Monday, October 16, 2017

Autobiography of a Yogi - Paramahamsa Yogananda

Paramahamsa Yogananda, born Mukunda Lal Ghosh in Gorakhpur (1893-1951), spent a lifetime in yogic practices trying to get humanity to express the beauty, nobility and the divinity
He was the founder of the Yogoda Satsanga Society of India, . Born to a spiritual man who worked in a high position in Nagpur- Calcutta Railway and a mother who was an embodiment of love and generosity. Both were disciples of Lahiri Mahasaya and initiated young Mukunda into the kriya yoga.
Yogoda Satsanga Society of India, Rs. 125, 499 p
Paramahamsa Yogananda was deemed to be born to bridge the divide between the East and West by the many gurus who blessed him and guided him - to balance the material and spiritual centres. After his birth in Gorakhpur, young Mukunda showed his early desire to understand the spiritual aspect and even ran away to the Himalayas in search of God. After meeting many saints and yogis such as the Perfume saint, Tiger swami, Levitating saint Nagendranath Bhaduri, the saint with two bodies, Master Mahasaya, Jagadis Chandra Bose, the sleepless saint among others he found his guru in Sri Yukteswar Giri in Serampore near Calcutta. He continued his spiritual journey with his guru and also completed his graduation. Being initiated into the Kriya Yoga by his guru Sri Yukteswar who was a disciple of Lahiri Mahasaya who was himself initiated into it by the deathless saint Babaji Swami Yogananda established a centre in Ranchi before going to the USA to spread the practice of Kriya Yoga there.

Some of the lines in the book that I'd like to view again.
"To be one with God."

"..never allowed the  ego principle to consider itself a causative force. By the perfection of his surrender to the Prime Healing Power, the master enabled it to flow freely through him." - On healing

"The ego principle is the root cause of dualism, separation between man and creator, brings humans under maya, by which the objects falsely appear as the object and the creatures imagine themselves to be the creator."

"The body is manufactured and sustained by the mind. Habit bound body thwarts the mind. Mind is the master, body the slave."

'By indomitable persistence in thought, of health and strength, I overcame the handicap. I see tigers as pussy cats. What stronger people lacked is the cool confidence and mental strength I had when facing a tiger." - Tiger swami

"Don't mistake the technique for the goal."

"I left a few rupees for a cosmic empire of endless bliss."

"The divine order arranges our future more wisely than any insurance company. The One who gave us air and milk form our first breath knows how to provide day by day for his devotees."

"Plants ave a varied emotional life." - Jagdis Chandra Bose

"The borders of physics and physiology are vanishing."

"Pursuit of truth with infinite patience."- J.C. Bose

"Metals are subject to fatigue...regain efficiency."

"God realisation through a single concept of Cosmic Beloved."

"Absolute is without qualities (nirguna) and inconceivable (acintya)'

'The shastras consist of Shruthi (what can be directly heard), smriti (what must be remembered), purana (ancient allegories) and tantra (rites and rituals)'

"Kriya yoga quickens man's spiritual evolution. Incarnating ego requires a million years to gain liberation from maya, shortened through kriya yoga."

"Is the whole world going to change for you? Change yourself... be rid of the mosquito consciousness." - Sri Yukteswar Giri

"The super consciousness regardless of the multitudinous distractions, never absent from this earth. In the first state of samadhi the devotee shuts off all sensory testimony to the outer world.'

"In the presence of a man perfected in ahimsa, enmity does not arise."

'Wanton loss of a human body is a serious transgression against the karmic law.'

"Medicines have limitations, the divine creator's force has none. Believe that and you shall be well."

"It has been your thoughts that have made you feel alternately weak and strong. You have seen how your health has exactly followed your subconscious expectations. Thought is a force, even as electricity or gravitation. The human mind is a spark of almighty consciousness of God. Whatever your powerful mind believes very intensely, would come to pass instantly."

"All creation is governed by law. The principles that operate in the outer universe are called natural laws. Subtle laws rule the hidden spiritual planes and the inner realm of consciousness"

"The active expression of virtue gives rise to the keenest intelligence."

"Every individual in the world has an inalienable right to his free will."

'Wisdom is the greatest cleanser."

"The body is a treacherous friend. Give it its due, no more.. Pain and pleasure are transitory, endure all dualities with calmness, trying at the same time to remove yourself beyond their power. Imagination is the door through which disease as well as healing enters. Disbelieve in the reality of sickness even when you are ill; an unrecognised visitor will flee."

"So long as you breathe the free air of earth, you are under obligation to render grateful service."

"Tender inner weakness, revolting at mild touches of censure, are like diseased parts of the body, recoiling before even delicate handling."

'Roam in the world as a lion of self-control, don't let the frogs of sense weakness kick you around."

