Balancing Our Material and
Notes from a talk at 2006 Convocation by Brother Chidananda
Intellectually we know what a balanced life is. We know Yogananda’s program:
2. right action or service
3. physical exercise, study the teachings
These are the spokes of the wheel. The center of the wheel is the soul. It is always perfectly balanced—in perfect peace, joy, and love.
In meditation, we are balanced. The problem is when we walk out of the meditation room. That’s where we need a wheel with five strong spokes. If any one or more of the spokes are broken, there will be more trouble. We all know this. The issue is doing it.
Brother Premroy got a letter from a devotee with problems. He laid out a plan with steps. The devotee writes back: “No, no, I want a miracle.”
Frankly, many would miss a miracle if it came up and shook them by the hand. A miracle is nothing more than the law in operation. We are miracle workers. We are creating miracles by operating the same laws that Christ used and we have the highest techniques to work these laws.
Practice 1/1,000,000th of these teachings and you will be with God.
The SRF path is
“The lessons you receive are impregnated with the Spirit of the great masters of SRF: Jesus Christ, Bhagavan Krishna, Babaji, Lahiri Mahasaya, Swami Sri Yukteswar and Paramahansa Yogananda. If you study the Lessons with reverence and deep attention, and, along with that, deeply practice meditation, you will be in touch with the divine link of these masters. When a student tunes in with the wisdom of a God-sent guru-preceptor, then by his efforts to follow the guru’s teaching, and by the inner guidance he receives from the guru, that student can find liberation. Those who are steadfast will ultimately be lifted into the kingdom of Cosmic Consciousness.” We need a glimpse of this, just a glimpse. Then we know. Maya drenches us with the worldly vibration. So without a glimpse, we cannot fully know why we are here and what a balanced life is.
Secret of Maya
Brahma is the creator, Shiva is the destroyer, and Vishnu preserves, holding the creation in harmony, balance, and beauty. Vishnu represents God as the spirit of a balanced life.
Vishnu appeared to Narada, one of the immortal rishis, offering a blessing. Narada requested knowledge of the secret of maya. Vishnu then asked Narada to go to a near-by village and get him some water. Narada goes to the village and knocks on the door of one of the houses there. A beautiful woman answered the door. He was entranced by her inviting warmth and beauty. He went into the house and stayed. He got married and had three children. His father-in-law died. Narada became master of the estate. Years later, there was a major rain storm with flooding. Narada and his family had to flee their estate. His wife and three children were swept away by the flood. Narada himself lost consciousness. He wakes up on the bank of a river. His wife, kids, and farmhouse were gone. Narada wept in despair. Then he hears a voice: “How about that glass of water? I’ve been waiting for ½ hour. Now you understand my secret of maya.”
— The point of this story is not that marriage, children, and property ownership are bad. This story is about forgetting why you are here. Narada was a great sage blessed by Vishnu with a lesson about awakening from the dream nature of maya. But what about us?
Here is a story about how a devotee found master. He was directed to a bookstore to get the Autobiography. Even though he was the rebellious type, he went to the bookstore. He saw the picture of Yogananda and realized it was the same picture he saw when he was a child in a high-chair--“the picture of the man who loved me with his eyes.” He had forgotten all those years.
So it isn’t just Narada. If we have the slightest bit of receptivity secondary to good karma, he will find us. The first step is to take the hand of the one who wants to pull us out of the strong seas of maya. This has happened to each one of us.
God! God! God!
A diagnostic tool: Stop during the day and focus at the Christ Consciousness Center. Chant: “God, God, God, God, God.” See what happens. Observe your reaction. “I don’t want Him to see me.” “Lord, thank you” or whatever comes up. It will show you where you are, whether you are in balance or something else. And it will help you to get balanced. When you chant, “God, God…..” the word itself sets up a vibration taking you to God.
“In waking, eating, working, dreaming, sleeping, serving, meditating, chanting, divinely loving, my soul constantly hums, unheard by any: God! God! God!” In this, is the sum total of what a devotee needs to lead a balanced life and find God.
It’s not what the saints do that makes then extraordinary. It’s that they do it all the time.
Introspection chart: Make a check list including the techniques and anything else you are trying to create such as more will power, devotion; patience and so on. Give yourself a grade each day as to how you are doing. For some people, this is a miracle tool for transformation.
Do not compartmentalize your spiritual and material goals. Yoga breaks down these barriers. As a yogi, you bring your focus to God always. It’s not one hour on Sunday. Everything is part of your sadhana.
Destroy the distinction between spiritual and material work. All work is purifying if done in the right spirit. All work is God’s work.
In India, in an ashram, a female devotee became a saint by thinking of Krishna as her child. There was a debate about whether she actually saw Krishna with her physical eyes. The guru intervened and said, “show me the line where matter ends and spirit begins.” The guru seemed to be saying we should not differentiate Spirit from matter.
However, the guru may be saying there is a line. Do you know where it is? In the spine. It has to do with energy going outward toward matter as in ordinary consciousness or inward toward Spirit as in meditation and Kriya. In either case, the nervous system is involved. Our nerves help us relate to the external world as energy flows out through the five senses. In stillness, the life force goes up the spine and you have God through your nervous system. The line and balance point is between activity and stillness. Good activities are wonderful but the real deal is in the spine. Put your nervous system right and the world will be right.
Become the Master of Your Nervous System
It all comes back to an ever-deeper appreciation of the science of Kriya Yoga which Master has given us. As you walk through the world, is part of your consciousness in the chakras of Divine awareness?
Although each one of us have a different life and world view, we all have an inner and outer world and it’s the inner world that determines so much. Only those who have inner harmony know harmony in the world. If your inner life is chaotic, you’ll see chaos everywhere. The beauty and depth of yoga lies in the bestowal of invariable tranquility. Become the master of your nervous system.
Exercise: Feel Prana
Focus at the Christ Consciousness Center. Feel prana flowing up and down your spine. Notice the line between Spirit and matter — between material compulsions, fear, insecurity, etc and security, peace, and Divine realization. When you lose God, just do a few moments of Kriya Yoga and He will be right back with you.
Realize God Through the Practice of Kriya Yoga
Master told Daya Mata she could realize God through the practice of Kriya Yoga alone. Of course, she is very far along so we get other tools: Hong Sau, etc.
Ma stays centered, happy, and balanced while 3-4 assistants are working with her at the same time. “Without his teachings, I would be just another harried business woman.”
A devotee hooked to drugs and alcohol spoke of her transformation from unspeakable revulsion to a vibratory aura of goodness from her practicing the teachings. The real miracle is not ESP and materializations. It is transformation.
Rajarsi Janakananda had tremendous drive, intellect and will power as a successful business man but his life was filled with dissatisfaction, nervousness, strain, and uncertainty. When he met Paramahansa Yogananda, that same drive was focused on finding God. In the beginning, he was more business than spiritual. But he fought for his meditation. It wasn’t easy. Later he had a balanced business and spiritual life. In the end, he was all spiritual. When he thought of master, there were tears of love, “I did not know he loved me so much.” This came from a man who was not emotional. He would repeat, “Joy, joy, master’s joy. Love, love, master’s love.” That is what is waiting for each of you as you balance your life and though you may not show it outwardly, inwardly you will be dancing in his joy and light.
These notes are not an official publication of SRF. They were taken by the devotees during talks given by the monks and nuns. Please be aware that there is a degree of human error involved in taking and transcribing notes.