Saturday, March 21, 2020

Are Yogananda's Predictions of Challenging Times About to Begin?

This question surfaced in a recent email from an Ananda member. While the occupation of making predictions is one to be avoided, it is impossible not to ask this question (for those of us who are familiar with Yogananda's warnings given publicly during the last few years of his life (which ended March 1952).

Many of you (readers) know well these warnings because Ananda's founder, Swami Kriyananda, repeated them often.....all the way to his passing in 2013.

So, yes, of course it's a good question. On the other hand, the thought of our being yet another "doom and gloom cult" is distasteful to me and to you, too, I am sure.

Interestingly, Jesus Christ predicted pretty much all the same things, or so he was quoted in the New Testament. Thus it is that such predictions can be viewed from the inner side of the soul's personal journey, or (or is it AND/OR) from the outer side of history. Surely warfare, violence and pestilence have never ended in the history of humanity! So predictions of doom and gloom are always BOUND to come true at some point.

Nonetheless, Yogananda, the guru and spiritual teacher for many of us and an inspiration for millions, and, Swami Kriyananda, Ananda's founder and inspiration and guide (and friend), have shared these warnings.

So, for what it's worth, my two cents is YES. We are on the brink of an immense change in history. 70 years since the last so-called "World War" is probably a record stretch of relative peace: punctuated as most of the people in the world know all too well with endless series of rebellions, conflicts, ethnic cleansings, and mini-wars (and a few lesser mini-pandemic threats).

Why bother to make note of the belief by millions (of us) that humanity needs to wake up to the unsustainability of our rapacious, unconscious lifestyle?

To humor my odd sense of humor: here's what my personal crystal ball is showing me. (You can take this to the bank....more bad humor, sorry.) An economic downturn, aka depression, the like of which history has never seen. The impact of this is too immense to even bother to quantify. It makes the COVID-19 virus seem small by comparison.

From the collapse of the wealth of nations and people will come war, disease and the usual panoply of humanity's griefs. I'm not going to repeat the details of what Swami Kriyananda shared of Yogananda's warnings as it is not important right now for you and me. What is important is to "see" that life is not returning to normal.

Now, it's true, as it is in every disaster (natural or man-made), there are some who will in fact not only prosper (economically) but who will rise to the occasion with courage, enthusiasm, creativity and inspiration. For these, it will be the "time of their life!" There will also be scoundrels. Gun sales, I have read, are up. Lawlessness is certain to increase. We have already seen an increase in burglaries.

So what it means for you personally is impossible to predict. It could, in fact, mean little or nothing at all. But you'd be foolish to make that assumption. The karma that is unfolding is, like a world war, bigger than an individual and will engulf millions if not billions.

Most of my readers probably meditate, pray, and serve. Most of you are followers of Yogananda and likely members of Ananda worldwide. So we already know that "the only way OUT is IN." Inner strength; devotion; care for others; meditation; prayer....we acknowledge that death and disease (as Lord Buddha came to see) is a common lot of all beings. Why fuss over it beyond taking care of the body temple "for God-realization."

So these reflections do not have for their purpose a call to action, per se. Rather, let us adjust the glasses through which we see the world and see what is, I believe and many others as well, a world in partial dissolution and partial recombination. Yogananda, through his guru, Swami Sri Yukteswar, sees our planet in an upward arc of awakening though we are yet in a relatively materialistic age: an age of buy and sell; what's in for me; but also awakening to our interconnectedness.

So unlike some doom and gloom sales pitches, this is NOT the end of the world. It's the inevitable trauma from the breakup of an old-world structure and the emergence of a new world consciousness. After difficult times, Yogananda predicted there would be 200 years of world peace (because we'd be sick of warfare!)

But lest you, like many of us in the 1960's, imagine life is going to suddenly be wonderful: forget it! The rich will always govern and, to quote Jesus Christ, "the poor you have always with you." It is the expansion of awareness of global consciousness that is the requisite emergent change. This awareness can be plundered for personal gain or offered on the altar of global good.

In time, that is to say, in the centuries to come, the rigidity and fixity and prejudice of religion, nationality, race, caste and gender will steadily dissolve into acceptance of differences as manifestations of a shared and beneficent reality. the differences don't need to change. It's attachment and fixed identification with them that will soften.

Harmony with Mother Earth and all creatures will eventually surface as an accepted goal by at least a majority.

In the meantime, however, there is a "war' to fight: fear vs courage, for example; selfishness (hoarding) vs sharing; faith vs hopelessness; God realization vs Ego affirmation. It is an inner battle, not an outer one. Paramhansa Yogananda thundered: "The time for knowing God has COME!" (Through meditation and kriya yoga). THIS is the spiritual purpose for individuals all the time, but especially now for us as a whole.

For those of us who are active, participating and committed members of Ananda worldwide: We were born for this and trained for this by Swami Kriyananda.

"The only way OUT is IN!"

Joy is within you.

Swami Hrimananda
Seattle WA