Learning To Love

by Nayasvami Seva

From a young age, I wanted to know the purpose of life. What was it all about? Why was I born? I know that many people today ask the same questions, often after seeking answers in all the wrong ways, just as I did.

A long dry period
Before I found the spiritual path my life could be described as “a long dry period.” I never understood why people were so enthusiastic about growing up, going to college, marrying, raising children, and being successful when everything ended in death and forgetfulness. It made no sense to me. Only those few individuals who had an important history-making mission seemed never to die, but lived on in history.

Since I found myself living in a world I found incomprehensible, I tried to make the best of it. I went to a junior college, got a job, and then moved to California. With a college classmate and her sister, I drove cross country from the East Coast and finally ended up in San Francisco. It was 1957. I was 23 years old.

I loved the city of San Francisco and eventually obtained a stable, well-paid position as the accountant/bookkeeper for an architectural firm. I was still looking for true, lasting happiness. For a while, since there didn’t seem to be any alternative, I thought I would find happiness through outward experiences. But I eventually saw that I wasn’t finding any answers. Life still made no sense to me, and as far as I could tell, people were going no where.

Finally I find a lifeline
One night I became so discouraged that I swallowed far too many aspirins. In the midst of sickness and numbness, I called to God to help me. This was the first time in my life I had ever called to God. I was shocked to realize that I even believed there was such a Being. But God answered my prayer. Soon after, I went with a friend to a lecture in San Francisco given by Swami Kriyananda, who introduced me to Paramhansa Yogananda’s teachings, which gave me answers that made sense. Finally, I had a lifeline.

At the time I didn’t understand that when we start on the spiritual path we don’t change overnight. We don’t suddenly become joyful, even-minded, and all-forgiving. We take all of our unresolved karma – emotions, conflicts, and blocks – with us. I now had spiritual teachings and a guru to guide me, for which I was grateful beyond words, but I had no idea how many major challenges lay ahead.

After meeting Swami Kriyananda in 1967, I visited the small Ananda community as often as possible, while continuing to live and work in San Francisco. In 1970, I quit my job and moved to the Ananda Meditation Retreat, where the Ananda community first started.

Later I became part of the monastery at Ananda Village, which grew in time to close to a 100 people. The main value of the monastery was in giving many of us the opportunity to deepen our attunement to the spiritual path before we were drawn into other aspects of life — marriage, child-raising, or very demanding jobs.

I was already in charge of Ananda’s finances when Swami Kriyananda asked that I also oversee the women’s monastery. Being in charge of the finances put me in touch with nearly every aspect of the community. I conferred regularly with Swami Kriyananda and, for a year or so, served informally as overall community manager.

Completely at loose ends
In the early 1980s my life changed completely. The monastery fell apart – nearly all the monks and nuns got married. Since I remained single, I no longer had much contact with the people I’d been close to in the monastery. Increasingly, householders or married couples began leading the community. Around this same time, two people with accounting training and experience that far exceeded mine moved to the community, and it was only natural that they would take over my job.

Without a real job, and struggling to understand what work I was supposed to do, I was completely at loose ends. My self-esteem took a nose-dive. Looking back, I can see that everything that happened was divinely orchestrated to give me the challenges I needed to grow spiritually. God had a plan for me, complete with many new, and different, experiences.

Since there was no longer any work for me at Ananda Village, I was asked to go to Italy to help with the Ananda retreat just getting underway near Lake Como in northern Italy. I was there for nine months. During the colder months there wasn’t much to do. When not working as a cook’s assistant, I knitted sweaters, scarves and gloves.

Upon returning from Italy, I was asked to become co-director of the new Ananda center in Portland, Oregon. My time in Portland was a mixed experience. My first year included teaching, working as a waitress in the Ananda restaurant, and looking for a location at which to start a church. We did find a good location and the Ananda Portland church soon got underway. After a year, however, there was a change in co-directors and, once again, I found myself having my role cut back. My role was now limited to teaching, which was never my strength; I did not do well as a teacher.

Confused about why my life had taken this new turn, and feeling somewhat depressed, I returned to Ananda Village after two years in Portland. Since no other work was available, I took a job as a medical assistant at the nearby clinic, founded by an Ananda Village resident and physician. I was also strongly encouraged to seek professional counseling. Going into counseling and working in a job I would never have chosen for myself were big tests for me. But Ananda was my whole life and I wanted to cooperate, so I decided to give both a try.

Pulling out of my slump
In counseling I realized that I had always wanted to serve — to serve people and God, and that it really didn’t matter whether my outward service was “important.” I realized that it had actually mattered to me that my service be “important.” I could now see that my deepest desire was to go beyond ego, not to get trapped in my emotions and wrong attitudes.

