Category: Articles

God Alone!

July 1934, by Paramhansa Yogananda

Who is it who knows all the secrets of all the Souls who ever lived, dazzling the world, and who are now lost and gone?

God alone! God alone!

Who lived in the loneliness of the eternal void, before the atoms blinked their glittering eyes and danced through all Creation?

God alone! God alone!

We came out of Something, we know not what. We know that we live, laugh, and linger now, and most of us will not know what lies in the wilderness of the great Beyond when we fall asleep in the arms of peaceful death. Yet, who knows the secret of Life, both before and after this existence?

God alone! God alone!

All things are living; all things are dancing in the rhythm of eternal harmony. No one knows about the grand procession of Creation, which emerged from the mystic chamber of space. No one knows which part of this chamber of the endless void is occupied by objects and Beings, melted by the magic wand of death, except –

God alone! God alone!

Our loved ones love us, and vow to love us forever, and yet they forget us when they sink into the Great Sleep. Their memories become frozen anon. Yet, who loves us forever without ever telling us, and who remembers us when all others forget us?

God alone! God alone!

Life and death, stars and wind, love and hate, sorrow and pleasure, and man and beast dance and sleep on the Stygian stage of Time, hiding behind the scenes at death, and coming out to play again on the stage of Time in new costumes of flesh. No one remembers what he did before, or why he is so sure of this temporary rendezvous in this curious caravanserai except –

God alone! God alone!

Why God is playing this game, and why He keeps all this knowledge to Himself, only meagerly sharing it with us, His Children, is known by –

God alone! God alone!

Yet, if you roam no more, and come closer to the Infinite Shore within, and change yourself from the undesirable position of being a prodigal son to that of being a true celestial offspring, then you, too, may know all things that you want to know from none other than –

God alone! God alone!

Since He knows all things, when you change into a demanding Son Divine, you too shall know all things from –

God alone! God alone!

When all friends must leave you, who will be with you?

God alone! God alone!

Since no things and no one are really yours, learn to love –

God alone! God alone!

Finding the Joy in Life

October 1936, “Finding the Joy in Life”

You want a thing as long as you are not able to get it; when you have secured it, sooner or later you will tire of it, and then you will want something else. Have you ever tried to find that will-o’-the-wisp of “something else” which you seek at the end of all accomplished desires?

No matter what you seek, you must seek it with joy, in expectation of having joy by possessing it, and you must feel joyous when you actually get it. When seeking different things directly or indirectly, in reality you are seeking joy. When seeking all things, it is really joy that you seek through all these things and the fulfillment of all desires.

Then, why not seek joy directly? Why seek it through the medium of material desires and material things? You do not want those things in life which bring you sorrow. Neither do you want those things which promise a little joy in the beginning but sink you in deep remorse and suffering in the end.

Why seek joy by supplicating the favor of short-lasting material things? Why depend upon short-lasting material things for short-lasting joys? Material things and fulfillment of material desires are short-lasting; therefore, all joys born of them are short-lasting. Joys born of eating, smelling fragrance, listening to music, beholding beautiful objects, and touching pleasing things are short-lasting. They last only as long as the sensations born of the senses of taste, smell, hearing, sight, and touch last.

You do not want a tantalizing joy; you do not want a transitory joy which brings sorrow in its trail; you crave joy which will not disappear like the sudden flicker of gossamer wings beneath the flash of lightning. You should look for joy which will shine forever steadily, like the ever luminous radium.

Neither do you want a joy which has too much sameness; you want a joy which changes and dances itself in many ways to enthrall your mind and keep your attention occupied and interested forever. Any joy that comes by fits and starts is tantalizing; any joy that is monotonous is, of course tiresome; any joy that only comes for a little while and brings sorrow at last is undesirable. Any joy that comes for a little while then flits away, sinking you in a state of indifference, and thus deepens that state by contrast, is torturing.

The joy that rhythmically changes all the time like the different poses of an actor, and yet remains unchangeable in itself, is what all of us are seeking. Such joy can only be found through regular, deep meditation. Such an ever-new, unchangeable fountain of joy alone can quench our joy-thirst.

