I am very much benefited by the wisdom of Paramhansa Yogananda’s Guru, Sri Yukteswar. But I could not understand a statement he makes in Autobiography of a Yogi:
“The active expression of virtue gives rise to the keenest intelligence.”
What does this mean?
My friend Sahaja does wonderful work translating spiritual books into Italian. Sometimes she asks me to help her unravel some problem of translation. By forcing me to focus on each word, it helps me understand the marvelous depths of meaning hidden in each word of a great master’s teachings.
In the sentence that is causing you problems, Yogananda is telling us how perfectly balanced Sri Yuktewsar was. Although his consciousness soared into the infinite, he was deeply practical and clear-headed in dealing with mundane things –managing his property, feeding guests, spending money carefully, and so on.
Yogananda describes himself, when he was receiving Sri Yukteswar’s training as a young monk, as occasionally being “absent-minded” and careless in practical matters.
The “active expression of virtue” means that we must pursue spiritual consciousness with great attention and energy.
“Keen intelligence” means that the spiritual life includes functioning wisely and well in all we do.
Many people feel that because they are dedicated to high ideals, it doesn’t matter if they are incompetent or inattentive in the practical details of their lives.
Sri Yukteswar is telling us very strongly that this is a mistake. Expanding our consciousness means that we become much more aware in every area.
Earlier, he scolds his young disciple: “Saintliness is not dumbness! Divine perceptions are not incapacitating!”
True spiritual development brings excellence in every aspect of life.