Mukundas father, a railway employee, said: "I hardly think your theoretical [Kashmir] trip needs . . . practical props," he remarked, "but here they are."
The date of departure was set, but Yukteswar refused to go. He exclaimed: "What are your plans?"
Mukunda wanted to see his uncle and ask for his servant. "Dear uncle," I said, "could you possibly spare me your servant, Lal Dhari?"
This simple request provoked his uncle. "You selfish young man," his uncle shouted, quivering with wrath, "what a preposterous idea! Who will look after me if you take my servant on one of your pleasure jaunts?"
"Mukunda, would not you like to stay awhile longer with me?" Yukteswar inquired.
Mukunda suddenly staggered with nausea and a ghastly churning sensation in his stomach. The stabbing pain was intense. He collapsed and believed his life was fast ebbing from his body.
"English strawberries for sale," cried an old woman.
Mukunda: "What a sour fruit! I could never like strawberries!"
Yukteswar told Mukunda that at a dinner in America his hostess would serve Mukunda strawberries, and he would taste them and say: "What delicious strawberries!"
When it actually happened, he remembered what Yukteswar had said.
Mukunda en route to Simla: "The carriage arrived at a small caravanserai. As our horses were led to be watered, Auddy inquired, "Sir, do you mind if I ride awhile with the driver? I'd like to get a little outside air."
Yukteswar gave permission, but remarked to me, "He wants fresh smoke and not fresh air."
"You are right as always," said Mukunda.
They came to central Kashmir. I gazed in all directions at sublime snow-capped Himalayas, lying tier on tier like silhouettes of huge polar bears. My eyes feasted exultingly.
Slimming a lot
After spending happy weeks in Kashmir, I was forced to return to Bengal . . . Yukteswar remained in Srinagar, with Kanai and Auddy. Before I departed, Master hinted that his body would be subject to suffering in Kashmir, saying,
"There's a chance that I may even leave this earth."
However, he recovered. By then his body was reduced to half its usual weight.
Yukteswar considered himself fortunate to suffer that.
Yogananda. "On rare occasions . . . a master who wishes to greatly quicken his disciples' evolution may . . . voluntarily work out on his own body a large measure of their undesirable karma. . . .
A very strong mind, however, can transcend all physical difficulties and attain to God-realisation."
Yogananda: "Many people imagine that every spiritual master has, or should have, the health and strength of a Sandow. The assumption is unfounded."
Mukunda's sister to him: "As a [Ahem!] loyal Hindu wife, I do not wish to complain of my husband. But . . . you can help him. Will you?"
"I will do anything I can." I smiled. An inspiration seized me. He wanted to bring her husband with him to Dakshineswar, where there is a big temple.
Her sister's husband: "Mukunda, how can you admire worthless humbugs? . . . This excursion, I suppose, is a scheme to reform me?"
Mukunda and his sister's husband came to the site, and Mukunda prayed on: "Divine mother, You are hidden in the temple behind closed doors. I wanted to offer a special prayer to you today on behalf of my brother-in-law."
A delightful cold wave descended over my back and under my feet, banishing all discomfort. Then the temple became greatly magnified. Its large door slowly opened, revealing the stone figure of goddess Kali. The breath was withdrawn from my lungs; my body became very still, though not inert.
I could see clearly. I observed people walking to and fro over distant acres. Though I was breathless, yet I was able to move my hands and feet, standing there in the sunny courtyard, everything but the temple and the form of the goddess Kali appeared in its normal dimensions, although each was enclosed in a halo of mellow light – white, blue, and pastel rainbow hues. My body seemed to be ready to levitate.
Behind the temple walls I suddenly glimpsed my brother-in-law. I could effortlessly discern the course of his thoughts. I turned to the goddess:
"Won't you spiritually change my sister's husband?"
"Your wish is granted!"
I looked happily at my brother-in-law. I saw him running, and as he approached me, shaking his fist.
I jumped to the shelter of the pillared hall, where Satish pursued me angrily. He blurted out. "Where's my food? Now the temple is closed; you failed to notify the authorities; we are left without lunch!" He was beside himself with rage, for he had been without food for six hours . . .
The following afternoon I visited my sister at her home. She greeted me affectionately.
"Dear brother," she cried, "what a miracle! Last evening my husband said, "I will seek the divine mother from now on; someday I must surely find her!'"
Years later, he visited the couple, and the thought came to him that his brother-in-law's life span would not be long. His sister: "I am well, and my husband is sick. However, I am going to be the first one to die. It will not be long now."
Yogananda: "I was in America when my sister died. He was informed that one morning she dressed herself in her bridal finery. "'This is my last day of service to you on earth,' she told him. Later later she had a heart attack and died quickly. Her husband addressed her picture: "You cannot long remain away from me," and died shortly after, he who changed at Dakshineswar to a silent saint.
When Yogananda passed a college exam, his teacher, Professor Ghoshal thundered: "Sheer brazen luck!" adding, "You are sure to fail in the AB finals."
Yogananda: "The strained relationship between us was not due to any fault of his, but solely to my absences from classes and inattention in them." (note)
Yogananda staggered painfully – with the lowest possible passing marks – through all his final tests, and after four years of college, was eligible to sit for the AB examinations.
One night about eleven o'clock, Yukteswar questioned him gravely.
"When do your AB examinations start?"
"Five days from now, sir."
"I hope you are in readiness for them."
