Part of our sadhana, our spiritual training, is to study the guru’s teachings. But it is not necessary that you understand everything, or even believe everything. The only dogma we have is Kriya Yoga. Just practice the teachings, practice the techniques, and you will come to understand. You will come to know the truth of the teachings by realization. Rajarsi Janakananda said, “He knows he knows because he experiences.” …
Q. If everything that happens, every event, is meant to be a lesson, what do you do when you don’t understand the lesson? How do we figure out what the lesson is?
A. Brother said, “I hate when that happens.” (Laughter from the audience) Many things we don’t understand, but we don’t have to rationally pull it apart. That giant boomerang called karma, which is just stuff carried over from another life, may come around and hit us in this life, and because we don’t usually remember our past lives it may be very difficult to see clearly why it happened.
Master wrote, “The equilibrating law of karma, as expounded in the Hindu scriptures, is that of action and reaction, cause and effect, sowing and reaping. In the course of natural righteousness (rita), each man, by his thoughts and actions, becomes the molder of own destiny. Whatever universal energies he himself, wisely or unwisely, has set in motion must return to him as their starting point, like a circle inexorably completing itself.”
So what can we do? We can pray for understanding. Pray, “Help me, Lord. Help me to understand.” This life is a school and we are here to learn our lessons for our own evolutionary growth.
And practice surrender. “I don’t know why this is happening to me, Divine Mother, but you do and that’s good enough for me.” The guru gives us only what we can bear. Accept it with surrender and devotion, and you will come to a deeper understanding.
Q. How does one come to know in every instant what is the right thing to do? Sometimes we can seem to be caught in a moral paradox. When to resist and when to surrender? When to speak up and when to be silent?
A. This is a very difficult question to answer. Guruji called it the ‘golden middle path’. It’s also known as the ‘razor’s edge’. We are asked to walk a very fine line between two extremes. Nothing is ever black and white – it’s always shades of grey. There is no absolute formula. In each particular situation we must use discrimination and wisdom – we must develop deeper and deeper ability by meditation to feel intuitively what we should do. That intuition is what will guide us to the right thing we should do.
Q. I am a competitive person by nature. But I’m thinking that it’s not always a spiritual quality. How can I use my competitiveness in a spiritual way?
A. Competition can be the opposite of cooperation. Our guru was certainly competitive! Master loved tennis – and he didn’t lose! (Laughter from the audience) It’s not necessarily wrong, but if it permeates everything we do, we need to ask why. Is there insecurity?
The Tiger Swami story in the ‘Autobiography’ is a good example of competition. The overriding lesson is that there are other ways to use competition. Why not use it in learning how to meditate more and feel God’s presence more and more in your life? When finally the Tiger Swami became spiritually receptive, his guru appeared and called him to the ultimate challenge, “Enough of tiger taming. Come with me; I’ll teach you to subdue the beasts of ignorance roaming in jungles of the human mind.”
In the Gita, Master wrote, “Every devotee who at will can command his attention to retire from the territory of the senses and to enthrone itself within is an object of admiration in the eyes of his own thoughts.” Nowadays we hear so often about self-esteem. Listen to this quote, understand this quote from Master, and you will learn what self-esteem is all about.
Q. I have a friend, a Christian, who says that he will never reincarnate because he has accepted Jesus Christ as his savior and so he has been “saved”. He believes that believing in and accepting Jesus is all that is needed. How to respond?
A. You probably can’t. Don’t worry about it if you can’t communicate. Just say, “Bless you, follow your path.” Daya Mata once wrote to a devotee that this concept is a great distortion of the teachings of Jesus. We must get back to the spirit of what Jesus taught. Each one must save himself by adhering to those principles. That is what will redeem you. It is knowing their truths. Our teachings are based on original yoga as taught by Bhagavan Krishna and original Christianity as taught by Jesus Christ. Master came to redefine and clarify Christianity. So when anyone asks you if you are Christian, say, “Oh yes, more than you know!”
Master didn’t put Christ on the altar just to make Western people happy. The teachings are also a Hindu religion – and they are the essence of all the true religions. Master put these two, the Bible and the Gita together in the teachings and so we have a broad spectrum of truth. …
One time Brother overheard another monk ask Daya Mata about Master’s book, ‘The Second Coming of Christ’, asking about who was working on it and so forth. Master’s interpretation of the Bhagavad Gita had just recently been released, and Brother was so impressed and so inspired with it that he said, “Oh Ma, I don’t think we even need the ‘Second Coming’. Then Ma replied, “You wait and see! It will be more of the same!” – meaning, the same high level as Master’s Gita translation.
See also~ THE UNIVERSALITY OF RELIGIONS
Q. Please explain why Sri Yukteswar sent away his favorite disciple, Kumar. How can this be unconditional love?
A. From the ‘Autobiography’:
“Kumar set out for a visit to his childhood home. He ignored the quiet disapproval of Sri Yukteswar, who never authoritatively controlled his disciples’ movements. On the boy’s return to Serampore in a few months, a change was unpleasantly apparent. Gone was the stately Kumar with serenely glowing face. Only an undistinguished peasant stood before us, one who had lately acquired a number of evil habits.
Master summoned me and brokenheartedly discussed the fact that the boy was now unsuited to the monastic hermitage life. “Mukunda, I’ll leave it to you to instruct Kumar to leave the ashram tomorrow; I can’t do it!” Tears stood in Sri Yukteswar’s eyes, but he controlled himself quickly. “The boy would never have fallen to these depths had he listened to me and not gone away to mix with undesirable companions. He has rejected my protection; the callous world must be his guru still.”
The boy had refused the guru’s help. Sri Yukteswar could not even bear to tell Kumar himself that he had to leave. Was it unconditional love? Certainly. Sri Yukteswar realized he couldn’t help Kumar and that he had to leave because he wasn’t able to follow the guru’s teachings. He knew that Kumar first had a few more lessons to learn in the world.
Q. In ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’, we read how Sri Yukteswar gave such harsh discipline to Master. And then Master gave the same harsh discipline to Daya Mata. Why the same meanness?
A. Sri Yukteswar explains why to Master: “The hard core of human egotism is hardly to be dislodged except rudely. With its departure, the divine finds at last an unobstructed channel. In vain It seeks to percolate through flinty hearts of selfishness.”
Master openly displayed more love than Sri Yukteswar – he had that motherly quality. But with Daya Ma – he was very harsh with her. Why? The guru realized his role in their short time together – and he knew she could take it. He realized that by such harsh discipline she would have the capacity to withstand tremendous difficulties later on.
One time Ma was feeling sorry for herself and she said to Master, “Maybe I don’t belong here.” And what was Master’s response? “Then get out!” (And he meant it!) “By saying that you break the divine bond.” And Master meant get out of the ashram! Then Ma realized her error, and apologized. The guru gave Ma that strong discipline because he realized that she could take it and that she wouldn’t run away.
a Brother Jayananda convocation satsanga, from devotee notes
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