Autobiography of Yogi

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11 interesting paragraphs from the book “Autobiography of Yogi” written by “Parmahansa Yogananda.”

1) “Swamiji, I am puzzled, following your instruction, suppose I never asked for food, and nobody gives me any. I should starve to death.” “Die then!” This alarming counsel split the air. “Die if you must Mukunda! Never admit that you live by the power of food and not by the power of god! He who has created every form of nourishment, he who has bestowed appetite, will certainly see that his devotee is sustained! Do not imagine that rice maintains you, or that money or men support you! Could they aid if the lord withdraws your life-breath? They are his indirect instruments merely. Is it by any skill of yours that food digests in your stomach? Use the sword of your discrimination, Mukunda! Cut through the chains of agency and perceive the single cause!”

2) Ordinary love is selfish, darkly rooted in desires and satisfaction. Divine love is without condition, without boundary, without change. The flux of the human heart is gone forever at the transfixing touch of pure love.” He adds humbly, ”If ever you find me falling from a state of God-realization, please promise to put my head on your lap and help to bring me back to the cosmic beloved we both worship.”

3) The initiation was concluded in a half hour. “Kriya is your Chintamani.” I told the new student, “The technique which as you see is simple, embodies the art of quickening man’s spiritual evolution. Hindu scriptures teach that the incarnation ego requires a million years to obtain liberation from Maya. This natural period is greatly shortened through kriya yoga. Just as Jagadis Chandra Bose has demonstrated that plant growth can be accelerated far beyond its normal rate, so man’s psychological development can be also speeded by an inner science. Be faithful in your practice; you will approach the guru of all gurus.”

4) ‘Really, it has been your thoughts that have made you feel alternately weak and strong.’ My master looked at me affectionately. ‘You have seen how your health has exactly followed your expectations. Thought is a force, even as electricity or gravitation. The human mind is a spark of the almighty consciousness of god. I could show you that whatever your powerful mind believes very intensely would instantly come to pass.’

5) Astrology is the study of man’s response to planetary stimuli. The stars have no conscious benevolence or animosity; they merely send forth positive and negative radiations. Of themselves, these do not help or harm humanity but offer a lawful channel for the outward operation of cause-effect equilibriums which each man has set into motion in the past.

6) The devotee who has achieved final salvation in the Lord finds that his body has completely fulfilled its purpose; he can then use it in any way he deems fit. His work in the world is to alleviate the sorrows of mankind, whether through spiritual means or by intellectual counsel or through willpower or by the physical transfer of disease. Escaping to the super-consciousness whenever he so desires, a master can remain oblivious of physical suffering: sometimes he chooses to bear bodily pain stoically, as an example to disciples. By putting on the ailments of others, yogi can satisfy for them, the karmic law of cause and effect. This law is mechanically or mathematically manipulated by men of divine wisdom.

7) Sri Yukteswar was both a swami and a yogi. A swami, formally a monk by virtue of his connection with the ancient order. Is not always a yogi. Anyone who practices a scientific technique of God-contact is a yogi; he may be either married or unmarried, either a worldly man or one of the former religious ties. A swami may conceivably follow only the path of dry reasoning, of cold renunciation; but yogi engages himself in a definite, step-by-step procedure by which the body and mind are disciplined, and the soul liberated. Taking nothing for granted on emotional grounds, or by faith, a yogi practices a thoroughly tested series of exercises which were first mapped out by the early rishis. Yoga has produced, in every age of India, men who become truly free, true Yogi-Christs.

8) There are a number of given souls, living in America or Europe or other non-Hindu bodies today who, though they may never have heard the words yogi and swami, are yet true exemplars of those terms. Through their disinterested services to mankind, or through their mastery over passions and thoughts, or through their single heated love of god, or through their great powers of concentration they are, in a sense, yogis; they have set themselves the goal of yoga-self-control. These men could rise to even greater heights if they were taught the definite science of yoga, which makes possible a more conscious direction of one’s mind and life.

9) A poem by Rabindranath Tagore:

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;

Where knowledge is free;

Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;

Where words come out from the depth of truth;

Where tireless striving stretches its arms toward perfection;

Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;

Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action;

Into the heaven of freedom, my father, let my country awake!

10) In man’s dream-consciousness, where he has loosened in sleep his clutch on the egoistic limitations that daily take him round, the omnipotence of his mind has a nightly demonstration. Lo! There in the dream stand the long-dead friends, the remotest continents, and the resurrected scenes of his childhood. With that free and unconditioned consciousness, know to all men in the phenomenon of dreams, the god-tuned master has forged a never-severed link. Innocent of all personal motives, and employing the creative will bestowed on him by the creator, a yogi rearranges the light atoms of the universe to satisfy any sincere prayer of a devotee. For this purpose were man and creation made: that he should rise up as master of Maya, knowing his dominion over the cosmos.

11) “The astral body is not subject to cold or heat or other natural conditions. The anatomy includes an astral brain, or the thousand-petaled lotus of light, and six awkward centers in the sushumna, or astral cerebro-spinal axis. The heart draws cosmic energy as well as light from the astral brain and pumps it to the astral nerves and body cells, or lifetrons. Astral beings can affect their bodies by lifetrons. Astral beings can affect their bodies by lifetrons force or by mantric vibration.”

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