"You know how my days have been passed . . . How can I enact a farce by appearing for those difficult finals?"
Yukteswar: "You must appear . . . be present for the examinations; answer them the best way you can."
Yogananda: "Uncontrollable tears were coursing down my face. I felt that Master's command was unreasonable." Yukteswar laughed, and Yogananda felt his burdens lifted. Yukteswar asked Yogananda to get in touch with Romesh Chandra Dutt in your boarding-house, saying that "the Lord will inspire him to help you with the examinations. . . . Romesh will find time for you."
Romesh then spent several hours each day in coaching Yogananda in his various subjects. During the examination in English literature, the questions dictated to Yogananda by Romesh were on the examination sheet. Day by he spent many hours with Romesh, who formulated questions that he thought were likely to be set by the professors, and day by day those questions appeared in almost the same form on the examination sheets.
The news were spread that success seemed probable for the "Mad Monk". However, one morning when Yogananda was thinking over the examination in English literature, he realised, "I had made a serious error . . . Instead of answering one question from each part, I had carelessly answered both questions in Group I, and had failed to consider anything in Group II. The best mark I could score in that paper would be three less than the passing mark." Yogananda rushed to Yukteswar and poured out his troubles.
"Sir . . . I am quite unworthy."
"Cheer up, Mukunda."
"I left the hermitage in a more tranquil mood," and was told by a classmate: "This year, for the first time, the required passing mark in English literature has been lowered."
Then, in connection with the examination in Bengali, his tutor Romesh called him back one morning "as I was leaving the boarding-house on my way to the examination hall."
Yogananda ran ran back to the house.
Romesh told him. "I've just had a hunch that this year the professors have planned to massacre the students by asking questions from our ancient literature." Romesh then briefly outlined two stories from the life of a renowned philanthropist, Vidyasagar.
The first instruction of the examination sheet in Bengali was: "Write two instances of the charities of Vidyasagar." He could not have passed the Bengali examination that year without the help of Romesh.
Father was wreathed in smiles, and Yogananda thanked Yukteswar.
On a sunny Thursday in July, 1914, a few weeks Mukunda had graduated from college, he was made a silk-clad swami. At that time, he was allowed to choose his monk's name. "Forsaking your family name of Mukunda Lal Ghosh, from now on you shall be called Yogananda of the Giri [mountain] branch of the swami order," said Yukteswar, his guru - later dethroned by Yogananda to be called his proxy guru . . .
Silk-clad Yogananda sang a reminding song, "I am He."
A swami traditionally belongs to the ancient monastic and formal order that was organised in its present form by Shankara. The meaning of the Sanskrit root of the word "swami" is "one who is one with his Self" ("Swa" stands for self). The usage of this word is not just for a yogi but also used for a religious guru, with or without disciples. (Wikipedia, "Swami"; "Dashanami Sampradaya").
In addition to his new name, the swami takes a title which shows which of the ten subdivisions of the swami order he is part of: Aranya - forest; Asrama - hermitage; Bharati - land; Giri - mountain, rock; Parvata - mountain; Puri - tract; Sagara - sea; Saraswati - wisdom of nature; Tirtha - crossing place, ford: a place of pilgrimage, especially one by a river or lake.; Vana - forest.
A yogi may be either married or unmarried.
Yoga is applicable to people of every clime and time.
The Yoga system as outlined by Patanjali is known as the Eightfold Path. The first steps, (1) yama and (2) niyama, require observance of five negative and five positive moralities – avoidance of injury to others, of untruthfulness, of stealing, of incontinence, of gift-receiving (which brings obligations); and purity of body and mind, contentment, self-discipline, study, and devotion to God.
The next steps are (3) asana (posture); (4) pranayama (dealing with life currents); and (5) pratyahara (inward-turning).
The last steps are forms of higher yoga: (6) dharana (focusing); (7) dhyana (prolonged focusing, i.e., meditation), and (8) steadied focusing, also called samadhi (superconscious perception).
Dr. Jung writes about hatha-yoga: "There is good cause for Yoga to have many adherents . . . it promises undreamed-of possibilities. . . .
"Yoga is, as I can readily believe, the . . . unity."
"Don't believe, make sure"
"In Plato's Timaeus story of Atlantis, he tells of the inhabitants . . . The lost continent is believed [by some] to have vanished about 9500 BC. through a cataclysm of nature." (An undreamt of possibility - Note)
Fact-finding happens to be a hard task among gullible guys, freaks or soap believers -. Many resources have been wasted on seeking to locate Atlantis.
Cutts, Martin. 1996. The Plain English Guide. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996.
⸻. 2013. Oxford Guide to Plain English. 4th ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.
Dasgupta, Sailendra. 2006. Paramhansa Swami Yogananda: Life-portrait and Reminiscences. Lincoln, NE: iUniverse, 2006.
Evans-Wentz, Walter Y., ed. 1968. The Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, or, the Method of Realizing Nirvana through Knowing the Mind. Paperback ed. Oxford University Press.
Roberts, Moss. 2001. Dao De Jing: The Book of the Way. Laozi. Tr. and Commentary by Moss Roberts. London: University of California Press.
Tsogyal, Yeshe. 1999. The Lotus-Born: The Life Story of Padmasambhava. Composed by Yeshe Tsogyal, Revealed by Nyang Ral Nyima Oser. Tr. Erik Pema Kunsang, ed. Marcia Binder Schmidt. Boston, MA: Shambhala.
Harvesting the hay
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