Stages of Enlightenment
By Romila, UK
September 10th, 2014

Question

Is there a difference between the state of being Spiritually Awakened and Self Realisation? Thank you very much for helping me understand

Answer

Dear Romila,

The problem with using words to describe states of enlightenment is that words exist on the level of the conscious mind, while soul experiences exist on a higher, superconscious level. It's often difficult to translate one into the other.

One could certainly make a case that being "spiritually awakened" or "Self-realized" is the same thing. You would probably need to ask whoever used these terms how they were defining them.

The important thing to understand is the basic concept which may be called by many different names. This is a state where the individual soul has transcended limited, separate ego existence and has merged his identity into the vast ocean of spirit.

There are many stages and steps along the journey, but I find it more helpful to see the whole spiritual path as a continuous flow and self-offering to God.

In divine friendship,

Nayaswami Devi

The Dharma (Spiritual Duty) of Having Children
By Kaivalya, USA
September 10th, 2014

Question

Should one give up having a child for the spiritual path OR can having a child be ones dharma, gods will, a part of the spiritual path? How do you know which path is for you? What path do you take in marriage if both people have differing viewpoints (desires)? What are Yogananda's guidelines about having children?

with Gratitude,
Kaivalya~

Answer

Dear Kaivalya,

The paths to God are as varied as there are individuals. For some people, being a renunciate and withdrawing from all worldly involvement is the way to inner freedom. For others fulfilling one's earthly responsibilities with non-attachment and with the thought of God brings realization.

Certainly raising children is the spiritual dharma for many people. If you are uncertain as to what is right for you, the best course to follow is to pray for guidance. Concentrate deeply at the spiritual eye, and offer your prayer-demand to God with deep focus and sincerity. Then try to feel the divine answer in your heart as a calm, clear, joyful feeling.

If both partners in a marriage do not feel clear about having children, it's best to wait. Raising a child is a lifetime responsibility, and unless you can joyfully embrace this step, it is often a cause of unhappiness and stress. It's important for a couple to talk about this step, and to agree together if and when they are ready for children.

Yogananda did not say specifically if it was better for people to have children or not. He was too great a soul not to know that everyone's karma is different.

What he did say was parents should fulfill this dharma without a sense of attachment to their children or to the thought that raising a family in and of itself will bring fulfillment. He said to feel you are serving God through your children, and to offer your service back to God.

The best attitude in all aspects of life is to hold the thought that our true happines lies in God alone.

Nayaswami Devi

A Path for All Religions
By Susan , US
September 10th, 2014

Question

I am profoundly drawn to Yogananda as my Guru (since 1984), but have great difficulty reconciling my Jewish heritage with the Christian focus in the teachings. (Years ago, I stopped Kriya, but still do Hong Sau). I felt drawn back again and found Ananda-just ordered the courses. But can I truly be a Devotee if I cannot accept Christ or Christian celebrations like Christmas? After more than two decades wrestling with this issue, I hope you can provide guidance to help me resolve it. Thx

Answer

Dear Susan,

Yogananda called his places of worship, "Churches of All Religions," because the teachings he brought, and especially Kriya Yoga, are a universal path to God. The practice of meditation and Kriya are not limited by any religious creed or affiliation, but are based on the Yogic Sciences which deal with the evolution of consciousness.

When Yogananda speaks of Jesus, he explains in great depth that he is speaking of a liberated Master, who has attained "Christ consciousness," or oneness with God. This is the goal of all yogic practices. He is not referring to him as Christians typically do in a sectarian sense.

The outward celebrations of Easter or Christmas are not at all central to the teachings of this path. They are symbolic of honoring one of our line of gurus who is helping to unite the best of East and West.

Yogananda said that part of his mission was to bring back the original teachings of Christianity as taught by Jesus and the original teachings of India as taught by Krishna. And after all, Jesus was a Jew, so with your Jewish heritage you are more prepared to understand them as they were originally taught. As Jesus said, "I come not to destroy the law and the prophets but to fulfill them."

Nayaswami Devi

Intuition and Superconsciousness
By Amarjeet, India
September 10th, 2014

Question

I wanted to develop intutive power

Answer

Intuitive insight is an expression of superconsciousness. This is developed by a deep, regular practice of meditation. The more we concentrate at the higher chakras - especially the spiritual eye and the heart center - the more we are able to tune in to higher levels of awareness.

Yoganandaji taught that the spiritual eye is like a sending station that can project our thoughts and questions to the Divine. The heart is the receiving station and is able to draw intuitive answers. But our consciousness needs to be calm and impersonal before we can clearly send or receive thoughts clearly. This is way deep meditation is so important to the process.

Also remember that devotion and surrender to God is essential - we must want to do His will, not just develop powers.

Nayaswami Devi

Uprooting Thoughts of Failure
By Padma, US
September 10th, 2014

Question

I'm struggling with thoughts of failure...

Answer

Thoughts of failure or success are rooted in the subconscious mind and can affect everything we do. When adverse circumstances, such a losing a job, come to us, it's important to find a way to exert strong, positive energy to keep failure consciousness from getting established in our minds.

Yogananda says, "When something is threatening to hurt you, do not sit idle - do something calmly, do something quickly, do something, mustering all the power of your will and judgment. Uproot fear by forceful concentration upon courage, and once you have uprooted it, get busy with methods to acquire prosperity."

Try to help your friend to see that this is an opportunity for him to find his own source of inner strength and confidence.

Nayaswami Devi

Liberation and Finding God
By Jason, Los Angeles
September 10th, 2014

Question

Has Swami Kriyananda found liberation and God?

Answer

Your question actually has two parts and therefore needs two answers. First, has Swami Kriyananda found liberation? There are different stages of liberation. In the jivan muktan state, you have advanced to the stage where you acquire no new karma, but may have residual karma from the past to overcome.

The stage of final freedom, or siddha, is rare. Yoganandaji said, "Very few saints on earth have achieved final liberation, becoming siddhas, or perfected beings." Swami Kriyananda is a highly advanced soul, but I do not know if he has achieved final liberation at this time.

The second part of the question," Has he found God?" is easier to answer. During the last years, he has frequently said, "I feel so much bliss, I can hardly contain it anymore," and "I don't know anymore where Kriyananda ends and Master begins." So, yes, I would say that he has found God.

Nayaswami Devi