The Wisdom of Sri Yukteswar
Wisdom of Yogananda
All creation is governed by law. The
ones which manifest in the outer universe, discoverable by scientists, are
called natural laws. But there are subtler laws ruling the realms of
consciousness which can be known only through the inner science of yoga. The
hidden spiritual planes also have their natural and lawful principles of
operation. It is not the physical scientist but the fully self-realized master
who comprehends the true nature of matter. Thus Christ was able to restore the
servant's ear after it had been severed by one of the disciples.
Ordinary love is selfish, darkly rooted in desires and satisfactions. Divine love is without condition, without boundary, without change. The flux of the human heart is gone forever at the transfixing touch of pure love.
Wrath springs only from thwarted desires. I do not expect anything from others, so their actions cannot be in opposition to wishes of mine.
It is the Spirit of God that actively sustains every form and force in the universe; yet He is transcendental and aloof in the blissful uncreated void beyond the worlds of vibratory phenomena.
Spiritual advancement is not measured by one's outward powers, but only by the depth of his bliss in meditation. Ever-new Joy is God. He is inexhaustible. After the mind has been cleared by Kriya Yoga of sensory obstacles, meditation furnishes a twofold proof of God. Ever-new joy is evidence of His existence, convincing to our very atoms. Also, in meditation one finds His instant guidance, His adequate response to every difficulty.
Astrology is the study of man's
response to planetary stimuli. The stars have no conscious benevolence or
animosity; they merely send forth positive and negative radiations. Of
themselves, these do not help or harm humanity, but offer a lawful channel for
the outward operation of cause-effect equilibriums which each man has set into
motion in the past.
A child is born on that day and at that hour when the celestial rays are in mathematical harmony with his individual karma. His horoscope is a challenging portrait, revealing his unalterable past and its probable future results. But the natal chart can be rightly interpreted only by men of intuitive wisdom: these are few.
The message boldly blazoned across the heavens at the moment of birth is not meant to emphasize fate--the result of past good and evil--but to arouse man's will to escape from his universal thralldom. What he has done, he can undo. None other than himself was the instigator of the causes of whatever effects are now prevalent in his life. He can overcome any limitation, because he created it by his own actions in the first place, and because he has spiritual resources which are not subject to planetary pressure.
There is also a deeper astrology, not
dependent on the testimony of calendars and clocks. Each man is a part of the
Creator, or Cosmic Man; he has a heavenly body as well as one of earth. The
human eye sees the physical form, but the inward eye penetrates more profoundly,
even to the universal pattern of which each man is an integral and individual
Genesis is deeply symbolic, and
cannot be grasped by a literal interpretation. Its 'tree of life' is the human
body. The spinal cord is like an upturned tree, with man's hair as its roots,
and afferent and efferent nerves as branches. The tree of the nervous system
bears many enjoyable fruits, or sensations of sight, sound, smell, taste, and
touch. In these, man may rightfully indulge; but he was forbidden the experience
of sex, the 'apple' at the center of the bodily garden.
("We may eat of the fruit of the trees
of the garden: but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden,
God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye
"The 'serpent' represents the coiled-up spinal energy which stimulates the sex nerves. 'Adam' is reason, and 'Eve' is feeling. When the emotion or Eve-consciousness in any human being is overpowered by the sex impulse, his reason or Adam also succumbs. ("The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. The woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat."-Gen. 3:12-13.)
Be comfortable within your purse. Extravagance will buy you discomfort.
A man of realization does not perform
any miracle until he receives an inward sanction. God does not wish the secrets
of His creation revealed promiscuously.
Forget the past. The vanished lives of all men are dark with many shames. Human conduct is ever unreliable until anchored in the Divine. Everything in the future will improve if you are making a spiritual effort now.
Physicians must carry on their work of healing through God's laws as applied to matter. But he extolled the superiority of mental therapy, and often repeated: "Wisdom is the greatest cleanser."
Good manners without sincerity are like a beautiful dead lady. Straightforwardness without civility is like a surgeon's knife, effective but unpleasant. Candor with courtesy is helpful and admirable.
Those who are too good for this world are adorning some other. So long as you breathe the free air of earth, you are under obligation to render grateful service. He alone who has fully mastered the breathless state is freed from cosmic imperatives. I will not fail to let you know when you have attained the final perfection.
What a person imagines he hears, and what the speaker has really implied, may be poles apart. Try to feel the thoughts behind the confusion of everyone's verbiage.
I am hard on those who come for my training. That is my way; take it or leave it. I will never compromise. Tender inner weaknesses, revolting at mild touches of censure, are like diseased parts of the body, recoiling before even delicate handling.
