Thursday, June 28, 2018

Security vs Compassion; Wisdom vs Mercy; Liberal vs Conservative!

In the uproar about separating children from parents at the U.S. border, I am reminded of the long-running controversy over abortion which pitted right to life against the right of personal choice. 

In the case of the children, we have security and integrity of the state (borders) versus compassion for the welfare of children. In both cases the obvious choice should be compassion and personal choice: both reflect the nature of the guiding principles and the overriding consciousness of American culture.

In the case of the children, it seems that there must be an administrative way to BOTH secure the border AND protect the children. On that score, I simply do not know enough about the issue. If a family attempts to enter and not everyone in the family is legal, maybe it's their choice whether they all are turned back or they are separated? Or, if they can provide sufficient documentation to ensure proper follow-up, they all enter and approval processes take place later?

I don't object to the right of our nation, indeed, every nation, to secure its own borders and decide who is allowed to enter and stay. Many are concerned about our having a porous southern border both in principle and given present world conditions of terrorism. Building a "wall" has come to be a symbolic issue but whatever practical means can be employed to better secure our borders should be considered on its own merits. Border security is basic to national security in these times.

But border security is far less an issue than the suffering of people in other nations who desperately seek to flee violence or poverty. But is pouring unending amounts of relief aid all that viable long-term? My impression is that decades of "relief" have had mixed results. (I am not referring to temporary disaster relief or medical assistance.) Better to help rebuild an impoverished economy from the inside out than simply sending food decade after decade, thus impoverishing the initiative, creativity, and self-respect of recipients.

Right now peoples in the southern hemispheres of Africa and South (and central) America are desperate for security and freedom. To open wide the gates of Europe and North America to immigration is politically and culturally unacceptable at this time. Thus we face the stark reality that present border and immigration policies could be viewed as indirectly causing more suffering in the southern realms. 

At some point, all human beings must face the reality that suffering on this planet exists and has always existed and that there will probably never be (in any foreseeable future) a global solution. We know we can feed every-body on this planet and that starvation shouldn't exist. But it does; so does poverty; abuse; exploitation; and addiction. Reason and the golden rule alone should suffice to end all injustice and suffering. But, they do not and never will. 

I sometimes come across non-profit organizations trumpeting the goal to erase poverty, hunger or illness. I'm all for it but I remain sceptical on philosophical and practical grounds. 

The reason for compassion for these children and for giving women the rights to choose (an abortion) is because the greatest gift given to humanity is free will, reason, individuality, and choice. The fact that this has the very real potential to create suffering, whether self-inflicted or inflicted upon others, is the necessary corollary to this God-given gift. 

God permits suffering because God has given us the right to make choices, including those which cause us to suffer or to inflict suffering. We are teenagers and have been given the car keys. Each person is on a long journey on which we have choices in our efforts to seek the pearl of great price: happiness. That no-thing, position, status, object or fleeting experience will give us what we seek takes a LONG time (lifetimes) for the individual soul to learn. It may be ironic, or even be seen as cruel, but the simple fact is this: it is suffering that causes us ask the deeper questions and to seek lasting solutions. We are here to re-discover that we are "One" and that unconditional love and the existence of that Love is the sole reality of creation (the true purpose of our creation).

We must learn, individually, to use the gift of freedom wisely. Preservation of individual liberties is a higher moral standard than collective security (at least under present circumstances). As is so often said: "Democracy is messy." Yet, the northern nations (Europe and America) are in the midst of a battle over where the border between individual freedom and collective security lies. That boundary line is the real national border and by necessity will move up and down within a given bandwidth. 

When prosperity, liberty, health and security are strong, we can be more "liberal." When all of these are threatened (or perceived to be), then the "border" will get tighter. As it tightens owing to fear, it appears to give permission to express prejudice, even hate. As it loosens owing to security and prosperity it appears to give permission to express love and acceptance. Thus we find the great irony that on a collective level, security and prosperity will tend to foster love and acceptance! Can we have it both ways: loose and loving? At this point in history and in consciousness, perhaps not. 

