The Americanised love guru Yogananda said: "Love is secondary to joy (1997:4-5)."
To aim for the highest and best that is available may not be the silliest thing to do. It could end well! As for what Yogananda said about meeting the devil, read on. Below that again are thematic Yogananda quotations on the arch-enemy, fun, love and joy.
Yogananda was much tormented
Before his passing in March 1936 at 81, Yukteswar told his disciple Yogananda to wear a certain bangle as a special protection. Yogananda, who had come from America to visit his aged master, put it on in faith.
After Yukteswar was buried on 10 March, Yogananda carried on as usual with lecturing and other activities, but with "a hollow smile" and in "a stream of black brooding," and with "a tormented spirit", he writes (Autobiography, chap 42).
Then, one day in June he was in a Bombay hotel before going back to America. In the hotel he felt that a power was trying to destroy his life, but he was not afraid, he asserts. Remembering that his master had promised to protect him, he put a little light on in his room "because the evil forces do not like light." After a while he felt sleepy. Then:
As I opened my eyes and looked toward the right wall of the room, I saw the black form of Satan, horrible, with a catlike . . . tail. It leaped on my chest, and my heart stopped beating . . . my heart would not work. Suddenly I glimpsed an ocher robe, and there stood Master [Yukteswar]. He commanded Satan to leave; and as soon as he spoke, the evil figure vanished and my breath started to flow again . . . He said: "Satan was trying to destroy you. But fear not. I am with you evermore."
Yogananda could smell Sri Yukteswar too, as when he had lived on earth. (From Self-Realization Magazine, Summer 1976, p 8-9)
Two on cots and fear
The devil story is not included in Yogananda's Autobiography, but chapter 43 there is devoted to the marvellous appearance of Yukteswar in the Bombay hotel on 19 June.
Interestingly, years earlier, after Yogananda had managed to fund his own school in Ranchi, India, one night he screamed out from his room there. He said that a cot penetrated through his closed door and a horrific being was seated on that cot. From that time on, a student would sleep in a separate cot in his room. Yogananda said that if he slept alone, he saw many different beings, and some of the times he woke up in fear, writes his biographer Sailendra Dasgupta in Paramhansa Swami Yogananda (2006:112).
In 1945 Yogananda gave a lecture in Hollywood, and said such as:
There is another world, the astral, hidden behind this universe. Its inhabitants are garbed in an astral form made of light. Lacking a physical body, they are "ghosts," invisible to us . . . Sincere seekers after God who practice scientific methods of prayer and meditation need never fear such beings. - Paramahansa Yogananda (1982:270)
Yogananda himself, the kriya guru, had feared them for years.
Some years earlier, in Encinitas, California, 1938, he said,
Sometimes when I sleep on my left side, I see all kinds of dark souls dancing around . . . I rarely see such souls when I sleep on my right side." - Paramahansa Yogananda (1993:292)
Adjoining Yogananda Lessons
People who have a strong imagination or a very weak nervous system may be susceptible to hallucinations. - Paramahansa Yogananda (SRM, Summer 1976, p 56)
God does not want you to give up. - Paramahansa Yogananda (SRM, Winter 1972, p 4)
Your outer experiences should be only fun. - Paramahansa Yogananda (1982:241)
The Lord . . . does everything. - Paramahansa Yogananda (SRM, Spring 1972, p 20)
All the greatest enemy . . .
The greatest enemy of happiness in this country is the bills. - Yogananda, - Paramahansa Yogananda (SRM, Winter 1979:8; 1997:273)
The greatest enemy of yourself is yourself. - Paramahansa Yogananda (1997: 345)
Moods are your greatest enemy. - Paramahansa Yogananda (1997: 393)
Anything that weakens your mind is your greatest enemy. - Paramahansa Yogananda (1982:72)
Bolshevism, the greatest enemy. - Paramahansa Yogananda (1993:64)
The greatest enemy of divine realization is the body. Paramahansa Yogananda (1982:432)
Ignorance is the arch-enemy of man. - Paramahansa Yogananda (1993:81)
The true enemy of man is ignorance. ⚶ Satan is ignorance. - Paramahansa Yogananda (1993:81; 1982:25; 1997:448)
Questions and Queries
Wrong teachings are not good for you
The "greatest enemy" of Yogananda, is the bills, yourself, moods, anything that weakens your mind, bolshevism (communism), Satan of ignorance, and the body? - all at once, or taking turns, so to speak?
He tells of many greatest enemies. Not one escapes from his list of enemies, so beware. Have you considered that he says the Lord is behind "your greatest enemy" (and yourself)? He teaches the Lord is the doer of evil against you because "The Lord does everything (and everything you do)".
It pays to check if any of it is actually true. But how? By transcending a lot. It pays to go beyond enemies and evil and being cornered and led astray by non-sturdy teachings. Or how do you like the guru-given imp-lication that you yourself are Satan - and bills - and so forth? What will it be, laughs or cries or indifference and so on? Yogananda teaches other fragmented "God-things" too, and not too well: [Link]].
