"Conversations with Yogananda"
Excerpted from Conversations with Yogananda
Some of the monks at Mount Washington once sent a petition to the Master, requesting a change in their diet. They asked that their food be more "scientific." They submitted their demand, unfortunately, in a spirit of self-righteousness.
It must be admitted that the diet could have been improved. It was excessively starchy, and emphasized heavily such foods as macaroni and cheese. The Master's answer, however, was scornful.
"You have given your lives to God," he said. "As devotees, you should not worry about what you eat. Be concerned, instead, that your love for God be deep enough."
The Master was, at various times, either lenient or severe in his training. Since the goal of the spiritual life is the perfection of bliss in God, he didn't want us to develop a grim attitude. "Always remain in the Self," he counseled me one day. "Come down, as necessary, to eat or talk a little bit; then withdraw into the Self again."
At the same time, I recall asking him, when I was new on the path, to bless me that I overcome my liking for good food. With an indulgent smile he replied, "There is so little outwardly that you, as a yogi, can legitimately enjoy that you might as well enjoy what you eat!
"When ecstasy comes," he added, "everything goes."
What he counseled us to do was ever-increasingly to develop inner non- attachment. "Be even-minded and cheerful," he would say to us, adding, "What comes of itself, let it come." That advice embraced both the happy and the sorrowful experiences of life . "Refer every joy and even pleasure back to the joy of the inner Self," he said, "and let every sorrow remind you that your home is not here, in the world of sensory experiences, but in the eternal joy of the soul."
"Don't worry about the little things," he said also. It is, I believe, clear from the above that what he was scolding in those monks' demand for a better diet was their self-righteous attitude, more than their request for better food. For him, however, it must have been a consider ation also that it was no easy matter to feed, clothe, and house a constantly growing family of monks and nuns.
"A visitor to Mount Washington Estates," the Master told us , "once inquired of me superciliously, 'What are the assets of this organization?'
'None!' I promptly replied. 'Only God.'
Divine Mother once told me, 'Those to whom I give too much, I do not give Myself.'"