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At Prince Siddhartha’s birth, his father, the king of the realm, was told that his son would be either a powerful ruler or a great spiritual leader. Wanting his royal lineage to continue, the king did everything he could to prevent the young prince from seeing the ephemeral nature of life. This, he hoped, would keep him from seeking higher realities.
An Indian friend of ours recently mentioned a phrase that really caught my attention. While guiding her son through a challenging period she told him, “Show me your friends, and I will show you your future.”
The cedar beams framing the large, picture window were old and rough, filled with tiny holes and cracks. As I began to apply a wood stain to seal the beams, I could see that many coats would be needed to make them look finished. Standing high on a scaffold, I dipped my brush in the can of stain and began.
We are currently staying in an apartment in Delhi that we share with our dear friend Nayaswami Dhyana. She has recently taken up playing the esraj, a bowed Indian instrument. A person of great enthusiasm and energy, she personifies these three qualities. She has a strong desire to learn to play the esraj, partly for the sheer joy of playing music, but also so she can play the chants and songs of Paramhansa Yogananda and Swami Kriyananda as an aid to her attunement. Next, she practices two hours a day without fail. And, finally, she takes regular lessons from a teacher, Kashif, a master musician who himself started playing Indian classical music at age five and has practiced for hours each day for over forty years.
International travel can be challenging and stressful, but fortunately Jyotish and I handle it fairly well. For some people, however, flying in itself causes great anxiety. They’d rather take a train, boat, or car—anything other than a plane—to reach their destination.
About six months after Swami Kriyananda passed from this world, Devi and I had a Nadi reading about our life—past, present, and future. This experience was fascinating on many levels. The pundit who did the reading had only our birth date, time, and place: the standard information needed to cast an astrological chart. Using this, he found in his storage room long, narrow wooden boxes containing ancient Sanskrit writing on palm leaves with readings for each of us.
One of Swamiji’s most inspiring and powerful means of sharing with others was through his book, The New Path. Though autobiographical in form, the book’s main purpose is to show Yogananda’s spiritual greatness, and how he guided his disciples towards union with God.
Life is a journey filled with highs and lows. Sometimes it feels like a roller coaster, bursting with exhilarating peaks and gloomy valleys. At other times, it feels like the repetitive routine of a Ferris wheel that simply turns in endless circles. We will continue to ride the cycle of life from one incarnation to the next until we have learned our lessons.
In most parts of the world, the school year is about to begin. Children are assembling their new backpacks, books, and clothes for the year ahead. New subjects and tests loom on the horizon. It’s an exciting time for children and their parents, though perhaps for different reasons.
In today’s class one of the speakers talked about the time when Paramhansa Yogananda visited Therese Neumann, the Bavarian saint. In a chapter about this visit in Autobiography of a Yogi, Yogananda revealed that, in her elevated consciousness, Therese had transcended the need for food. She said that she awoke one day with neither the need nor the desire to eat. In other words, this “power” came to her spontaneously.