119. Two Unique visions of Swami Yogananda
I should have added these visions of Swami Yogananda in my account of him in blog 79-81; I am rectifying that mistake, because the two visions are profound and unique.
Cosmic consciousness. His Master struck him lightly on the chest and he had the vision of cosmic consciousness. I am giving an abbreviated version; complete description is in his autobiography (see the list). His body became motionless and still. His breath was drawn out as if by a huge magnet. People in distant streets were visible and moving. His ordinary vision was changed to spherical, he could see on the sides and the back of his head. He saw a white cow that was leisurely approaching. As she passed behind a brick wall, he could still see her. Master, his body, the pillared courtyard, the furniture and floor, the trees and the sunshine, occasionally violently vibrated. All objects in his vision tumbled and vibrated. Everything in his vision finally became a luminescent sea.
He experienced an oceanic joy. He realized that the Spirit of God was an exhaustless bliss. A swelling glory in him enveloped towns, countries, continents, the earth, stars and galaxies, and floating universes. The whole cosmos was gently luminous, and resembled a lighted city at night, seen from a distance. On the farthest edges, was an undiminished mellow radiance. It was indescribably subtle, unlike the gross light which made the planetary picture.
The divine dispersion of rays was from an Eternal Source blazing into galaxies, transfigured with ineffable auras. He saw the creative beams condense into constellations, then resolve into sheets of flame. Irradiating splendor issued from his heart (nucleus) to every part of the universal structure.
Suddenly, he came to his senses. His guru ( Sri Yukteswar ) was standing motionless before him. “Don’t get over drunk with ecstasy. Let us sweep the floor”. He got hold of a broom and started sweeping the floor. He realized that his master was teaching him balanced living.
The guru told him later, that it was the Spirit of God that sustained the universe. He is transcendent and aloof in the uncreated void. Those who attain Self-realization in this world live in similar twofold existence: conscientiously performing their duties in the world, and yet immersed in an inner beatitude.
This Divine experience comes with a natural inevitability when the seeker is ready. His intense craving begins to pull at God, with an irresistible force. The magnetic ardor pulls the cosmic vision in the seeker’s range of consciousness.
Sri Yukteswar taught him how to summon the blessed experience at will, and also how to transmit it others, when their intuitive channels were ready. He also told him that one may control the whole universe, but find the God elusive still. Spiritual advancement is not be measured by one’s display of outward powers, but solely by the depth of his bliss during meditation.
Ever-new joy is God. He is inexhaustible
A lesson, that he learnt, was that without controlling the breath and the wandering thoughts, the Infinite as One Light cannot be perceived. These two, are like storms, that lash the oceans of light into waves of material forms, such as houses, trees, humans, and animals. As often as he quieted these two natural impulses, he could visualize all the forms melting into one luminous sea.
Body made of light. One day, after writing a chapter of his autobiography, as he was sitting on the bed in a lotus position, he looked at the ceiling. He saw that the ceiling was dotted with mustard colored lights, scintillating and quivering. Innumerable pencils of light merged into a shaft and fell on him.
His physical body lost its grossness. He felt as if he was floating on the bed, barely touching the bed. The body became weightless and moved to and fro. His surrounding, the walls and furniture were as before, but the lights on the ceiling had multiplied, and they hid the ceiling. He looked at his arms. He could move them, but they were weightless.
A voice spoke to him, as if it was coming from within the light. “This is the cosmic motion picture mechanism, shedding its beams on the white screen of your bed sheets; it creates a picture of your body. Behold your body is nothing but light.” He understood that the divine reproduction of his body was similar to the picture produced on a cinema screen, coming from a booth.
This vision lasted for a long time. He saw his body in the faintly lit bedroom. Though he had many visions in his life, but none was ever more singular.
He spoke entreatingly, “Divine light, please withdraw this humble body into Thyself; even as Elijah was drawn up to heavens, in a chariot of flame”.
His supplication was evidently startling. The beam disappeared. His body came back to its original shape.