I recently watched the movie “Awake” a full featured documentary about Yogananda and all I can say was that it was an amazing story and recap about his life showing his service to humanity and the world.
Yogananda for me is the essence of Bhakti Yoga – devotion to Mother Divine and the Heavenly Father. Although his teachings are deeply rooted in Vedanta – the non-dualistic approach to realizing Brahman (God Consciousness), he shows that it is through surrendering and offering everything to the divine that one will reach their spiritual goal quicker.
Although Bhakti Yoga seems like an easy path to follow, and it is one of the easiest paths of yoga according to the sages and saints, it can be challenging for those who who are filled with Asmita or ego-consciousness.
Yogananda through his teachings shows us the way to let go of our ego and do everything for God and with the thought of God. He teaches us that we are not the doer and “thou art the doer”.
Through prayer, contemplation, kriya yoga and meditation he gives us a scientific and systematic approach towards attaining Health, Happiness and Ultimate Bliss – the ever new joy and peace that comes with the contact of the Atman or soul
I have been reading and studying Pramahansaji’s work now for over 15 years and his whole mission was and is to lead people to Self Realization and Liberation. He is one of the greatest yogis and masters of India to come to the west and teach one of the purest ways to conquer the ego master the Self.
What is Bhakti Yoga?
Remember Bhakti Yoga is more than just singing and chanting the divine name of the lord. According to Sivananda Bhakti Yoga is the transformation of the sense of the ego – feeling, willing, understanding and determining into infinite consciousness. Bhakti is intense devotion and supreme attachment to God. Bhakti is supreme love for God. It is the spontaneous out-pouring of Prem towards the Beloved. It is pure, unselfish, divine love.
Yogananda was a purified Bhakti Yogi who offered everything to God. Even almost a month after his death and right before burying him, Yogananda’s body didn’t showed any signs of decay or degeneration.
I am finishing this article with a poem written by Yogananda. This is one I enjoy saying everyday, with reverence to my Guru and great Master. enjoy
“Beginning with the early dawn each day, I will radiate joy to everyone I meet. I will be mental sunshine for all who cross my path. I will burn candles of smiles in the bosoms of the joyless. Before the unfading light of my cheer, darkness will take flight.
Let my love spread its laughter in all hearts, in every person belonging to every race. Let my love rest in the hearts of flowers, of animals, and of little specks of stardust.
I will try to be happy under all circumstances. I will make up my mind to be happy within myself right now, where I am today.
Let my soul smile through my heart and let my heart smile through my eyes, that I may scatter Thy rich smiles in sad hearts.
I will always behold in my life the perfect, healthy, all-wise, all-blissful image of God.”
– from Metaphysical Meditations by Paramahansa Yogananda