Mukunda woke up early one morning, refreshed by the salty sea breezes and the charm of his surroundings. Sri Yukteswar: "Come, let's go to the beach." Soon: "Halt!" And to Mukunda: "You have neglected your duty in safeguarding the ashram; you must be punished."
Mukunda: "I asked Sri Yukteswar that evening to explain the incident."
My guru shook his head slowly. "You will understand it someday."
A humorous occurrence took place a few days after. A certain kerosene lamp could not be found. Yukteswar said, "Seek the lamp near the well."
Mukunda rushed there; no lamp! "Crestfallen, I returned to my guru. He was now laughing heartily."
Keith Richards, melody maker in the Rolling Stones, once held that music is mainly for being listened to. It may be largely so, although some people like to dance to it. Others write about it.
Yogananda on music: "In India, music as well as painting and the drama is considered a divine art. . . . Thus, (1) the Hindole Raga is heard only at dawn in the spring, to evoke the mood of universal love; (2) Deepaka Raga is played during the evening in summer, to arouse compassion; (3) Megha Raga is a melody for midday in the rainy season, to summon courage; (4) Bhairava Raga is played in the mornings of August, September, October, to achieve tranquillity; (5) Sri Raga is reserved for autumn twilights, to attain pure love; (6) Malkounsa Raga is heard at midnights in winter, for valour.
"Indian music divides the octave into 22 srutis or demi-semitones. These micro-tonal intervals permit fine shades of musical expression unattainable by the Western chromatic scale of 12 semitones. Each one of the seven basic notes of the octave is associated in Hindu mythology with a colour, and the natural cry of a bird or beast – Do with green, and the peacock; Re with red, and the skylark; Mi with golden, and the goat; Fa with yellowish white, and the heron; Sol with black, and the nightingale; La with yellow, and the horse; Si with a combination of all colours, and the elephant.
"Three scales – major, harmonic minor, melodic minor – are the only ones which Occidental music employs, but Indian music outlines 72 thatas or scales. . . . The Hindu musician does not read set notes . . .
"Hindu music . . . largely confines itself to the voice range of three octaves. [M]elody (relation of successive notes) is stressed, rather than harmony (relation of simultaneous notes).
"Because man himself is an expression of the creative Word, sound has the most potent and immediate effect on him, offering a way to remembrance of his divine origin.
Mukunda: "My guru called me to his side."
Yukteswar: "I am pleased over your cheerful labours today and during the past week . . . you may sleep in my bed tonight."
This was a privilege. One might almost think it topped Cosmic Consciousness, or what? (previous chapter).
"Charlatans have brought the stellar science to its present state of disrepute. Astrology is too vast, both mathematically  and philosophically, to be rightly grasped except by men of profound understanding. . . . One should not dismiss the wisdom with the 'wise," said astrologer Yukteswar; he did not grasp the fit mathematics of yugas (ages) in his approach to them.
Not to dismiss wisdom with the 'wise' is about the same lesson as "Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater." This idiom derives from a German proverb, das Kind mit dem Bade ausschütten, recorded as early as in 1512. In a similar vein: "Don't throw out the champagne with the cork."
"All parts of creation are linked together and interchange their influences. . .
"Astrology is the study of man's response to planetary stimuli. . . .
"A child is born on that day and at that hour when the celestial rays are in mathematical harmony with his individual karma. . . . But the natal chart can be rightly interpreted only by [the] few.
"[Man] has spiritual resources which are not subject to planetary pressure.
"The more he realises his unity with spirit, the less he can be . . . regimented by stars.
"Man is a soul . . . After deep prayer and meditation he is in touch with his divine consciousness; there's no greater power than that inward protection."
"When a traveller has reached his goal [he may] discard his maps. During the journey, he takes advantage of any convenient short cut. The ancient rishis discovered many ways to curtail the period of man's exile in delusion . . . features in the law of karma [may] be skilfully adjusted by [wise ones].
"By prayer, by will power, by yoga meditation, by consultation with saints, by use of astrological bangles – the adverse effects of past wrongs can be minimised or nullified.
"Just as a house can be fitted with a copper rod to absorb the shock of lightning, so the bodily temple can be benefited by various protective measures.
"[Helpful:] a combination of metals, but also of plants and – most effective of all – faultless jewels of not less than two carats. . . . [T]he proper jewels, metals, or plant preparations are valueless unless the required weight is secured, and unless these remedial agents are worn next to the skin."
