This year  marks the hundredth anniversary, of the birth of Swami Shyamananda (1911-1971), a great Indian disciple of Paramahansa Yogananda who was beloved by SRF/YSS members worldwide. After he met Sri Daya Mata during her 1958-59 trip to India, she recognized him as one chosen by God to help build a strong foundation for Paramahansaji’s work in India. For the next twelve years, until his passing in 1971, he worked tirelessly with Sri Daya Mataji to establish Yogoda Satsanga Society of India on the firm footing it enjoys today, serving on the Boards of Directors of both Yogoda Satsanga Society of India and Self-Realization Fellowship, and also as General Secretary of YSS.
Born Binayendra Narayan Dubey into a noble Brahmin family, he married and had two daughters; but after the passing of his wife in 1936 he began an intense search for God and Truth. Travelling throughout India, he met many great saints but never made a commitment to any guru or path. It was only in 1958 that he found in Paramahansa Yogananda’s legacy the spiritual teachings and leadership that he had been seeking. In 1970 he received the monastic vows of sannyas from Sri Daya Mata, and was known thereafter as Swami Shyamananda Giri. The following article is from a satsanga he gave to Self-Realization members in Cologne, Germany, in September 1969.
Dear ones, it has been wonderful to be with you in the name of God and Guru. To come together in the thought of Them is the sweetest and most coveted relationship—it is unique. You are all so sincere, your example will draw many souls to the Divine. He has chosen you to inspire other seekers. To be among the chosen ones of God and the Gurus is a wonderful responsibility, and a joy. Always remember this. Your love for the Divine will fill not only your own hearts but also the hearts of many others.
“SILENCE IS MORE ELOQUENT”
Words can express some of our feelings, but sometimes silence is more eloquent. In this world, we don’t always give enough importance to silence; too often we become very talkative. But when the heart is full, one becomes silent. In India there is a proverb that when you pour water into an empty pitcher, it makes a loud, hollow noise, but when the pitcher is full, there is no more sound. Of course, a little talking is necessary. But in the spiritual life, one gradually withdraws not only his talk, but his mind also. And when he dives deep in the silent sanctuary of his heart and soul, then and then only does he find the wisdom, peace, and fulfillment he is seeking.
The whole world is seeking, for the hearts of men are empty. We think the world can satisfy us, but I have seen in my own life that this is not so. God gave me everything in the worldly sense: I have had position, wealth, learning, the fullness of life. Whatever the world had to offer, I have had. But still I was seeking. I did not get the teachings and techniques of Master [Paramahansa Yogananda] early in life, so for many years I had to roam.
“EXPERIENCE OF AUM”
When we are seeking earnestly, some encouraging spiritual experiences do come. The first time I heard Aum was over thirty years ago. I did not know Guruji’s technique then. I was in the Himalayas, at the edge of a forest, and suddenly heard that wonderful sound everywhere. It started with the ringing of bells, the ocean roar, and then all the sounds, so sweet, everywhere. I thought, “What has happened?” I searched in all directions, trying to find where the sound was coming from. Then it started inside also. Inside and out —everywhere. And, dear ones, it lasted for three days. I had no wish even to eat; my heart was too full. I was living with a saint at the time. After the third day, when the sound had stopped, I asked him about it. All he said was:
He couldn’t tell me. There are many who have become saints, but don’t know how to teach others. How wonderfully Master has explained the deepest truths and given us the techniques* by which we can experience them.
“FIRE AND LIGHT”
We read so much, and don’t understand. But one day the meaning is revealed to us. Now I had read many times this mantra from the Vedas: “Fire is in its latent state in fuel, and so one does not see it. But when the fuel is ignited, you see the fire which was in it. Similarly, in the body, when pranava, Aum, works, you see God.” I thought I knew the meaning. But one day as I read this mantra, I found suddenly that light was coming from the book; it was gradually being transformed into light. And then I saw that light taking the form of fire. Everything was fire. Everywhere—fire and light. I sat in silence and pranamed: “I surrender to You. Whoever You are, whatever Deity, I don’t know; but I bow to You.” My heart was full. I couldn’t explain it to myself, but there was fire on all sides, and I was sitting in the middle. I was in fire and light; yet there was no heat, no burning. And then it came to me—I understood the meaning. Don’t you see? it is all light; it is all fire. Everything is that vibration, that sound and light of God as Aum. Do you think a book and all other things you see are inanimate objects? If you take a burning torch and put another by its side, the second torch awakes and ignites. All is sleeping fire and light. Then I said, “Oh, my Lord, this is the meaning of the mantra!” When you commune with God as Aum in meditation, you will see that the body—the whole universe—is this wondrous Light.
