by Swami Kriyananda (J. Donald Walters)
Chapter One: A Great Modern Channel
I had the good fortune to live for three and a half years with one of the greatest channels of our times.
He was not widely known as a channel, perhaps because he didn't need to go into unconsciousness, nor into any abstract mental state, to give utterance to what came through him. He simply "tuned in" and the answers were always there.
And the answers were right. They worked for people. His counseling revealed deep, intuitive insight into the problems, motives, and secret thoughts that people had thought they'd tucked away where no one would ever reach them.
He saw things in people's past that even they had forgotten. He saw far back in time, also, beyond the portals of this life, and helped people thereby to understand problems in the present lifetime that, until then, had left them confused, perplexed, or resentful.
And he saw things in their future, as well. People couldn't bring themselves to believe all the predictions he made, but they proved right nonetheless.
He spoke from personal, visionary experience, and not from book learning of countless mysteries of the universe: of how it was made, and why. He told us of life on other planets, and predicted a time of interstellar travelwhich he said was a reality, despite its seeming impossibility, according to the known laws of modern physics.
He described again, from direct experience, levels of reality that are much too subtle to be perceived by the physical senses.
He spoke of the ages of civilization on earth, and of the implications for mankind of having entered, as we now have, a new age.
He revealed to our imagination a divine creation so marvelous, so infinitely vast and complex, so inspiring in its beauty and lofty purpose that I think not all the books in the world could equal what we heard from him in person.
And yet, he was not generally known as a channel.
He could see people in the astral world, converse with them, receive messages from them. He could tune in to high souls and let them speak through him. From what he told us, and from what seemed to us truly our own experience with him, God Himself used his voice to teach us and guide us.
And yetthere was nothing ritualistic about his channeling, nothing portentous, nothing to make us feel that we had the rare blessing of being given ringside seats at some special and extraordinary event. He was so natural in everything he said, so unaffected, so seemingly casual, that, not infrequently, his most amazing statements almost passed unnoticedonly to be remembered later on with awe.
He never required special circumstances to do his channeling, nor any special environment. I never saw him lie back, close his eyes, and offer up his mind and body to be used as an instrument by another entity, while remaining personally unaware of everything that was being said through him. His channeling came to him as effortlessly as did breathing.
He didn't take on a new personality, or succession of personalities. Normally, his voice never changed while channelingthough there were a few rare exceptions. Never did it assume the tones of someone speaking as if from afar, or unaccustomed to human company, nor did it labor ponderously over the syntax of human speech.
What he channeled, moreover, was never spoken condescendingly. I never heard him use expressions such as, "You people of earth," or, "As you would say in your parlance"as though mentally to dissociate himself from the rest of us.
On the other hand, whatever came through him was spoken with dignity, for he himself was a man of dignity. There was no frivolous attempt to descend to our mental level in order to establish a bond of communication with us.
Finally, and most important, he never created a situation where we were forced to go to him for any insights we received. He constantly urged us to go within, to receive the answers we sought in our own inner silenceto become channels ourselves, instead of depending outwardly on another.
This man was a saint. Indeed, he was a master, for he had realized God. His channeling was the result of his constant inner communion with God, as well as with other great saints who, like him, had merged their consciousness in God.
This man's name was Paramhansa Yogananda.
As a great master, Yogananda is well known to spiritual seekers throughout the worldeven behind the iron curtain. He is also regarded with the deepest respect, love, and admiration by other saints and recognized spiritual leaders in many lands.
I became his disciple in 1948, and lived with him until his passing in 1952. Since his passing I have remained with him in spirit and in discipleship. I have taught in many countries, and written many books to further his earthly mission. And I can say without hesitation that his presence has continued to guide, teach, and inspire me inwardly.
I am writing this booklet to help people to understand more fully what channeling means, because I see that there is some confusion on the point in people's minds. Some people seem to think that anyone who sits back, closes his eyes, and allows words to pour out of him without his conscious control may well be acting as a channel for some higher power, and may well be able also to channel some special message personally from that higher power to them.
Yet I have seen people hurt and confused by such messages, too. They have been misled in fundamental matterssuch as what they ought to do with their lives, or what path they ought to follow in some undertaking that is important to them.
I have known them to be encouraged to develop talents they did not possess, or discouraged from activities that would have furthered their spiritual development.
I have known them to be fed ego-balmassurances, for example, that they have a glorious future before them, or that they have lived equally glorious lives in their past, often as someone of historic fame.
Rarely, if ever, have I known them to receive the discipline they needed for their present spiritual welfare. Usually, they were treated as though their most trivial questions and spiritually immature perceptions or attitudes were as worthy of grave consideration by the high entity whose words were being channeled to them as any matter concerning people's very spiritual life.
Worst of all, I have seen them become dependent on such channels rather than independent in themselves, and inclined rather to seek outside themselves for their answers than seek them, as all great masters have said we should do, in the silence within.
There is something entirely vicarious about receiving truths, however beautiful, that touch only the mind. That is why great masters, if they have felt divinely led to help humanity, have incarnated here on earth in human formthat they might touch not only human minds, but also human hearts and souls.