By Nayaswami Narayan
March 19, 2019

One time while Paramhansa Yogananda was still in his guru’s ashram he began to compare their spiritual work to another organization that had a larger outward following. He expressed this disappointment to his guru, Swami Sri Yukteswar. Sri Yukteswar scolded him saying, “What our organization is, no other is; and this is the way God wants to play through you and me, and you must never compare with others.”

Yogananda said he learned a great lesson that day that made him very happy. God was working through him in the way He wanted. Then why complain? To complain, he realized, is to desire something.

I never thought about complaining as being a desire. But of course it is. We want things to be other than they are. Swami Kriyananda clarifies this point in The Essence of the Bhagavad Gita:

“All human suffering is due to the simple thought that things ought to be other than they are.”

Let me give you a simple example. The other night I started to get irritable with Dharmadevi. It had been a long day of service and driving in LA traffic (an all too frequent excuse!), it was around 11pm, my body was tired, and we had not yet had our evening meditation together. She was still on the phone and I wanted her to unplug from technology so we could get ready for bed and meditate together. Alas, I lost my patience and expressed my exasperation saying, “Well, I’m going to meditate!”

Once I said that, I remembered the above story with Yogananda and his guru. “Oh, my goodness!” I thought, “I’m complaining and wishing things were other than they are!” She’s had a long day, too, and is unwinding by watching panda bears on Facebook (to each his own panda). Once I realized I was subconsciously complaining about the situation, it dissolved. I apologized, and we had a beautiful meditation before retiring that evening.

To conquer complaining, try the following prescription:

  1. First, respect and acknowledge your complaining attitude. Don’t deny its existence. Only once you accept your feelings can you work on them and change them.
  2. Have a little fun and say to yourself, “Very good carping spirit…Are you happy being a bottom feeder?” Remember as Krishna says, “To you, who are free from the carping spirit, I shall now reveal wisdom sublime.”
  3. Ask Divine Mother for help to transmute your emotion in a positive direction.
  4. Practice the opposite attitude of gratitude. Look for the good in life and others. Express your positive appreciation to God and God in others.
  5. Pray, “Lord, help me to conquer complaining through acceptance, gratitude, and the deepest desire and love for Thee alone. May I expand like Thee into Omnipresence.”

One time Yogananda complained to Divine Mother about all of his organizational responsibilities. She responded, “I’m creating universes and am ever happy. Can’t you take care of your little point in space?”

God’s not complaining! His desireless desire is for us to enjoy Him in everything. First, I’m going to take care of Dharmadevi and my little pin point in space!

In gratitude,
Nayaswami Narayan