In a talk he gave in 1937, Paramhansa Yogananda drew connections between different world events that most people thought were unrelated.
As it happened, he was speaking of negative things, such as wars and epidemics. But the underlying point is – everything is interconnected.
His examples were fascinating. He said that during World War I, the vibrations of the conflict generated such a powerful negative vibration that in areas where there wasn’t war, “influenza appeared.”
He said that the suffering of the people in the Spanish Civil War had caused “floods in America, storms in England and Portugal, and earthquakes in India.”
(Photo: Paramhansa Yogananda – on right – with his Guru, Sri Yukteswar Giri. Yogananda tried to visit Adolf Hitler in the 1930s hoping to influence him in a positive way by appealing to his well-known interest in spiritual phenomena. His application, unfortunately, was rejected – the negative karma could not be deflected.)
In the same way that negative vibrations can create havoc in nature, positive thoughts can create a circle of light that protects against the negativity. Yogananda said that when he chanted AUM, that divine vibration went instantly all around the world, and that everyone in tune with it could receive its blessing.
The uplifting vibrations of a Master endure forever. To someone who asked him if he would be with his disciples after he died, he said, “To those who think me near, I will be near.”
The massive energy of an earthquake or a world war is limited. It is as nothing, compared to the infinite power of a Master which comes from God.
And this power is available to us. The Masters come to show us that no matter what the outward conditions of our lives, the power of God’s love is far greater.
A woman once lamented to Swami Kriyananda about the endless difficulties she faced in her life. “I thought when I became a disciple,” she said, “my life would get easier.”
“Your life may still be difficult,” Swamiji said, “but as a devotee, you at least know why these things are happening. Our tests have only one purpose: to bring us closer to God.”
In one of his earliest books, Yours—the Universe! Swamiji wrote, “It is not that the things of the world are evil or wrong. It is just that they express so little of the absolute joy of God. The wrongness comes if we devote ourselves only to worldly pursuits. Then we end up with so little of that absolute joy.”
Yogananda defined suffering as “the absence of true joy.”
Swami Kriyananda suggests a method for dealing with suffering: calm acceptance. What keeps us from calm acceptance is the likes and dislikes of our hearts. We have so many preferences which we try to impose on reality. Reality, however, doesn’t care whether we like it or not. What is, simply is.
Swamiji said that we often talk about calming the mind in meditation. But, in fact, restlessness originates in the heart.
In fact, the secret of successful meditation is a calm heart. A calm heart, free of likes and dislikes, enables us to experience the joy of God that lies always hidden behind even our negative experiences. Once we accept things as they are, joy naturally follows.