"Sexual instinct has been implanted by Nature solely for propagation of the species. Conserve your powers. Be like the capacious ocean, absorbing quietly all the tributary rivers of the senses."

"Wisdom is not assimilated with the eyes, but with the atoms.'

"Discovering Lord within, we perceive him without.'

'As soon as the devotee is willing to go even to the ends of the earth for spiritual enlightenment, his guru appears nearby."

"It is the spirit of God that actively sustains every form and force in the universe. Those who attain self-realisaton on earth live a similar two-fold existence - performing their work in the world, they are yet immersed in an inward beautude."

"Ever-new joy is God. In meditation one finds His instant guidance, his adequate response to every difficulty.'

'Intuition is soul guidance, appearing naturally in man during those instants when his mind is calm.'

'By deep concentration, a master is able to detect the thoughts of any man, living or dead.'

'Foundations of Hindu music are rages or fixed melodic scales. The 6 basic ragas branch out into 126 derivative raginis and putras (sons). Each raga has a minimum of 5 notes - a leading note (vadi or king), a secondary note (samavadi or prime minister), helping note (anuvadi or attendant) and a dissonant note (vivadi, the enemy).'

'Each of the basic ragas has a natural correspondence with a certain hour of the day, season of the year and a presiding deity who bestows a particular potency. Hindole raga - dawn in spring - universal love, Deepaka raga - evening in summer - compassion, Megha raga - midday in rainy season - courage, Bhairava raga - morning of August, September and October - tranquility, Sri raga - autumn twilight  - pure love and Malkounsa raga - midnights in winter - valour.'

'The sound alliance between man and nature. Nature is an identification of Aum. The human voice is the most perfect instrument of sound.'

'All parts of creation are linked together and interchange their influences. the balanced rhythm of the universe is rooted in reciprocity.'

'The message boldly blazoned across the heavens at the moment of birth is not meant to emphasise fate - the result of past good and evil - but to arouse man's will to escape from his universal thralldom. '

'What he (man) has done, he can undo. None other than himself was the instigator of the causes of whatever effects are now prevalent in his life. He can overcome any limitation because he has created it, by his own actions in the first place, and because he possesses spiritual resources that are not subject to planetary pressure."

'The wise man defeats his planets - which is his past - by transferring his allegiance from the creation to the creator. The more he realises his unity with the spirit, the less he can be dominated by matter. The soul is ever free, it cannot be regimented by the stars.'

'By prayer, will power, yoga meditation, consultation with saints, astronomical bangles - adverse effects can be minimised.'

'The deeper the self realisation of a man, the more he influences the whole universe by his subtle spiritual vibrations and the less he himself is affected by phenomenal flux.'

'The starry inscription at once birth is not that man is a puppet of his past. It's message is rather to a prod to pride, the very heavens seek to arouse man's determination to be free from every limitation. Man's freedom is final and immediate if he so wills, it depends not on outer but inner victories.'

'The point between the eyebrows, is the seat of spiritual vision.'

'Ability to enter at will the breathless state (sabakalpa samadhi) and by attainment of immutable bliss (nirbikalpa samadhi).

'Anyone who practices a scientific technique for divine realisation is a yogi.'

'A swami belongs to the monastic order, may conceivably follow only the path of dry reasoning or cold renunciation.'

'Yoga restrains natural imbalances of thoughts.'

'Yoga system  is a 8 fold path. Moral conduct - yama, Religious observance - niyama, Right posture - asana, Control of life's currents - pranayama, Withdrawal of senses from external objects - pratyahara, Concentration (holding the mind to one thought) - dharana, Meditation - dhyana, Superconscious - samadhi : leading to Kaivalya or absoluteness.'

'Those who habitually speak the truth develop the power of manifesting their words.'

'Kriya yoga - Kri - to act,, react, the union with the infinite through a certain action or tite
It decarbonates the blood and oxygenates it. Kriya Yoga consists of body discipline, mental control and meditating on the Aum. It is the process through which human evolution can be quickened.'

'The meditation expert becomes externally free who seeking the supreme goal is able to withdraw from external phenomena by fixing his gaze within the midpoint of his eyebrows, by neutralising the even currens of apana and prana within the nostrils and lungs, and to control his sensory mind and intellect, and to banish desire, fear and anger.'

'To remove the veil of maya is to uncover the seat of creation.'

'The law of miracles is operable by any man who has realised that the essence of creation is light. A master is able to employ his divine knowledge of light phenomena to project instantly into perceptible manifestation the ubiquitous light above. the actual form of projection is determined by the yogi's wish and by his power of will and visualisation.'

'The whole cosmos is a projected thought of the creator. All earth's molecules are held together by the will of God.'

'The secret of improved plant breeding apart from scientific knowledge, is love.'

'Dualities are ever present on earth - disease and health, pain and pleasure, loss and gain.'

'Truth is exact correspondence with reality.'

