am fortunate to have had a wise and loving mother, who taught me a lot about how to live. There were times as a child, however, when I found the wisdom she shared hard to swallow.
If, for example, I d been taunted or teased by another child (as happens to most children from time to time), and come home in tears, she would quietly sit down with me. Let s try to understand the other person, she would say. Then we would discuss why the taunting child might have behaved in such a way. In the moment, what I really wanted was for her to defend me and react angrily; to phone the child s parents and give them a piece of her mind; but she did none of those things.
Rather she guided me toward an objective understanding of the bigger picture. Looking back, I realize that she was trying to awaken compassion in me, so that I could forget my own hurt, forgive them, and move on.
How can we genuinely forgive another person when they have hurt, or even betrayed, us?
First: Try to understand the other person . Ask yourself, Were they themselves feeling unhappy, overwhelmed, or threatened by circumstances in their life? Was it their conscious intention to hurt me, or was it merely an unconscious act on their part?
We had a very dear friend who, despite many wonderful qualities, had a fiery temper. Once she called a friend at his office to ask him a question. Uncharacteristically, he angrily snapped back at her, I don t have time for you while I m at work. Quit bothering me! and slammed down the phone.
Our redheaded friend swung into her angry, reactive mode, and immediately called him back to have it out with him. Fortunately for both of them, the line was busy. She tried several more times, but with the same result.
Eventually she got involved with other activities, calmed down, and began thinking about the exchange with her friend. He isn t usually like this. I wonder if he s having some personal problems.
After a few hours, she was able to reach him by phone, and the conversation went in a very different direction than it would have earlier. Is something wrong, Phil? she began. You didn t seem like your usual self when we spoke earlier.

Phil broke down in tears, and said, Thank you, Joan, for your understanding. I m really having a terrible time right now with problems at work and with my family. They had a heartfelt conversation, and the incident deepened rather than damaged their friendship.
With understanding comes acceptance and forgiveness, as reflected by the beautiful words of Jesus Christ, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.
Next: Try to feel within yourself what part of you was hurt . Was it your pride? Your sense of trust or fairness? Interiorize your mind, and try to identify where, within your own ego, the pain resides. Visualize it as a pulsing sphere of locked up, self-protective energy. Then try gradually to release the energy of this turbulent vortex upward into the spiritual eye. When we do this, our egoic reference point begins to dissolve into awareness of our higher nature.
Finally: Change your expectations . When we let go of our ideas about how others should treat us, acceptance of the ups and downs of life becomes easier. It s a matter of shifting our awareness away from the thought that everything that happens must be measured against our own reaction to it. People s actions simply are what they are.
See yourself impersonally. Swami Kriyananda once said to me, Remember, no one is special to me. I m not even special to myself.
So the ultimate gift of forgiveness is this: It helps us to rise above the dualities of passing joy and sorrow, and to experience the true joy of unity with everything.
The Indian scriptures say, Forgiveness is the might of the mighty. It is quietness of mind. Forgiveness and gentleness are the qualities of the self-possessed. They represent eternal virtue.
In divine friendship ,
12 March 21, 2019
W hat an amazing dream God has created for us! It is engaging, intense, happy, sad, frustrating, fulfilling, and, above all, mesmerizing. And it is all of these at the same time, all of the time. Our days and weeks are so entrancing that we rarely step back to see a broader perspective. When we do so, we see that there are layers to the apparent reality.
First, and most obvious, is the physical level, that which is revealed to us by our senses. Secondly, there is the world of thoughts, emotions, and reactions. This level, too, is obvious to most people. But the third layer, the spiritual, is subtle and largely invisible. Yet, unless we become aware of the omnipresence of God in creation, we are strangers in a strange land, destined to roam forever through the dream-world of appearances. The challenge of life is to integrate all of these together.

At the Sierra Family Medical Clinic in Nevada City, California .
Near Ananda Village in Northern California is a clinic founded by one of our members, Dr. Peter Van Houten. Even though relatively small, the clinic has become nationally recognized for its practice of integrative medicine. Integrative medicine approaches patient care with the understanding that there are multiple layers to most health problems. Consequently the clinic has counseling available on site and a practice called a warm handoff. If a doctor feels that a physical condition is caused by emotional or behavioral problems, he not only prescribes counseling, but takes the patient to the counselor, introduces them, and makes an appointment on the spot. The result of the warm handoff is that a person is more than three times as likely to keep the appointment with the counselor than if they had simply been given a recommendation.
For the problems of life we need our own warm handoff from one layer to the next. It is not enough to acknowledge vaguely that a challenge may have an emotional dimension. We need actually to introduce the issue to our inner counselor, introspection. And then we need to recognize that our mental/emotional issues always have a deeper, spiritual dimension. We need to see behind our reactions to the attitudes that produce them, and behind the attitudes to our soul identity. If we try to solve a problem only on one plane, we will be no more successful than a smoker who blames the weather for his cough.
Try a little experiment with me. Take a situation that you re dealing with currently. First, see it clearly in all its details on the obvious, physical level. Then do a warm handoff to the emotional level. Forget about the endless details and concentrate on the causes of your emotional reactions. Are they due to fear of an unknown future? Or anger because some desire has been frustrated? Or the complex mix of emotions that arise when we want reality to be different and can t accept that what is, simply is? As you learn to get in touch with this layer of reality, you will gain much more control over your life.
Finally, make a warm handoff to the spiritual level. This is best done in meditation when the mind and emotions have been stilled. Every negative emotion has a spiritual solution. Fear is eliminated by faith. Desires dissolve in the fires of love for God and Gurus. And the inability to accept life is conquered by the realization that everything is God s dream and is created, as Yogananda said, for our entertainment and education.
Warmly ,
13 March 28, 2019

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