Asha Praver

Letters from Asha

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Ask Asha: Alien Invasions in Ancient Times

[You can ask your own question here.]

Question

[Davy from Belgium asked a long question which we have summarized here.]

The question stems from statements made by Master in Conversations with Yogananda. In #36, Master confirms the truth of UFO sightings, and says someday we’ll travel to other planets as easily as we go now from continent to continent. In #44, Master responds to the desire of some disciples to visit Mt. Shasta in California because they have heard that ancient masters live there. He said there are no masters living on Mt. Shasta, but there have been “colonists.”

Davy asks about research, supported by “Sumerian tablets found in Iraq,” that say Earth has been visited by beings from other planets, who have tried to gain power over earthlings and that perhaps the darkness and seeming satanic influences on Earth now are because of these invaders. He speaks of these dark, reptilian creatures interbreeding with earthlings, feeding on negative energy, etc. In this context he mentions the vast numbers of ways the three gunas can manifest. He also asks about lower astral entities and how to protect ourselves from them.

Answer

Dear Davy:

Many of your questions are answered in the book just published by Crystal Clarity, The Yugas, by Joseph Selbie and David Steinmetz (Sanskrit names: Purushottama and Byasa). “Yugas” are the different ages — long periods of ascending and descending consciousness — that have happened on Earth over many thousands, in fact, millions of years.

Starting with information given by Sri Yukteswar in The Holy Science, and Master in Autobiography of a Yogi, the authors did extensive research to find supporting facts in history, geology, archeology, religion, and science. They then wove these facts into a fascinating narrative that puts into perspective past, present, and future.

UFOs, interplanetary travel, invasions or colonization from other planets — all of these are included, not in detail but in concept. I think you will find it helps you put into context other research that you have read.

There is also a website, The Yugas.

In the meantime, here are a few thoughts about the questions you have raised.

Your ideas about invasions of other species, interbreeding, creatures feeding on negative energy are all, in a sense, true, but perhaps not exactly in the way you are seeing it.

The drama of creation is the same everywhere. Whether on Earth, Mars, or on planets not yet discovered, the only “plot” in the universe is consciousness trapped in ego-based self-interest gradually becoming free. Everything is a manifestation of the Divine. And everything seeks to return to its Creator.

Ego-based self-interest often expresses itself in cruel and hideous ways, feeding, as you say, on negative energy. It is not that beings caught in this delusion are in themselves evil. They are merely misguided, utterly confused as to the source of their own happiness.

Look at the Chinese takeover of Tibet, Communism under Stalin, the Nazi takeover of Germany. If you want to believe the cause is alien invaders, who have systematically mated with human beings to create an evil race, feel free to do so. I don’t think it is factually true, but it does describe the spirit of what we see in history. At times madness descends, and it is comforting to explain it some way other than merely the degraded potential of human consciousness.

But in fact, it is our own potential. Not you, not me — not anymore. Master says, however, that before the soul attains liberation it experiments with every possible alternative. We try everything to see if it will give us happiness and only when we have drunk each cup to the dregs are we convinced. We don’t learn from being told; we only learn through our own experience.

This isn’t pleasant to contemplate. Among other things, it speaks of a very long time before we become liberated. But why else are we so certain that some behaviors will never bring us happiness? We don’t merely believe; we know.

This is why we have to be so patient, both with ourselves and with others, as we gradually work our way from darkness to light.

In every aspect of creation there are egos striving to be free, expressing themselves in some combination of the gunas — the three levels of consciousness: dark, active, and light.

Some people, some planets, express a preponderance of one or the other. Earth at this time is a mixture. The difference in the overall consciousness of various planets at various times is one of the many fascinating things explained in The Yugas.

In #41 of Conversations with Yogananda, Master is asked if we always reincarnate on Earth. He replied that there are many populated planets in the universe and where we go depends on our level of spiritual development. We choose a planet that is appropriate for what we need in that incarnation.

Technological advancement alone does not ensure purity of consciousness. What we see on Earth right now makes that clear. We have the technology to blow ourselves to bits and no guarantee that we won’t do it. It is the nature of early Dwapara Yuga — which is where we are now. Consciousness is rising but technology is rising faster. Eventually it will work out, but those on the planet now may experience the unpleasant “growing pains” as consciousness catches up to technology. (All of this is explained in The Yugas.)

