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Inspirational Article


Conversations with Yogananda

by Swami Kriyananda

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~ 166 ~

The Master summoned Clifford Frederick, a disciple at Mount Washington, to his desert retreat. Clifford came, but was privately worried about the duties he was neglecting by his absence.

The Master said to him, "I know you are worried, but this, now, is your responsibility. I go by the orders of the 'Supreme Boss' up there. It is to Him you are answerable. Don't bother with anything else. Be free, inside.

"If God told me at this very moment, 'Come home,' I would gladly drop everything ' organization, buildings, work, books, people ' everything, to do His will. This world is His business. He is the Doer, not you or I."

~ 167 ~

Television appeared on the market only late in the Master's life. He cautioned us against watching it too much. "Television has a satanic influence," he said. "Don't let yourselves be too fascinated by it. Seek, instead, the 'television' of superconscious visions in the spiritual eye."

~ 168 ~

I once asked the Master if, during classes that I was giving for new monks, it would be all right to include a few stories from the life of Krishna. To my surprise, he replied cautiously.

"It's all right to tell them a few of those stories," he said, "but be careful to choose only those with a clear message. The stories of Krishna ' especially those of his boyhood in Brindaban ' are allegorical. They have been greatly misunderstood by Westerners, and by many Indians as well. Westerners, especially, when reading them, think the gopis were ordinary young women enjoying the emotion of human love. Actually, the gopis were incarnated rishis [sages]. They took birth to show, allegorically, the soul's relationship with the divine Beloved. There was nothing sensual or impure in that relationship. Worldly people, when they hear those stories, project onto them their own sensual or selfish tendencies. The reality wasn't like that at all.

"Those stories were intended to win people away from lust and desire. Therefore I say, Be careful how you present them to your classes."

~ 169 ~

Showing the transcendent nature of Krishna's relationship with the gopis (cowherd girls; Krishna's disciples), the Master told us the following story:

"Krishna and Radha, his closest gopi disciple, were walking together in the forest. She felt drawn down, briefly, to the delusion of being a woman, whose own dear beloved was Krishna. With sagging shoulders she said to him, 'I am feeling very tired!'

"Krishna, well aware of what she was feeling, asked her, 'Would you like me to carry you'? Oh, she was so pleased! 'Yes!' she cried happily. 'Would you'?

"He bent down to let her jump onto his back. The moment she jumped, however, he disappeared! She landed flat on the ground. At once she realized her mistake, and cried tearfully, 'O Krishna, Lord, please forgive me. I know that in your true nature you are infinite, and that your love is given equally to all. Please, come back to me!'

"Krishna appeared again, quite unconcerned at what had occurred. Peacefully they continued their walk through the forest."

~ 170 ~

Arthur Smith, a minister in the Master's work, left it after my arrival there. The Master told me later, "Smith announced to me one day, proudly, 'Do you know, I never take any of the collection money from the church. It all goes to the work.' The moment he said that, I knew he was not for this path."

What the Master meant was that such an act, in a true devotee, would have been only natural; it would not have been a cause for pride.

~ 171 ~

"God watches the heart," the Master said. "Seek to please Him above all. Don't act with the prime motive of pleasing others."

I was struck especially by his next words, which showed how balanced he was in everything he taught. "It is even good," he added, "to do good for the sake of praise. That is better than not to do good at all! Still, when you do good to please God alone, that is true Karma Yoga. It is almost as good as meditation. Indeed, it is 'half meditation.' Even if others misunderstand you, God will never misunderstand. Live to feel His smile in your heart."

~ 172 ~

To those who grieve over the death of a loved one, the following words of the Master's should offer deep consolation.

"Departed relatives and friends sometimes come to one in dreams. Be open to that possibility, especially if you deeply miss your loved ones, for such dreams can be true experiences.

"When Woody's mother died of breast cancer,* I became very withdrawn for a time.

"'Don't be moody,' someone said to me.

"'This is no mood!' I exclaimed. (How can genuine sorrow over the loss of a friend be called a mood!) I prayed deeply. Then at last I saw her in the astral world.

"An angel was leading her away from me. I saw her pause briefly and smile at the beauty of the flowers in a meadow. I called to her, and she turned. At first she didn't recognize me. But then I touched her on the forehead, and she cried, 'I remember!' She parted the gown she was wearing and said, 'See: no more cancer!' She was free, and wonderfully happy."

* Woody was a close woman disciple of the Master's.

~ 173 ~

Rogers, before coming to Mount Washington, had been a professional house painter. The Master once said to him, "I see you, in the astral world, creating flowers by thought alone." Rogers's love of visual beauty, the Master was saying, would be fulfilled on that plane. Indeed, though worldly desires can only be satisfied on the physical plane, pure desires can be fulfilled better in the astral world.

"Many great works of art, poetry, and music," the Master said, "are inspired by astral memories. The desire to do noble, beautiful things here on earth is also often a carryover of astral experiences between a person's earth lives."

~ 174 ~

"Sir," a student asked him, "is everyone conscious in the astral world?"

"Not everyone," he replied. "People of worldly consciousness enter a sort of gray mist. Some of them are vaguely conscious, depending on the sensitivity of their perception, but for many of them it is like a dream. They aren't quite sure what is going on. If your intuition is even slightly developed, however ' especially if you've meditated and prayed some in this life, but also if you've served others, even as a soldier who fought heroically in battle ' you will find, after you leave this world, that that other world is far more beautiful than this one, and extremely enjoyable!"

~ 175 ~

"A couple expressed to me their desire for a spiritual child. I prayed for them, then showed them a photograph. This soul, I told them, would be suitable for them, and was also, I felt, ready to be reborn on earth.

"'Meditate on this soul,' I said. 'Concentrate especially on the eyes. Invite him to come dwell in your home. In addition, have no sexual contact for six months; abstinence will increase your magnetism.

"'When, at the end of that time, you come together physically, think of that person, and think also of God. If you follow my advice in all these respects, that soul will be born to you.'

"They followed what I'd told them, and, some time later, that was the very soul which was drawn into their home."