But the issue is not just a collective one, but an individual one. Institutions do not have feelings; people do. Can we affirm compassion even at the perceived expense (or fear) of our security? That takes courage and will. Right now the northern nations are faltering. Strident condemnation on both sides only makes matters worse, for it re-directs compassion towards anger while it reinforces fear's tendency to turn a blind eye to suffering. 

BE THE CHANGE -- a campaign the worldwide Ananda communities initiated a few years ago -- goes to the heart of the true solution. For the only lasting change that can emerge from in the collective reality comes from a change of heart in the individual consciousness. 

Does a nation like America have the courage to admit asylum seekers and help them get re-established? Do we have the wisdom and courage to offer not merely relief to the suffering nations from which come the asylum seekers, but to offer genuine long-term tools for their own security, justice, and prosperity? 

But do we even have such tools to offer? And, in the end, can we accept that they, too, have to want to change their cultural consciousness and embrace higher ideals and equality and refuse to accept corruption and exploitation within their own ranks? Can we force our ideals upon other peoples? As our nation fought for its freedom long ago, don't other nations have to do so--perhaps alone?

The simple fact is that the karma of individuals and nations rule. We can't save other nations and peoples from their suffering. We can be wiser and more compassionate but if we are only compassionate, the lack of wisdom may undermine our compassion. Wisdom and mercy must forever balance one another. 

The middle path starts in our "middle": our own heart. Then comes action which follows feeling. Successful action is balanced. It learns to compromise on issues such as border security vs. compassion; the right to life vs. right to choose. In a world of endless flux and duality, we must be practical in our ideals. 

The suffering of others is hurtful to those both wise and pure. But the question of "What is right action" is not so easy to answer. For me and for now, the only avenue open is to pray for these children. [Our meditation temple is hosting a prayer vigil for just this purpose. (see anandaWA.org)]

There is a desperate need to return to the "middle" path of reasoned dialogue, mutual respect, and willingness to compromise. Self-described liberals must learn how to do this, perhaps more so because the heart is wiser than the head, and, more courageous. Those "on the right" are driven by fear (and sometimes worse). They are not as open to change unless forced upon them. As Gandhi said and King reiterated, those in power do not yield it willingly. So, who, then, will make the first move?

[The very nature of conservatism is inertial. The very nature of progressivism is to change. Conservatism affirms static, unchanging values and realities while progressivism affirms the reality of evolution and the need for creative and positive change. Conservatism tends to support the status quo while liberalism tends to support change. Both represent relative and valuable truths.] 

Screaming at each other from left to right and vice versa increases in inverse proportion to the power to do anything about the situation. Left and right need to dial down the volume. Once an issue is polarized screaming is all that's left. And, it's easy to scream because there are no consequences to screaming when no one is willing to talk.

May our calls for compassion be compassionate not angry. Gandhi and King identified the redemptive power of unearned suffering. They gave their lives for their ideals. 

But today's issues do not seem to invite this heroic level of self-giving. I strongly suspect that our culture's fascination with superheroes is in direct proportion to our lack of them. Furthermore, I doubt there are any superheroes on the horizon line of our planet's destiny at this time.

Instead, we need to grow up and recognize reality as we find it. More nuanced tactics are needed for today's sophisticated issues of climate change; voting rights; prejudice on the basis of gender, race or religion; immigration policies; global trade; sustainable and healthy lifestyles; and more.

What's needed today is to learn the art of cooperation and compromise. Collective change is directional, not absolute. Imperfection is the nature of the outer world. Perfection exists only in the pure heart which "sees" God. All else is woven in the fabric of fleeting flux.

May we be both wise and compassionate.

Swami Hrimananda

Addendum: Having said "What's needed today" above, I have no illusions that it is likely to happen in this highly polarized environment of America and the world. Sadly, but seemingly inevitably, only a crisis of monumental proportions will motivate any given nation, or perhaps the planet, to unite in its response. Most people or nations change only when forced to by external circumstances. 