Once interplanetary travel becomes common, as Master says it will, the idea of interplanetary invasion also rears its ugly head. Yugas run in a cycle 24,000 years long — 12,000 years each of ascending and descending consciousness. There are four yugas in all (we are just entering the second) and war continues into the third Yuga. By that time, space travel will be common so we can only assume that something of Star Trek can easily be reality — planets and planetary species getting all mixed up in peace and war.

The good news in all of this is Master’s comment in Conversations #41. We go to the planet that is spiritually appropriate. He does not say we go where it will be easiest or most pleasant. For all of us, too, are engaged in the great Cosmic Drama of consciousness trapped in ego-awareness seeking its home in the Divine.

All of this is fascinating to contemplate, and thrilling to read about (Did I mention the book The Yugas?!) but in the end, our job is the same. To love, serve, and meditate. For in that way we will gradually liberate ourselves from the only cause of suffering: bondage to ego.

The yugas are a planetary phenomenon, dictated, as The Yugas explains, by external astronomical realities (a planet’s position relative to the center — and therefore the source of energy — of the galaxy in which it orbits).

Self-realization is individual. The planets and the yugas are only the backdrop in front of which the process of realization takes place. Great masters have lived in every yuga, from the highest to the lowest. We go to the planet that provides for us the right context to work out our karma and gradually then to escape from ego into the consciousness of God.

As for astral entities, yes, they do exist. Sometimes souls after their bodies die are too attached to the material plane to leave this world for the astral spheres. They become ghosts, clinging to places and people that vibrate on their wavelength. Not all astral entities are evil; some are merely confused.

A young mother who dies, for example, may be so attached to her baby, and so worried about his well-being, that she will cling to the house or family where her baby lives. Even though her intentions may be good, her actions are not, because they show a lack of faith in God’s plan. Eventually such a person has to learn to trust God, and go on with her own destiny.

More negative attachments, like drinking, drug addiction, over-sexuality, cruelty, or hatred, can also bind a person to this world even after death. Those are the entities that seek to enter into other people’s bodies so that they can experience the material “pleasures” they crave.

Such an invasion, however, can only happen when a person gives up control of his own consciousness — which is what happens when you become drunk, high, or over-stimulated with sexuality. Many crimes are committed when people are in these states. Afterwards the person may not even remember doing it. It is not only the effect of the substances they may have ingested, it may also be because someone else came into their body when they were effectively “out to lunch.”

Not a pleasant prospect, certainly, but one easily avoided! Even when you meditate, don’t just go blank. Lift your consciousness upward to God. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you can wander into the “dark side” and be strong enough to “handle it.” Maybe you will be, maybe you won’t. Don’t gamble with something so important as your own consciousness.

Ultimately, Light is the only reality. Concentrate on that, focus on the Masters, and you will always be protected.

Blessings,
Nayaswami Asha

[Questions and answers from other Ananda ministers worldwide can be found on the Ask the Experts page of Ananda.org.]

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Ask Asha: New Experiences and Negative Friends

[You can ask your own question here.]

Question

I meditate daily. Lately I have been experiencing vibration internally — very strongly when I am still but perceptible during activity. It started in my spine, then my heart chakra, now in my throat. I’ve been awakened at night with a whooshing sound, which feels Divine. Everyday I ask Guruji, Babaji, and Divine Mother for guidance. My life is being altered and I am changing. There are moments of insecurity but mostly what I feel is a deep, trusting love. Is this normal?

I have a friend, however, who is not accepting these changes in me. She says I am fooling myself. When I respond that I am feeling and hearing the Divine Mother, this friend gets very negative. As a result, I have distanced myself from her. I feel her negative energy of anger and resentment. She says I am making bad karma for myself. Am I? Is there a better way to handle this?

Maia, from USA

Answer

Dear Maia:

When you begin to meditate and ask God to guide you it naturally awakens energy in the spine and increases the upward flow. This can manifest in many ways, including those you describe. As you are finding, these experiences are wonderful and bring with them a sense of being touched by the Divine.

Your spiritual effort is awakening “the natural love of the heart,” as it is often called. This is a great blessing and very positive for your life. “Everything in future will improve,” Sri Yukteswar said, “if you are making a spiritual effort now.”

