Satsanga with Sister Parvati
Excerpts from a talk at 2004 Convocation
God is Our Goal
It is good to remember what our goal is.
God is our goal.
And in all our activities, including meditation, it is important to go with the right attitude. It is all sacred, and all God with whom we have to do. If we do the techniques with the right attitude of reverence, and our full attention and consciousness of God’s presence in all that we are doing, we will get the highest results.
Each technique has its place, and right performance of the techniques increases our devotion and inner quiet. Remember, in each technique we are working directly with God. Master says to approach everything with reverence and focused concentration. The techniques are a form of pranayama. Meditation begins with the techniques, and as you do them the mind goes within. But maya likes to make us forget and confuse us, so we need to remember what we are doing when we practice the techniques. Each technique has its place.
The Energization Exercises
The Energization Exercises are a spiritual technique of life force control and when you perform them correctly the mind is already going within. The body is surrounded by a halo of conscious cosmic energy. The vital sparks of the cosmic energy sustains cell life and they are but condensed thoughts of God.
The medulla is the antennae for the inflow of cosmic energy. It is your focused attention, not the muscular control, which renders the Energization Exercises a form of pranayama, of life force control. When mastered, you will conquer restlessness.
(more about The Energization Exercises)
Master called Hong-Sau the “baby Kriya”. Hong-Sau deals with the breath and the life force and it has a remarkable calming effect. ‘Hong’ and ‘Sau’ have a vibratory connection with the incoming and outgoing breath.
Master said that one hour of Hong-Sau equals 24 hours of prayer and meditation. When man transcends the need for breath he ascends to the celestial spheres. When Master gave us the techniques he emphasized that it takes perseverance and regularity, and to remember that they are not beyond our scope, or he wouldn’t have given them to us. You can practice Hong-Sau before or after a meal, and any time when the mind is not engaged outwardly – for instance when you are a passenger in a car or waiting in the doctor’s office. But do not practice Hong-Sau when walking because it is a conflict – we need energy in the muscles in order to walk, not to take the energy inward.
Regarding the Aum technique, every sound in the universe has a different correspondence to thought and mental effect. The Aum Technique takes one even deeper to do the work in the spine. Listen with reverence and feel in calmness the vibration of bliss.
Now, you may say, “But I practice and get no results.” Don’t worry – it comes with practice. You are deepening and changing your consciousness every time you practice, even if you don’t experience phenomenon, or see or hear or feel anything. Master says it is not the phenomenon that is important, but what is important is to progress to the state of consciousness that the phenomenon represent. In an advanced state, the Aum is felt as all life. You are contacting your soul, which is a vibration of Bliss. Master said you must practice
and eventually you will know God and will know that you know God.
The meditation techniques help to develop devotion – the techniques and devotion are two sides of the same coin. But you can’t find God if you are on automatic pilot. If you are not feeling devotional at any particular moment, then performing the techniques may become mechanical and you loose the spirit necessary the make the connection. Our attitude and consciousness of practice is most important.
Sister said that one night she was saying a prayer, invoking the gurus, and suddenly she realized that her mind had drifted away, so that she hadn’t even been aware of what she was saying. So she started the prayer over again and said it with deep attention. As she said the prayer, she thought deeply about what she was saying: What does “Father” mean to me? Love, protection, strength. What does “Mother” mean to me? Unconditional love, compassion, tenderness. What does “Friend” mean to me? Understanding.
Don’t be absentminded or
let things become automatic.
Go into meditation with the right devotional attitude. If you sit to meditate and find that you are already in a devotional mood, this is wonderful – you will feel that the techniques are expressions of God, light, Aum, etc. This is direct contact with God.
Practice meditation with loving reverence and focused attention, because if you are mechanical or absentminded you won’t get the right results. If you are feeling the results, you may want to linger a little longer in that technique. If you are feeling very devotional, you may not need to practice the techniques as long as usual. Pray to God with a loving, reverent attitude with concentration.
Respect the tools God and Guru have given you and they will take you into His presence.
Make God Your Own
We can infer omnipresence from all that is around us. Masters are one with God, and they see and feel as God does. From her own experience, Sister said that when the disciples were in Master’s presence they recognized a vibration of great love – they knew they were in the presence of a divine soul. Master was an expression of Divine Love. When he left his body, he did not leave us without his presence. But we have to tune in with him. He is saying to us, “You will have to come now where I am”.
