January 8th 2012. .The chosen date for Swami Kriyanandas book launch in Mumbai of his Biography on Paramhansa Yogananda, his Guru, at the Jamshed Bhabha Auditorium, was for the Mumbai and Pune team of us devotees, a challenge of sorts. It was Swami jis first ever public discourse in Mumbai. In the current scenario of ‘brokers’ who in the garb of religiosity peddle their wares with gusto, aggressive marketing, no holds barred publicity campaign, would Swamijis underplayed, unassuming, simple personality reach across to the souls of the real spiritual seekers in Mumbai, ‘the city that never sleeps’? Would it awaken to the call of Self Realisation and Paramhansas eternal message? Would Masters earthly representative get the welcome he and our Gurus deserved?
Swami ji was content in just serving his Guru and devoting himself to spreading his teachings for the past 63 years all over the world, that he often joked ” Ananda is the best kept secret”. But it was so important that the world get to know and hear his message. Not given to histrionics and ‘celebrity endorsing’ antics, we at Ananda believed in following the ideals of our Masters. But would the world so accustomed to screaming averments understand the integrity behind such ideas? This and other such thoughts clouded our minds. There was nothing we wanted more desperately than to have a packed theatre. Nothing less than this was good enough for Swami ji. Nothing lesser than a resounding welcome by Mumbai for Swami ji was what we were praying for and working towards.
On Hindsight..Such unfounded fears and anxieties. When the Divine has ordained and has willed Swami ji to represent him, only stupendous victory can happen and will happen! Those whose hearts were open to the call of Paramhansa, responded.
What a huge success it turned out to be! It was as if the vision emblazed on or minds had taken fruition, with nigh an absence of detail. The hall was packed to capacity,.. with a spill over.. A huge television screen was placed outside the auditorium in the lobby, to enable viewing of the event for those who weren’t lucky enough to get a seat inside.
Mumbai had welcomed Swami Ji with arms wide open.
A Must read for all Paramhansa lovers..hitherto unknown facts
revealed for the first time. His miracles, divinity and simplicity.
Yours truly along with Mr Narayan Swamy , a journalist devotee who had come down from Delhi just to help out with the event, were in charge of one of the book tables. Strategically placed right opposite the entrance , we were filled with enthusiasm and gratitude to see the crowds come in on a Sunday evening , expectant, ready for the experience of a lifetime.
Even before the event could begin, crowds thronged our table.
Even before the event could begin, crowds thronged our table. A lot many titles were sold out in that very hour. The fact that the buyers weren’t devotees but a motley crowd not yet introduced formally to our organization, amazed us all the more when books began to diminish on our table with requests for titles now sold. A wholly satisfying experience where we felt the blessings of Master and Gurus descending from the heavens.
We were as excited as sparrows in spring, in anticipation of Swami ji’s address to a crowd of approx 1500 people. There weren’t seats available for us in the auditorium (happily ) so decided to sit on the floor in the aisle backstage, also to help us make copious notes on Swami jis discourse.
Mr. Karthikeyan, ex Director of CBI and a long time friend and patron of Ananda Sangha , as the Chief Guest for the evening, addressed the audience with his illumined views on Paramhansa, Swami ji and the organisation. He closed his speech with the sentiment that Swami ji is destined to be here for a hundred years to serve India and the whole of humanity.
Swami ji arrived on stage, frail, yet blissful, joyful and peaceful as always and a tumultuous welcome from the audience. The Ananda choir sang two of his compositions, the divine music which he has often referred to as having come from a higher consciousness, while he was only the channel. The melodies set the tone for the evening. . Suddenly it was as if a cloud of calmness swept over the hall. The lyrics, music and rendition was so uplifting.
Swami ji, as is his wont and his inimitable characteristic style began his discourse with a light hearted humorous story that at once as if endeared him to the audience. So easily and effortlessly he had succeeded in establishing a rapport based on friendliness, fully conversant with the fact that he evoked a sense of awe and admiration from all present.
‘I am not the Guru, God is the guru’ was what Paramhansa often said to Swami ji in the many years that he lived with him. Visibly impressed with Yoganandas complete lack of ego , he emphasized that having learnt this from his Guru, he considers himself too merely a channel for Yogananda.