Because these experiences are new for you, at least in this incarnation, to feel unsure is also a natural response. If you moved to another country, you would find many familiar elements — people eat, drink, sleep, talk, laugh, love everywhere. At the same time, there would be aspects that would be confusing. So on side you would feel completely happy and at home making new friends in a new country, and on the other hand you would feel insecure.

After a little while, though, when you become familiar with the customs of your new country, the insecurity will vanish.

Entering the spiritual path, getting deeper into the life Divine, is entering a new way of life — delightful, adventurous, promising, but also unfamiliar.

So, the answer to your question, “Is this normal?” is “Yes.”

The response of your friend is, alas, also “normal” in the sense of quite common. She may, in fact, be genuinely concerned that you are getting yourself into something that won’t in the end prove beneficial. She is not showing much respect for your judgment, but at least we can imagine that she has your best interests are heart.

Even if she does, however, she is not behaving in a way that would make you want to spend any time with her right now. You may love her at a distance, but if she is going to insult your judgment and negate these precious experiences, why would you want to be with her?

Your choice to distance yourself is quite appropriate both from a spiritual and a merely social point of view. Even if she means well she is not behaving well. Why expose yourself to that?

Also, when the tree of spiritual development is just a sapling, you have to build a protective fence around it. Even a mighty oak when still a twig can be broken by a mouse. If protected at the beginning, however, it can become a mighty oak, able to shelter and support many souls.

You simply can’t afford to expose yourself to this kind of energy.

Yes, she is still able to direct it toward you through the ether. But that is really her problem, not yours.

Because this world is just a reflection of what we have inside ourselves, people often accuse others of what is actually happening to them. In this case, your friend says you are getting bad karma, presumably for distancing yourself from her.

Friendship is an important value. But a lower duty (dharma) ceases to be a duty when it is replaced by a higher one. In this case, your devotion to the spiritual path is a higher duty than maintaining this friendship. She has forced you to choose. There is no question: God first.

It is not good to say to or even about anyone that they are getting “bad karma.” That is the yogic equivalent of the old fundamentalist accusation, “You are going to hell!” Fortunately, the fate of others is not in our hands. God is in charge.

Still, without accusing her as she is accusing you, it is unfortunate that she has decided to respond this way. Some people feel threatened by the spirituality of others. Perhaps deep inside she knows you have taken the higher path and feels shamed or jealous by the contrast between what she is doing and what you are doing.

Maybe she is just jealous because you have someone else in your life — Divine Mother — who means more to you now than she does.

All of this is unfortunate. But no, you are not getting bad karma from trying to get closer to God, even if, as a side effect, it creates distance between you and your friend.

Still, watch your heart. Even if she provokes you, inwardly keep a kindly attitude toward her. It is not wrong, however, to respond sharply to her if necessary. When people insult something that is dear to you, you don’t have to take it silently. You can speak frankly. Even if your words are strong, however, keep a kindly attitude toward her inside. When a mother scolds her child, she doesn’t cease to love the child. In fact, sometimes she loves the child even more.

This doesn’t mean you have to think about her much or at all. And if thinking about her puts you on the wavelength of her anger and therefore disturbs your peace, do not think about her at all. Don’t even pray for her. You are still a sapling and have to protect yourself.

Tell Divine Mother that you are not able at this time to be her friend, so She will have to take over for you. Then turn your attention away from your former friend and don’t think about her again. If your friend changes, of course, you can welcome her back into your circle. But if she remains angry at you for being a spiritual seeker, you must keep your distance.

These things happen. In life we have to make choices if we hope ever to accomplish anything. Focus. Concentration. Discipline. These are the means to worthwhile goals. Sometimes sad things happen along the way — like the loss of friends who don’t understand. Give it all to Divine Mother.

Where there is dharma, which is to say, right action that leads to God consciousness, there is always victory. The best way to be a friend to this woman right now is to do the right thing spiritually, which is not to let her bad energy pull you down. In the end, she too will be blessed. For when we make spiritual progress, even if the egos of those around us who don’t understand disapprove, their souls rejoice. Your spiritual progress also uplifts them, even if they don’t know it.

Blessings,
Nayaswami Asha

[Questions and answers from other Ananda ministers worldwide can be found on the Ask the Experts page of Ananda.org.]

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Ask Asha: If He Isn't My "Soulmate," Should I Marry Him?

[You can ask your own question here.]

