Excerpted from Conversations with Yogananda
"I used to laugh a lot when I was a boy, because of my inner joy in God," the Master told us. "The saints I met, most of whom were outwardly grave, welcomed my laughter as coming from God. "Badhuri Mahasaya (the ‘levitating saint,’ as I’ve described him in my Autobiography) enjoyed my laughter for the same reason. It upset a few of his disciples, however, to see me laugh in the presence of their ever-serious Master. One time he said to me, ‘I understand, and appreciate, why you like to laugh, but as it disturbs some of these here, do you think, perhaps, you should be more serious for their sake?’ "’I understand what you mean,’ I replied, ‘but can they not see that it springs from the joy I feel in God, and in your company?’ "He relented. ‘All right, laugh if you feel to. I will try to explain to them that it is from God.’"
I (Walter) once asked the Master, "Should I love people? Or ought I to reserve my love for God alone?" "It is better," the Master answered, "to love God. In loving people you might get attached to them. What you must do, where others are concerned, is love God first, and then love Him through them."
"You must work to establish your relationship with the Father, as a son," the Master said to us one day. "Think of Him as your own, dear Parent. Then talk to Him just as you would to your own Father or Mother. Make any request you have, or put to Him any question you like, in that spirit. Pray, for example, ‘Father, I am Thy son. As Thy child, give me this or that.’"
"Visualize a ball of light," he once said. "Expand it with the speed of thought. You might go on expanding that light throughout eternity and never reach the point where you could say, ‘Here are the boundaries of space.’ Don’t you see? It is all mental. This whole universe is only a dream. Scientists declare that, despite its vast size, the universe is finite. The only thing that cannot have anything beyond or outside it is an idea. Were God to expand that idea, the universe itself would expand with His thought. The moment you ask, ‘What lies outside my idea?’ you’ve expanded your thought of it."
Someone had said something derogatory about the "idol worship" practiced in India. The Master chuckled. "Westerners think of Hindus as idol worshipers, but what is it they themselves worship? Money and power-aren’t those idols? There is nothing wrong or contrary to spiritual truth in using images as reminders of high principles. How many people are able to visualize such abstractions as love or wisdom? The Hindu images are not idols. They are symbols of different aspects of God. Their very variety shows a recognition of the fact that God is infinite.
Westerners call Hindus heathens, and Hindus call Westerners heathens. Ignorance, I say, is fifty-fifty everywhere. When the wise meet, however, there is only harmony and understanding.
When I visited the home of Therese Neumann of Konnersreuth, in Germany, she sent word down, ‘I will see the man of God from India.’ Her bishop had forbidden her to see anyone! Therese is a real saint." The Master revealed to us that she was Mary Magdalene, reincarnated.
I once asked him, "Has she attained liberation?"
Not yet," he answered, "but she is in nirbikalpa samadhi