Addendum no 2: The silent movement establishing intentional communities, such as the Ananda communities worldwide, will someday set a pattern and an example of "how-to-live" in troubled times. There is no doubt that a planetary storm is brewing. Like weather-related storms, some will be devastated, others untouched, though they live side-by-side. Jesus said, "Two will be in the field; one will be taken; the other will remain." The law of karma (action and reaction) rules the universe. 








Thursday, June 21, 2018

International Day of Yoga

June 21 : International Day of Yoga

June 21 is the day each year that the United Nations has set aside to honor the ever-expanding role of yoga practice and precepts, and to acknowledge yoga as India’s contribution to world peace and harmony.

Yoga is a veritable symbol of peace in a restless, polarized and uncertain world. And yet, while peace may be yoga’s dividend, yoga practice requires self-discipline, training, and persistence. The lesson must not be lost and is one affirmed generation after generation in American culture when it is said that “defending freedom is the price of democracy.”

India’s greatest and most beloved scripture, the Bhagavad Gita, has for its initial precept the teaching that we must take up the battle of life. Yoga, India, Mahatma Gandhi—Indian culture itself—is known as a place of ahimsa (non-violence). Yet the modern state of India was born in the midst of unspeakable communal violence.
Jesus Christ may have taught his followers to “turn the other cheek” but he also said “I bring not peace, but a sword” by which our higher nature can do battle with our lower nature.

But peace is the goal. Yet peace cannot be achieved “at any price.” Peace comes through self-conquest. Whether in politics or for inner peace, the dividend of peace begins with the desire for harmony, a willingness to accept “what is,” the strength and courage to act without dictating the results, and is buoyed upwards on the intangible but underlying knowing that the goal can be achieved.

The scripture of yoga itself is said to be the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. In this famous but pithy tome, the first stage of the upward unfoldment of human consciousness from selfishness to saintliness is that of non-violence, popularly known as ahimsa. The ever-expanding reward of the attitude of ahimsa is peace. As one accepts and embraces in one’s attitudes and actions in daily life the importance of truth-telling, moderation, self-control, introspection and non-attachment we find that an invisible aura or blanket of peace is bestowed upon us. It is not achieved however without effort: for most people, our victory is hard-won for we must overcome natural impulses towards self-centeredness and self-indulgence.

The same is said of the practice of yoga and meditation. We must learn the basic techniques for control and focus of body and mind even while using the tools of deep relaxation to achieve self-control.

And peace is just the beginning. When a war is over, the country must be rebuilt, justice served, forgiveness and reconciliation achieved. From the state of inner peace, we re-make our self-identity into one of Self-reliance AND Self-giving. No longer focused upon our little self, we cannot remain simply self-contained for habit will draw us back into self-absorption. We must raise our energy and consciousness to embrace the world as our own. In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna avers that the yogi is one who “feels the pangs, sorrow and joys of all.”


Is this not the recipe for the “healing of the nations?” And, for self-healing? Let us celebrate International Day of Yoga as peace-giving, olive branch of world and inner peace.

The newly published book by Phil Goldberg, "The Life of Yogananda-the Life of the Yogi Who Became the First Modern Guru," is an apt celebration of one of the most renown exponents of yoga throughout the world. Paramhansa Yogananda's life story, "Autobiography of a Yogi," has captured the hearts and minds of millions of people since its first publication in 1946. It has made accessible, real, and inspired India's greatest contribution to the world: YOGA!

Joy and Peace!

Swami Hrimananda

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Pride Goeth Before the Fall : Can We Ever Really Fail (Spiritually)?

Paramhansa Yogananda was once asked by a disciple: "Will I ever fall from the spiritual path?" Gazing compassionately at him, Yogananda answered: "How could you? Everyone is on the spiritual path!"

That was certainly a kind response and also a true one in that we can learn and grow (spiritually) from our mistakes. 

Yogananda spoke of the betrayal of Jesus by his disciple Judas. He said that inasmuch as Judas was one of the twelve disciples, he must have been spiritually advanced. In fact, Yogananda used the term "prophet" to describe Judas.

At the risk of a tangent, Yogananda stated that Judas finally achieved enlightenment in the 19th century under the guidance of a well-known guru.

The topic here is not how ordinary worldly men and women fail spiritually, for such aren't even trying to do otherwise. The Seven Deadly Sins are, more or less, positively being sought (or is it "sot"?) by most people. (slight exaggeration)

The subject, then, is with respect to those who ARE trying to grow spiritually. Arjuna asks his guru, Krishna (in the dialogue of the Bhagavad Gita), what is the fate of those who, though seeking enlightenment, yet fail to achieve the goal in a given lifetime? What is their fate? 

Are they worse off? Do they have to start over? Krishna assures Arjuna (which is to say, you and me) that no spiritual effort is lost. (Chapter 6: 37-47) Krishna reassures devotees: "I make good your deficiencies and render permanent your gains." (Chapter 9:22) We can never lose our soul's eternal perfection. Any contact with it can never be lost.

Swami Kriyananda, the founder of the worldwide work of Ananda and a direct disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda, wrote about Judas in his book, "Promise of Immortality." His explanation is a priceless and deep examination of the slippery slope from heaven to, uh, perdition! (Chapter 23)

Inspired by the famous verses from the Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 2:61-63) that describe the step-by-step process by which one falls into error, in "Promise of Immortality" Swami Kriyananda examines the likely thought processes of Judas to show us how we are drawn progressively to the point of (apparent) no return.

(Note: there is no absolute point of no return for the perfect and eternal soul. But the dark enclosure of soul-negation can last a long time, even lifetimes.)

Coming back to pride a little later, let us turn, instead, to doubt: self-doubt. Elsewhere in the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna tells Arjuna that the doubter is the most miserable of devotees for such cannot step forward nor can go back for he simply cannot make up his mind. (Chapter 4:40)

Given our predilection for making mistakes, no wonder we doubt ourselves. Given the plethora of philosophies, lifestyles, religions, politics, cultures, no wonder we are confused. Given the abundance of fake news, no wonder we’re sceptical. Given the wide range of choices in life, no wonder we cannot choose one from the other. Given the constant distractions of life in the fast-device-lane, no wonder we cannot focus long enough to see "the forest through the trees!" 

Krishna goes on to say: “For the peaceless, how is happiness possible?” (Chapter 2:66)

Swami Kriyananda was told by Paramhansa Yogananda that doubting was his greatest challenge in past lives. With his guru's blessings, Swami overcame that obstacle and in this lifetime paid in the coin of the spiritual realm by a lifetime of teaching. Swamiji said, numerous times, that there probably wasn't one doubt that anyone could come up with that he hadn't faced at some point in the past. Thus by teaching and giving others faith, he could expiate the karma of the past. 

There are two kinds of doubt: constructive and destructive. Constructive doubt sincerely wants to know what is true and is open to truth and to taking action. So, here, then, in this article we are speaking of destructive or paralyzing doubt. 

Paralyzing doubt, too, has two faces: we doubt ourselves, OR, when we tire of that, we doubt (that is, criticize) others. But as Yogananda put it in the psychological terms of his day, "superiority or inferiority complex" are simply two sides of the same coin of egoity.

In the last year, a young man came to our yoga center and took some courses. He was so apt to measure himself with respect to others that, finding yoga and meditation challenging for his restless mind and body, he decided it was easier to find fault with others. Others must have been faking it somehow (he concluded). And so he left and retreated to a more fundamental view where mere belief was sufficient for acceptance (and "salvation," I suppose). The hard work of changing himself was simply to much for his fragile ego.

Speaking of our temptation to be critical of others, it is useful to make a distinction. There is a difference between calm, detached observation of a flaw or shortcoming in another person and your claim to superiority over them or your dislike of that person on the basis of your observation. Superiority or dislike constitutes being judgmental. Simply observing is neutral and discerning. 

