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.
The guru is that philosophers’ stone, for he or she transmutes the base metal of our ego into the pure gold of God-realization. The guru’s power, however, goes beyond even this. Swami Kriyananda once said that the guru’s inner touch ultimately transforms us into his own likeness—giving us the ability, to a greater or lesser degree, to transform others. In other words, we, too, become a philosophers’ stone.
In this new year, as we make resolutions to cast aside bad habits and adopt new ones for self-improvement, let’s not limit ourselves to activities that are, in the last analysis, still tied to the post of ego. Let’s also look at ways that we can unite our awareness with that of God and Guru.
Here are some suggestions:
Try to see all circumstances in your life from the broadest, most impersonal perspective. When difficulties arise, don’t think, “Oh, why is this happening to me?” Rather consider, “Something has happened of which I, and others, are a part.” Try to feel that you are only a small component of a greater reality. Look for the one divine consciousness behind the seeming diversity of perspectives and events.
Meditate on and inwardly repeat these lines from Yogananda’s poem “Samadhi”:
I, the Cosmic Sea,
Watch the little ego floating in me.
Judge no one, but accept all as expressions of God—as part of your own Self. Once when Swami Kriyananda was meditating in one of the sacred sites of Assisi, Italy, where St. Francis had lived, he was overwhelmed by a sense of inner sweetness. Feeling that this was the presence of St. Francis, Swamiji prayed to him, “How is such sweetness possible?” The answer that came to him in an instant was, “By never judging anyone, but accepting all as children of God.” The good and evil in this world are also a part of each one of us, which we can transcend and help others as well to transcend.
Meditate on and repeat these words from “Samadhi”:
Anger, greed, good, bad, salvation, lust,
I swallowed, transmuted all
Into a vast ocean of blood of my own one Being!
In 2017 live with the strength of will, courage, and determination to be a channel for God’s love and joy under all circumstances. Clutch the “philosophers’ stone” of Guru’s grace to your bosom, and pray that all the dross within you be melted away. Walk on inner paths that you haven’t before trod. Develop the courage to cast aside the old you, and to allow the power of the guru to flow through you unimpeded.
Meditate on and repeat these words from Yogananda’s poem, “The Noble New”:
Love all with love that none have felt, and brave
The battle of life with strength unchained.
United with you in our inner quest,
Full “Samadhi” poem by Paramhansa Yogananda: