Happy Birthday Swamiji!

91ST ANNIVERSARY OF HIS BIRTHDAY

Swami Kriyananda, J. Donald Walters, was born on May 19, 1926.

Swami spent more years of his life in search of God and in the development of his attunement to God and Guru. Reading The New Path is a wonderful way to get close to Swami. Or listen to the music of Ananda, to know him more deeply.

There are three occasions featuring Swami that stick out in my mind as I write this.

The first is when Swami returned from India to visit the Ananda colonies, ending up at the Village for a portion of the summer months, when it was too hot to be in the East.

During these months, Swami would host weekly barbeques at the Crystal Hermitage. We would be sitting in groups around the patio, balancing plates with veggie-dogs and chips on our laps. Toward the end of the evening, Swami would read to us.

How he loved reading PG Wodehouse. He would laugh and laugh, sometimes bringing tears to his eyes. It was a joy-filled time. A great blessing.

The second time, was during those same summer months at the Village, there would be a concert at the amphitheater. Swami loved music. Our Ananda Choir as large as possible, ready to sing.

Towards the later years, Swami would sit directly in the center of the stage, with the choir surrounding him. As they would sing out with joy, Swami sat there with his eyes closed…in pure bliss.

The third, and last, was after his passing. I think of this often during the springtime, as the heralding for the tulip weekends begin.

My daughter, then seven, was walking down the side entrance steps into the Hermitage. She stopped, looked out over the sea of tulips. She raised her arms out and encompassing the gardens whispered, “Momma, Swami is in all the tulips.”

Happy birthday Swamiji. Master’s blessings on you.

Raja Yoga Is a Powerful Tool on the Spiritual Path

“I’ve had the blessing of studying, exploring and sharing the Art and Science of Raja Yoga since the mid-1980s. These teachings are central to my daily life, and sharing them is one of the greatest joys I know.”—Nayaswami Davia

“I love working with the students over several months. As they become inspired by the teachings, I become inspired in turn, and it becomes a lovely dance of learning and growth for all.”—Darshana Wall

“I took my first Raja Yoga class in 1982, I am still learning new things all the time!”—Nayaswami Hanuman

“Raja Yoga is the core of our teachings and exploring with other seekers is the best fun ever—we laugh a lot.”—Lorna Knox

Raja Yoga is for everyone!

Together we’ll share the ancient wisdom of Yoga (based on Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras) and how to apply it to your own life, using practical techniques like meditation, yoga postures, affirmation, and energy control. Learn how to alleviate tension, discover the secrets of success and personal magnetism, and spiritualize all of your life.

“The main thing, of course, is that going through Swami’s brilliant lessons together is an opportunity not to be missed! It’s simply the crème de la crème of the spiritual path.”—Dambara Begley

“Learning how to meditate opens the door to new possibilities. Raja Yoga takes you through that door and into a whole new way of life.”—David Eby

Raja Yoga, literally means the “Royal Yoga”.

Yoga, meaning union with the Divine. The course, Art and Science of Raja Yoga, taught by Ananda Sangha around the globe, is the next step on the path to Kriya Yoga. Kriya Yoga is a higher technique of meditation taught to devotees.

Paramhansa Yogananda often referred to Kriya Yoga as the airplane route to God.

The beauty of Raja Yoga, however, is the basic level of understanding of this path to Self-realization using these tools and techniques given to us by our Guru. During this course, if you allow it, your heart will be opened. It’s amazing! This happens for many reasons.

Is it the food we share? Or the deepening meditations we have together? Maybe it’s the safety of being able to ask a question surrounding any of the 14 main topics/themes of discussion during the 14 classes. It could also be the growing knowledge that each student has within of their own Self-realization.

Whatever it is, Raja Yoga is a wonderful step on the path to Kriya Yoga. A chance to open up and receive, more, on so many levels.

Paramhansa Yogananda Knows How to Awaken Your True Potential

You have got to read this book. It is really amazing! And I think that you’re not only going to like it, but completely appreciate all the wisdom it contains.

The “Yogananda Wisdom” series are jewels in the crown of all the published works of Ananda. They are small guidebooks on living the Yogic life.

The content of each title has been carefully culled from all of Paramhansa Yogananda’s works in the public domain. And put together in these small but mighty titles.

How to Awaken Your True Potential is the latest at volume 7. And we’ve opted to use it for our summer Yogananda Book Study Group. It’s great! It’s spurred on so much discussion in our group. Wonderful.

Yogananda had a gift for stating things in such a strong, powerful way. He does this—I think, as a triple shot of espresso does to our nervous system—a jolt to the subconscious mind to WAKE UP!

“Come out of your closed chamber of limitation. Breathe in the fresh air of vital thoughts. Exhale poisonous thoughts of discouragement, discontentment, or hopelessness. Never suggest to your
mind human limitations of sickness, old age, or death, but constantly remind yourself, “I am the
Infinite, which has become the body.” “

And with good reason.

Yogananda is wanting us, as did Jesus and many saints and avatars before him, to remember our divinity. The true potential of our soul. Not the limitations of these mortal houses, that hold it.

“…the habit of meditation. This is the inner switch you turn on to connect yourself with the Infinite….
You will then find that you are a reservoir of power in body, mind, and soul.”

Yogananda offers a (-nother!) wonderful guide with many great visualizations and meditations, including a detailed Hong Sau meditation instruction.

“You are all gods, if you only knew it. You must look within. Behind the wave of your consciousness is the sea of God’s presence. Claim your Divine Birthright. Awake, and you shall behold the glory of God.”

Read it! You won’t be sorry!

(All quotes are from chapter 1, “A Sacred Invitation,” from How to Awaken Your True Potential.)

Awesome Tips for Walking the Path to Self-realization

Tips on Living the Yogic Life

Here we are given the recipe for the spiritual path, in the tradition of Paramhansa Yogananda, taught to Swami Kriyananda, and passed to us in Ananda.

Nayaswamis Jyotish and Devi spoke on all of these during their recent visit to Portland, Oregon. They repeated different items, sometimes talking about them in slightly different ways. To further and deepen our understanding.

These are the practices of a yogi walking the path to Self-realization.

God-Guru greeting and reconnection: Every morning after sleep, which Yogananda called counterfeit samadhi, energetically we are more withdrawn. This is a good time to greet the Divine, acknowledging the Divine presence in our lives, as a ongoing practice to start our day. And then at the end our day, reconnecting with the Divine, maybe by reading a special passage in a book like The Essence of the Bhagavad Gita, or Whispers from Eternity. Setting the tone for our consciousness before we sleep again.

Energization: We are given these exercises by Yogananda, to aid us in the active practice of using and controlling our energy at will! These are a gift to us, basically. Yogananda stated once, that if there was only one technique to learn, the Energization Exercises would be it. As they will lead the yogi to all else on the path of Self-realization. Energization Exercise series.

Meditation: Even a little practice of this inward religion will free one from dire fears and colossal sufferings. We repeat this weekly in the Festival of Light service. It is a reminder that to find God, to connect to the Divine, we need to access the silence and stillness within ourselves. It is the soul’s longing to go deeply into stillness. And it is something that requires daily practice, to open those channels we hold within.

Gratitude: Being thankful for all things that we are given every day. It is so easy to be grateful for the good in life. So easy to say thank you when it goes with our expectations. We need to learn to say thank you, even when it does not. Swami Kriyananda used to make a practice of sincerely thanking the Divine in every circumstance, in what he was given.

Positivity: Nayaswamis Jyotish and Devi spoke so beautifully on the power of positivity in one’s life. How they are consciously shedding the desire to look at, react to, comment on, involve themselves in, the darkness or negative. Finding that it does nothing for their state of being. There’s so much negativity and restlessness in the world already. Why add to it, when it doesn’t make it better? Or help your inner peace! Inspiration: Find It and Keep It!

Centering: There are plenty of opportunities to learn, and use, the practices that help center us. Counted breathing or pranayam. Detaching ourselves from the situation, to quell the reactive process. Using positivity to deflect negative energy coming at us, or in us. It’s in these techniques, that we can access our true inner potential. Remembering that we are children of light with access to the Divine in every moment. Helping to stop us from the “wheel of reaction.” Yogananda Book Study Group.

Listening: God’s call is within us. Nayaswami Devi talked about God’s song, playing eternally within us. It is there. But it is quiet. It takes our practices to still the mind, calm the heart and open our “ears” to hear it. It’s there though. It is the eternal song that plays.

More links: The talks for Nayaswamis Jyotish & Devi Portland visit 2016

Peace, A Running Theme

There is so much happening right now out and about; there are positive things, situations, events going on all over the globe. And yet there seems to be as many negatives happening too.

There is a broad feeling, for me at least, that is not settling. And it’s making me realize that I am going to have to dig a bit deeper to do my part in trying to redirect the negative to the positive. I am going to use the prayer to Paramhansa Yogananda, to guide my thoughts, will and action. Better Him than the little me!

Peace is key, inside and outside. With peace inside ourselves, we can share a more harmonious environment. A more harmonious state of being or consciousness.

Let’s start our days this year with a prayer for peace. (Paramhansa Yogananda’s Prayer for Peace and Harmony follows, shared by Nayaswamis Jyotish and Devi)

Visualize the person in question in the divine light, and then pray from your heart, “Lord, fill [him/her/a situation] with peace and harmony, peace and harmony.” Repeat this for about a minute. Then visualize yourself in divine light, and say, “Lord, fill me with peace and harmony, peace and harmony” for fifteen seconds. For maximum effect it’s recommended to say this prayer (both parts) five times daily.

We want to use this prayer now by saying, “Lord, fill this world with peace and harmony, peace and harmony” (for about ten repetitions), followed by, “Lord, fill me with peace and harmony, peace and harmony” (for three repetitions).

 

Peace is the treasure of a focused mind, the fruit of self-control, and the laurel earned by inner victories.
Peace comes from working with things as they are, not as we wish they were.
Peace, like a crystal stream, flows through hearts that are inspired by high ideals.
Peace is the rose-bud of kindness, spreading wide its petals in those who wish harm to no one, and mentally send their blessings to all.
Peace must be shared; never can it be hoarded.
Peace takes root in the soil of non-attachment; it flourishes when watered by daily libations of desirelessness.
Peace is, eternally, the wing-beat of inner freedom.
Peace and her sister, Humility, are sky and earth of the Garden of Paradise.
Peace is the dawn-cloud messenger of our Father’s love.
—Swami Kriyananda, poem written Christmas of 1991

Peace flows through my heart, and blows through me as a zephyr.
Peace fills me like a fragrance.
Peace runs through me like rays.
Peace stabs the heart of noise and worries.
Peace burns through my disquietude.
Peace, like a globe of fire, expands and fills my omnipresence.
Peace, like an ocean, rolls on in all space.
Peace, like red blood, vitalizes the veins of my thoughts.
Peace, like a boundless aureole, encircles my body of infinity.
Peace flames blow through the pores of my flesh, and through all space.
The perfume of peace flows over the gardens of blossoms.
The wine of peace runs perpetually through the winepress of all hearts.
Peace is the breath of stones, stars, and sages.
Peace is the ambrosial wine of Spirit flowing from the cask of silence,
Which I quaff with my countless mouths of atoms.
—Paramhansa Yogananda, Metaphysical Meditations