Aloha! We’re currently relaxing on Kauai, one of the beautiful Hawaiian Islands, on a two-week vacation that was gifted to us by many friends from Ananda. One hears “Aloha” everywhere here, because it’s a word with multiple meanings: “hello,” “good-bye,” “love,” “compassion,” and “welcome.”
Once Paramhansa Yogananda was attending a wedding with some of his disciples, and at a certain point he began handing out different-colored roses to the women devotees. After receiving her rose from the Guru, one woman expressed disappointedly, “But I wanted a pink rose, not a red one.”
Historians tell us that medieval alchemists were continually in search of the elusive “philosophers’ stone,” that mythical substance which could turn base metals into gold. As far as we know, they never succeeded in their quest, but there is a different kind of philosophers’ stone which we have already discovered.
In this Christmas season, it’s important to reflect on the deeper message of Christ’s life and birth. Paramhansa Yogananda told his disciples that it was Jesus himself who appeared to Babaji in the Himalayas, and asked him to send these teachings to the West in order to reveal the deeper meaning of Christianity. Through people’s practice of meditation, they could experience Jesus as a living reality—a being with whom they can commune, rather than merely read about in the Bible.
We were sitting on the beach our first evening in Puri, India, gazing at the moonlight on the waves and listening to the crashing of the surf on the shore. Seventy devotees would be joining us in two days for a pilgrimage to sacred sites in this area, which is considered to be one of the holiest in India.
Recently while in Pune, India, I asked an old friend how he felt he’d changed spiritually over the years. He replied, “It’s hard to see change from one day to the next, but looking back I see that I’m not the same person I used to be, though my nature remains much the same. In the past I used to be skeptical about everything, but now doubt has nearly disappeared as God and Guru's presence has grown. I may still question things in order to understand them better, but I’m no longer plagued with a doubting nature.”
America has made its choice now in this presidential election. The world may well be facing troubled times, as the United States and all nations come to terms with a dramatic break from past values and models of government. Already waves of uncertainty, confusion, and fear are moving across the planet.
As we gathered in the early morning sunlight for group sadhana in Chennai, everyone was filled with eager anticipation of what lay ahead. After months of effort, we would officially be dedicating the new Center that evening, and friends would be gathering from all over India for the event.
We came into the world just weeks apart, Autobiography of a Yogi and I, born together in December 1946. Both of us were riding on waves of human hope: I was part of the “baby boomer” generation that emerged after millions of American servicemen returned from World War II. Hoping to leave the horrors of war behind, the soldiers wanted nothing more than to create a secure, prosperous life for their children.