Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Ananda Palo Alto Newsletter, November 2008

Welcome, Dear Ones, to the new "blog" format of our monthly (ideally) newsletter.

You're already up-to-date with info about Swami and Thanksgiving, so this one will be simple:

* Letter from Asha

* Christmas Concert: New Date & Time

Letter from Asha


November 25, 2008

Dear Friends:

It has been many months since I have last written to you. And what glorious months these have been with Swami Kriyananda in California from June to November!

Spending so much time in his company has brought a sweet simplicity to the spiritual path.

I Am Not The Body

Swamiji is 82. Although the treatment for his anemia is going well, and to a certain extent the pain in his back has been alleviated, his body continues to be affected by a host of different ailments. Thankfully, none of his ailments are life-threatening except, of course, old age itself.

“I keep telling people not to get old,” Swamiji jokes, “but no one listens to me.”

The way Swamiji has dealt with the inconvenience of his aging body is simple: He has transcended it. When you ask him about his health, he says very little. He neither complains, nor affirms. He simply acknowledges that, yes, he has a body and it is going about its business in its own way.

Ask the question, “How are you?” and you get a very different response. “Wonderful!” Swamiji says, without a moment’s hesitation.

Ever-Living Guru

An interesting fact about Swamiji that you may have observed over these months, is that wherever he is, whatever is going on around him, in every photograph even, the expression on his face and in his eyes is the same: a calm, joyous, gaze into the Infinite. Swamiji seems to live now in a constant state of God-remembrance.

He is always in the presence of his guru. Even though Paramhansa Yogananda left his body more than 50 years ago, Swamiji always speaks of him in the present tense as a living Master.

In The Essence of Self-Realization, Swamiji quotes Master [Yogananda] saying, “The company one keeps determines to a great extent whether his energy will move inward, toward God, or outward, toward the world. Good company is essential on the spiritual path.”

A devotee responded, “Sir, what if I am alone?”

Gazing deeply into the eyes of his disciple, the Master replied, “Am I not always with you?”

It is notable that Master put his answer in the form of a question. “Am I with you?” There is no doubt of Master’s omnipresence.

Master told Swamiji once, “I know every single thought you think.” And many times, Swamiji tells us, Master showed that this was true.

When Swamiji told us this story, I asked him, “Is that still true? Is Master as much aware of us now as he was when he was in the body?”

“Of course!” Swamiji replied.

The question Master was asking, then, is, “Are we always with him?”

Hard Times

We are coming now into the holiday season. Recent economic events have cast a certain pall over things, making many people feel they can’t “celebrate,” which is to say “spend,” in the way they have in the past.

Master predicted that America would face severe economic trials. We would emerge victorious, he said, but only after a period of great testing. When exactly this would come and how long it will last, he did not say.

Swamiji, the only one among us who actually heard Master speak of these things, said that he spoke in a voice like thunder, and made it seem as if it would happen the very next day! More than fifty years have passed since Master spoke those words. Each time there has been instability in the world, Swamiji has naturally wondered, “Is this the beginning of what Master predicted?”

Certainly what is happening now seems more serious than anything that has occurred since Master issued his thunderous warnings.

Swamiji has suggested we store food, and grow food, and band together in communities, as we have done.

The most important preparation, though, Swamiji emphatically tells us, is to deepen our God-remembrance.

Choose God

Master said America has “good karma,” and will be strengthened, not destroyed by these hard times. In the end, he said we will have half as much wealth, but much more happiness, and a far deeper commitment to God. To deepen our spirituality as individuals, and as a nation, Master said, is the reason this test is coming.

The origin of the world “Holiday” is obviously “Holy Day.” Instead of lamenting over what we can’t have, let us take this time to embrace all that we will have, if we open ourselves to receive it. “As many as received him,” it says in the Gospel of John, speaking of Jesus, “to them gave he the power to become the sons of God.” This is so important we repeat this statement every week in our Festival of Light.

Jesus said, “Whenever two or more are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” He was speaking not only of the increase in magnetism when devotees pray together, but also when two or more thoughts within one’s own mind are gathered in focus on the divine. Into that upraised cup of devotion, Jesus and all the Masters will pour their divine presence, especially during these Holy Days.

Let us not become so hypnotized by our “bundle of self-definitions,” as Swamiji calls the ego, that we forget our divine potential.

“Am I not always with you?” Master asks.

Let us answer that question with an everlasting, unbroken, blissful “Yes.”

In divine friendship,

Christmas Concert: New Date & Time

IS NOW: Sunday, Dec. 14, 1pm, donation basis, following a sumptuous sandwich bar after Sunday service.Come & enjoy the holiday fellowship & angelic music! (The old date & time listed in our magazine was Sat. 12/13, 7:30pm, $10)

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