Saturday, April 20, 2013

81. Sri Yogananda. Part 3

All inhabitants of this planet had already achieved nirbikalpa samadhi ( the highest form of samadhi) in the world, before entry to this planet. They had passed through other planets where nearly everybody goes after death. They may have done redemptive work on other planets to qualify for entry in Hiranyaloka. There was another group of inhabitants who had come from a still higher (spiritually ) place called ‘ causal world’.  They were near perfect beings.

Human soul is successively encased in three bodies; the causal body, the astral body, and the gross physical body. The causal body is the idea, the astral body is the mind, the seat of mental and emotional faculties, and the physical body we know well; arms, legs, heart; etc.  A causal body remains in the realm of ideas. The inhabitants of Hiranyaloka possessed the astral and causal body. No physical body.

Sri Yukteshwar work involved with those astral beings who were preparing to enter the causal world.

There were many astral planets, teeming with inhabitants. Astral being travelled at speeds faster than light. Astral world was much more beautiful and pure. All astral being still had feelings. Their life span was longer than on earth, while advanced astral beings lived,  on average, from five hundred to a thousand years. They ate astral food. Advanced beings, such as those on Hiranyaloka, ate very little. Inhabitants of causal world did not eat at all.

Inhabitants of astral worlds, could be reborn on this earth, or in a superior world like Hiranyaloka, depending on their karma.

Causal beings, encased only in causal body, can materialize anything in sheer thought. They have immense powers. However they cannot merge with the Infinite Sea, because they have a body. Presence of a body means unfulfilled desire. Once they get rid of the remaining desires, the tiny human soul emerges, free at last, and becomes one with the sea of Spirit.

A man is in his physical body. In a dream he is in his astral body. In the dream, like astral beings, he can create any thing by sheer thought. If he enters into deep dreamless state, he transfers his I-ness to the causal body. He wakes up refreshed.

Visualizing is done through astral body. Deep meditation or introspection expresses a taste of the causal world

Those causal being who come back to Hiranyaloka are still imperfect. They desire the astral delights, so they are reborn in an inferior world.

Sri Yukteshwar stayed in that Bombay room for 2 hours. He indicated that he could travel even to the causal world.

Jesus Christ was free of the three encasement of the soul even before he was born.

Some thoughts. This mote has been struck by some excerpts:

1.   ‘Spiritual advancement is solely measured by the depth of his bliss during meditation.’ Other mystics have not said so. Some ( like St John of Cross ) have even warned not to aim for bliss, because it may become a distraction, from the real aim of complete surrender to God, and be happy in whatever state  He keeps you, even if it is aridity.

2. ‘Union with God is possible through self-effort, …………..and not on the arbitrary will of a Cosmic Dictator’ . These are the words of Lahiri Mahasaya. This is , according to this poor mote’s understanding, contrary to what all other great mystics have said. Everybody has said that God-realization is not in man’s hands. Ultimately it is God’s decision ( see blog 26). Nobody knows how He decides. God’s grace is not in our control

3. Meditation by Kriya Yoga gives such bliss that one likes to do more of it. More of spiritual bliss leads to less of evil passions. Base side of human nature gradually comes under one’s control. In simple words one becomes good. Therefore, Lahiri Mahasaya said, that without such a course, mere moral teachings are ineffective. This Mote testifies to the truth of his statement from personal experience ( see blog 43). Although I did not practice Kriya  yoga  but meditation through the path of love for God, my character was partially purified. The reason I  am bringing this quotation at this blog, is because this is similar to what Shahab said about Islamic mysticism ( see blog 32); that one becomes a better person after following the mystical practices, , because he starts following the shiriat (or following the tenets of Islam ). Mystical practices are just enticing toys ( of dazzling lights and sounds ) to bring the seekers towards the real religion of shiriat. This is a critical difference between  Lahiri Mahasaya and Shahab. Although, both attest to the beneficial effects of meditation, Shahab does not find any need to pursue the mystical practices, whereas in Hindu mysticism meditation is never to be abandoned, because it is the means to union with God. To Shahab, ideal person lives in the world, fully. He fulfils his duties as husband, father, citizen, with integrity, while following the five tenets of Islam. Meditation has no role. Union with God is absolutely impossible, and therefore, not desired.

