A Fantastico Tale on Charity!

Thanks to the Tax exemption rules, we have people who come forward to give donations to the needy at least for the sake of tax exemption. No matter how much we earn, be it in thousands or in crores, we will always have desires and commitments more than our earnings. That’s how our way of lives have become today. However, devoting a little percentage of our monthly salary towards charity can make a huge difference in somebody’s life.

Charity reminds of a fantastic tale I read recently from the book, ‘Mejda’ which is about the early life of Sri Sri Paramahansa Yogananda by his brother Sri Sananda Lal Ghosh. His mother is known for her tenderness towards less fortunate people. However, most often when she approaches their father for a big sum for charity, he would rebuke her saying that she must keep her charity within the limits of the family budget. their difference of opinion even made her once to board a horse carriage to go to her maternal home. Her brother who appeared there coincidentally finally managed to convince them.

This incident happens at Lahore where the family has been recently transferred from Gorakhpur. One day, a poor little girl comes to her asking for alms. Sensing the sadness in that small child, she makes her sit in the living room while personally goes to request her husband for ten rupees which is a huge amount for charity, considering the economical situation of the then India. Her husband refuses and offers only Re.1, narrating how he has suffered in his childhood without money and how he had remained hungry and had to walk bare feet so many miles to school. She immediately reminds him if he wants this little girl too suffer a similar pennyless childhood because he cannot forget his past. This single question from her moves him so much that without an answer he gives her demand, ten rupees, with blessings.

Though a simple story, it made an unforgettable impact on me. How true it is that we often remember our stories of struggle when it comes to helping others. And ironically instead of helping others, we restrict ourselves to the confinement of self-centered thoughts.

There are a number of NGOs, charitable trusts, orphanages, old age homes, hospital trusts and needy people around us. It takes only a few minutes to offer a donation online. To all of you reading this post, I request you to make at least Rs. 250 donation to any organization of your choice. It is not a matter to analyze and decide upon. It’s just a matter of willingness.

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

Inspiring songs from Paramahansa Yogananda’s Collection

It was only years after I became a kriyaban that I came to listen to Paramahansa Yogananda’s voice and songs. The narration about music in his Autobiography of a Yogi has stunned me that someone who had never had a formal education in music could write with so much clarity on the subject.

When I began to visit YSS satsangs, I cherished listening to and singing Paramahansa Yogananda’s bhajan songs. The light harmonium background and melody in the songs have always touched my soul. To those of you who are looking to listen to songs of Paramahansa Yogananda, here are five of my most favourite songs from the collection.

  1. I will sing Thy Name
  2. Listen Listen Listen
  3. Spirit and Nature Dancing Together
  4. So Do Thou My Lord
  5. Who is in my Temple

Each of these songs have filled my heart during several cherished moments. Most often, I begin the day by listening to this song collection. As reiterated by Paramahansa Yogananda, chanting is an important step in spirituality. His songs have been inspirational to me, for several years now, in yearning for the love of the divinity. Through his voice, he speaks to each one of us, who seek God with faith. The one who had remained a mental image got manifested with life through his devotional songs. During times when the forces of delusion, pull me away from spirituality, all it needs to get back to the path of light is listen to the songs just once.

As said often, music is a form of expression that can open the blocked energies from our nadis. Especially, while singing with true love and devotion to God, I’ve felt that the heart and throat chakras shed off their blockages and pave way for our souls to connect to higher centres.

In 1926, Paramahansa Yogananda writes about his experience of chanting together “O God Beautiful” with his devotees in New York,

“For one hour and twenty-five minutes, the thousands of voices of the entire audience chanted…in a divine atmosphere of joyous praise….The next day many men and women testified to the God-perception and the healing of body, mind, and soul that had taken place during the sacred chanting, and numerous requests came in to repeat the song at other services.”

Source: http://yssofindia.org/

One can buy the CDs from any of the YSS centres or through the online website of YSS or SRF. Though listening to his voice directly from a CD is a soul-lifting experience, I also recommend you to attend a near-by weekly satsang where devotees sing the devotional songs in chorus.