The SRF bangle
"For general purposes I counsel the use of an armlet made of gold, silver, and copper. But for a specific purpose I want you to get one of silver and lead." Sri Yukteswar added careful directions. [Twisted bangles and why -]
"The stars are about to take an unfriendly interest in you, Mukunda [i.e. Yogananda]. [Y]our liver will cause you much trouble. The illness is scheduled to last for six months, but your use of an astrological armlet will shorten the period to twenty-four days."
I sought out a jeweller the next day . . . The following weeks were a nightmare of excruciating pain. . . But twenty-three days of torture weakened my resolution.
Yukteswar:] "Let me see; you have been ailing for twenty-four days . . .? You say you have pain; I . . . have none."
Yogananda: "I wear even now the heavy silver and lead bangle, a memento of that day."
Refusing ordinary family ways
On three occasions before I reached manhood, my family tried to arrange my betrothal.  I brooded . . . feeling like a goat awaiting sacrifice before the temple of triple matrimony.
A clear intuition came to me . . . I set fire to the horoscope scroll, placing the ashes in a paper bag. I put the bag in a conspicuous spot.
Occasionally I told astrologers to select my worst periods.
Master enlarged my understanding not only of astrology but of the world's scriptures. Placing the holy texts on the spotless table of his mind, he was able to dissect them with the scalpel of intuitive reasoning, and to separate errors and interpolations of scholars from the truths as originally expressed by the prophets.
Nasikagram means "ahead of the nose," no matter what Yukteswar thinks
Yogananda: "'Fix one's vision on the end of the nose.' This inaccurate interpretation of a Bhagavad Gita stanza [16. 7], widely accepted by Eastern pundits and Western translators, used to arouse Master's droll criticism."
Yukteswar: "The path of a yogi is singular enough as it is. . . . The true meaning of nasikagram is 'origin of the nose, not 'end of the nose.' The nose begins at the point between the two eyebrows, the seat of spiritual vision."
The true meaning of nasikagram is "ahead of the nose," however. That is what Sanskrit dictionaries tell. More about the issue follows:
In Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines (1967), edited by Dr W. Y. Evans-Wentz, there are practices aimed at getting calm in a meditative way. It is in part done for the sake of getting spiritually blissful here in this world.
One may use an object "like a small ball or a small bit of wood" and place it "in front of thee as an object upon which to concentrate thy thought" without letting the mind stray from a lax gaze. As for the ball, it "may be of any substance, wood, bone, metal, clay, glass, or crystal; and the bit of wood may be of any shape." (Evans-Wentz 1967, 121-24)
And the most pleasant eye positions and meditation ways suit most people. It is fine to keep the eyes closed too.
Another teacher of Satyananda Yoga, Swami Niranjanananda, devotes a chapter in Dharana Darshan. Yogic, Tantric and Upanishadic Practices of Concentration and Visualization (1999, 156-198) to trataka. The word itself means 'steady gazing'. (1999, 156) He explains many ways to mobilise a steady gaze:
There is outer trataka; outer and inner trataka combined; and inner trataka.
Yogananda: "Master expounded the Christian Bible . . . the truth in Christ's assertion. . . "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away."
[Mukunda:] "The Adam and Eve story is incomprehensible to me!"
[Yukteswars:] "Genesis . . . cannot be grasped by a literal interpretation . . . The tree of the nervous system bears many enjoyable fruits . . . In these, man may rightfully indulge; but he was forbidden the experience of sex, the 'apple' at the centre of the bodily garden.
"Adam' is reason, and 'Eve' is feeling. When the emotion or Eve-consciousness in any human being is overpowered by the sex impulse, his reason or Adam also succumbs.
"God created the human species by materialising the bodies of man and woman through the force of his will; He endowed the new species with the power to create children in a similar 'immaculate' or divine manner.  Because his manifestation in the individualised soul had hitherto been limited to animals, instinct-bound and lacking the potentialities of full reason, God made the first human bodies, symbolically called Adam and Eve.
"God, or the divine consciousness [mind was] present within the first created pair . . . [T]ouch sensations . . . would enmesh humanity in . . . the way of brute procreation . . . ., Yukteswar said.
Killjoys are many in this world. All gurus are not like Yognanda. Not at all.
Dr. Narayan Chunder Roy, a veterinary surgeon, accompanied Mukunda one day to the Serampore hermitage of Yukteswar. A brief interview was marked for the most part by stoic silence on both sides, and then the visitor brusquely departed.