Friday, April 19, 2013

80. Sri Yogananda. Part2

Therese only knew ordinary German, but during the trance, she would utter phrases in ancient Aramaic, and at appropriate times she would speak in Greek or Hebrew languages

Sri Yogananda and his American companions met her and he was struck by her simplicity and holiness. She was a picture of health with rosy cheeks. She confirmed with her own lips that she does not eat or drink (except the wafer). She also told that she was a helpless onlooker as she watches the ‘Passion of Christ’ from Thursday midnight to Friday afternoon. Her wounds bleed at that time.

They were given permission to watch the saint during the trance. Just before entering the room, Yogananda put himself in communion with her brain, so that he could see what she was seeing. As he entered the chamber he was awestruck at the terrifying spectacle. Therese was lying in bed covered with white sheet. There was a continuous one inch stream of blood coming out of the lower eyelids of her eyes. Blood was also coming out of her chest wound. Cloth around her forehead was covered with blood from the stigmata of the crown of thorns.

I could see she was watching Jesus carrying the heavy timbers of the cross. At one point Jesus fell and Therese lifted her head in consternation.

Their party only stayed for few minutes, as other people were waiting in line

I have abbreviated this episode considerably. There is much more detail in the book (the autobiography of a Yogi) along with her picture with Sri Yogananda and Mr. Wright.

What was the purpose of the life of Therese Neumann? According to Sri Yogananda:

That whatever happened to Jesus Christ during ‘The Passion’ was not a fiction but a reality. Sudden appearance of stigmata, with flowing blood, proved it. Yogananda being in tune with her brain watched it himself. Her life verified and authenticated it. It reassured His followers. It also told that Jesus was still present.

Giri Bala. This woman saint from India had not eaten or taken liquids for over fifty six years. One time a Ruler investigated this fact by keeping her isolated in a room in his palace for two months. Sri Yogananda had heard of her and was keen to see her. One day he and his companions reached her in her village in their car. They met her brother on the way, and he stated that he had not seen her sister eat or drink for five decades.

They arrived at her ancestral home. A short figure appeared through the open doors. The lady was approaching seventy and was in excellent health. Her face showed benevolence, and Self-Realization. . She allowed her pictures to being taken She agreed to tell them and the swarm of villagers who had collected to see these foreign visitors and an automobile, as if they were from another planet, her life story. Yogananda was worried that she might refuse because mystics often shun publicity

She said she was twelve when she joined her husband. She had the problem of overeating. Her mother-in-law shamed her relentlessly. One day she was so distraught by the constant taunting that she said that from now onwards she was not going to eat!

She prayed to God incessantly, and begged Him to send a Guru who will teach her to live without food. She fell in a spell like state. She went to the river to take her bath. As she came out of the river, still in wet clothes, in broad daylight, her master materialized before her. He said that her prayer was heard by the God, and He was deeply touched by its extraordinary nature, and he was the Guru she had asked for. From now onwards she will get her nourishment through astral light. The Guru cast around them a protective aura so that nobody could disturb them. Then he taught her secret and sacred mantra and techniques which she had to perform daily for the rest of her life.

She never felt hungry, and had no excretions. She slept very little and meditated at night. She did her household duties during the day.  Unlike Therese Neumann she practiced a secret Yoga technique.

What was the purpose of her life? She herself answered it. That it was to prove that man was Spirit and to demonstrate that with Divine attachment he can gradually learn to live without food. This mote thinks that it was to show the majesty and glory of God. To show that He is outside the laws. He can do whatever He wants to. He can make impossible, possible. Also He sees everything and hears everything, because He saw and heard this twelve year old little girl in an anonymous village in rural India.

Yogananda asked her that why she doesn’t tell others this technique that would solve the world hunger.  She said that she was strictly prohibited to tell it to others. That would be against God’s plan.

Resurrection of Sri Yukteswar. 

This is the most amazing, unprecedented story in all of the spiritual or religious literature. I cannot say enough about its uniqueness. Nobody has come back in this world, after his death, and told some of his experiences of other world(s), in great detail, or any detail. Nobody has ever come back, except as a spirit. Period.

