The human drive for happiness is one of our most far-reaching and fundamental needs. Yet, despite our desperate search for happiness, according to a recent Gallup Poll, only a minority of North Americans describe themselves as “very happy.” It seems that very few of us have truly unlocked the secrets of lasting joy and inner peace.
Now, in this volume of all-new, never-before-released material, Paramhansa Yogananda—who has hundreds of thousands of followers and admirers in North America—playfully and powerfully explains virtually everything needed to lead a happier, more fulfilling life.
Topics covered include: looking for happiness in the right places; choosing to be happy; tools and techniques for achieving happiness; sharing happiness with others; balancing success and happiness; and many more.
The Wisdom of Yogananda series features writings of Paramhansa Yogananda not available elsewhere. These books capture the Master’s expansive and compassionate wisdom, his sense of fun, and his practical spiritual guidance. The books include writings from his earliest years in America, in an approachable, easy-to-read format. The words of the Master are presented with minimal editing, to capture the fresh and original voice of one of the most highly regarded spiritual teachers of the twentieth century.
Looking for Happiness in the Wrong Place
Happiness Is a Choice
Avoiding the Happiness Thieves
Learn to Behave
Simplicity is the Key
Sharing Happiness with Others
True Success and Prosperity
Inner Freedom and Joy
Finding God is the Greatest Happiness
This book offers you simple yet profound secrets for bringing happiness into your life in all circumstances. The thoughts are engaging, practical, and deeply inspiring.
The author, Paramhansa Yogananda, came to the United States from India in 1920, bringing Americans the teachings and techniques of yoga, the ancient science of soul-awakening. He was the first master of yoga to make his home in the West, and his Autobiography of a Yogi quickly became a worldwide bestseller, fueling the awakening fascination with Eastern teachings in the West.
Yoga is the ancient science of redirecting one’s energies toward spiritual awakening. In addition to bringing Americans the most practical and effective techniques for meditation, Yogananda applied these principles to all areas of life, showing students how to approach life from a center of inner peace and happiness. He was a prolific writer, lecturer, and composer during the 32 years he lived in America.
The quotations included in this book are taken from many of the lessons he wrote in the 1930s, from Inner Culture and East West magazines published before 1943, as well as from his original interpretation of The Rubaiyat, edited by Swami Kriyananda, and from notes taken by Swami Kriyananda during his years living with Yogananda as a close disciple.
Our goal in this book is to let the Master’s spirit come clearly through, with minimal editing. Sometimes sentences have been deleted because of redundancy, sometimes words or punctuation have been changed to clarify the meaning. Most of what is included here is not available elsewhere.
We sincerely hope that Yogananda’s words will fill your life with greater peace, fulfillment, and true happiness.
Crystal Clarity Publishers
Chapter 1: Looking for Happiness in the Wrong Place
To seek happiness outside ourselves is like trying to lasso a cloud. Happiness is not a thing: It is a state of mind. It must be lived. Neither worldly power nor moneymaking schemes can ever capture happiness. Mental restlessness results from an outward focus of awareness. Restlessness itself guarantees that happiness will remain elusive. Temporal power and money are not states of mind. Once obtained, they only dilute a person’s happiness. Certainly they cannot enhance it.
The more widely we scatter our energies, the less power we have left to direct toward any specific undertaking. Octopus habits of worry and nervousness rise from ocean depths in the subconscious, fling tentacles around our minds, and crush to death all that we once knew of inner peace.
True happiness is never to be found outside the Self. Those who seek it there
are as if chasing rainbows among the clouds!
* * * *
Like the short-lived roses, countless human beings appear daily in earth’s garden. In their youth, they open fresh, hopeful buds, welcoming life’s promises and nodding with eager expectancy to every breeze of sense-enjoyment. And then—the petals begin to fade; expectancy turns to disappointment. In the twilight of old age they droop, gray in disillusionment.
Mark the rose’s example: Such is the destiny of human beings who live centered in the senses.
Analyze, with understanding born of introspection, the true nature of sense-pleasures. For even as you delight in them, don’t you sense in your heart a chilling breath of doubt and uncertainty? You cling to them, yet know in your heart that someday they cannot but betray you.
Closer scrutiny reveals that sense-indulgence actually mocks its votaries.
What it offers is not freedom, but soul-bondage. The way of escape lies not, as
most people imagine, down moss-soft lanes of further indulgence, but up hard,
rocky paths of self-control.
* * * *
People forget that the price of luxury is an ever-increasing expenditure of nerve and brain energy, and the consequent shortening of their natural life span.
Materialists become so engrossed in the task of making money that they can’t relax enough to enjoy their comforts even after they’ve acquired them.
How unsatisfactory is modern life! Just look at the people around you. Ask yourself, are they happy? See the sad expressions on so many faces. Observe the emptiness in their eyes.
A materialistic life tempts mankind with smiles and assurances, but is
consistent only in this: It never fails, eventually, to break all its promises!