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

A Step Forward in Life

No matter how much wealth we may accumulate or how many houses we may buy, one question that must dig us deep is what do we need at the end of life. What would we long for on the last day of our lives? I don’t think anybody would want wealth and houses nearby. Most might feel good to have our loved ones near while we depart. However, for one who realizes that even loved ones cannot join us beyond the grave, there is only one solace – God! Yes, when we know that the Supreme power that we had trusted so long is going to be ever with us, no more will we be afraid of leaving our family and friends.

In my journey, what I consider far superior to any material things and may be in par to human love is God’s love. I know I haven’t still crossed the boundaries of human love. But that doesn’t curb my love for God either. There can be no bigger and better joy than connecting with the divinity that binds the whole universe.

My discipleship to Paramahansa Yogananda and to his organization YSS came to me as a gateway to proceed in the path of light. Years before, my husband was introduced to the book, Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda. From there began a slow spiritual transformation in all of us in the family. Over the years, I began practicing the basic exercises of YSS. I continued the practices on and off, whenever time permitted me to. However, lately, I have realized the importance of keep everything else on hold while concentrate on my spiritual practices in a full swing.

By God’s grace, six months before, on a beautiful day I was initiated into the Kriya Yoga technique given by Mahavatar Babaii and passed generation to generation by my other Param Gurus. That was one of my most cherished moments of life. It is indeed a great blessing to trend the path that saints and sages have trailed from time immemorial.

Certainly, my practices have found a new dimension and I am not the same person as before. It feels as if life has changed  drastically since the time of my initiation. With the initiation, there has come a regularity in my practices. I keep my routine intact in such a way that never would I miss the specific place and time, I had set aside for my practices. I am hopeful for a new shift in my consciousness, what had appeared elusive all these years. It feels I am connected with Guruji all the time. After all, life has no greater meaning without the spiritual freedom one can experience in the form of having a higher source behind all our thoughts and actions.

The day of my initiation graced me with that kind of a freedom that I can look forward for the rest of my life.

So do Thou My Lord

It was during one of the early days of my spiritual practices that I felt depressed about not seeing the God in me that saints and sages speak about. I was, in fact, obsessed during my daily practice to experience fantastic divine visions like Mahavatar Babaji blessing me and Paramahansa Yogananda smiling at me. Least did I realize then that I was still a child crying for a candy. But probably, all spiritual seekers go through such periods of obsession and depression during some phase of their journeys. And today I am not ashamed to share what I felt years before.

With time, maturity and wisdom began creeping in. I slowly started to realize that it is not the visions and magical experiences that I must crave for. Rather, I should crave for the one that creates such mystical experiences. I am here to seek God and not God’s creations.

Though I came out of the silly obsessions I had earlier, my heart was still craving to meet Him. It was consoling to read Paramahansa Yogananda’s experience in his Autobiography of  Yogi when he meets Master Mahasaya and cries to him to speak for him to Maa Durga. And on the next morning, Paramahansa Yogananda will get a vision of Maa Durga. Even our great Guru had gone through such tumultuous moments. Thus it consoled me that I am not wrong in my desires.

I must say it was a slow journey of learning and unlearning up until one day something happened that gave me hope in my body, mind and whole being, for the first time.

On one particular day, as I sat to read Autobiography of a yogi, I turned to the page where Guruji talks to AnandaMayi Ma. It has always been a pleasure to read that chapter again and again in which the subtle love between God and His devotee could be literally felt. After I finished reading the book, as I was drenched in the love of the Blissful Mother, I closed my eyes and remained in silence. It was then that for the first time, I experienced divinity in its true self. It is an indescribable state of emotion where everything else around me remained unimportant for me. How many days have I longed for this moment of life?! And what joy this ecstatic state of bliss gives one, is boundless.

AnandaMoyi Ma                        Photo Courtesy: viagensculturais.wordpress.com

That was the day of my hope! Hope of life, love and the world! The only purpose of existence for my life is to become one with the Lord at the end of this life. Before that holy day, my hope was only a dream. But it marked the beginning of a new ray of hope in me. Ever since that beautiful day of my life, I have never fell short of hope. I know He is ever with me and I can always look up t Him at all times.

You can look up here for more stories on hope.