If Nature gave to us all at once everything we wanted-wealth, power, and lost friends-we would sooner or later get tired of all of these, but one thing we can never get tired of, and that is Joy itself. By its very nature, ever-new Joy is the only thing that can never tire the mind or make it want to exchange Joy for something else.

In the pursuit of evil or good, you are always seeking joy. The former promises joy and gives sorrow; the latter may promise sorrow but will surely give lasting joy in the end. Lasting, ever-new Joy is God, and when you have found Him, you have the eternally elusive will-o’-the wisp “something else” which you always seek at the end of all fulfilled desires. Finding this “something else,” you will not seek any farther. Finding this ever-new joy, you will find everything in it that you ever sought.

Material objects which give joy remain outside of the mind; they only gain entry into the mind through imagination. Joy, from its very nature, is something born of the mind and lives closest in it. External, material objects can be destroyed, but this joy within can never be destroyed if one knows how to keep it and unless the possessor of joy changes his mind and becomes sorrowful. This joy is ever-new and indestructible.

Do not seek joy through material mediums, or desires born of such contact. Seek the unconditioned, indestructible Pure Joy within yourself, and you will then have found the ever-conscious, ever-new Joy-God. This joy is not an abstract quality of mind, but it is conscious, self-born, and is the conscious, self-expressing quality of Spirit. Seek it and be comforted forever.

When you have attained this ever-new joy, you will not have become a cynic, hating everybody. Rather, it is then that you will be in a position fit to enjoy everything rightly. As an immortal child of God, you are supposed to enjoy everything with a lasting attitude of your eternal nature of perpetual joy. People who enjoy material things become materially-minded. It is a disgrace to behave like a discontented mortal when you are made in God’s image, and when you are immortal.

When immortals behave like mortals, they experience the changes of joy, sorrow, and indifference in their natures. That is why you must destroy this grafted nature of changeability on your unchangeable nature of joy. And when you have found your own nature of unchangeable joy, you will be able to enjoy everything, either pleasant or disagreeable with your unchangeable, indestructible joy. Your joy will stand unshaken amidst the crash of breaking earthly pleasures.

Divine Joy

August 1933, East-West Magazine, “Divine Joy”

Bless us with Thy intoxicating, ever-new, joyous, supremely satisfying contact.

Teach us to drink Thee, that every blood cell, every thought, and every feeling

may become saturated with Thy joy and have their pleasure-thirst quenched

forever.

After tasting Thee, lead us to temptation if Thou wilt.

After we are sure of Thy most tempting, everlasting gift of Thyself,

then test us with all Thy temptations if Thou wilt.

Teach us by comparison between felicity and sense distraction to completely

remove, of our own accord, all material pleasures from our hearts.

Bless us first with the light of Godly habits, so that whenever the darkness of bad

habits approaches, it will be spontaneously driven away.

Teach us to forsake the misery-making ignorant ways of living by letting us know

and feel the comforting ways of wise living.

Teach us to be so attached to Thee that we can not be at all attracted to

material pleasures.

Teach us by Thy love to conquer all loves for worldly life.

Millions do not love Thee because they know not of Thy alluring Love.

Millions love matter because they meet it first.

Divine Beloved, why dost Thou not come first in human life?

Oh, Father, how canst Thou expect frail Souls, ignorant of Thee and burdened with bad habits, to know Thy all-healing Joy.

Of all Thy punishments, forgetfulness of Thee is greatest.

Punish us not, therefore, with forgetfulness.

No matter what our tests may be, teach us to bear them joyously by feeling Thy Presence all the time in our hearts.

For the knowledge of Thy Presence in the heart makes all our tragedies and comedies of life but dramas of extremely ecstatic entertainment.

Divine Love

August 1932, East-West Magazine, “Divine Love”

Thou art the mystic echo from the caverns of heart, and the inaudible voice of feeling.

Thou unseen charmer of souls, Thou art the fountain flowing from the bosom of friendship.