‘THE SAINTS ATTUNED THEMSELVES TO GOD”
So, dear ones, you don’t know when, but eventually you will come to know everything. It doesn’t come from book learning. Many saints are absolutely illiterate but have all wisdom. Where did they get it? They attuned themselves with God. You see this principle working in music, especially with stringed instruments such as the sitar. If two of them are tuned in the same key and you play one, the other will resonate the same notes. Similarly, the saints tune themselves to God, and His wisdom resonates through them and becomes their wisdom. They are attuned to God, but we are out of tune. That is why we suffer. By meditation we tune ourselves to God’s way, which we have forgotten. That’s the only thing we have to do. And as soon as we are tuned, His wisdom is ours.
How do saints such as Master feel and understand what is in another’s mind? They tune themselves to the vibration of that individual’s thoughts. Some saints have even been known to respond to another’s thoughts in whatever language was native to that person, even though that language was unfamiliar to them. Because the saint’s thought is in tune with the vibration of the other person’s thought, he is automatically in tune with the language of the other’s thought, and that language flows out through the saint’s voice in reply. So you see, if your thought and my thought are the same, and if I do not know your language, and yet want to express myself as you would, that same language will come through my voice.
So experiences do start coming, and then the heart becomes full and you don’t doubt. Doubt and dryness come sometimes when we don’t experience anything. But if we go on practicing as the great ones teach, we get some result, some joy starts coming. That is why Master has given the techniques, so that you can see and hear and feel something, and be encouraged in seeking God.
Everyone wants a little miracle. I have seen many running after miracles and powers their whole lives, but they got nowhere on the spiritual path. From childhood I have many times witnessed the demonstration of unusual powers, but my mind was never much drawn to it.
When I was very young, we had a servant who had some miraculous powers. Out of curiosity I asked him: “Will you teach me?”
“No,” he said, “it is not for you.”
He was a very sweet old man who loved us and helped to bring us up. When I was older, he explained to me: “Please, don’t get caught up in these things; they allure, but then drag the mind downward.”
“Then why do you do it?” I asked.
“Tomorrow I am going to burn these books so that nobody else learns this—it has not helped me. I would have been much better off had I not taken to these things.” He was very honest, and in my presence he burned the books. He pranamed to them and said:
“Now, you go. I want the Lord.”
Master never drew us toward miracles. What he has given is the highest. That sound of Aum you hear in meditation is called Nada Brahma in India. Nada means “sound” and Brahma, “God”: “the sound that is God.” To hear and merge in this is the highest; and to see the light of the third eye.*
“WHAT AM I TO MEDITATE ON?”
Many have said to me: “When I close my eyes it is silent and dark; I don’t see or hear anything. What am I to meditate on?” When you close the eyes, and all is darkness, you want to think of God; but all sorts of restless thoughts and doubts start coming into the mind. You try to keep them out, but they keep rushing in. How to keep away these distractions?
Practice the Aum Technique, and in time you will start hearing Aum. In the beginning, whatever sound comes, concentrate on that. Go on pinpointing your mind in that way, so that restless thoughts cannot take possession of it. Gradually you will feel sweetness in your meditation.
And as you concentrate at the Kutastha (Christ-consciousness center) you will see a blue light—so soothing—within a golden orb. Sit long, concentrating on that light—what divine sweetness comes!
Do the technique just as Master has given it in the Lessons. If you don’t feel or see or hear anything right away, never mind: go on trying. The results he promises will come. God is not going to run away from you! He must come.
“KEEP THE MIND ON GOD”
In the beginning the Divine plays hide and seek to test your patience. But say to Him, “Oh, my Lord, I have enough patience. But You have played hide and seek with me for many, many lives. No more of this game! This time I will not let You go. Take away the curtain of maya, of delusion, now. I want You—You—You. Nothing else. Yes, I am in the world, and I will perform my duties, but only for You. ‘I will never forget Thee, I will never forsake Thee.’* My mind will be always turning toward You.”
As you are working, think of God and keep your attention on the higher centers of consciousness in the spine. In time you will find you are doing everything normally and efficiently but your mind is interiorized. You are looking outside, but your mind is inside. It is wonderful. And you will do your work even better because your mind is concentrated. The mind easily gets distracted, and therefore attention is diluted; so train it to go in one direction. Distract it toward God! He is our life, our intelligence, our energy. We do our best when united to Him.
The beginner may say, “If I keep my mind there, how will I work? I’ll forget what I am doing.” Now, when two people are in love, they continue with their daily duties, but each one is thinking constantly of the beloved. All the time the mind is on the loved one, and thinking when they will be together again. So why not keep the mind on God in that way? It can be done, with patience and perseverance. Its effects are wonderful! ❑
*From “Listen, Listen, Listen” in Cosmic Chants, by Paramahansa Yogananda (published by Self-Realization Fellowship).
from What Divine Sweetness Comes!: Communion With God Through Yoga Meditation By Swami Shyamananda, Self-Realization magazine, WINTER 2011
See also~ SWAMI SHYAMANANDA Articles List