Swami ji regaled the audience with stories that depicted how humorous Yogananda was, completely belying the oft believed impression that saintliness is about being cold and uninterested, humorless and dispassionate. On the contrary, Swami ji also a living example of a man with a tremendous sense of humor epitomizes the same.
“Master was very kind, never condescending towards anybody. I have never heard him talking down to anyone. He was very even minded.” said Swami ji of his Master. “ He knew every thought of ours”. Yogananda once told him “ When you are with materialistic people or atheists don’t talk of my miracles.” This, when he was not even present at the time of the incident but yet knew exactly what had occurred. ‘”He knew, I could do nothing without him knowing’. . he laughed.
‘Master wrote the interpretation of the Bhagwad Gita by tuning in to Ved Vyasa” he said speaking of the time that Paramhansa wrote the commentaries as dictated to Swami ji. “ When I was with him when he wrote the commentaries he simply looked at the point between the eyebrows and began speaking. This was a marvelous example of his wisdom. It was not intellectual wisdom. It came from God.”
‘Yogananda went to the West to teach people true Christianity not this hell fire and damnation nonsense.”. Swami ji went onto express his views of the same “ All true religions of the world must have One teaching. There is only one religion in the Universe and that is what we call Sanatan Dharma..It is not a matter of belief. Everything has come from God and must go back to Him. He dreamed you into existence and you must merge back into him.’ he explained.
‘I have never heard such a powerful speaker in my life’ said Swamiji of his Guru.. And lifting his voice to a booming high crescendo in imitation of Master he repeated what master had said at a garden party. “ This day marks the beginning of a New era. My words are sown in ether and this shall not die. Thousands of youth must go North south east and west and spread the ideas of communities.’
Swami ji then said “ In all those 800 people I was the only one that heard him. The others heard his words and I heard his spirit and I vowed that I would fulfill what he was saying.’ This was met with a roaring applause from the audience.. Swami ji has gone on in his lifetime to establish Ananda Sangha wherein eight such communities all over the world and thousands of people now live exemplifying the principles of Yoganadas teachings.
“ So if one person he ( Paramhansa) could reach..fine!” said Swami ji
“Yogananda had tremendous power physical as well as divine. But we knew him as something much more than a Human being” said Swami ji.
Expressing true amazement at his Gurus words “ When you are One with God you are God”. I didnt know what to say he added.
“ How did God create the Universe? He didn’t have anything to create it out of. He created it out of himself:. Matter has no reality expect as energy. And energy is only a manifestation of thoughts. And thoughts is only a manifestation of consciousness. Everything is his dream,” said Swami ji exhorting an existential truth so simply.
He spoke of the present age as the Dwapara yuga which will conquer the delusion of space. Our space endeavours an example of that. He also went on to reveal that in the next 200 years other planets too will be reached, as they had been in the past. Then will come the Age of Treta Yuga where the delusion of time will be conquered..Then would come the Sat Yuga in 3600 years later when people would understand that all acme from God. He gave the example of the Bhrigu Samhita and other such readings that had been written in the Sat Yuga. ‘ I found some for myself in these readings..spoke of various incidents which came true’.
“Ego doesn’t have any reality.. we are all a wave in the ocean.. a part of the infinite ocean of gods consciousness. Heaven isn’t enough. You have to go beyond that. Oneness with God is what we should be seeking.’ Said Swami ji.
Questions that brought him onto this path began with ‘If there is God what must he be? What makes me ask this question/? My consciousness .. so he must be consciousness. So then my job is to seek god and his consciousness. I knew no Vedanta. I just knew I had to find god. I was 22 then. And I found my Guru. I have never changed my mind. For 63 years.. My whole life I have given to serving Him and making his teachings known.
Master said “You never lose anything in finding God.. not even your ego”. Obstacles on the path is fear of losing oneself. You will be one with infinite and you will find everything in god. You do keep your ego. You have the universe. God is Sat Cit Ananda, ever existing, conscious ever new bliss which master added.. ever new bliss. Swami ji added.
Nature of perfect bliss is wanting to express itself. He is enjoying this marvellous drama.
