How to Develop the Important Power to Remember God

A friend sent us some little-known sayings of Paramhansa Yogananda’s most advanced disciple, Rajarsi Janakananda.

When Yogananda died in 1952, he gave to Rajarsi his spiritual mantle and named him the leader of his organization, Self-Realization Fellowship.

Rajarsi lived only a few years after Yogananda’s passing. For much of that time, he was ill with a brain tumor. He seldom lectured, and he didn’t write books. So he is less well known than other disciples. But he was fully realized – so his Guru said.

Rajarsi was a self-made millionaire, a business man of worldly influence and importance. But Swami Kriyananda recalls how, when Rajarsi would visit Yogananda, he would leave all of that behind.

He seldom spoke. When he did speak, Swami Kriyananda remembered, he would talk about almost nothing but Guru and God. Sometimes his only response would be: “Aum Guru, Aum Guru.”

(Photo: Left to right – Dr. M. W. Lewis, Yogananda’s first disciple in America; Paramhansa Yogananda; and Rajarsi Janakananda, his chief disciple.)

Because we live in a material world, we think of progress in terms of getting something. It is how we measure success: I lack. I want. I get.

When our goal is spiritual, we tend to think in materialistic ways. “I lack happiness. I will soon get it.”

In truth, spiritual progress is not about getting anything. It is a question of removing the false ideas that prevent us from knowing our nature.

Rajarsi said:

“Throw out your fears. God and Guru are with you. You are their child and they know your heart. My blessings are also with you. Relax from your fears and worries. Where there is faith there is relaxation, for there is trust and love. Fear is a terrible and paralyzing emotion, which we must supplant with love and joy through faith.  Feel easy! Just feel easy! Be relaxed. Don’t feel tense. Trust, love, and know that He is with you.”

In the body, our senses face outward. This enhances the delusion that satisfaction comes from the outside world. Only slowly do we realize that happiness is an inner response. Yogananda said, “Conditions are always neutral. Whether we perceive them as happy or sad depends on the sad or happy attitudes of the mind.”

At my favorite Chinese restaurant, I always order the same three dishes. The memory of past enjoyment draws me to experience that pleasure again. This is the law of karma. We are drawn to experience what we remember as pleasurable in the past.

In truth, the memories we pursue are not of this world. Nothing on the material plane will ever fully satisfy us. At best, it will entertain us for a while.

A western saint said, “Thou has made us for Thyself. And our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee.”

There is a beautiful Sanskrit word for the memory of our oneness with God: smriti. It means divine recollection – the soul’s power to know its true nature.

Our spiritual efforts are a process of inner awakening to that memory. We look to external joys in a vain attempt to recreate our soul’s eternal bliss. We are one with the Infinite. Bliss is our nature.

This is the purpose of spiritual gatherings: to impress divine truth so deeply on our consciousness that we will never forget. The energy of many souls focused on the one divine reality adds power to our individual efforts.

When we celebrate holy occasions, it seems as if God is walking among us. This is smriti. God is with us. We only have to improve our knowing.

In divine friendship,


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