Jesus put it this way: "Be wise as serpents and harmless as doves!" (Matthew 10:16). Too many people "throw out the baby (of discernment) out with the (dirty) bathwater (to avoid being judgemental)." 

By contrast, to admire the spiritual qualities of another person can inspire you to emulate those qualities and doesn't have to put that person on a false pedestal of your own creation.  The perceived spirituality of another should not be a reason to be discouraged in your own progress. Who can truly judge the heart of another; or, their karma; but God alone? If someone you once admired (spiritually) suffers a fall (in your eyes at least), be grateful for the inspiration you received by their example and simply pray for them to recover quickly from whatever spiritual test they may have failed.

Another common cause for seeming to fail spiritually is guilt. Guilt is only useful if it motivates you to make amends and to change. Like pain, guilt exists to spur us to reform and do better. Don't be like those who imagine that feeling guilty is sufficient compensation for their missteps.

The consequences of error must also be understood directionally. A slip may not be a fall if we make amends; if take action to change for the better; and, if we don't identify with our mistakes. But, be careful, because our ignorance, negativity, or ego-affirming habits open the door to influences that may increase the momentum in the direction first taken. A strong, even heroic, effort must be made to draw the grace that will lift us back up on our spiritual feet.

"Thoughts are universally and not individually rooted." Yogananda makes this profound statement in Chapter 15 of "Autobiography of a Yogi." As we express anger, for example, then we attract to ourselves the support of the preexisting and overarching consciousness of anger. We do not invent anger. It already exists in the cosmos of consciousness. Human addictive tendencies exist not merely because of individual past habits but because of their universally attractive magnetism and vibration. 

A dramatic and historical example of this brings us back to Swami Kriyananda's analysis of Judas. He writes that Judas’ betrayal of Jesus set into motion a karmic pattern that was to haunt Christianity: the betrayal of spirituality in favor of worldly power, money and position. 

The spread of Christianity into the authority-and-law-consciousness of Roman culture and its acceptance as the state religion prematurely bestowed upon the young religion the mantle of power and self-importance. 

The acceptance of these worldly powers steadily eroded the true spirit of Christ which, in time, was eclipsed in the hierarchy of "churchianity," though partly salvaged from time to time by great saints like St. Francis and St. Teresa of Avila. (Saints are the true custodians of religion! Not theologians, clerics or bishops.)

Our betrayal or fall from our own spiritual ideals can begin with pride (“which goes before a fall”). Think of some talent or knowledge that you are good at. In your association with others of like mind and your spiritual service together with them, beware of the opinion and critique that might rise as a consequence of your skills and knowledge being employed in that service. Notice with whom you share your perfidy in the quiet corners and whispered voices of conspiratorial negativity.

Judas’ pathway to his fall was his affirmation of superior insight and wisdom. He alone knew best how spread his guru's teachings. His guru, Jesus Christ, was deluded; ignorant; out of touch and could not see what benefits would accrue to his mission if he could but win over the rich and powerful priestly caste. Or so Judas must have thought. Anger then arose as Judas perceived Jesus' intransigence. And on it went until it ended in tragedy.

The downward path of critical comparing of oneself to others sows the seeds of pride, discouragement, self-doubt, and provides, in time if indulged, all the reasons for you to give up and turn away. Oh, and how many have turned away.

In the last years of Yogananda's life, how many came and went, imagining Yogananda did not meet their standards, or, alternatively, not feeling they could live up to his. Of one who left the ashram, the Master said it would take him another two hundred years to regain his current spiritual consciousness. Of another, he said that if she had stayed just twenty-four more hours that temptation would have past.

As a teacher who over decades has seen so many bright lights appear and then fade out to dullness and then disappear from whence they came, I sometimes chant Yogananda's chant that begins with the words: “Whence do they come….whither do they go?”

There's an even far more subtle betrayal amongst devotees. One that cannot be seen with the eyes. It is the story of Martha and Mary. How many Marthas in churches, ashrams, monasteries and sanghas busy themselves in service, and even in meditation and devotion but with their minds far from God. 