The other important realization was that unless I wanted to sink into bitterness and despair, I needed to love. I chose love over anger, frustration, and depression. Truly, it was the only choice possible. Since I felt no love in my heart, I prayed to my Guru, Paramhansa Yogananda, and asked him to love people through me. I hoped thereby to learn how to love. Having these goals, which were clearly God’s gifts to me, began to pull me out of my slump.

I had experienced a big breakthrough in consciousness, but it wasn’t the end of the process. Many lessons followed, some of them very painful. Changing oneself is a long-term process, but with each step I was becoming happier, the journey was getting easier, and I found it easier to meet the tests with the right attitude.

Making the commitment to serve God and Guru through the work I was doing at the clinic — work that was not overtly spiritual — helped me understand that even a leaf, as it says in the Bhagavad Gita, is pleasing to God if offered with love and devotion. In  times of upliftment and joy, I realized how important it was to make the commitment to meditate and do Kriya Yoga every day. Kriya helps to burn up the karma that draws us away from God.

Looking at the world with love
Looking at the world with love, I began to see situations differently. People no longer hated me! (They never did, but I’d thought so). I could now see why people acted the way they did, and this understanding opened my heart even more. Asking Yogananda to love people through me eventually became such a joyful experience that I was able to love those who were negative, unbalanced, or using the spiritual path for selfish ends. Perhaps most difficult of all, I even began to see and love the Divine within me.

I learned not to let anything — no judgments or negativity on my part, and no one else’s negative attitudes toward me — pull me down. I now understood that people who disliked or misjudged me had their own karma to work out. Their thoughts and actions were not my concern.

As I understood relationships more deeply, I became more joyful in my interactions with people. Joy was creeping into my being, opening doors to expansive new experiences, and helping me understand the spiritual teachings more deeply. During those years I shed a lot of old karma. And I learned not to let anything interfere with my dedication to finding God in this lifetime.

Becoming a different person
I have come to see that to take up the spiritual path in earnest is to shed everything we think of as ourselves, all our desires and plans. When we give up our plans and surrender to God’s plan for us, we find true happiness. In that state of consciousness, hatreds and judgment can’t exist, human love doesn’t exist — only God’s love and what He wants of us. God’s plan for all of us is that we learn to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. As we do that, we become the person He intended us to be.

Nayaswami Seva, a founding member of Ananda, serves as a Lightbearer at Ananda Village. Since 1995, she had been an integral part of the staff of Crystal Clarity Publishers at Ananda Village.

Taken From: http://www.anandaclaritymagazine.com/2012/06/love-meditation-yogananda-god/

The Missing Years of Jesus

The last Biblical account of the childhood of Jesus tells of the time when, at age twelve, he traveled with his parents to Jerusalem at the feast of the passover, and how, at the start of the return trip to Nazareth, his parents discovered he was missing. After a separation of three days, they found him in the Jerusalem temple “amidst the doctors,” who were “astonished at his understanding and answers.”

In response to his mother’s concern, Jesus replied: “How is it that ye sought me? Wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?”* (See sidebar below for Bible account)

From then on nothing more appears in the Bible on the life of Jesus until his apparently sudden arrival on the scene at the age of thirty. Often people have asked the question: What transpired during those missing eighteen years?

Jesus had begun his mission
Assuming that what we find in the Bible is true—that Jesus returned to Nazareth with his parents, and was “subject unto them”—his “subjection” to them can hardly have lasted for eighteen years considering the “declaration of independence” he made to them at the age of twelve. Christian tradition has him working as a carpenter. Jesus, however, seems flatly to contradict that tradition, for his own words were, “Wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?”

After this strong statement, it is unthinkable that he would have simply gone home, remained there for eighteen years, and become a common apprentice and journeyman carpenter under Joseph until the age of thirty, and only then commenced his life’s mission. At twelve he had already told his parents he had God’s work to do. And, as he strongly implied, he had begun that mission already.

Westerners are likely to object, “But twelve is too young for any boy to begin a life mission!” His parents evidently held the same view. It is obvious, however, that Jesus did not hold it, for we find him telling them in no uncertain words—words very different, moreover, from what one would expect of any child of twelve—what he must do. In fact, he seems almost to have scolded them for finding him. Reflect that he made that statement after he had been missing for three whole days. Surely the event was extraordinary.