Thou are the unseen cord of self-bound souls and the rays of secret warmth which break buds of feeling into blossoms of endearing, soulful words of poesy and loyalty.

Thou art the Divine Cupid, enticing mystic souls to pierce the heart of all living things.

Thou art the silent language of souls, and the invisible ink which lovers use to write letters on the pages of their hearts.

Thou art the mother of all affections, and in Thy breast of love throbs the heart of God.

Love is the heart-beat of all life, and the angel of incarnation.

Love is the silent conversation between two hearts, and it is the call of God to all creatures, animate and inanimate, to return to His house of Oneness.

Love is born in the garden of soul progress, and it sleeps behind the darkness of outer attachments. It is the oldest and the sweetest nectar, preserved in the bottle of hearts.

It is the flame which burns all weeds of selfishness, and destroys the walls of family and patriotic narrowness.

It is the light which dissolves all walls between souls, families, and nations.

It is the unfading blossom of pure friendship in the garden of both young and mature souls.

Love is the door to heaven, the complete song of souls.

Love is the echo of God’s voice trying to reverberate through mute stones, through rain, wind, fragrance, vitalizing light and plumed songbirds; it reverberates through the cries and laughter of babies, through unconditioned mother love, and through dumb and articulate hearts.

Acquiring Happiness

Paramhansa Yogananda, November 1936:

We can never be happy unless we are progressing and seeking satisfaction in doing so, and unless we are guarding our happiness from all the influences which destroy it. Happiness comes, not by helplessly thinking, but by living it in all the moods and actions of life. No matter what you are doing, keep the undercurrent of happiness, the secret river of joy, flowing beneath the sands of various thoughts and the rocky soils of hard trials. Learn to be secretly happy within your heart in spite of all circumstances, and say to yourself, “Happiness is my greatest Divine birthright — the buried treasure of my Soul. I have found that at last I shall secretly be rich beyond the dream of Kings.”

Do not make unhappiness a chronic habit, for it is anything but pleasant to be unhappy, while it is blessedness for yourself and others when you are happy. When it is so easy to wear a silver smile, or to pour sweet happiness through your voice, why be grouchy and scatter unhappiness around you? It is never too late to learn.

Happiness grows by what it is fed on. Learn to be happy by being happy all the time. John said, “If I get money, I shall be happy.” He became wealthy; then he said, “I shall be happy if I get rid of my acute indigestion.” His indigestion was cured, but he thought, “If I get a wife, I shall be happy.” Then bedlam started, for he married a nagging, tongue-lashing woman. He divorced this wife, and after many years married again, but the second wife was worse than the first one. Then he thought that he would be happier if he divorced his second wife, so he did, but at the age of seventy he thought, “No, I shall never be happy unless I can be youthful again.” In this way people try but never reach their goal of happiness. They are like the man who raced in anger to bite his own nose, but never could, of course.

Ignorant people, like animals, do not heed the lessons which accompany pain and pleasure. Most people live a life checkered with sadness and sorrow, for they do not avoid the actions which lead to suffering and do not follow the ways which lead to happiness. Then there are people who are always consciously over-sensitive to sorrow and happiness when they come. Such people are usually extremely crushed by sorrow and are overwhelmed by joy, thus losing their mental balance. There are very few people who, after burning their fingers in the fire of ignorance, learn to avoid misery-making acts.

Many people wish to be happy, and yet they never make the effort to adopt the course of action which leads to happiness. Most people keep rolling down the hill of life only mentally wishing to climb the peak of happiness. They sometimes wake up if their enthusiasm for happiness survives the crash to the bottom of suffering. Most people lack imagination and never wake up until something terrible happens to arouse them from their nightmare of folly.

Stagnant people are unhappy, and extremely ignorant people scarcely know how it feels to be either happy or unhappy. They are unfeeling, like the stones. It is better to be unhappy about your own ignorance than to die happily with it. Wherever you are, remain awake and alive with your thought, perception, and intuition, ever ready, like a good photographer, to take pictures of exemplary conduct and to ignore bad behavior. Your highest happiness lies in your being ever ready in desiring to learn and in behaving properly.