Even in outward ritual, prayer, and service, we can avoid the divine summons and awakening of the soul-Self, thus postponing our divine destiny. The inner Voice says, wordlessly, "I will wait. I have given you this freedom and when you seek Me for my love alone and not my gifts, then I will come."

You can meditate every day and never even think of God. Never even go beyond your own, restless thoughts. Never offer yourself wholly into the Unknown where awaits you the light and bliss of your soul: a spark of the Infinite Bliss. God is the Divine Elephant in the Cosmic Room of your Mind; yet, even devotees see him not.

Yogas chitta vritti nirodha” We must neutralize the reactive thought and emotional processes of the ego-mind by calm, inner awareness. And that we can do, like Bhishma in the epic "Mahabharata," only by the free choice of our heart.

There are two kinds of meditation: emptiness and fullness. In general, we teach fullness. It’s easier for most people. In fullness we use chants, affirmations, mantra, prayer and devotion to re-direct our natural restlessness and self-preoccupations. Stillness is not empty; it is full: full of energy, joy, and love.

The path of emptiness is “neti, neti” – not this, not that! It too is a valid path. Both emptiness and fullness are actual states of consciousness which alternate in the life of a meditator; or, from the point of view of the path of ascension, can represent steps or stages. 

Yogananda clarified that those who teach emptiness as the final state are incorrect. For while emptiness (the apparent threat of personal extinction) is the final challenge to the ego’s willingness to surrender, when we do surrender with faith, courage and energy, bliss flows into us like a relentless tsunami or a thousand suns crushed into one.

In fact, however, we should understand and approach each state for each are valid and necessary: both emptiness AND fullness. Thus, after our practice of techniques, we should empty ourselves of all thoughts and let the divine states of Superconsciousness appear like the stars that come out after sunset: at first they are dim, and then gradually, they get brighter. Then the moon appears on the horizon of our consciousness. As it rises it outshines the stars with the comforting brilliance and cooling rays of peace. If we welcome its all-embracing rays into our mind soon we too—our sense of separateness—will be eclipsed into Divine Love.

And so it also with God as personal or impersonal. Some begin their journey approaching God in personal form: perhaps as the guru, e.g. Others, the impersonal as light, peace, joy, energy, love, e.g. But God has no form and is all forms and so cannot be limited by either. Thus, as we advance spiritually our chosen form morphs into its opposite. 

Here we tell the story of Totapuri, the guru of Ramakrishna. Totapuri helped (rather dramatically) Ramakrishna go beyond the "I-Thou" relationship with Divine Mother into the formless state of samadhi.

We are destined to know God; to be free. Just as in sleep we are free from the burdens of our conscience, our karma, and our past, so too in Super-consciousness we are free. But freedom in subconscious sleep is temporary and is not life-changing. By contrast, the freedom experienced in super-consciousness grows on us gradually and, with ever deeper immersion, replaces our separate identity with that of the freedman! No longer a slave to the body and ego! We are TAT TWAM ASI. EKAM SAT! God alone.

Behind our self-doubt, our judgments of others and ourselves lies the realm of the land of the free reached only by those of  brave heart: the land beyond the duality of our dream-world of matter, thought, and emotion.

It is in our souls that we are One. It is to this affirmation that our July 14th day of celebration of East Meets West is directed. This day is a celebratory fest of like-minds and open-hearts. Outwardly we may appear different and separate but inwardly we are ONE.

The divine awaits us and haunts our soul-dreams. Let me close this overly long article with the first paragraph of this much beloved poem:

THE HOUND OF HEAVEN-1893
Francis Thompson



I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
   I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
   Of my own mind; and in the midst of tears
I hid from Him, and under running laughter.
             Up vistaed hopes I sped;
             And shot, precipitated,
Adown Titanic glooms of chasmed fears,
   From those strong Feet that followed, followed after.
             But with unhurrying chase,
             And unperturb√®d pace,
     Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
             They beat—and a Voice beat
             More instant than the Feet—
     'All things betray thee, who betrayest Me'.