Readers must, by now, be familiar with Sri Yukteswar, the guru of Sri yogananda. About three months after his death, he reappeared in a Bombay hotel room where Sri Yogananda was staying. It happened in afternoon while he was sitting and meditating in bed. The whole room was transformed with light and splendor. Sri Yogananda was filled with ecstasy as he saw Sri Yukteswar. He tightly embraced his master, Sri Yukteswar

“ My son” the master said, tenderly

He told that his present flesh and blood body was an exact replica of the body buried in the sands of Puri. He was resurrected in another planet Hiranyaloka (Illumined Astral Planet ). The inhabitants of that planet were highly developed spiritually, but still they had some impurities that required further purification. Sri Yukteswar was assigned, by God, to help them in the purification process.

To be continued



Monday, April 15, 2013

79. Sri Yogananda . Part 1


Readers must be familiar with this great Yogi, because blog 10, 11 and 12 were about him. Readers should read those blog again because I do not want to repeat things already said. However, a brief introduction, at this point, is warranted because the previous blog were in a different context.

He was born in Bengal, India, in 1893. He was a preselected person. He had been selected by Maha-avatar Babaji, at an unknown time, to go to the West and introduce to the public over there the ancient science of Kriya Yoga. ( Avatar is a human incarnation of God, Maha-avatar is even higher than that, because maha mean big. I will say more about Babaji at some other point. Babaji selected Sri Yukteshwar to be his guru to prepare him for this mission in the West. Sri Yukteshwar was a disciple of Sri Lahiri Mahsaya who in turn was a direct disciple of Babaji.).

 Kriya Yoga had been lost for generations. Babaji reintroduced it to the general public through Lahiri Mahasaya and others. This time it was made available, not only to the renunciants, but also to qualified persons who lived in the world and could be married and be of either sex. The reason why Lahiri Mahasaya was selected was precisely because he was a householder and thus an example of God-realization by a householder. The message was that if you earnestly desire God, you can do so while still doing your worldly duties. Therefore God was made available to several hundreds or thousands fold wider public.

I tried but could not practice Kriya Yoga, therefore I am not a fit person to comment about this technique. However, it has been claimed, that if followed properly, one reaches God in a short time.

After completing his discipleship with his guru, he started a school for boys in 1917, where they were trained in normal subjects as well in Yoga. He was quite happy with the school, when one day, during meditation, he had a vision of Americans and was told to go to America and spread  Kriya Yoga . Few hours after the vision he took a train to meet his Master. He arrived in America in 1920, and died there in 1952. He arrived in America without a single friend, but he left hundreds or thousands of friends and disciples at the time of his death.

Before he started on his journey, like any other normal person, he had cold feet because of the enormity of the task. He became  anxious.  Would he not get lost in the materialism of the West?

One early morning he started praying to God to hear from Him regarding this mission. He vowed that he would continue praying, till death, unless he gets Divine assurance that he won’t be lost in the utilitarianism of America . Several hours passed. His moaning and sobs continued. His head was reeling. He thought his brain would burst. Finally there was a knock at the door. A young man, whom he recognized as Babaji, was standing. Babaji said that the Divine Father had heard his prayers. Babaji had been sent to reassure him that his mission had the Divine sanction, and that he will be protected. This was Yogananda’s first and only face to face meeting with Babaji.

Kriya Yoga is being taught in Western World, to this day, in its pure form, through the Self-realization Fellowship program based in California, USA. You can belong to any religion and keep your religion.

Therese Neumann. Sri Yogananda had heard about Therese and was keen to see her. An opportunity presented in 1935. Therese, born in 1898, was from Germany. She was famous because she had not eaten or taken any liquids for twelve years, except a consecrated wafer, paper-thin, and the size of a small coin, each day. She was also famous for the fact, that every Friday, Stigmata, sacred wounds of Jesus, would appear on her corresponding body parts, and she would be experiencing the Passion of Christ.