People seeking happiness must avoid the influence of bad habits which lead to evil actions, for evil actions produce misery sooner or later. Misery corrodes the body, mind, and soul like a silently burning acid, and cannot be endured long. That is why it should be strictly avoided.

Cure yourself of evil habits by cauterizing them with the opposite good habits. If you have a bad habit of telling lies, and by so doing have lost many friends, start the opposite good habit of telling the truth. It takes time to form a good habit or a bad one. It is difficult for a bad person to be good and for a good person to be bad; yet, remember that once you become good, it will be natural and easy for you to be good; likewise, if you cultivate an evil habit, you will be compelled to be evil in spite of your desire, and you have to pray, “Father, my Spirit is willing, but my flesh is weak.” That is why it is worth-while to cultivate the habit of being happy.

The man sliding down evil paths finds no resistance; but as soon as he tries to oppose his evil habits by the adoption of spiritual laws of discipline, he finds countless temptations roused to fight and foil his noble efforts.

Do Not Judge Others

Your individual happiness depends to large extent upon protecting yourself and your family from the evil results of gossiping. See no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil, think no evil, feel no evil. Most people can talk about other people for hours and thrive under the influence of gossip like the temporary influence of intoxicating poisonous wine. Isn’t it strange that people can smoothly, joyously, and with caustic criticism talk about the faults of others for hours but cannot endure reference to their own faults at all?

If you do not like to talk about your own faults, if it hurts you to do so, you certainly should feel more hurt when saying unkind, harmful things about other people. Train yourself and each member of your family to refrain from talking about others. “Judge not, that ye be not judged.”

By giving publicity to a man’s weakness, you do not help him. Instead, you either make him wrathful or discouraged, and you shame him, perhaps forever, so that he gives up trying to be good. When you take away the sense of dignity from a person by openly maligning him, you make him desperate.

When a man is down, he is too well aware of his own wickedness. By destructive criticism, you push him still farther down into the mire of despondency into which he is already sinking. Instead of gossiping about him, you should pull him out with loving, encouraging words. Only when aid is asked should spiritual and moral help be offered. To your own children or loved ones you may offer your friendly, humble suggestions at any time and thus remove their sense of secrecy or delicacy.

Smile and Be Happy

Make your home a valley of smiles instead of a vale of tears. Smile now and never mind how hard it has been for you to do so. Smile now. All the time remember to SMILE NOW, and you will SMILE ALWAYS.

Some people smile most of the time, while beneath the mask of laughter they hide a sorrow- corroded heart. Such people slowly pine away beneath the shadows of meaningless smiles. There are other people who smile once in a while, and they may also be very serious at times; yet beneath the hard, beautiful outer appearance there may be gurgling a million fountains of laughing peace.

If you enjoyed good health for fifty years and then were sick for three years, unable to get healed by any method, you would probably forget about the length of time that you enjoyed good health and laughed at the idea of sickness. Now your reaction should be exactly the opposite. Just because you may have been sick for three years is no reason for thinking that you will never be well again.

Likewise, if you were happy a long time, and you have been unhappy a comparatively short time, you are apt to lose hope of ever being happy again. This is lack of imagination. The memory of a long-continued happiness should be a forceful subconscious habit to influence your conscious mind and ward off the consciousness of your present trouble.

When wealth only is lost, nothing real is lost, for if one has health and skill one can still be happy and can make more money; but if health is lost, then most happiness is also lost, and when the principle of life is lost, all happiness is lost. After bathing yourself in the Ocean of Peace in dreamland, as you awake with happiness, say, “In sleepland I found myself free from mortal worries. I was a King of Peace. Now, as I work in the daytime and carry on my diurnal battles of duties, I will no longer be defeated by insurgent worries of the kingdom of wakefulness. I am a King of Peace in sleepland, and I shall continue to be such a King in the land of wakefulness. As I come out of my Kingdom of Peace in sleepland, I shall spread that same peace in my land of wakeful dreams.”