"Why bring a dead man to the ashram?" Yukteswar asked.
Mukunda: "I was shocked."
Yukteswar chuckled. "The horse doctor will take to his bed. The physicians will give him up for lost. However, he will recover if you make him wear an astrological bangle. As soon as the man gets well, advise him not to eat meat. He will not heed this counsel, however, as he is feeling at his best."
Mukunda did as he was told. Later, Dr Roy's physician said: "Dr. Roy has made a complete recovery!"
Mukunda: I did not see the man again for six months. He stopped for a chat.
"Tell that by eating meat often, I have wholly regained my strength." He looked a picture of health. But the next day he dropped dead!
To one of Mukunda's friends, one of wild and disordered living, Sasi, Yukteswar said.
"Sasi, do not say later that I did not warn you."
"At least you should wear a two-carat blue sapphire. It will help you."
"I cannot afford one."
"In a year you will bring three sapphires of no use."
Sasi and Yukteswar talked like this regularly. A year later a front door opened.
Yukteswar: "It is that Sasi," he remarked gravely. "The year is now up; both his lungs are gone. Tell him I do not want to see him."
Half stunned Mukunda yet raced down the stairway.
Sasi burst into tears, brushed Mukunda aside, and threw himself at Yukteswar's feet, placing there three beautiful sapphires.
"The doctors say I have galloping tuberculosis! You can heal me!"
Mukunda felt that Yukteswar was merely testing Sasi's faith. After an hour Yukteswar said, "Return your sapphires to the jeweller's; they are an unnecessary expense now. But get an astrological bangle and wear it. In a few weeks you shall be well."
Sasi's smiled. "Shall I take the medicines prescribed by the doctors?"
Yukteswar: "Just as you wish . . . Go now, before I change my mind!"
Mukunda visited Sasi several times during the next few weeks, and found his condition increasingly worse.
Sasi's physicial at last said he could not last through the night. Sasi was now reduced almost to a skeleton. Yognanda hurried to Yukteswar and reported.
"Why do you come here to bother me?" Yukteswar said no parting word. Mukunda returned at once to Sasi's home in Calcutta. With astonishment he found him sitting up, drinking milk.
"I feel I am entirely well."
Afterwards Sasi said he was ashamed to face Yukteswar.
Getting through an exam
Mukunda's first two years of his course at Scottish Church College were nearly over. The Intermediate Arts final examinations loomed ahead, so he fled.
He fled to Yukteswar who was in Puri at the time, and hoped he would escape the exams, for he was embarrassing unprepared.
Yukteswear told him to go for the exam after neglecting his college work. "You shall get through."
Mukunda returned to Calcutta. There he opening each book at random, studied only those pages that lay opened. He did this for eighteen hours a day for a week, It is called cramming.
The following days he passed all the tests by a hairbreadth. Astonished friends congratuled him.
Yukteswar said: "Your Calcutta studies are now over." He smilded mischievously. "I guess I shall have to arrange the matter."
Two months later the Serampore College had raised enough funds to offer a four-year course. Serampore College became a branch affiliation of the University of Calcutta. Mukunda enrolled as an AB candidate.
"Guruji, how kind you are to me! I have been longing to leave Calcutta and be near you every day in Serampore. Professor Howells does not dream how much he owes to your silent help!"
Yukteswar, perhaps without conviction: "Now you will not have to spend so many hours on trains; what a lot of free time for your studies! Perhaps you will become less of a last-minute crammer."
Once a Mohammedan wonder-worker, Afzal Khan, performed four miracles before Yukteswar and friends in Yukteswar's home. Afzal had got his extraordinary powers when he was a boy. It happened through a chance encounter with a Hindu yogi who said, 'Use this life to reconcile your yogic accomplishments with the highest humanitarian goals.'
He instructed the boy in yoga exercise and then disappeared.
For twenty years Afzal did as he had been instructed, and then began to misuse his powers. Whatever object he touched and then replaced would soon disappear. "He visited large jewellery stores, presenting himself as a possible buyer. Any jewel he handled would vanish shortly after he had left the shop," Yukteswar told.
When he met Afzal, the wonder-worker examined a gold watch and chain that one of Yukteswar's friends was wearing, and said, "You have five hundred rupees in an iron safe. Bring them to me."
The other left at once for his home. When he returned to the party with the money, he smiled with relief, and said he had locked the watch in his safe before he returned.
