the Ultimate Goal
by Paramahansa Yogananda (Excerpts from SRF Magazine, Fall 2003)
Make your meditation so intense that its effect lasts throughout all the day's activities. Do not be too busy to seek the One who created you. If you become king of the world, what then? If you conquer all nations, what then? One day you will find you are dying and helpless. Why should you crave to own worldly things? They can be taken away from you anytime—as they surely will when you pass through the portals of death. Rather, make the effort to know that Something which can never be wrested from you. God is the most uncertain to those who do not meditate, yet the yogi knows Him as the most dependable Certainty. And "great will be their reward" who find Him.
Real happiness I have seen in the great yogis of India. Their earthly abode may be only a humble cave; but they are kings smiling with the joy of God, the King of kings, secure in their power over all creation. Realize that to attain this consciousness of God is your ultimate and most worthwhile goal; I am telling you all the steps so that you know how to get there. It is not just sitting quietly and saying a little prayer that will give you God-realization; it is churning the silence with your prayer and desire for God. The result will be something wonderful. You must make the effort: I am not here to feed you with words, but to nourish your soul with the love of God.
From my researches in the laboratory of life, I have found eternal pleasure.
Modern life is becoming very unsatisfactory.
It does not give you happiness.
There are too many things, too many desires.
More nice cars and dresses and entertainments—and more worries! Free yourself from these so-called "necessities" and spend more time with God.
Make your life simple.
Be happy in and by your Self. And when you want to be with others, join them with the distinct consciousness of helping them, or of sharing friendship in God, but don't waste your time. Instead of spending hours in idle socializing, read good books and thereby keep company with the great souls whose consciousness lives on in the wisdom they have written. And meditate! The song of truth that can be heard within you is much more charming than any book can tell. If you want to hear the magnificent songs of the greatest souls—those who are one with God—you must go into the temple of meditation. The saints and masters are all there. They will come to you.
God is the Supreme Spirit of the spirits within all created things that makes them attractive. Why wish for anything else than God? Tune your mind to the presence of God. Go deep into meditation, so that you merge into the Infinite. When I meditate, one by one I close the doors of the senses, lest the aroma of the rose or the song of the nightingale distract my attention from God. That ability and freedom from body-consciousness came by hard labor; it did not come just by wishing for it.
Escaping the Suffering
When others are wasting time, the yogi meditates. Every day you feel you have some duty that is the most important thing you should do. And after you finish that duty, you find another and another equally pressing engagement. So the whole day passes; and by the time you have finished, sleep is upon you. You must save yourself for God, for communion with Him in the secrecy of inner silence. Let no one tamper with your time for God. Then you will know what this life is all about.
Be with God instead of with your worries. If you can apply the same zest for God that the miser feels toward his money, that the lover feels for his beloved, with which the drowning man gasps for air—when you concentrate those strong cravings upon God, then you will know Him. Be intense! Wholly immerse yourself in meditation. Start by spending half an hour in meditation, then increase it to one hour. The more you become accustomed to meditating longer, the more you will like it.
Why do you permit yourself to remain entrapped in the cycles of births and deaths and their untold miseries?
How many lifetimes will you helplessly go through all this?
Don't waste your time.
I condemn anything that keeps you away from God. To seek Him is the eternal way of happiness. This, every man and woman should realize.
Anyone who is successful in making money does so by spending much time learning the means to his goal, then adopts the right method, and then persists with determination until he achieves. That same systematic effort must be applied to finding God. Self-Realization Fellowship gives you the method. If you take my advice and follow the Lessons sent from our headquarters, and meditate night and morning, you shall see what wonderful changes happen to you. I will show you the way again and again until you get it. We are here for Self-realization, to know the truth now. Some are already achieving that through these Lessons and their meditations; I know who they are. Why shouldn't you, too, have that fulfillment?
You are Consciousness
No matter how you feel, whether you are happy or unhappy, remember, try to meditate. You will find the joy that is within you. Throughout the day, carry with you the peaceful aftereffects of meditation.
Do not think of yourself as the body, but as the joyous consciousness and immortal life behind it.
And at night intensely meditate. Once a month—or every week if you can—have of silence, when you get away from everybody and give yourself uninterruptedly to your relationship with God.
To retain your spiritual consciousness,
keep your awareness always at the point between the eyebrows;
feel the superconscious state of the soul.
The sleeping person has his mind in the subconscious state, and the eyes are cast down. The meditating yogi's eyes are uplifted and his breath more or less still. And even when active in the outer world, his mind dwells in superconsciousness, focused always at the Christ-Kutastha center between the eyebrows. In that consciousness, I am always happy. Even death is no threat to that inner joy. I never miss any dear one taken away by death, because I feel my existence spread through the very depths of the Divine Sea, while on the surface our individualized wave-forms are all dancing. Do you see what I mean? If I am the ocean, then I feel all its waves.
Whether soul-waves disappear in the Sea in death or reemerge in another wave of life, I shall feel them. When I meet these souls again, I feel the same unbroken joy. They are ever with me in that great Divine Spirit. When we are tossed together as companion waves on the bosom of the Ocean of God, we are happy together. And when we are flung apart into distant reaches of that Sea, still in God we are always together.
Nothing but Consciousness
I am not here with any desire to be a lecturer or a minister. I am just one of you, and I humbly bow to the God templed within you. As I speak, I see a vision of God's light pervading each one of you. You are little bubbles of light in His effulgence of Eternal Power. Everything is melting in that great Light. All is God, God, God. In that Infinite Consciousness, body, breath, everything becomes still—just as though I were dead, and yet I am living.
I have come not to sermonize, but to give you realization
—to strike fire in your hearts, to blaze the flame of devotion! I speak what I feel of the Infinite God. The joy of all souls I feel dancing within me. Omnipresent joy! That is what I want you to feel. Someday I shall wash my hands of everything connected with this mortal body, that I may be free and say,
"No more am I teaching; I am everything."