For the month of October, I would like to share with you some quotes and passages from the book Autobiography of a Yogi which shares the life of Paramahansa Yogananda ( January 5, 1893 – March 7, 1952). It was written by Paramahansa Yogananda and details his life long search of the Divine from childhood. As I type this, I’m only about slightly more than half done but felt it would be nice to share some of the passages which caught my attention (and that of my highlighter) 😉
Interesting back story: A practitioner I met once some time last year suggested that I get this book as she intuited some connection between this Yogi and myself…something to do with life lines…ahem, I’ve forgotten the exact information obviously..hehe. So, my sister kindly ordered the book for me via the Violet Flame where she works and it arrived promptly with no hassles what-so-ever, that is to say the hassles sort of began when the book reached my hands. Excitedly flipping through the book I was full of expectations to have this great DING moment multiplied a gazillion times because well….I was CONNECTED with this guy, right?!?
As usual…nothing of that sort happened. I couldn’t get through the first 3 chapters without falling asleep and try as I could I found it boring and the language! Oh! The English language of the 1940’s …it was not very friendly to me. So, sadly and secretly quite gladly I just left it sitting on my bookshelf …occasionally my eyes would sweep past it and I’d wonder….
Until a few weeks ago when an invitation knocked on my door…that door called “Let’s read about the Yogi”. So…I took it out of the cupboard, dusted it off, looked at it heaving a large sigh and settled on reading the book…hoping I wouldn’t hit that sleep inducing wall again. And you know what??!!?? That’s right! I flew past the first 3 chapters, I flew past a few more chapters and I could UNDERSTAND what I read!! And I didn’t fall asleep either!! In fact, I’m enjoying the book! So yea, guess it was just time for me to read it now…instead of before 😀
I’m planning to go through the parts to share in order of their appearance in the book.
From Chapter 5: A “Perfume Saint” Displays His Wonders
I have long exercised an honest introspection, the exquisitely painful approach to wisdom. Self- scrutiny, relentless observance of one’s thoughts, is a stark and shattering experience. It pulverizes the stoutest ego – part of the discourse between Paramahansa and a sadhu.
The human mind, bared to a centuried slime is teeming with the repulsive life of countless world – delusions. Struggles of the battlefield pale into insignificance here, when man first contends with inner enemies! No mortal foes these, to be overcome by a harrowing array of might! Omnipresent, unresting, pursuing man even in sleep, subtly equipped with miasmic weapons, these soldiers of ignorant lusts seek to slay us all. Thoughtless is the man who buries his ideals, surrendering to the common fate. – part of the same discourse as above.
Ostentatious display of unusual powers is decried by masters. The Persian mystic, Abu Said, once laughed at certain fakirs (Muslim ascetics) who were proud of their miraculous powers over water, air and space. “A frog is also at home in the water!” Abu Said pointed out with gentle scorn. “The crow and the vulture easily fly in the air; the Devil is simultaneously present in the East and the West! A true man is he who dwells in righteousness among his fellowmen, who may buy and sell, yet is never for a single instant forgetful of God. On another occasion the great Persian teacher gave his views on the religious life thus: “To lay aside what you have in your head (selfish desires and ambitions); to bestow freely what you have in your hand; and never to flinch from the blows of adversity!” – Paramahansa’s thoughts on the “wonder-workings” of the Perfume Saint as such which though awesome to experience really don’t serve much spiritual purpose. It’s basically to teach us that when we use the powers within us it should not be done for entertainment purpose but instead to help enhance the evolvement of ourselves and those of others.
From Chapter 6: The Tiger Swami
If the master allows himself to be commanded by a servant, the latter becomes autocratic; the mind is similarly enslaved by submitting to bodily dictation
This quote reminds me of Albert Einstein’s quote : “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” To me it seems to fit very well with the teachings the like of Edgar Cayce’s readings; the mind is important but the intuition, the seat of wisdom within us is as or more important than the mind, while our bodies, the vehicles of our spirit, that which is governed by the 5 senses is just a manifestation of spirit and mind.
“Yes. He was smiling. “But there are many kinds of tigers; some roam in jungles of human desires. No spiritual benefit accrues by knocking beasts unconscious. Rather be victor over the inner prowlers.”
From Chapter 7: The Levitating Saint
In “The Over-Soul”, Emerson wrote: ” A man is the facade of a temple wherein all wisdom and all good abide. What we commonly call man, the eating, drinking, planting, counting man, does not, as we know him, represent himself, but misrepresents himself. Him we do not respect; but the soul, whose organ he is, would he let it appeared through his actions, would make our knees bend….We lie open on one side to the deeps of spiritual nature, to all the attribute of God.” – appears in the footnote expanding on the premise of the superconscious
“You go often into the silence, but have you developed anubhava ( Actual perception of God). He was reminding me to love God more than meditation. “Do not mistake the technique for the Goal.”
“The divine order arranges our future more wisely than any insurance company.”
- Autobiography of a Yogi: Chapter 1 (writeyourchapter.wordpress.com)