The tradition in India
The only episodes I know that were comparable to this story about Jesus, who was virtually renouncing every blood tie to his family, have occurred in the lives of great reincarnated masters. Paramhansa Yogananda recounted the following story to me as a historic fact: Swami Shankara told his mother at the age of six that he had decided to renounce the world for God. When she tried, quite naturally, to hold him, he jumped into a river and allowed himself—so the story goes—to be caught by a crocodile.

“Look, Mother!” he cried. “Either you give me your consent, or I will let this crocodile take me. Whatever happens, you won’t have me anymore!” Hastily she gave her permission. And the child, who had been born with divine power, made the crocodile release him, whereupon his life mission began.

Another example which occurred more recently involved Swami Pranabananda, a disciple of Lahiri Mahasaya.** Pranabananda, my Guru told me, attained full liberation and left his body. “In his next incarnation,” Yogananda said, “he left home at the age of six. His declared purpose was to join Babaji in the Himalayas.” After a brief pause, Yogananda continued with a smile, “It caused a lot of commotion in that village at the time!”

In the light of spiritual tradition—especially in India, where the lamp of spirituality has burned brightly for centuries—the declaration by Jesus at the age of twelve, that he must “be about his Father’s business,” was not unique. That he had, moreover, a karmic tie with India had already been indicated by the visit, soon after his birth, of the three wise men of the East.

Clearly then, those eighteen years must have been deliberately omitted from the official account of Christ’s life. Two vital questions forcibly intrude themselves on this picture: What was omitted? And,What was the reason for that omission?

The decision of the early Church Council 
In 1958, I had an interesting conversation with a prominent spiritual leader in India: Swami Bharati Krishna Tirtha, the Shankaracharya of Gowardhan Math. He was at that time the senior representative of the ancient Shankara Order of Swamis. Throughout the land people respected him highly as a man of truth and honor. My own experience with him, which covered many months, supports that reputation. I will quote something he told me, in his own words as exactly I can remember them, about one of the early Church Councils of Constantinople. He told me the date of that council, but I don’t recall it:

Some years ago I came into possession of one of only three copies of an ancient document which purported to be an account of the proceedings of one of the early Councils of Constantinople. In that council, the question was raised as to how the Church should deal with the record, which still existed, of the missing eighteen years of Jesus Christ’s life.

The problem raised was that the account might unsettle the faith of devout Christians. The Bible stated that Jesus had spent at least a number of those ‘lost’ years with great masters in India, to which land he had gone to study with them. The question raised in the council was whether Christians might not be shaken in their faith if they thought that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, had studied under anyone. The general feeling of the prelates was that the account should be removed in order to protect the devotion of the faithful.

At that point, someone in the audience got up and stated, ‘I am a layman, not a priest, and am aware that it is not customary for such as I to speak at these councils. However, I feel I must speak out. What I have to say is, if the apostles themselves were not shaken in their faith by this revelation, why should we who truly believe, all of us, that Jesus was the Son of God, have less trust then they? Surely the simple truth will not in any way diminish his stature in people’s eyes!’ The man’s objection was not considered, however, and the account of those eighteen years was removed forthwith from the Bible.

Testimony of a Master
Let me submit, also, what to me is the strongest testimony of all: the fact that Paramhansa Yogananda himself declared many times, as a definite fact, that Jesus Christ did visit India, and that he lived there for some years.

I had been with my Guru for just a month when he invited me to his desert retreat at Twenty-Nine Palms, California, where he was dictating his revised correspondence-course lessons. During one evening’s session he stated during dictation: “The three wise men who came to honor the Christ Child after his birth in Bethlehem were the line of gurus who later sent me to the West: Babaji, Lahiri Mahasaya, and Swami Sri Yukteswar.” This was heady stuff, especially for a young neophyte!

Yogananda announced to us also, “Jesus, in his youth, paid a return visit to India to study under the ‘wise men’ who had come to honor him as a baby.” People may wonder, as those prelates did at the Council of Constantinople, why an Incarnation of God needed to learn from anybody.

A liberated master, whose mission it is to mix with the public, must comport himself in such a way as not to impose his wisdom on those who hear him. It would be no help to them were he to overwhelm them with his omniscience in everything. He must, for their sake, seem down-to-earth and, in that sense, perfectly normal. Thus, it was perfectly normal for a great master—indeed, for an avatar like Jesus, which is to say an Incarnation of God—to assume for a time the slight veil of delusion, as well as the behavior of a normal human being, in order to help others, later.

