Why? How? What?

Why? How? What?

"What makes up popcorn, Mommy?" 

My curious six-year-old mind was pondering the mysteries of life through a bowl of popcorn my mother had just served me.

She patiently responded, "The kernel." 

But my curious mind didn't stop there.

"What's inside the kernel?" 

"A smaller kernel." 

"What's inside of that?" 


"And what makes up the air?" 

With a chuckle, my mother replied, "Atoms." And when my young mind dared to question what makes up atoms, all I got was a mildly exasperated, "I don't know, Philip!" 

Isn't it fascinating how the simplest questions can spark a journey of discovery? The process of questioning is woven into our very existence, driving us to explore the unknown. This innate curiosity is the foundation of growth.

The nature of our questions can guide us toward profound insights. Rather than being trapped in the limited perspective of "Why me?" rhetorical questions, we can expand our consciousness by asking questions that delve into the essence of our being. "What is my part?" "Why am I here?" "How can I serve Thee, Lord?" These questions, much like Sister Gyanamata's simple yet powerful "I wonder how I can help," open doors to our spiritual growth.

But it's not just the questions that matter—it's the attitudes behind them that we hold. Do we really want to know the truth? And how do we know the truth? An amusing joke comes to mind:

A young man asked his experienced superior:

"How did you become so calm, wise, and even-minded?"

"That came from good judgment." The sage responded.

"How do I have good judgment?" The young man pleaded.

"Experience." The older man's pithy proclamation was not enough for the youngster.

"And how do I get experience??"

"Bad judgment."

I'm reminded of Swami Kriyananda's poignant words from a song: "In love she at last learned—Why." Love becomes the key to unlocking existential questions that intellect alone cannot fathom.

As Paramhansa Yogananda says, “Knowledge cannot spring up by any other means than inquiry. ‘Who am I? How was this universe born? Who is its maker? What is its material cause?’ This is the kind of inquiry referred to.” The intellect has no answer for these questions; hence the rishis evolved yoga as the technique of spiritual inquiry. -Autobiography of a Yogi

Aha, that's the key: spiritual inquiry through yoga! The perception of God, the connection with the Divine, becomes our lens to unravel the profound questions of "Why," "How," and "What" of our journey toward perfection.

So, why not ask the Divine to answer our most profound questions? Why not question with devotion and dive deep into meditation, where the answers we seek are waiting to be revealed? 

Perhaps the most important question we can ask the Lord is from another song of Swami Kriyananda’s called “Cloisters":

"Will You Come?"

Joy to you!

"Why, How, What?"

Mother, I give You my soul's call 

Answer my "Why?" with "How?" 

Fill my "How?" with "What" You are in essence, 

not through my head 

But in the heart, Wisdom's lotus blossoms forth 

Darkness steals away…

And You answer all of my questions three: 

"Why? How? What?" 

Now, it's time 

I give You the third degree! 

Clinging to the one and only answer: 


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