'God is love. His plans for creation can be rooted only in love.'

In the end, there is a chapter where Sri Yukteswar Giri returns to talk to Swami Yogananda after his death. Resurrected, he tells him that he is now in an astral planet and gives many answers to Swami Yogananda on the human soul's evolution and progression, life and death.

"The human soul has three bodies - the causal body (ideas), the astral body (emotion and feeling) and the gross physical body (senses). On earth a man is equipped with his physical senses. An astral being work with his consciousness and feeling and a body made of lifetrons (prana). A causal body remains in the blissful realm of ideas. My work is with the astral beings who are preparing to enter the causal world.'

'Friends of other lives easily recognise one another in the astral world. Rejoicing at the immortality of friendship, they realise the indestructibility of love, often doubted at the time of sad delusive parting of earthly life.'

'The recurring cycles of astral and physical encasement are the ineluctable destiny of all unenlightened beings. Scriptural definitions of heaven and hell sometimes stir man's deeper than subconscious memories of his long series of experiences in the blithesome astral and disappointing terrestrial worlds.'

'Man as an individualised soul is essentially causal bodied. A matrix of 35 ideas - 19 elements of astral and 16 of gross physical make this 35. The 19 elements are mental, emotional, lifetronic - intelligence, ego, feeling, mind, 5 instruments of knowledge, 5 instruments of action and 5 instruments o life force.'

'The fleshly body is made of the fixed, objectified dreams of the Creator. When man's desire to live is severely shaken by disease or other causes, death arrives. The heavy overcoat of flesh is temporarily shed.'

'The soul is encased in astral and causal bodies. Cohesive force holding these is desire. The power of unfulfilled desires is the root of all man's slavery.'

'When desirelessness is attained through wisdom its power disintegrates the remaining vessels. The tiny human soul emerges at last it is one with the measureless amplitude.'

'When a soul finally gets out of the 3 jars of bodily delusions, it becomes one with the infinite without any loss of individuality.'

'The karmic debt / desires of men must be worked out before continuous stay in astral worlds.'

'Two kinds of beings live in the astral spheres. Those who still have earthly karma to dispose of and who must therefore reinhabit a gross physical body in order to pay their karmic debts could be classified, after physical death, as temporary visitors to he astral world rather than as established residents.'

'Beings with unredeemed earthly karma are not permitted after astral death to go to the high causal sphere of cosmic ideas, but must shuttle to and from from the physical and astral worlds only, conscious successively of their physical body of 16 gross elements, and of their astral body of nineteen subtle elements. After each loss of his physical body, an undeveloped being from the earth remains for the most part in the deep stupor of the death-sleep and is hardly conscious of the beautiful astral sphere. After the astral rest, such a man returns to the material plane for further lessons, gradually accustoming himself, through repeated journeys, to the worlds of subtle astral texture.'

'Normal or long-established residents of the astral universe, on the other hand, are those who, freed forever from all material longings, need return no more to the gross vibrations of earth. Such beings have only astral and causal karma to work out.'

'The interpretation of man's three bodies is expressed in many ways through his threefold nature. In the wakeful state on earth a human being is conscious more or less of his three vehicles. When he is sensuously intent on tasting, smelling, touching, listening or seeing, he is working principally through his physical body. Visualising or willing, he is working mainly through his astral body. His causal being finds expression when man is thinking or diving deep in introspection or meditation, the cosmical thoughts of genius come to the man who habitually contacts his causal body. In this sense, an individual may be classified broadly as 'a material man', 'an energetic man' or 'an intellectual man.'

'A man identifies himself about sixteen hours daily with his physical vehicle. Then he sleeps, if he dreams he remains in his astral body, effortlessly creating any object even as do astral beings. If man's sleep be deep and dreamless, for several hours he is able to transfer his consciousness, or sense of I-ness, to the causal body; such sleep is revivifying. A dreamer is contacting his astral and not his causal body; his sleep is not fully refreshing.'

On his return from the USA Swami Yogananda meets several personalities - Therese Neumann, Ananda Moi, Giri Bala, Mahatma Gandhi, Ramana Maharshi, Rabindranath Tagore and others.

The book resonates with many ideas. Of human will, discipline, the power of the mind, right routines and practices. It goes far beyond that of course, the small introduction into astral plane and causal life by the resurrected Sri Yukteswar Giri throws light upon many inconceivable aspects. Love, surrender, belief, truth, reality are words used to go past the suffering of duality of life. Many examples of miracles are given through the saintly people he meets including materialising human bodies and other things, predicting futures, healing illnesses and even reviving the dead. To disbelieve something that we cannot see or comprehend is foolish and all one can do is try and start where one can - in the daily practice of life and in conquering inner victories over the mind. It has taken me a long time to start and complete the book. It is certainly a book that will mean different things each time one reads it. 

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