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Paramahansa Yogananda Teachings

Paramahansa Yogananda introduced India's age-old philosophy of Yoga to the West through his Autobiography of a Yogi. Here are few teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda.

The happiness of one’s own heart alone cannot satisfy the soul; one must include as necessary the one’s own happiness, the happiness of others. When you learn to live for others, they will live for you.

The true basis of religion is not belief, but intuitive experience. Intuition is the soul’s power of knowing God. To know what religion is really all about, one must know God.

Faithfulness in the performance of small duties gives us strength to adhere to difficult determinations that life will someday force us to make.

True joy eludes the man who forsakes God, because He is Bliss Itself.

There are people who depict their Creator as one who imperiously tests man with the smoke of ignorance and the fire of punishment, and who judges man’s actions with heartless scrutiny. They thus distort the true concept of God as a loving, compassionate Heavenly Father into a false image of one who is a strict, unsparing, and vengeful tyrant. But devotees who commune with God know it is foolish to think of Him otherwise than as the Compassionate Being who is the infinite receptacle of all love and goodness.

Cultivate His acquaintance. It is possible to know God just as well as you know your dearest friend. That is the truth.

No one can give you the desire for God. You must cultivate that desire in yourselves. God himself could not give it to you. For when he created human beings, he did not make puppets. You must desire him, yourselves.

Be wary of developing too keen an intelligence. Many people use their powers of reasoning cleverly to justify their delusions. Concentrate more, instead, on developing heart quality. Devote as much time as you can, daily, to meditation: to actually experiencing God.

Don’t waste the perception of God’s presence, acquired in meditation, by useless chatting. In devoting time unnecessarily to conversation and exuberant laughter, you will find you have nothing left inside. Fill the pail of your consciousness with the milk of meditative peace, then keep it filled

First you must have a right concept of God — a definite idea through which you can form a relationship with Him — and then you must meditate and pray until that mental conception becomes changed into actual perception. Then you will know Him. If you persist, the Lord will come.

The season of failure is the best time for sowing the seeds of success.

Human beings are like the individual jets of flame on a gas stove. God is the reservoir of gas underneath. The larger the opening of a jet, the stronger also the flame. Even so, the more we open ourselves to God's presence within us, the greater the light and power that He can manifest in our lives.

Seclusion is the price of greatness.

Be king of yourself, and let the soldiers of goodness and good habits rule the kingdom of your mind.
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.

Mankind is engaged in an eternal quest for that something else he hopes will bring him happiness, complete and unending, for those individual souls who have sought and found God, the search is over. He is that something else.

Man cuts himself off from the great river of life, then laments that life is dry. He separates his ego from the vast ocean of consciousness, then complains that he feels alienated.

Man never acts by his power alone. He couldn’t even breathe were not air, and the very power of breathing, provided to him by Nature. Living is a cooperative act also. Man errs only if he intrudes his sense of personal importance into his contribution to the general good.

Enlightened beings enjoy everything, not for itself, but as a ‘play’ of God’s.

All are waves on the same, one ocean composed as ocean water is, of the same substance: Spirit. Some of the waves are higher than others. Some waves don’t even want to distance themselves from the ocean. All waves, no matter how high, are in essence one and the same. The difference between the guru and the disciples, then, lies only in their respective closeness to the ocean: in how conscious each one is of his essential reality. The greater the sense of ego, the taller the wave, and the greater, in consequence, the ignorance. The greater one’s awareness of the ocean as one’s sole reality, the smaller the wave, and also the less his sense of having a separate individuality.

Man’s greatest problem is his ego – his consciousness of individuality. Whatever happens to him, he thinks it affects him, personally. Why be affected? You are not this body: You are He! Everything is He: All is Spirit.

God is the source of all mental power and prosperity. Do not will and act first, but contact God first and thus harness your will and activity to the right goal.

Some of the attributes you must cultivate in order to achieve success are positive thoughts, dynamic will, self-analysis, initiative, and self-control — but these are only the first steps. Many popular books stress one or more of these, but do not give credit to the Power which is behind them.

Until you are master of yourself and you are able to command yourself to do the things that you should do, but may not want to do, you are not a free soul.

There are always two forces warring against each other within us. One tells us to do things we should not do, and the other urges us to do things we should do and things that are difficult. One is the voice of evil, and the other is the voice of God.

You must train yourself to use conscious, not mechanical, will. And you must be sure that your will power is used constructively, not for harmful purposes or trifling things.

Even failure should act as a stimulant to your will power, and to your material and spiritual growth. Weed out the causes of failure, and with double vigor launch what you wish to accomplish.

Initiative is the creative faculty within you, a spark of the Infinite Creator. It may give you the power to create something no one else has ever created. It urges you to do things in new ways.

No one has the power to detract from your happiness unless you allow the adverse thoughts and actions of others to affect you.

Happiness lies in making others happy, in forsaking self-interest to bring joy to others.

Never count your faults. Just see that your love for God is deeply sincere. For God doesn’t mind your imperfections: He minds your indifference.

A room may be in darkness for thousands of years, but if a light is brought into it, in that very instant the darkness vanishes. So is it with sin. You cannot drive sin out of the mind any more than you can beat darkness out of a room with a stick. By concentration on delusion, indeed, you may only increase its hold on your mind. Bring in the light of God, however, through deep meditation and devotion, and the darkness will vanish as though it had never been.