Therese became blind and paralyzed, when she was twenty, because of an accident. She miraculously regained her sight through prayers to St Therese of Lisieux ( see blog 13-14) in 1923. She stopped eating and drinking in 1923, and the stigmata started appearing in 1926

To be continued


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

78. St Teresa of Avila. Part five



Miracles. Here are two examples. Once she was earnestly begging Jesus to restore vision to a totally blind man. The Lord appeared and talked to her. Then He said that He would always grant her anything she asked, because she won’t ask Him anything which did not tend to His glory. The vision was restored within a week.

A man was gravely ill. His sufferings, for two months, were intolerable, and he was in such torture that he would lacerate his own body. She was moved to such pity for him that she begged earnestly to Jesus to cure him. On the very next day he was free from that pain

Fray Peter of Alcantarta. St Teresa does not have enough words to praise this holy man. He did severe penances for forty seven years. He slept only for an hour and a half each night for forty years. What sleep he took was sitting down. He could not lie down in his cell which was only four and a half feet long. He never wore a hood or shoes. His only dress was a habit of sackcloth.  It was a very common thing for him to take food only once in three days. Sometimes he would go without food for a week. Once he spent three years in a house of his Order, and could not have recognized a single friar, because he never raised his eyes. Since his death she had more discussions with him than when he was alive. He advised her on many subjects. She beheld him in great bliss. He always appeared as a glorified body. He told her that the penances he had done been a happy thing for him, since they had won him such a great reward.

Some thoughts. She has written so many pearls of wisdom that it is difficult to choose. Here are some of her thoughts which have not been mentioned before in these blog:

“When one is stricken with love for God, it is a great comfort to find another stricken by it too. The two will be of mutual help”. Sri Ramakrishna used to express the same feeling by saying, that one hemp smoker likes the company of another hemp smoker.

“If there is a single thing to which a man clings, it is a sign that he sets some value on it; and if he sets some value upon it, it will naturally distress him to give it up, and so everything will be imperfection and loss (also mentioned in blog 37)”

“We shall get along all right if we walk in righteousness and hold fast to virtue, but it will mean advancing at the pace of hen and will never lead us to spiritual freedom. This procedure is good for married people……………………………………………………I would not like it in any other state, nor will anyone persuade me to think it is a good one” So much so for shariat  which Shahab advocated ( see blog 32, other paths )

This mote got a very good advice on this point: I could not advance beyond a certain point during my meditation. I tried to force the progress by whatever means I could employ. Recently I came at this warning by the saint;" when I say that people should not try to rise unless raised by God...............In the mystical theology........the understanding loses its power first because God suspends it................we must not do is to presume or think that we can suspend it ourselves; nor must we allow it to cease working: if we do, we shall remain stupid and cold and shall attain nothing whatsoever..........."

There are some thoughts of St Teresa in blog 37. They pertain to ups and downs in spiritual journey, and the joy the travelers derive from suffering.

Legacy. Her legacy is her books (specially ‘Life’, which is her autobiography) and the Houses of St Joseph, which she founded. Her autobiography has been translated in many languages. For over four centuries, millions of persons have benefitted from it, including this mote. If a book can be a guide to a seeker, this book can fulfill this role, because it gives practical steps, especially if he is a Christian, Furthermore, her love for God, pours over every sentence, and inspires the reader, especially if he suffers from the same malady. Just read these lines in the last chapter of the book:

“As I am now out of the world, and my companions are few and saintly, I look down upon the world as from above and care very little of what people say………………………………………….

He has given me a life which is a kind of sleep: when I see things, I nearly always seem to be dreaming them. I myself find no great propensity to either joy or sorrow……………………….”

“To die Lord or to suffer! I ask nothing else of Thee for myself but this” It comforts me to hear a clock strike,……………………I seem to be getting nearer to the vision of God”.

She lived for almost seventeen more years after she completed the book. We have no way of knowing what she experienced during those years. What further heights did she attain?

She established the first House of St Joseph at Avila in 1562-3. There was such a great opposition to it, that it took two years. Jesus Christ appeared to her repeatedly and told her, that how much this house meant to Him, Holy Mary, and St Joseph. At critical junctures Fray Peter of Alcantara helped her when he was alive and even when he was dead. This house was for twelve secluded Carmelite nuns who were going to live in extreme poverty, and no visible means of support. The city opposed it, and church officials opposed it. She was so wearied and tired that, one time, she agreed to the proposal of accepting an endowment. The same night Lord told her that she was not to accept an endowment. Fray Peter also appeared the same night and told her the same thing. Steady revenue causes great problems, she was told in no uncertain terms.
Now there are thousands of similar houses, both for men and women, throughout the world.

