Students returning to school in Delhi this terms are finding a new class added to their schedule : Happiness. Similarly, this year at Yale University, a course offered to undergrads on achieving happiness had the highest enrollment of any course ever offered there. Yet, for many individuals throughout the world, finding happiness seems more elusive now than ever. The number of people struggling with depression, as well as suicidal thoughts, is on the rise. It seems the more people have, the less satisfied they become.
Paramhansa Yogananda once said, “A materialistic life tempts mankind with smiles and assurances, but is consistent only in this: It never fails, eventually, to break all it’s promises.” As long as we believe that happiness can be achieved by more money, bigger car, or nicer home, we are forever pursuing a Goal that, once attained, fails to fulfill us. Yogananda’s devoted disciple, Swami Kriyananda, came to his Guru in 1948 and spend the next 65 years, until his passing in 2013, chronicling his master’s life and teachings. Since childhood, Kriyananda wrote, “Had anyone suggested to me prior to my meeting Yogananda that so much radiance, dynamic joy, unaffected huminity and love might be found in a single human being, I would have replied that such perfection is not attainable by man.”
The teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda provided him with the answer he was seeking: “The most important condition for lasting happiness is even – mindedness. Remain ever Calmly centred in the Self, within. As a child’s sand castle disintegrates before invading waves, so does a restless mind, lacking strength of will and perseverance, succumb to the pounding it receives from the waves of changing circumstance. A diamond, however, retains its strength and clarity no matter how many waves crash down upon it. The man of Inner peace, similarly, his consciousness made crystalline by Inner calmness, retains his equanimity through even the storms of mighty trials.’
The year 2020 will mark the centenary of Paramhansa Yogananda’s coming to America, and the beginning of the revolution in consciousness that he launched – in the East no less than in the West. His spiritual classic, Autobiography of a Yogi, has been read by millions throughout the world, and his life has been celebrated in both books and movies. We are living today, Yogananda declared, in what is truly a new age, in which energy is understood to be the reality underlying all matter. This understanding is revolutionary and, therefore, far-reaching and disruptive in its effects: it underlies all the social and political turmoil we see swirling around us, as old and new ways of doing and seeing things confront one another.
Swami Kriyananda describe it Yogananda as a way-shower sent by God to help usher our planet into this new Age of Energy. Through Kriyananda’s recounting of the master’s life, we can better understand the relevance of his teachings to our times. As people struggle to find peace of mind amidst the “pounding from the waves of changing circumstances,” what he brought to humidity is desperately needed. He stands as one of India’s greatest sons, bringing inspiration, hope and practical guidance to show us the way to true happiness.
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