The successful person rejects the thought of failure at all times.

Possession of material riches without inner peace is like dying of thirst while bathing in a lake.

Life has to be lived. Why not live it in the highest way?

One who truly trusts in God has no right to be anxious about anything.

Be as simple as u can be; you will be astonished to see how uncomplicated and happy your life can become.

The best shelter is in the silence of your soul. If you can develop that silence, nothing in the world can touch you.

Whenever you want to produce something do not depend on the outside source – go deep and seek the infinite source.

Since you alone are responsible for your thoughts, only you can change them.

Kindness is the light that dissolves all walls between souls, families and nations.

The happiness of one’s own heart alone cannot satisfy the soul; one must include the happiness of others.

The season of failure is the best time for sowing the seeds of success.

Unselfishness is the governing principle in the law of prosperity.

Kindness is the light that dissolves all walls between souls, families, and nations.

God tries us in many ways, he exposes our weaknesses that we may become aware of them and transmute them into strengths.

Attunement with Divine Will is the most important factor in attracting success.

The best shelter is in the silence of your soul. If you can develop that silence, nothing in the world can touch you.

Always be ready to be active, but carry calmness with you into your activity.

Just as oil is present in every part of the olive, so love permeates very part of creation.

A wish is a desire without energy.

Seek to do brave and lovely things which are left undone by the majority of people.

Possession of material riches, without inner peace, is like dying of thirst while bathing in a lake.

Success should be measured by the yardstick of happiness; by your ability to remain in peaceful harmony with cosmic laws.

Divine grace is like the most precious of rare diamonds. It is there to be found by all who will seek it diligently.

God is beyond our finite understanding. We cannot prove God’s existence through the limited powers of the intellect.

The stars influence your life only in accordance with patterns that you yourself established in the past.

It is easy for a man to go down a gradually descending subway, but when he tries to climb back out, he finds resistance. Likewise, the man who lives completely controlled by his material desires goes smoothly down into the depths of evil. But when he tries to climb out of the subterranean pit, he encounters resistance from evil desires and habits.

Daily meditation will help you transmute your harmful desires into the joy producing, lasting happiness of Spirit.

Be kind to others, so that you may learn the secret art of being kind to yourself.

Pray that unceasing truth flow into your mind…and unceasing joy flow into your soul.

Live quietly in the moment and see the beauty of all before you. The future will take care of itself.

When the seeds of brotherly love take root in the hearts of people, wars will cease.

Possession of material riches, without inner peace, is like dying of thirst while bathing in a lake.

Since you alone are responsible for your thoughts, only you can change them.

Be in love with your present work but strive always to advance.

Never go to bed at night until you have convinced your mind that this world is God’s dream.

Magnetism is the power by which you draw things to yourself. Magnetism of every kind originates in the Infinite Spirit.

By developing your concentration and creativity, you can learn to love any kind of work and succeed in any field.

Whatever your job, do it as well as possible.

Kindness is the light that dissolves all walls between souls, families and nations.

Remain calm, serene, always in command of yourself. You will then find out how easy it is to get along.

It is blessedness for yourself and others if you are happy.

Learn to be calm and you will always be happy.

Spirit is the vast stillness which is behind all created things.

Wisdom is a chisel, love is the sandpaper.

True friends want nothing from you except the joy of your presence.

Always be ready to be active, but carry calmness with you into your activity.

Practice meditation. You will find that you are carrying within your heart a portable paradise.

The love between the soul and spirit is the perfect love, the love we are all seeking. When you meditate, love grows.

You naturally love those who are dear to you and you must learn to give that kind of love to the whole world.

When the mind is strong and the heart is pure, you are free.

Learn to be secretly happy within your heart in spite of all circumstances.

When the mind is calm in God, when the faith is strong in God, we find a solution to our problem.

If your heart is truly quiet you cannot feel fear at all.

When the consciousness is kept on God, you will have no fears; every obstacle will then be overcome by courage and faith.

Meet everybody and every circumstance on the battlefield of life with the courage of a hero and the smile of a conqueror.

Much suffering is simply due to worry.

Since most of our ills come through fear, if you give up fear you will be free at once.

God does help those who help themselves.

Paramahamsa Yogananda on Success

Your success in life does not depend only upon natural ability; it also depends upon your determination to grasp the opportunities that are presented to you.

Success is not a simple matter; it cannot be determined merely by the amount of money and material possessions you have.

The meaning of success goes far deeper. It can only be measured by the extent to which your inner peace and mental control enable you to be happy under all circumstances. That is real success.

The secret of success and happiness is inside you.

If you have found success and prosperity outside, but not inside, you are not truly successful.

A millionaire who is not happy is not successful. I don't mean that if you have a million dollars you cannot be a success. Whether you are rich or poor, if you get happiness out of life you are a real success.

You are always demonstrating success or failure, according to the kind of thoughts that you habitually entertain.

If your trend of thought is usually negative, an occasional positive thought is not enough to change the vibration to one of success.

Along with positive thinking, you must use will power and continuous activity in order to be successful.

The stages of success are the following:
(1) Choosing a vocation that suits you.
(2) Performing your work with attention, interest, and love.
(3) Developing unfailing patience and ongoing interest.