She was the originator of Carmelite Reform.  In 1970, she was declared Doctor of the Church, the first woman to be so honored

This mote considers her, along with Data Gunj Bakhash and Sri Ramakrishna, among the greatest mystics of all times                               






77. St Teresa of Avila. Part four


I will now describe the locutions, visions, and legacy of St Teresa. There are dozens and dozens of locutions and visions; I had to choose very few (maybe 10% of the visions)

Locutions. She describes how the locutions (talks) from God, differ from one’s own thoughts. Though the locutions from God are perfectly clear, they are not heard with bodily ears. She heard them very often. Since she had considerable experience, she could not be deceived by locutions from evil spirits or her own mind talking to her. Here are the differences:

1. Words are clear, not indistinct

2. the locution cannot be shut off. No resistance is possible. One is forced to hear it whether one likes it or not.

3. Aftereffects are pleasant.

4. All the predictions come true. Not one of them, so far, had been untrue. Some of the events were foretold two or three years in advance

5. “One is listening and not speaking. For while I am speaking, my understanding is composing what I am saying, whereas if I am spoken to, I am doing nothing but listen. In one case the words are indistinct and can be shut off (like one is in half sleep), while in the other case a distinct voice is talking”.

6. All of the locution is remembered. God makes sure that everything is understood and not forgotten. Words are deeply imprinted in memory and impossible to forget.

Visions. First, the Lord was pleased to reveal to her only His hands, the beauty of which was indescribable. This was her first vision of Jesus Christ with the eyes of her mind. She never had any vision of Jesus with worldly eyes

A few days later she saw the Divine face

The Lord later granted her the favor of seeing Him wholly, on many occasions.

He showed Himself to her in various forms: in His resurrection body, His wounds, as He was on the Cross, in the Garden, and sometimes He would be carrying the Cross. She was very desirous of seeing the color of His eyes, or His height, but could never do so, the image would disappear altogether.

Once He took the rosary from her hand, and on the cross of the rosary four large stones of incomparable beauty appeared. On the cross were also portrayed the five wounds. He told her that henceforth it would always look like that to her, and so it did. Nobody else could see them.

On more than one occasion, a devilish, most hideous figure, would appear while she was praying. As she narrated “I asked for holy water. Two nuns, who next came, noticed, a very bad smell, like brimstone. They won’t lie for anything” .It proves that it was not St Teresa’s imagination.

Once she had a vision of hell. This happened in the briefest space of time. She described what she saw in great detail (readers will have to read it themselves from her book). The agony of her soul, oppression, suffocation and an affliction so deeply felt, and accompanied by such hopeless and distressing misery, that she was unable to describe it fully. Later in life, all the tribulations and pains which life threw at her were light, compared to a single moment of such suffering which she had to undergo during that vision. She states “this vision was one of the most signal favors which the Lord has bestowed upon me”

A Rector was being sorely persecuted and was in great distress. One day at the elevation of the Host she saw Christ on the Cross. He spoke certain words to her, which He told her to repeat to Rector for his comfort. He also told her of future events which were going to come. She told all that to the Rector. It gave Rector great comfort, and gave him great courage to face the persecutions, that, as Jesus told, were yet to come. Everything happened as He had told her.

Now we come to the sublimest vision. Which she saw four times.

“my spirit became so completely transported, that it seemed to have completely departed the body……………..

I saw the most sacred Humanity in far greater glory than I had ever seen before. I saw a most clear and wonderful representation of it in the bosom of the Father………………………………………………….

I seemed to see myself in the presence of the Godhead”

Once when she was in prayer, she saw, for a very brief time …with perfect clarity, how all things are seen in God

“ let us say that the Godhead is like a very clear diamond, much larger than the whole world, or a mirror…………………………………………………………………….Let us suppose, furthermore, that all we do is seen in this diamond, which is of such a kind that it contains everything within itself………………………”  It was a terrifying experience.

To be continued