Joy to you,

Swami Hrimananda



Thursday, June 7, 2018

East Meets West -- A Celebratory Fest! July 14, 2018

(Note: Ananda and its affiliate, East West Bookshop of Seattle, are hosting a festive event on July 14, 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., at nearby Bastyr University (a renowned international university for alternative healing). Let those of like-mind and open hearts affirm an alternative to today's global wave of "bi-polarism." There are other events too, see below)

One of our guest speakers on July 14 at Bastyr University is Phil Goldberg, author of the newly published book, “Life of Yogananda-the Story of the Yogi Who Became the First Modern Guru.” Phil chronicles the struggle of the young man, Swami Yogananda (aka Mukunda Lal Ghosh) to establish himself in America having arrived at age 27 in 1920. Though penniless and friendless in the land of materialism, the young swami’s innate joy and wisdom soon drew to himself the friends and support he needed to begin his work of bringing together “the best of East and West.”

Yogananda spoke of the twin contributions of America’s material efficiency and the spiritual effectiveness of yoga from India to uplift the human race from the prison of racism, nationalism, wars and exploitation. In Rudyard Kipling’s famous poem, The Ballad of East and West, he begins with the famous line “Oh East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet…..but there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth, when two strong men stand face to face tho’ they come from the ends of the earth!”

Those two “strong men” are the virtues and strengths, respectively, of East and West. Outer strength and knowledge united to inner virtue and self-control dissolve the apparent differences to form the perfect and balanced human, an incarnation of the divine Mind.

The upcoming event at Bastyr University, EAST MEETS WEST FEST, is a celebration and affirmation of humanity’s need to find the balance of inner and outer strengths and virtues. This “Fest” serves to bring together those who seek to live in this world in both inner and outer harmony.

Yoga-meditation has been brought from the darkness of secrecy and indifference into the blessed light of both inspiration and analysis. Yoga is perfectly designed to unite heart, mind and body and as such to radiate outward into the daily life of its “devotee” its harmonious blessings of calmness, creativity, efficiency, health, and joy. Yoga-meditation is by nature nonsectarian and universally accessible to all regardless of affiliation, beliefs or culture. This is because it is also by nature experiential, methodical and therefore scientific in its own way.

Our presenters represent the spectrum of east and west: Nayaswamis Jyotish and Devi represent the Self-realization teachings taught since ancient times in India by great rishis and in modern times by Paramhansa Yogananda; Imam Jamal Rahman, the Sufi teachings of mystical Islam; Reverend Michael Ingersoll, the new thought teachings of modern times, and Rabbi Ted Falcon, the mystical and meditative traditions of the Jewish faith.

Teachers of hatha and raja yoga for adults and children will present offerings in addition to our guest speakers. Phil Goldberg will share the adventure of Yogananda’s life from Phil’s latest book. Others will share insights into parenting and education, energy healing, nature awareness, and sustainable agriculture.

An artistic, inspirational, and informative demonstration of Ananda Yoga will begin the evening program at 6 p.m. in the Bastyr Chapel.

The Fest includes more, even, than Saturday’s celebration at Bastyr: 

* The night before, which is Friday, July 13, a free musical concert comprised of next generation Ananda members from its west coast communities will be held at the Ananda Meditation Temple in Bothell (7 p.m.). 

* On Sunday, our guests, Nayaswamis Jyotish and Devi, will conduct the weekly Service (10 a.m.). 

* That afternoon (Sunday), Ananda Farms invites us to lunch and “satsang” with Jyotish & Devi wherein they will share Yogananda’s ideals for sustainable, community lifestyles into the modern age. (Prepaid registration needed for the lunch.) 

* Finally, Monday night at the East West Bookshop, Phil Goldberg will give a talk and booksigning on his newest book, “The Life of Yogananda.”


Let the Fest in celebration of the Best (of East and West) begin!


Nayaswamis Hriman & Padma