Question

Hello, Due to circumstances I have to marry someone without my full consent. My parents think that this is the perfect situation and this marriage will bring me a lot of happiness.The man that I am marrying is a good person. But, I am not attracted to him.I don’t get the feeling that he is my soulmate. I have lost a lot of faith in God-the only thing I asked god all of my life is for me to be with my soulmate. Do soulmates exist? I am bitter towards God &parents. How can I marry someone I dont love?

KT
from USA

Answer

Dear KT:

I am very concerned about you and even more concerned for your husband-to-be. To enter a marriage unwillingly is a recipe for disaster.

With every little disappointment or conflict you will throw into your husband’s face the fact that you never wanted to marry him anyway. Not a pleasant prospect for him.

You say he is a good person. Then out of consideration for him — quite apart from your own happiness — you should stop this marriage now.

You say you “have to marry” but if you are old enough to marry, I presume you are old enough to walk in and out of a room under your own power. I presume you can get a job, a passport, or anything else you might need in order to have your own life.

What you are saying is that to avoid this marriage you will have stand up to people you are not accustomed to defying. You will create disharmony and be perceived as willful and ungrateful. Perhaps the pleasant home you now share with your parents will become far less pleasant.

In other words, it will be inconvenient for you not to marry him. That is not the same as saying you “have to marry him.”

Do take this seriously. If you are going to be rebellious and unwilling in this marriage, don’t enter into it. It isn’t fair to the poor man who will be stuck with you for the rest of his life.

Now, that is one side of the question. The other side is, “Is this a suitable marriage?”

You say he is a “good person.” Are you compatible in other ways? Do you have similar interests? Education? Goals in life? Cultural and spiritual values? How well do you know him? Does he come from a good family? I am not talking about social status, but rather is his family harmonious, loving, kind? Is he a man of good character? Of noble habits?

What about you? Are you a good person? Do you have high values? Do you have noble habits? Are you generous and loving by nature? Are you willful and self-centered?

There is a spiritual reality called “soulmates,” but it exists on a level far beyond romance and marriage. Paramhansa Yogananda referred to soulmates only a few times in all his years of teaching and in all his writing. That’s because he knew everyone would immediately lower the concept from the spiritual level on which he was speaking to the question of men and women falling in love.

Soulmates, as Yogananda described it, is a union of spirit that comes as part of final liberation — moksha. At that point you have transcended the physical completely.

For the most part, when people speak of “soulmates” they are not talking about what Yogananda was referring to. In fact, usually they mean just the opposite — a gender based attraction that is both romantic and sexual.

Is there a reality to a having a “special connection,” whatever we call it, on this level? Of course there is. Our relationships are determined by past life associations. Whenever we meet friends from past lives the present is always colored by whatever happened before.

Is there only one destined romantic partner for us in each incarnation? Not likely.

Over the course of incarnations we have innumerable wives and husbands. Each relationship helps us learn certain lessons and develop needed qualities within ourselves. Relationships naturally repeat over the course of incarnations.

It isn’t possible to learn all our lessons in the relatively short span of one lifetime. But we have so many lessons to learn, we have to experience life with many different people in order to face and overcome all the various karmas.

I live in America where we are accustomed to choosing our own marriage partners, usually without help from anyone. I wish I could tell you that the perception, “We are soulmates” at the time of the wedding ensures a happy marriage. As far as I can see, it does not. I don’t want to go so far as to say it guarantees failure, but I will say that too much emphasis on how unique and special the attraction is between the couple often leads to an ego-based connection that does not stand up well against the test of time and changing circumstance.

Yes, I know this is hard to understand. Frankly, I did not understand it myself when I was 20 years old. Experience has been my teacher. Over the last several decades I have performed many marriages and done a great deal of marriage counseling, often helping people through the painful process of divorce. And I have been married 30 years myself.

Yes, of course, finding your marriage partner attractive is a great help to your relationship! But the kind of instant attractiveness, especially sexual attractiveness, that is so highly valued these days is not the most important factor in success together. Romantic and sexual feelings can be generated for a wide variety of reasons, not all of them spiritually inspired or helpful over the long haul.

I don’t mean to make light of your intuition. We recognize our friends from past lives. That’s a fact. And love at first sight that lasts for a lifetime does happen.