When Sister had just returned from India, sleeping one night, she felt Master’s presence beside her bed. “How did I know?” she said. “By trying to keep the right attitude, the state of mind of knowing that Master is with me just the same as when I was in his physical presence, even if I don’t see him.” Everyone who has been drawn to this path will have this experience. It is not for just a few. But you have to make it real in your own consciousness. Otherwise maya clouds things, cloaks the truth and makes us forget. All human thoughts and feelings interfere, like static on a radio. Don’t allow it.
Make God your own – that’s our part of the effort. The more you do this, the more you will feel God and Guru with you.
Invoke the Guru,
visualize him at the Christ Center,
and you will know he is always with you.
Your feeling of him, your feeling of his presence may come and go but your knowing will stay with you because you’ve had the experience. Do not permit any doubt to enter. What we feel and know inwardly is real. The Great Ones are here right now, and they are very interested in these Convocations!
We have free will. When you feel His presence, merge into that, with faith and reverence. You have to make the effort to keep attuned to Him all the time. The more you meditate and have faith, the more you will experience his omnipresence. God is the energy and the power behind the energy. We have to hold with these truths.
If you have feelings of “I’m not worthy”, of guilt – these are delusive thoughts. Recognize that, and don’t allow it to be real. Be still; place your burdens and gratitude at God and Guru’s feet. When you nurture that with your love and attention, you will feel His response. It is not imagination.
We will not understand omnipresence until we experience it. If we meditate and practice the presence, then someday you will become one with God you will see and feel as God does – you experience omnipresence - and then you will understand omnipresence in your own consciousness. Have faith. God and Master are ever with us. What is real is what we know inwardly, not what we can touch and feel. Knowing is always the same. Feeling varies. God is in everything. He is the intelligent guiding power in everything. Master said that if God withdrew his attention for even one moment, all this world would disappear.
Master said that after filling the pail of your consciousness with the milk of peace and bliss that comes from practice of Kriya, to sit long in meditation enjoying those results. To get up immediately after practice is like kicking over the pail and spilling the milk. This happens if we don’t take the time to absorb the benefits of the techniques. Take time to sit still and receive.
after meditation is the most important part of your meditation.
There are changes going on in all the cells of the body – purification - and there is an upliftment of consciousness every time we meditate. It is then that your cells are absorbing that purification.
(This reminds me of how plants actively absorb the nourishing rays of the sun during the daytime, but it is in the stillness of the dark night, when nothing seems to be happening, that they actually grow.)
Even if it is not a good meditation, even if you are restless, still these changes are happening. We will not be aware of them on a daily basis – the changes are quite subtle – but just look back on your life and you will see that you are calmer, more peaceful, and better able to deal with problems that without meditation would have been overwhelming. That’s real results. Regular, steady effort gives definite and permanent changes as you come into contact with your soul - peace, happiness, calmness, joy, love, wisdom, and the ability to cope with daily problems. Then the negative emotions of moodiness, anger, jealousy, and so forth, just fall away.
Steady effort frees us little by little. Think, “This is my time to be alone with God.” Don’t permit thoughts to enter. Forget all the stresses and problems of the world for those minutes. Master tells us to “close the bulging thought-pressed door.” (Whispers from Eternity) Make up your mind to shut everything else out. Daya Ma inwardly thinks: “I’m only with God now. I have died to the world.” Plunge into His presence and you will be refreshed, uplifted and changed. That is when you contact your soul. Do we enter into meditation with the attitude of giving ourselves fully to Him? If we do, then reverence will well up naturally in the soul, and He cannot help but respond to that. We have to do our part – and God and Guru are always there waiting for us. Keep the goal ever before you - have a clear picture of your goal. He is the goal. Otherwise you are just wandering around, absentminded. He is love, joy, wisdom, peace, beauty, stillness, calmness.