Yogananda often talked himself into inconsequent matter. Rise beyond teachings that hardly fits good folks: try good meditation. You probably do well not to take every bombastic guru statement as evil or bad - too. Bombastic and blunderbuss sayings often leave room for different interpretations, and, as Yogananda himself wants:
Don't take my word for anything. . . . There will be as many interpretations of my lectures as there are listeners. - Yogananda (Dietz 1998, "Master's Teachings")
Look, it is a paradox: If you take his word for anything, you don't.
First, you meditate because it is good for you - if you do it well, that is.
Why disregard jokes if they do good? If they form parts of hard-headed intrigues it may be fit to drop most of them. So if you read that Jesus is "one of the masters", why not think: "What else do some gurus do to take in naive, Christians and get values from such guys?"
Beware of encumbrances so as not to get caught and tangled up through them and their follow-ups in the form of regular hindrances along the way.
Man's supreme and immediate duty (is:) Each [!] minute of life should be a divine quest [!]. The burning [!] question in our heart should be: "When shall I find Thee [sic!], O [!] Lord?" - Paramahansa Yogananda (1982:432-3)
Why not drop humbug-hardened oratorial-spirituality?
Go for the Real Thing instead. Folks have sat down for it for ages.
One normally does very, very well to drop unnormal, pretentious attitudes and foolish, exaggerated zeal (as dictated).
Besides, the (figurative) sailing winds count. A good wind helps to sail or glide above given concepts and 'finding' and other roadblocks, up to as many times daily as you meditate deeply and well.
"When shall I find you God?" leaves out why, how, what is meant by "find Thee, O", how often, how long, by which routes. Go from oratorial output to something ideally practical, in other words. Yogananda's talkative and oratorial "fervency approach" smacks of ruining meditation. Let us drop humbug-hardened, oratorial, goofy questions for our own good, so we can glide deep inwards. That is what proficient meditation (dhyana) is for.
The cool yogi may add, "The poor, misguided Yogananda followers. Much rigmarole in the name of God tends to work for the good of big shots by religious propaganda." It could also reduce the standing of commoners beneath the guru-fixated leaders - you never know.
One had rather stay away from what stultifies free, fit, fair and good meditation. Basic, light panting (and gasping) without toil (pranayama) may bring about higher states of meditation without Yoganandic heartburn.
Now, there are no concept obstacles when you meditate full well. Otherwise much strange may be erected with "O Thou, O Lord, canst, wilst" added to ceremonialist, ritualist and and high-flown, pompous words - but it is not necessarily so. Not everything is helped by cogent thinking that works damage either. However, sound, decent meditation is independent of tomfoolery and insensible quackery.
As if in deep sleep
Vasistha asks: At the end of the life of the cosmos . . . how have you managed to survive?
Bhusunda: I practice meditation on Varuna (Hindu God of Waters, much like Neptune) and remain unaffected. When the wind blows so that it uproots even mountains, I meditate on the Mountain (parvata). When the whole universe is flooded by cosmic dissolution, I meditate on Wind (the Vedic god Vayu). Then I remain as if in deep sleep (in yoga nidra) till the start of the next cosmic cycle. (Venkatesananda 1984:279-80, rendered, abridged)
Some might revolt to the idea of having fun with Yogananda's inconsistent teachings. Such persons have not understood the basic ideas of "Your outer experiences should be only fun" or having "a lot of fun playing", and doing things "for the fun of it". Have fun! is a repeated part of Yogananda's message.
Your outer experiences should be only fun. - Paramahansa Yogananda (1982:241)
I don't take life seriously at all. - Paramahansa Yogananda (1982:219)
Samadhi . . . It is fun to get in and out of the body this way. - Paramahansa Yogananda (1982:278)
Nature . . . seems to be poking fun at us all the time. It is indeed a funny world. - Paramahansa Yogananda (1993:111)
As a child in Brindaban, Krishna amazed all with his precocious wisdom and display of incredible powers. His inner joy frequently erupted in prankish outbursts - to the amusement and delight, and sometimes consternation, of those at whom his fun was directed. - Paramahansa Yogananda (Yi 10)
Think . . . that the whole universe is contained in only a fragment of His being! The Lord seems to be having a lot of fun playing with these marbles in the sky. - Paramahansa Yogananda (1997: 55)
Don't be like those who, day in and day out, take life so seriously they are afraid even to smile. ... enjoy life. - Paramahansa Yogananda (1982:353)
When you are anchored in the Divine Consciousness [y]ou will make fun of your habits, and you will be intensely amused at your distinguishing characteristics, as from the balcony of introspection you watch yourself perform in the motion picture of life. I do that all the time. When you know this world to be God's lila - His play . . . - Paramahansa Yogananda (1997: 49)
Whatever I wanted to accomplish, I made up my mind it was going to be, and it was! Try it. You will see how much power you have. You will see this power work. You will have a lot of fun with it. - Paramahansa Yogananda (1993:100)
Be able to change your personality whenever you want to. I have done many different things in my life, just for the fun of it. I have invested money, I have done the work of a musician, of a contractor, of a cook. - Paramahansa Yogananda (1982:152)
It is a lot of fun making success for God. Just think how a little thought in your brain, when put to work, can do something wonderful to make others happy and to leave "footprints in the sands of time." - Paramahansa Yogananda (1993:107)
A considerable part of Yogananda's output revolves around joy. The joy of the soul, the joy part of the godhead in Hindu thinking, that is, Sat-Chit-Ananda (Being, Consciousness, Great Joy). Even though the joy the guru loves to talk if is "beyond description", still he sermonises on and on about it in many sermons. Talking "masterfully" or otherwise about things that are "beyond description" amounts to wasting a lot of time.