What I have learned is this: It is not hard to love someone. If you are sweet, tender-hearted, generous, understanding by nature — loving comes easy.

What is very challenging is to make a life together. To make a home, to raise children, to be loyal through the hard times, to understand and support one another, to earn a living, to be faithful — that is the difficult part.

This is what parents think about. Having lived long enough to raise you into adulthood, they know first-hand what really counts in a marriage. In a culture where parents are involved in the choice, they will definitely look for lasting values, and will be, as you find them, not particularly interested in your ideas of “attraction.”

Yes, attraction is important, but attraction that grows out of respect and appreciation for a depth of character that may take time to reveal itself — that is the kind of attraction that makes for a happy marriage.

And yes, it may be possible to have it all, but attraction alone is not the deciding factor. Character is.

You say you have lost faith in God because all you ever wanted was to be with your soulmate and you feel this man is not the one.

Here is a question, “How well do you know him?” Are there objective reasons for your “feeling” that he isn’t the one for you? Sometimes we don’t know our own minds.

Another question, “How much do you trust your parents?” Do you feel that they know you well? Have they shown themselves to be insightful where you are concerned? Are they generous by nature? Are they bullying you into this or is this an act of genuine, thoughtful, loving concern for you?

I guess I have asked you lots of questions, as much as answering the ones you have asked, but this is such a personal situation, it seems you need to look deeply within and try to weigh the factors objectively.

You may still come to the same conclusion: That this is not your husband. Your parents are likely to take you more seriously, however, if you approach this matter in a serious way.

An obvious solution is to postpone the wedding — but not necessarily cancel the whole idea. Maybe if you have more time to get to know this man, to meet his family, to spend time with him, to experience whatever it is about him that your parents find so suitable, that the whole idea will be more attractive to you. Or, it will be so obvious that it isn’t a good match that it will be less difficult to extricate yourself from it.

If you do take that solution — to postpone and get to know him — I urge you to enter into it with good faith. Don’t be a sulky, reluctant person. Open your heart; be interested and sincere as you explore the friendship.

And if, for some reason, postponement is not possible, and, despite your doubts, you do marry him, I plead with you: Give your heart to the marriage. Be a friend to your husband. Be kind, supportive, loving. Above all, accept responsibility for having married him. Don’t blame him, your parents, or anyone else. Getting married is the act of an adult person, so behave accordingly.

And who knows? You may be surprised to find that God has brought your soulmate to you. He may turn out to be everything you hope for in a life partner.

That result is far more likely if you offer to him the kind of love and friendship you have dreamed of having with your soulmate.

Rather than giving up on God, pray that He guide you and help you, either to step away from the marriage if you can’t enter into it with sincere good will, or to make a success of it.

I will pray for you.

Blessings,
Nayaswami Asha

[Questions and answers from other Ananda ministers worldwide can be found on the Ask the Experts page of Ananda.org.]

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Ask Asha: Feeling Ashamed for Believing in God

[You can ask your own question here.]

Question

In the world today it seems that it is almost wrong to believe in God. It is almost as if it is shamefull to believe. How do you stop feeling shame in believing ?

I know i should not feel ashamed of it but sometimes people make me feel ashamed that I believe in God.

L.
from Europe

Answer

Dear L:

If you are associating with people who make you feel ashamed to believe in God, I suggest you find new friends. If they are people you can’t escape from — co-workers or relatives — I suggest you walk away when people speak disrespectfully of the divine. Don’t engage in arguments you can’t win that only leave you feeling badly.

If you can’t separate yourself physically, withdraw inwardly. In the very moment pray deeply to God to give you the strength to resist their false ideas.

At this point on your spiritual journey your faith is fragile and needs to protected from the harsh doubts of others, the way a sapling is surrounded by a fence until its roots are deep and its trunk has thickened. Once you are established nothing will shake your faith. But for now be careful.

Master says, “Whether one’s energy goes outward to the world or upward toward God depends to a large extent on the company you keep.”

If possible, find groups or individuals that support you in your faith and spend your free time with them. If you can’t find anyone in person, then make Ananda Online your community. There are so many resources these days. Even when you are physically alone you can always be in the company of uplifted people through books, recordings, and music.

Blessings,
Nayaswami Asha

[Questions and answers from other Ananda ministers worldwide can be found on the Ask the Experts page of Ananda.org.]
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