* * * *
As a man allows himself to depend increasingly on circumstances outside
himself for his physical, mental, and spiritual nourishment, never looking
within to his own source, he gradually depletes his reserves of energy.
* * * *
Possession of material riches, without inner peace, is like dying of thirst
while bathing in a lake. If material poverty is to be avoided, spiritual poverty
is to be abhorred! It is spiritual poverty, not material lack, that lies at the
core of all human suffering.
* * * *
The material scientist uses the forces of nature to make the environment of man better and more comfortable. The spiritual scientist uses mind-power to enlighten the soul.
Mind-power shows man the way to inner happiness, which gives him immunity to outer inconveniences.
Of the two types of scientist, which would you say renders the greater
service? The spiritual scientist, surely.
* * * *
Pure love, sacred joy, poetic imagination, kindness, wisdom, peace, and happiness are felt inside first in the mind or the heart, and are then transmitted through the nervous system to the physical body. Understand and feel the superior joys of the inner life, and you will prefer them to the fleeting pleasures of the outer world.
All physical pleasures arise on the surface of the body and are experienced by the mind through the nervous system. You love the outer pleasures of the senses because you happened to be captured by them first, and then you remained their prisoner. Even as some people get used to jail, so we mortals like the outward pleasures, which shut off the joys from within.
For the most part, the senses promise us a little temporary happiness, but
give us sorrow in the end. Virtue and inner happiness do not promise much, but
in the end always give lasting happiness. That is why I call the lasting, inner
happiness of the soul, ‘Joy’ and the impermanent sense thrills, ‘Pleasure.’
Outer environment and the company you keep are of paramount importance. The specific outer environment of early life is especially important in stimulating or stifling the inner instinctive environment of a child. A child is usually born with a prenatal mental environment. This is stimulated if the outer environment is like the inner environment, but if the outer environment is different from it, the inner environment is likely to be suppressed. An instinctively bad child may be suppressed and made good in good company, and vice versa, while an instinctively good child placed in good company will, no doubt, increase his goodness.
Have you thought seriously why you love fleeting, deceiving pleasures in
preference to the lasting peace and joy of the Soul—found so distinctly and
ever-increasingly in meditation? It is because in the beginning you happened to
cultivate the habit of indulging in sense pleasures and did not cultivate the
superior joy of the inner life found in meditation. Understand and feel the
superior joys of the inner life, and you will prefer them to the fleeting
pleasures of the outer world.
* * * *
It is important to differentiate between your needs and your wants. Your
needs are few, while your wants can be limitless. In order to find freedom and
bliss, minister only to your needs. Stop creating limitless wants and pursuing
the will-o’-the-wisp of false happiness. The more you depend upon conditions
outside yourself for happiness, the less happiness you will experience.
* * * *
Fostering the desire for luxuries is the surest way to increase misery. Do not be the slave of things or possessions. Boil down even your needs. Spend your time in search of lasting happiness or bliss. The unchangeable, immortal soul is hidden behind the screen of your consciousness, on which are painted dark pictures of disease, failure, death, and so forth. Lift the veil of illusive change and be established in your immortal nature. Enthrone your fickle consciousness on the changelessness and calmness within you, which is the throne of God. Let your soul manifest bliss night and day.
Happiness can be secured by the exercise of self-control, by cultivating
habits of plain living and high thinking, and by spending less money, even
though earning more. Make an effort to earn more so that you can be the means of
helping others to help themselves. One of Life’s unwritten laws is that he who
helps others to abundance and happiness will always be helped in return, and he
will become more and more prosperous and happy. This is a law of happiness which
cannot be broken. Is it not better to live simply and frugally and grow rich in
“The most important condition for happiness is even-mindedness, and here the author of Autobiography of a Yogi brings some of this sense to a treatise on how to be happy under virtually any condition. From identifying habits, thoughts, and practices which steal from happiness to understanding simplicity is the key and sharing happiness with others, How to Be Happy All The Time: The Wisdom of Yogananda, Volume 1 is a fine starting point for reaching contentment.”
“Yoga and meditation practitioners usually come across Yogananda at some point on their spiritual journey. The Indian spiritual teacher who penned the book Autobiography of a Yogi is legendary—mostly because his account of enlightenment is so incredibly inspiring to spiritual seekers in the West.
This volume combines new material from Paramhansa Yogananda—and is appropriate not just for his hundreds of thousands of followers and admirers in North America.
The book includes short excerpts from his talks, writings, and teachings within his community. What comes across is that this yogi is not only wise but able to use works to playfully explain some of the most complicated ideas about spirit.
The book covers many topics—including the search for happiness, sharing happiness with others, techniques for finding happiness, balancing success and happiness, and so forth.
I liked this book. It’s simple format and rich content make it an easy gift for yoga and meditation practitioners of all ages.”
—Taz Tagore, Beliefnet.com