On being asked ‘ Why does it take so long to find God”..Master replied “ That’s what makes it so sweet when he does come.” God will test you because of the countless lives you have turned away from him.. explained swami ji. He wants you by your own discrimination to find him and then he will take you into His arms,
“This dream is real.. pains of this world are real., so wake up from this dream.” You will never find one saint who will wake up from this dream and say what a scam! This is a world of duality.. dwaita and that will be apart of our life always. It reaches a point of anguishing monotony. Just Not worth it.”
‘Does Satan exist. Yes he does. It’s a part of God ..his reality..He pushes outward. Don’t play with those things. It has its power. If you have to be in it then indulge with detachment.’
Swami ji continued “Yoganada taught in an absolutely new way..eg caste system, originally was a good thing. A shudra is somebody who lives only for his body doesn’t use his brains. Vaishya says what is in it for me..he is materialistic.A Kshatriya is one who can give up his life for helping other people. I am a Kshatriya. Then u reach the point of understanding when you can give people God and become a Brahmin.Understanding it this way it is a wonderful system.”
“And then you go away from it all and from your ego and merge into Him.”
“Yogananda taught Patanjali in a simple way. Shankhya Yoga Vedanta are the three steps of learning.in the combination..Yoga is citta vritti nirodha. The calming of the vortices.
In the astral world the energy is in the spine It keeps going upand down in the ida and pingala. So kriya yoga is not some strange science. It deals with your reality so bring your mind into yourself and not outside in the reactive process.or you will never get free . when you control your reactive process plus and minus have to be taken inward and the kundalini comes up. All these things are scientific. But we have to make them our reality. “
“Yoga teaches that truth is universal. Its a simple science. Helps you to bring back to your own realities.
Yoganandas views on Idol worship, It is not idol.. it is worship of ideas. When you worship sex money it is idol worship. But when you worship Kali or Krishna it is ‘ideal worship’
Yogananda explained how everything has a deep meaning.. said Swami ji.All is Om Tat Sat…Sat is the infinite ocean of spirit.. Aum spirit begins to manifest as vibrations and Tat is that infinite one reflected in every atom.
Swamiji then went on to speak of the miracles performed by Yogananda…the power he had ..lesser known but written in the biography launched. Perhaps that was the intention. Nobody has spoken on Paramhansa’s life unusual and divine. Swami ji felt he had to speak on his great Master.
“ He was an Avatar” said Swami ji quoting the verse for the Bhagwad Gita that speaks of God re incarnating on earth when virtue is on the decline and evil on the rise. He also quoted Paramhansa as saying “ I have killed Yogananda many many lifetimes ago..no one resides in this temple now but God.”.. putting to rest all doubts on the stature of his Master.
“I could never overcome my awe of master. He had come to change the consciousness of kali yuga and came to give us a whole new view of what life is about. He had a world mission.. he had to destroy wrong ways of thinking.. He was filled with bliss always. He was the Avatar of the Dwapar yuga.
His mission above all was to bring souls to God. And then through his disciples he can continue to bring them closer to God. I don’t wish to convert anyone. There are many ways to God but if you could find it in your hearts then this is one way. I feel infinitely blessed to have spent a part of my life with him.’” concluded Swami ji.. amidst deafening applause.
Such enlightening thoughts so simply elucidated ! It was an incredible feat, even by itself that he had spoken non stop for over a 100 minutes on his Master. Although no proof was required to gauge his devotion and loyalty to his Master yet but one could not but stand in awe of this colossal personality who had dedicated his life to Paramhansa and spoke of him and his life each time with renewed enthusiasm, energy and above all Love.
For me the piece de la resistance of the evening was the rendition by Swami ji of one of my personal favorite compositions of his called “ Love is a Magician”, ( click on you tube link pasted below)It was heartfelt, soulful singing, which I intuitively felt left all in the auditorium moist eyed. It certainly did leave me so.
We at Ananda feel honored and humbled to be part of an organization that has a Swami like Kriyananda as our spiritual leader.
Thank you Swami ji for everything, your books, music, talks, effort, love, peace, joy and bliss and above all for being YOU.