Afzal offered to supply a lunch. All the food that came through the air was delicious.
Afzal published a confession years later Yukteswar recalles it thus: "I, Afzal Khan, am writing these words . . . I became drunk - But one day I met an old cripple who straightened himself and became strong and youthful. He said, 'I see with my own eyes. You prey on people like a common thief! . . . But no longer!'
The young-looking, straightened, former cripple said further: "Devote yourself to divine understanding in the mountains."
Dijen Babu started to accompany Mukunda to Yukteswar's hermitage. Dijen and Yogananda were both registered as students for the AB degree at Serampore College. One afternoon a young hermitage resident, met Dijen and Mukunda at the door, saying Yukteswar was not there. "He was summoned to Calcutta by an urgent note."
From Calcutta Yukteswar sent Mukunda a post card: "I shall leave Calcutta Wednesday morning," he had written. "You and Dijen meet the nine o'clock train at Serampore station."
About eight-thirty on Wednesday morning. Mukunda sensed that Yukteswar was delayed, and would not be on the nine o'clock train."
Dijen did not trust Mukunda's intuition, made for the door and closed it behind him.
The room was rather dark, and Mukunda was "bewildered to the point of shock," he writes. He also saw Yukteswar in front of him in the rather dark room, saying he would come to Serampore by the ten o'clock train. . . . I shall be preceded by a fellow passenger."
Mukunda heard a rumbling sound, and saw that Yukteswar's feet and legs vanished, then his torso and head. And then Mukunda found himself alone in the dark room with a barred window where a pale stream of sunlight came in. He remained in a half-stupor until Dijen came back, telling that Yukteswar did not come on the nine o'clock train.
"I know he will arrive at ten o'clock." Mukunda rushed Dijen to the station again.
Yukteswar appeared and told Dijen: "I sent you a message . . . but you were unable to grasp it."
Dijen to Mukunda, later: "A message! . . . You hid it!"
"Can I help it?" Mukunda retorted.
The anger vanished from Dijen's face. "I see."
Soon the two of them had reached Serampore College. Dijen said, " [From this I] feel that any university in the world is only a kindergarten."
Antonov, Vladimir, comp. 2009. How God Can Be Cognized: Autobiography of a Scientist Who Studied God. Tr. Mikhail Nikolenko. North Charleston, SC: CreateSpace.
Bühler, George tr. 1984. The Laws of Manu. Delhi: Banarsidass (Reprint from Oxford University's 1886-edition).
Dietz, Margaret Bowen. 1998. Thank You, Master. Nevada City, CA: Crystal Clarity.
Dimmitt, Cornelia, ed., and J. A. B. van Buitenen, tr. 1978. Classical Hindu Mythology. Philadelphia: Temple University. ⍽▢⍽ Well sampled. Much material.
Ehrman, Bart D. 2005. Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why. New York: HarperCollins.
Ehrman, Bart D. 2011. Forged: Writing in the Name of God: Why the Bible's Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are. New York: HarperCollins.
Evans-Wentz, Walter Y. 1967. Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines: Or Seven Books of Wisdom of the Great Path, According to the Late Lama Kazi Dawa-Samdup's English Rendering. 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Jacobsen, Knut A., ed. 2012. Yoga Powers: Extraordinary Capacities Attained Through Meditation and Concentration. Leiden: Brill. ⍽▢⍽ A scholarly treatise.
Jananakananda, Swami. 1992. Yoga, Tantra and Meditation in Daily Life. Rev. American ed. Boston, MA: Weiser.
Jolly, Julius tr. 1965. The Institutes of Vishnu. Delhi: Banarsidass.
Niranjanananda, Swami. 1999. Dharana Darshan: Yogic, Tantric and Upanishadic Practices of Concentration and Visualization. 2nd ed. Munger, Bihar: Yoga Publications Trust.
Pargiter, F. Eden. 1969. Markandeya Purana. Varanasi: Indological Book House.
Radin, Dean. 2013. Supernormal: Science, Yoga, and the Evidence for Extraordinary Psychic Abilities. New York: Deepak Chopra Books / Crown. ⍽▢⍽ Dr Radin tells of telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition and mind-reading (mind-sensing), and presents experimental evidence.
Vermes, Geza. 2005. The Authentic Gospel of Jesus. London: Penguin Books.
User's Guide ᴥ Disclaimer |
© 2000–2019, Tormod Kinnes, MPhil [Email]