The discovery of an ancient manuscript
There are records in India which support the claim that Jesus lived in that country for several years. In 1887, the Russian writer Nicolas Notovitch discovered in the ancient Tibetan monastery of Himis, in Leh, a province of Ladakh in northern Kashmir, an ancient manuscript which detailed the life of Jesus (called Issa in that work). It recounts that Issa had traveled there as a young man, and had later “preached the holy doctrine in India and among the children of Israel.” It tells how Jesus (Issa) left home to avoid pressure from his parents, Joseph and Mary, to take a wife. Legend has it that he traveled by camel caravan over the “Silk Road,” which was the main passage between the East and the West. Notovitch published a book which became famous in his time, called The Unknown Life of Jesus Christ. In it he described Issa (Jesus) spending time in Puri, Orissa, among the priests at the famous Jagannath Temple.

A prominent disciple of the great Sri Ramakrishna, Swami Abhedananada, later (in 1922) went to Ladakh in order to verify the account by Notovitch, and actually succeeded in doing so. Later still, Nicholas Roerich, the Russian artist who was then already well known as a veritable “Renaissance Man,” wrote in 1929 of the many legends he had heard in Kashmir about the visit of Jesus Christ to that land, and about the manuscripts at Himis monastery. In 1939, Madam Elisabeth G. Caspari, a Swiss musician, and her husband visited the Himis monastery and also learned about the manuscripts, which were shown to them.

The account of Jesus leaving home as a boy to avoid marriage is very much in keeping with ancient tradition in India. Marriage in Israel, too, was arranged in those days after a boy reached the age of thirteen.  Jesus himself explained his return  to Israel, after the “lost eighteen years,” when he declared that it was his destiny to fulfill his mission in Israel. He therefore returned to Israel.

* Sidebar
Luke 2:41–52

Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem. And, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it. They, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day’s journey and then sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintances.

And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, and after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.

And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, “Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? Behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.” And he said unto them, “How is it that ye sought me? Wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?” And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them.

And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.

** An account of his life appears in  Autobiography of a Yogi.

From Revelations of Christ, proclaimed by Paramhansa Yogananda, presented by his disciple, Swami Kriyananda, Crystal Clarity Publishers. To order click here

Permanent Kundalini by Tao

Stemming from my post on 16th October 2012, entitles: A Very Serious Accusation… A Serious Discussion, Tao Semko reveals the necessary proofs of Kundalini Awakening.

 

Part 1 of 2

Part 2 of 2

I can only hope that the wider public now understands that Kundalini in its true sense, is not of the haggard description given in the aforementioned post.

 

A Very Serious Accusation… Very Serious Discussion….

Look at the video below and then scroll down for my commentary.

COMMENTARY by SKLADUM

The first mention of my discussion is that this video takes a lot of courage, and no doubt Mr. Andrew Storm believes he knows what is being taught and done with regards to Kundalini Shakti, as experienced and witnessed by him.

Unfortunately, this is not the case. What is exhibited in this video concerning Kundalini Shakti is no doubt NOT Kundalini. If one reads the mentionings of Kundalini Shakti in all the Sacred Hindu Scriptures, one would see clearly that, alas, this is not Kundalini. The so called “Gurus” in this video are not Gurus either. A Guru is a person so far enlightened that, the closest way to describee him or her is to say that he/she is a Saint.

For example: Mahavatara Babaji endorses Christianity, promotes peace and virtue, does not impart spirits of the sort in this video and does not seek to Practise or have his followers practise Kundalini Shakti.

A true Guru does not care about the lesser workings of the body considered in Kundalini Shakti, does not care about twitches and drunken laughter, does not care about spreading movements far and wide, but cares about Stillness, True Peace, Real Virtue, Unveiling God, Revealing God to others by aiding others and spreading Love. Not false pretenses as exhibited in this video.

Granted the evidence here presented, I do not say the Mr Andrew Storm is at fault at all. The practices exhibited by both the Charismatic Movements herein mentioned and the Kundalini Movements are both false practices.

A desire for the reaching out to God is here replaced by a desire to “see” and to fancy and to bee a part of something more exciting. That exhilaration  placed with adrenaline and such bodily functions are not the work of Gurus. Gurus teach a person to re-become that soul, to move away from the affairs of the body and  the attachment of the world and find God. Not the foolishness exhibited in this video.

Furthermore, there is an intrinsic problem in all religions in the world. This problem is called “calling”  vs “choosing”. Many persons decide to become priests, pastors, bishops, pandits etc without having been called by God. What does that mean? It means that whether or not you are called to a spiritual life, especially that of a leader where it is then your God-give duty to shepherd people, is NOT YOUR DECISION! It belongs to GOD and GOD ONLY!