Be a Smile Millionaire

The real smile is the smile of bliss that comes when you meditate, when you feel the joy of God’s presence. That is the smile on Lahiri Mahasaya’s face. He is seeing the world partially , but seeing God fully. My smile comes from a joy deep within my being, a joy that you also may attain. Like a fragrance it oozes out from the core of the blossoming soul. This joy calls others to bathe in its waters of divine bliss.

Smile with the Love of God:

Most smiles are born of good emotions arising out of good, or out of feeling sympathy, love, kindness, or mercy. But the most wonderful way to smile is to fill your heart with the love of God. Then you will be able to love everybody, you will be able to smile all the time. All other forms of smiles are evanescent because emotions flicker and pass away, no matter how good they are. The only thing that can last is the joy of God. When you have that, you can smile all the time. other wise , when you are feeling merciful toward someone and he returns your kindness with a slap, you won’t be able to feel mercy toward him any longer.

When your soul is filled with joy you are attractive. I like only divine smiles, because without them, human beings are like puppets . Do not seek your happiness in the senses. Find joy within and express it in your face.When you do that, wherever you go a little smile will surcharge everyone with your divine magnetism. Every body will be happy .

Meditate on the Lord at night until you are uplifted in Him and feel locked in His joy. He will tell you everything. And you can smile an eternal smile. Your thoughts, your words, your writing and every thing you do will be impregnated with the joy shining in that smile. Wherever you meditate you will leave behind a fragrance of smiles, and whoever will come there will also be moved to smile with God. You can smile all the time when you dwell in His ineffable bliss.

—–Sri Sri Paramhansa Yogananda “Man’s Eternal Quest”

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Christ Like Life of Lahiri Mahasaya

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Mahasamadhi of  Sri Sri Lahiri Mahasaya (26 th september)

At the morning hour of ten, one day after the body of Lahiri Mahasaya has been consigned to the flames, the resurrected master, in a real but transfigured body, appeared before three disciples, each of whom was in a different city.

“So when this corruptible shall have put on in corruption, and this moral shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written:m Death is swallowed up in victory. O death where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (I Corinthians 15: 54- 55)

A significant feature of Lahiri Mahasaya”s life was his gift of Kriya initiation to those of every faith. Not Hindus only, but Moslems and Christians were among  his foremost disciples. Monists and dualists, those of all faiths or no established faith, were  impartially received and instructed by the universal guru. One of his advanced chelas was Abdul Gufoor Khan, a Mohammedan.

It shows great courage on the part of Lahiri Mahasaya that, although a high- caste Brahmin, he tried his utmost to dissolve the rigid bigotry of his time. Those from every walk of life found shelter under the master’s omnipresent wings. Like all God- inspired prophets, Lahiri Mahasaya gave new hope to the outcastes and down trodden society.

“Always remember that you belong to no one, and no one belong to you. Reflect that some day you will suddenly have to leave everything in this world– so make the acquaintanceship of God now”, the great guru told his dosciples. “prepare yourself for the coming astral journey of death by daily riding in the baloon of  God- perception.

— Sri Sri Paramahansa Yogananda

Remembering Ma:

Touching the Heart of all Religions

Once in Ranchi, Ma as travelling down the street in a rickshaw. She looked over to one side and there was a small Hanuman temple where you could see the image through the doorway. At the very sight she went into ecstasy, and they had to hold her from falling out of the rickshaw. We saw this frequently with Ma in India. She would totally let go of her outer role and organizational responsibilities as the president, and inwardly become completely absorbed in God, in her love for God.

Usually when she would give a Satsanga, there would be at least one nun— often Mrinalini Ma or Ananda Ma—- sitting to one side or the other, or both, just in case she would go in to ecstasy, that spiritual withdrawal  inward, and physically just fall over. It wouldn’t take much sometimes to trigger that experience. Blowing a conch shell, for example. We were told, ” Don’t blow conch shells.” as Ma heard in  them the great Cosmic Aum vibration and would melt in to the consciousness of the inner world. Or Brahmacharini Mirabai’s chantings of bhajans to God.— it was so hard moving, so filled with devotion and love for God,, that Ma herself would get absorbed in that feeling and go in to a different realm, a deeper spiritual consciousness or ecstasy.

—-– Swami Visbwananda