A Young Man’s Quest for Truth
Almost eighty years ago, a young American dedicated himself to a search for truth.
From the age of thirteen, he began contemplating deeply the meaning of life.
The values to which he had been raised: prosperity, security, social acceptance, worldly ambition . . . held no appeal to him, as he observed none had brought lasting happiness to the people around him.
“What is the purpose of life?”
“Who am I, really?” “Hasn’t man a higher destiny than this?”
“What is true happiness?” “Can it be found?”
“If so, how?”
He looked for the answers in science, in philosophy, and in social reform, and steadfastly sought self-transformation through writing and the arts.
Every path he attempted led to disillusionment.
Finally, he realized . . . the only benevolent force in history that had done any good was religion. Therefore, it must be in God that one can find lasting happiness.
But, “What is God?”
What Is God?
In a deeply moving chapter of his book The New Path: My Life with Paramhansa Yogananda, the young man—who later became known worldwide as Swami Kriyananda—describes how he agonized over the question: “What is God?”
The followings are excerpts from Kriyananda’s The New Path.
Pursuing these thoughts, I found myself concluding, for reasons both objective and subjective, and for the sake of mankind generally as well as for my own sake, that what I wanted, what all mankind really need, is God.
The question returned to me with increasing urgency: “What IS God?”
One evening, taking a long walk into the gathering night, I deeply pondered this question. I dismissed as absurd, to start with, the popular notion of a venerable figure with flowing white beard, piercing eyes, and a terrible brow striking fear into all those who disobey Him.
Science has shown us an expansive vastness comprising countless galaxies, each one blazing with innumerable stars. How could any anthropomorphic figure have been responsible for creating all that?
What, then, about fuzzy alternatives that had been proposed to suit the abstract tastes of intellectuals? A “Cosmic Ground of Being,” for example: What a sterile evasion—what a non-concept! Such formulas I considered a “cop-out,” for they gave one nothing to work with.
No, I thought, God has to be, if nothing else, a Conscious Being . . .
Obviously, then consciousness is at least latent everywhere, and in everything. God Himself must be conscious, and, having created everything, must also have produced it out of consciousness: not out of His consciousness, for consciousness cannot be something He possesses: He is consciousness: Essential Consciousness.
What a staggering concept!
… I realized, now, that true religion is no mere system of beliefs, and is a great deal more than any formalized attempt to wheedle a little pity out of the Lord by offering up pleading, propitiatory rites and prayers.
If our link with Him consists of the fact that we are already a part of Him, then it is up to us to receive Him more completely, and express Him more fully. This, then, is what true religion is about!
. . . This, then, would be my calling in life: I would seek God!
“But, how?” Kriyananda wondered.
When the Student Is Ready, the Teacher Appears
Jesus promised: “”Ask and it shall be given; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”
Kriyananda asked, and the Universe responded.
He knocked on the door of Truth, sought the answer from the depth of his soul, and the answer began to reveal itself . . . but in ways that he least expected.
Shortly after the night of his discovery, Kriyananda was led to the book Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramhansa Yogananda.
In his book The New Path: My Life with Paramhansa Yogananda, Kriyananda describes that fateful and magical encounter.
I was walking down Seventh Avenue toward the subway, the entrance to which was on the far side of the next cross street, when I recalled the book I’d rejected so summarily on my last visit to the city: Autobiography of a Yogi.
As I remembered that beautiful face on the cover, I felt a strong inner prompting to go buy it.
I thrust the thought firmly out of my mind.
“That isn’t what I am looking for,” I told myself . . . Resolutely I continued to walk toward the subway.
The thought returned: “How can you know what the book is really like, if you won’t even read it?”
“No!” I repeated. I then offered reasons: “I’ve got to stop reading books; I am too intellectual as it is. Besides, if I’m ever to become a hermit, I’m going to have to save money, not continue to spend it!”
I reached the corner, and was proceeding toward the curb ahead of me, when I felt an actual force was turning me left, toward Fifth Avenue.
I’d never experienced anything like this before.
Amazed, I asked myself, “Is there something in this book that I’m meant to read?”
Unresisting now, I hastened forward, eager to reach Doubleday-Doran.
On entering the store, I made straight for the shelves of Indian books and bought Autobiography of a Yogi.
Two days after finishing that magical book, Kriyananda boarded the next available California-bound bus.
His mission: to meet the author of the book, Paramhansa Yogananda, and to become his disciple.
The meeting between the master and his new disciple is described in detail in Kriyananda’s book The New Path: My Life with Paramhansa Yogananda.
That meeting was the beginning of a lifelong promise Swami Kriyananda had made to himself the night he meditated deeply on the question: “What IS God?”
“This, then, would be my calling in life: I would seek God!”
The New Path: My Life with Paramhansa Yogananda
Swami Kriyananda’s book The New Path is a revised, expanded version of his original book titled The Path, first published in 1977. The New Path is a magical, deeply moving, awe-inspiring book, and is a must-read for every sincere truth seeker.
The book details Kriyananda’s unrelenting search for Truth as a young man, how that search led to his Guru, and consequently, his transformation, life mission, and destiny.
It is also a complete account of what it was like to live in close proximity to that great man of God, Paramhansa Yogananda—one who Kriyananda deeply believes, was destined to bring major changes to the world.
Please click here for more information on or to purchase The New Path: My Life with Paramhansa Yogananda.
If you enjoyed the above article, you might also enjoy these articles by Swami Kriyananda:
Kriyananda’s Meeting with Yogananda
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