Keen intelligence is two-edged. It may be used constructively or destructively like a knife, either to cut the boil of ignorance, or to decapitate one's self. Intelligence is rightly guided only after the mind has acknowledged the inescapability of spiritual law.
Do not allow yourself to be thrashed by the provoking whip of a beautiful face. How can sense slaves enjoy the world? Its subtle flavors escape them while they grovel in primal mud. All nice discriminations are lost to the man of elemental lusts.
Just as the purpose of eating is to satisfy hunger, not greed, so the sex instinct is designed for the propagation of the species according to natural law, never for the kindling of insatiable longings. Destroy wrong desires now; otherwise they will follow you after the astral body is torn from its physical casing. Even when the flesh is weak, the mind should be constantly resistant. If temptation assails you with cruel force, overcome it by impersonal analysis and indomitable will. Every natural passion can be mastered.
Conserve your powers. Be like the capacious ocean, absorbing within all the tributary rivers of the senses. Small yearnings are openings in the reservoir of your inner peace, permitting healing waters to be wasted in the desert soil of materialism. The forceful activating impulse of wrong desire is the greatest enemy to the happiness of man. Roam in the world as a lion of self-control.
A noted chemist once crossed swords
with Sri Yukteswar. The visitor would not admit the existence of God, inasmuch
as science has devised no means of detecting Him.
"So you have inexplicably failed to isolate the Supreme Power in your test tubes!" Master's gaze was stern. "I recommend an unheard-of experiment. Examine your thoughts unremittingly for twenty-four hours. Then wonder no longer at God's absence."
A celebrated pundit received a similar
jolt. With ostentatious zeal, the scholar shook the ashram rafters with
scriptural lore. Resounding passages poured from the Mahabharata, the
Upanishads, the bhasyas of Shankara.
"I am waiting to hear you." Sri Yukteswar's tone was inquiring, as though utter silence had reigned. The pundit was puzzled.
"Quotations there have been, in superabundance. But what original commentary can you supply, from the uniqueness of your particular life? What holy text have you absorbed and made your own? In what ways have these timeless truths renovated your nature? Are you content to be a hollow victrola, mechanically repeating the words of other men?"
"These bloodless pedants smell unduly of the lamp," my guru remarked after the departure of the chastened one. "They prefer philosophy to be a gentle intellectual setting-up exercise. Their elevated thoughts are carefully unrelated either to the crudity of outward action or to any scourging inner discipline!"
Do not confuse understanding with a larger vocabulary. Sacred writings are beneficial in stimulating desire for inward realization, if one stanza at a time is slowly assimilated. Continual intellectual study results in vanity and the false satisfaction of an undigested knowledge.
Wisdom is not assimilated with the eyes, but with the atoms. When your conviction of a truth is not merely in your brain but in your being, you may diffidently vouch for its meaning. (He discouraged any tendency a student might have to construe book-knowledge as a necessary step to spiritual realization).
A local magistrate once arrived for an
interview at the seaside hermitage in Puri. A metaphysical discussion ensued.
The guest blundered through misinterpretations of the scriptures. As his
accuracy sank, his ire rose.
"Do you know that I stood first in the M. A. examination?" Reason had forsaken him, but he could still shout.
"Mr. Magistrate, you forget that this is not your courtroom," Master replied evenly. "From your childish remarks I would have surmised that your college career was unremarkable. A university degree, in any case, is not remotely related to Vedic realization. Saints are not produced in batches every semester like accountants."
Ignorance is misconception. It is the erroneous conception of the existence of that which does not exist. Through ignorance, mankind believes that this material creation is the only thing that substantially exists, there being nothing beyond, forgetting that this material creation is substantially nothing and is a mere play of ideas on the Eternal Spirit, the only Real Substance, beyond the comprehension of the material creation. This ignorance is not only a trouble in itself but is also the source of all the other troubles of man.
The heart's natural love is the principal requisite to attain a holy life. When this love, the heavenly gift of Nature, appears in the heart, it removes all causes of excitement from the system and cools it down to a perfectly normal state.
When this love becomes developed in man it makes him able to understand the real position of his own Self as well of others surrounding him. With the help of this developed love, man becomes fortunate in gaining Godlike company of the divine personages and is saved forever. Without this love, man cannot live in the natural way. He can never find any peace and life becomes a burden. Hence the culture of this love, the heavenly gift, is the principal requisite for the attainment of holy salvation. It is impossible for man to advance a step toward salvation without it.