Stories about Paramahansa Yogananda
Sister said she wished to tell us some stories, and a little about Master’s appearance. His eyelashes were very long, shiny black, and they did not curl up – they were very straight so that when he looked down they rested on his cheek. One time Sister came by Master’s study in Encinitas to deliver a message to him. She saw him working at his desk which was facing the French doors where she was standing. She waited patiently for a few moments and then Master looked up, but when he did this he didn’t lift his head, but just raised his eyes up to look at her. Just at that angle, Sister could see his eyes through those long eye lashes – magnificent black eyes – and she inwardly gasped, so beautiful they were in seeing them through those eye lashes. Sister said, “Master was divinely beautiful, both inwardly and outwardly.”
Another time Sister was standing at the far end of the drawing room at Encinitas, near the dining room, when Master came out from his bedroom and walked along the hallway. It was nighttime, and dark, but as he turned and gazed at her she saw a circle of light encompassing Master’s face from his forehead to just above his upper lip. Sister said that you will see this in some of his pictures. It is not the lighting. It is an inward light that Master radiated. “Master is all light within,” Sister said, “and it was a sublime experience to see it.”
The training Master gave was unique. Sister was age 13 when she came into the ashram. One time she was standing on the driveway in Encinitas, and there were a group of disciples nearby, but Master was standing apart from them, gazing down the driveway. Sister looked down the driveway in the direction of his gaze and noticed a little piece of wadded up paper lying there and so she walked over and picked it up to throw it away. It was just a tiny errand, but Master noticed. He noticed everything! He smiled at her and said so sweetly, “That’s what I like to see.” Master was so appreciative of anything done to help the work. He never took anything for granted, and he didn’t miss anything anyone did to help. He said that his consciousness was like an iceberg - 10% above and the other 90% below the surface of our outward knowledge. Master said that God blesses you for everything you do to help the work - however great or small - God repays a hundred-fold.
Shortly after Sister first came to the ashram she was in the kitchen in Encinitas when Master came into the room. It was only the second time she had ever been in his presence. All the other nuns called him “Master”, but she was having trouble with that title, and thus found herself unable to speak to him because she was hesitant about what to call him. In her Christian upbringing she felt it would be disloyal to call anyone “Master” but Jesus. Just then Guruji walked over to her, aware of her inward thoughts, and he humbly said, “Just call me “little sir.” (Laughter) It was then that it became apparent to her that she was in the presence of a great master. He was always balanced and natural, and his consciousness was always with God.
Guruji’s training was unique,” Sister said. “In his presence we felt great love, but he could be fiery and strict with discipline when necessary. If we were receptive to that discipline then he never mentioned it again. He didn’t dwell on our faults, except to help us overcome them. He only saw the good in you. It made you want to be your best self - to be what he saw in you. Master always emphasized never to identify yourself with momentary flashes of errors from the past.”
“Master was endlessly inventive, and he tested us to see how we responded – and he still does this today with all of us!” Sister said. “Don’t doubt – he is still in charge!”
“I know every nuance of your thoughts,” he told us. You will see this happening every day. If you look closely you will see his hand in all that occurs. Your part is to be receptive to his guiding hand. If we are receptive, it will be a great blessing. If we resist, it will be harder and painful. The grace of the masters are waiting to help you and the world.”
When Autobiography of a Yogi was brand new – the first edition had just been published - one day in the Encinitas kitchen two monks rang the bell to call everyone to announce that the very first shipment of the books had arrived. The monks brought in a large wooden crate, opened it with a crowbar, and stacked all the books on the kitchen table. Guruji was very joyful and he asked for his fountain pen and signed each one as he handed them out to everyone. “Now, this was a very important event in SRF,” Sister said, “but Master was so humble - he just handed them out so informally there in the kitchen.” In Sister’s copy he wrote, “With blessings” and the date “December 10th, 1946” and he signed it. Some years later, in 1950, she asked Master to add a thought to her copy, and he added her name and wrote: “Find the infinite hidden on the altar of these pages.” Sister said that this was a profound truth that he had written because she has found throughout the years that even just opening randomly to a page of the book and reading a line or two, she invariably finds just what she needed to hear at that moment in her life. Now we have Master’s interpretation of the Bhagavad Gita, The Second Coming, and so many of Master’s other writings. All of his writings contain the infinite hidden on the altar of their pages. His words are permeated with his presence and with his consciousness. They are not just words, but living waters for our souls.
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.