Besides, there is a lot more to God, life and Self than joy and love. Balance is required.
But within such a deeper, wider and better scenario, the essence of the guru's joy teachings is that joy may be uncovered within by "scientific means". He means yoga meditation.
The joy and wonder of God . . . is beyond description. - Paramahansa Yogananda (1982:258)
The purpose of life is to attain . . . tremendous happiness. - Paramahansa Yogananda (1982:445)
In . . . eternal joy . . . nothing else matters. - Paramahansa Yogananda (1982:439)
Dance in the joy of God. - Paramahansa Yogananda (1993:431)
The very joy you are seeking in sex, money, wine, love, fame - that joy is within yourself. - Paramahansa Yogananda (1982:46)
If you find true joy in this life, you will have it now and in the afterlife too. - Paramahansa Yogananda (1982:195)
Divine joy is in everyone. - Paramahansa Yogananda (1982:8)
God . . . We can accurately call Him Divine Consciousness, Divine Joy, Divine Existence. - Paramahansa Yogananda (1982:21)
The joy of God is boundless, unceasing, all the time new. - Paramahansa Yogananda (1982:44)
The joy of Spirit is endless. - Paramahansa Yogananda (1982:47)
The soul and its joy last forever. - Paramahansa Yogananda (1993:296)
Joy can be found only through regular, deep meditation. The inner fountain of unchangeable ever new joy. - Paramahansa Yogananda (1993:46)
He can be known by using the technique of meditation. Then He shall throb as wisdom in your mind, and as joy in your heart, and you will be more active and more successful than you have ever been before. - Paramahansa Yogananda (1982:8)
The happy man is less subject to disease. - Paramahansa Yogananda (1982:89)
Meditate - the glory and the joy it brings! Nothing else can give you that experience. See if it isn't true. - Paramahansa Yogananda (1982:49)
your consciousness to the ever-existing, ever-conscious, ever-new joy, which is God. Paramahansa Yogananda (1982:78)
God is ever new joy. This joy is omnipresent. - Paramahansa Yogananda (1997:3)
Divine love is joy. - Paramahansa Yogananda (1993:17)
Love is secondary to joy; there could be no love without joy. - Paramahansa Yogananda (1993:4-5)
The satisfaction of love is not in the feeling itself, but in the joy that feeling brings. Love gives joy. We love love because it gives us such intoxicating happiness. So love is not the ultimate; the ultimate is bliss. God is Sat-Chit-Ananda, ever-existing, ever-conscious, ever-new Bliss. We, as soul, are individualized Sat-Chit-Ananda. - Paramahansa Yogananda (1993:3)
Experience God-consciousness, or realization of the Self as Spirit: ever-existing, ever-conscious, ever-new joy. - Paramahansa Yogananda (1982:282)
The more peaceful you are, the more you will be able to feel His presence. The happier you are, the greater will be your attunement with Him. Those who know Him are always happy, because God is joy itself. - Paramahansa Yogananda (1982:110)
When centered in your true self, you do every task and enjoy all good things with the joy of God. Filled with His intoxicating bliss, you joyfully perform all actions. - Paramahansa Yogananda (1993:222)
A joy that never grows stale is what you want; and that is what Patanjali teaches you can have, by becoming established in your true soul nature. - Paramahansa Yogananda (1993:222)
Dasgupta, Sailendra. Paramhansa Swami Yogananda: Life-portrait and Reminiscences. Lincoln, NE: iUniverse, 2006. Also at Google Books, partial view.
Dietz, Margaret Bowen. Thank You, Master. Nevada City, CA: Crystal Clarity, 1998.
Mieder, Wolfgang (main ed.), Stewart A. Kingsbury, and Kelsie E. Harder: A Dictionary of American Proverbs. (Paperback) New York: Oxford University Press, 1996.
Venkatesananda, Swami, tr. The Concise Yoga Vasistha. Albany: State University of New York, 1984.
Yogananda, Paramahansa. Autobiography of a Yogi. 1st ed. New York: Philosophical Library, 1946.
⸻. Autobiography of a Yogi. 13th ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF), 1998.
⸻. The Divine Romance. New ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1993.
⸻. Journey to Self-realization: Discovering the Gift of the Soul. New ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1997.
⸻. Man's Eternal Quest. 2nd ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1982.
⸻. The Science of Religion. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1953.
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