The problem is therefore two-fold. Firstly, the current leaders do not possess the spiritual acumen to know whether or not a future applicant has been called. Secondly, the future applicant may or may not ave been called, but may become a leader nonetheless.

In today’s world, it only takes a little bit of brain to become a spiritual leader. Am I the only person who thinks something is wrong with that? Spirituality and Religion have become separate because Religious Leaders are no longer all spiritual. Two things that are born from the same womb, now have different perspectives. One finds its way in books and politics of an organised faith. The other does not care for politics, for foolishness or for any position but does his/her duty to help people realise God.

Let us use a controversial example, Karol Wojtyla, better known as Pope John Paul II. Indeed, as head of the Roman Catholic Church he was a Religious Leader, but was he not also spiritual? Did he not essay to lead people closer to God? Was he not a man of Prayer and Devotion to God?

Thus the late Pope was both Religious and Spiritual. A Guru exercises the work of a Spiritual Leader, not a religious one. He is knowledgeable in all things, but does not boast of his knowledge. He chastises every wrong, but with the kindness and love of a soft heart that corrects these and makes them right.

‘Can one blind person guide another? Surely both will fall into a pit.’

Luke 6:39

Mr Storm, do not kill the man because his hand is rotten. Cut off the hand. The persons in these videos follow blind leaders and they are all blind! You have damned 1 billion people because of 100,000.

No doubt the behaviour exhibited by all in this video is the workings of unclean spirits, whatever they may be, but the practices therein do not speak for all of Hinduism and it definitely does not speak for Gurus, few of whom are ever spied photographically or otherwise.

The reward of the false is well known:

‘When the day comes many will say to me, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, drive out demons in your name, work many miracles in your name?” Then I shall tell them to their faces: I have never known you; away from me, all evil doers!’

– Matthew 7:22-23

But I have one last thing to add:

‘Why not judge for yourselves what is upright?’

– Luke 12:57

 

My Heart Belongs to… God!!!

The Love of my Life is God!

Some people might think that’s crazy but God is the only constant in my life apart from myself, and I’m not even sure the latter is veritable. Psalm 27 begins:

“The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom should I fear?
The Lord is the fortress of my life, whom should I dread?
When the wicked arise against me to eat me up,
They, my opponents, my enemies, are the ones who stumble and fall;
Though an army pitch camp against me, my heart will not fear;
Though war break out against me, my trust will never be shaken.”

– Psalm 27: 1-3

Another verse of the Psalm reads thus:

“Though my father and mother forsake me, YHVH will gather me up.”

– Psalm 27: 10

The implications of this alone are astounding. Even when parents fail, God is there; in danger of the worst kind, God is there. A long time ago I moved past faith in God to knowing that God is there, or here rather.

The thing is, God is within us and all around us:

“Rather, the Kingdom of Heaven is inside you and it is outside you.”

Gospel of St. Thomas Didymos

This is how we know that God is not “Our Father who art in Heaven“. No, He is “Our Father who art omnipresent; or as the original prayer in Galilean Aramaic reads:

Abwun d’bwischmaya

“O Thou, from whom the Breath of Life comes, who fills all realms of light and vibration”

Well! That seems way more thorough! Indeed, it is because if his presence that my heart truly belongs to God. While I enjoy the so-called benefits, or rather instincts of humanity, my heart –  this muscle that pumps blood around, which carries in it the life force, from him “whom the Breath of Life (itself) comes” – belongs to the One that has given me life, that has seen fit to sustain it, that shall grant me death; but more, has seen fit to be with me through it all!

Who could be greater?

Love

‘Love is always patient and kind;
Love is never jealous;
Love is not boastful or conceited,
It is never rude and never seeks its own advantage,
It does not take offence or store up grievances.
Love does not rejoice at wrong doing,
But finds its joy in the truth.
It is always ready to make allowances,
To trust, to hope,
And to endure whatever comes.’

– 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, The Holy Bible

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‘When love beckons to you follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you. And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.
For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth. Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.
He threshes you to make you naked.
He sifts you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God’s sacred feast.
All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life’s heart.
But if in your fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshing-floor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.
Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed; For love is sufficient unto love. When you love you should not say, “God is in my heart,” but rather, I am in the heart of God.”
And think not you can direct the course of love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.
Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.’

– Khalil Gibran, The Prophet

__________________________________________________________________________

‘Love is the first born, loftier than the Gods, the Fathers and men. You O Love, are the eldest of all, altogether mighty. To you we pay homage! In many forms of goodness, O Love, you show your face. Grant that these forms may penetrate our hearts.’

– Atharva Veda IX 2.19

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