The Magnet of Us All

A humble magnet call, A whisper by the brook On grassy altar small– There I have my nook. -Paramhansa Yogananda   Similar to Paramhansa Yogananda’s above poem, one of my first experiences with God was on a “grassy altar small.”  My first trip to Ananda Village was for Spiritual Renewal Week twenty years ago. I camped out at the Expanding Light, the meditation and yoga retreat at Ananda Village in Northern California where SRW is held.  At the end of … Read More

When Yogananda Speaks Let’s Listen

“In deep meditation, this painting comes to life.” These words were spoken to me during a visit to the home of Tulsi Bose, who was the boyhood best friend of Paramhansa Yogananda. They came from the mouth of Tulsi’s daughter, a saintly woman, Hassi Mukherjee, regarding a painting of Krishna that adorned her living room altar. I don’t remember what amazed me more – that she knew what I was seeing or what I was seeing! It was as though … Read More

How to Finish Your Desires

My mother used to say, “Be careful what you wish for, you just may get it.” She was expressing a deeper truth — every desire must be fulfilled. Desire, Paramhansa Yogananda taught, directs our energy.  When I first heard Yogananda’s voice on a recording, I remember him thundering, “You must finish your desires!”  As I was new on the spiritual path, I thought, “Goodness, how in the world can I finish my desires?!” It seemed like an insurmountable task to … Read More

The Nearest Temple

Breezes of peaceful energy, like I never had felt before while doing physical exercise, wisped through my nervous system. As I lay on my back in Corpse Pose, muscles seemed to unclench after years of tension. Paradoxically, I was alarmingly more aware of the business of my mind, which was like a virtual talk radio doing play-by-play commentaries!   I recall this vividly from the first time I stumbled into my first yoga class in a Los Angeles gym in the … Read More

Discipleship Is Joy

Dharmadevi and I watched a movie the other night called, “The Disciple.” It’s a story about a young Indian man who has a passion for Indian classical music. He learns from his father growing up and then his teacher who he considers his guru.  There are some soul stirring scenes and you can feel why India considers the voice to be the most beautiful instrument. The voice conveys subtle aspects of feeling and when used in attunement with the Divine … Read More

A Lover and A Biter

You may have heard the story of Paramhansa Yogananda visiting a man who was complaining about his son and certain of his eternal damnation to hellfire. Well, in case you haven’t, basically, Yogananda tells the man to tie up his son and throw him in his oven next time he comes home drunk. After the man expresses his total outrage and disgust at the suggestion, Yogananda makes his point – if you, a human father couldn’t bear the thought of … Read More

The Last Word of Swami Kriyananda: “Anything”

Swami Kriyananda, one of the last living direct disciples of Paramhansa Yogananda, left us with a parting gift—the gift of his last word: anything. This simple word exemplifies the attitude towards life which Swami Kriyananda lived by, and which he set as an example for all of us as truth seekers on the spiritual path. Within this word are two qualities characteristic of Swamiji as a disciple: willingness and courage. These qualities are especially relevant to all of us as … Read More

Perfect Understanding

“The Guru knows every thought you think… can you imagine? But… he understands you perfectly!” I will never forget hearing these words from a direct disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda. They were (and still are) so comforting. Yes, the Guru knows all of our faults, all of our stupid actions, all of our negativity, BUT he knows exactly how we got to where we are and exactly how we will get out of this mess of delusion. In a letter of … Read More

Powered by Grace

I have often experienced periods that feel like an uphill battle while meditating. I may be distracted by an outside life challenge, or just subconscious circuitry, that seems to go round and round, as if on a hamster wheel.  A loving message from an old story I knew as a child called The Little Engine that Could has helped me during these, and other times in my life. It tells of a little train, humble in scale, who was begged by teary-eyed dolls … Read More

The Grace Behind Tests

I recently watched a video of a man running a race. He injured his leg, but his determination was such that he continued to limp through the rest of the race. At one point, his father came down from the audience and helped him through the painful effort. This clip was only a few seconds long and yet it moved me almost to tears. It reminded me of the love and compassion that our Heavenly Father has for us. “God … Read More