November—December, 1929 VOL. 4—3
VISIONS OF INDIA—By Swami Yogananda
India is the epitome of the world in everything—a land of all kinds of climates, religions, commerce, arts, peoples, sceneries, stages of civilizations, languages.
Her civilization dates back many thousands of years. Her great seers, prophets and rulers left records behind them that prove the great antiquity of the Aryan civilization in India.
Many European travelers visit India, see a few of the street magicians, sword-swallowers or snake-charmers, and they think that is the highest India has to offer them. They do not realize that these men do not represent India. The real life and secret of India’s vitality is her spiritual culture, which has made her the motherland of religions since time immemorial. Although the West can teach India much about sanitation, business methods and development of resources—although India needs business missionaries like Henry Ford and Thomas Edison, yet the Western lands, too, are thirsty, consciously or unconsciously, for the practical spiritual lessons that India has specialized in for centuries.
In the Western cities, science has progressed so far that the physical man is usually well taken care of, fed and clothed and sheltered. Yet physical and material comfort without mental and spiritual peace and solace is not enough. India has been the unproclaimed reformer, the grand inspirer of human minds and souls. She has been the spiritual model of all religions. Her greatest and richest legacy to mankind has been the techniques discovered and handed down for centuries by her saints and seers for the scientific spiritual culture of man.
India is a land of mystery, but of mystery that reveals itself to the sympathetic inquirer and seeker. India has the grandest and highest mountains—the Himalayas—in the world. Darjeeling, in the north of India, is the Switzerland of that country. The unique ruins of ancient castles and vast palaces of princes in Delhi; the vast Ganges made sacred by the centuries of meditation near its banks by many God-realized saints; the sun-gilded teeth of the Himalaya mountain-ridges; the ancient places and caves of meditation where Yogis and Swamis saw the faggots of ignorance blaze with the wisdom of God; the Taj Mahal at Agra, the finest dream of architecture ever materialized in marble to symbolize the ideal of human love; the dark forests and jungles where the distant tigers roam, the blueness of the Indian skies and the bright sunshine, the innumerable varieties of Oriental fruits and vegetables; the many various types of people—all these tend to make India different, fascinating, romantic, never-to-be-forgotten.
A Land of Great Contrasts
India is a land of great contrasts—untold riches and utmost poverty, the highest mental purity and coarse, plain living, Rolls Royces and bullock carts, gaily-caparisoned elephants and quaint horse-wagons.
In the north, we find blue-eyed and blonde-haired Hindus, and in the hotter south, we find the dark sun-kissed skins of the tropics. From start to finish, India is a land of surprises, of contrasts and extremes. Life becomes prosaic with too much business, too many dull certainties; so in India one feels that life is a great adventure, a thing of mystery and surprise.
India may not have material skyscrapers and all the sometimes spiritually-enervating comforts of modern life—she has her faults, as all nations have—but India shelters many unassuming, Christ-like spiritual "skyscrapers" who could teach the Western brothers and sisters how to get the fullest spiritual joy out of any condition of life. Those scientific mystics and seers, who have known Truth by their own effort and experience, and not through ordinary, personally-unverified beliefs, can show others how to develop their own intuition and open the fountain of peace and satisfaction from beneath the soil of mysteries.
Though I have had the advantage of some Western education, yet I feel that in India alone I found the true solution to the mysteries of life. This feeling inspired the following poem to India, which I wrote recently:
My Mother India
Not where the musk of happiness blows,
Not in the land
Where darkness and fears never tread,
Not in the homes of perpetual smiles,
Not in the heaven or Land of Prosperity
Would I be born
If I have to put on a mortal garb again,
A thousand famines may prowl
And tear my flesh,
Yet would I love to be again
In my Hindustan.
A million thieves of disease
May try to steal the fleeting health of flesh,
Or the clouds of Fate
May shower scalding drops of searing sorrow,
Yet would I there
In India love to re-appear.
Is this, my love, a blind sentiment
Which beholds not the pathways of reason?
Ah no! I love India,
For I learned first to love God and all
beautiful things there.
Some teach to seize the fickle dew-drop—Life—
Sliding down the lotus leaf of Time.
Some build stubborn hopes
Around the gilded brittle body-bubble.
But India taught me to love
The soul of deathless beauty
In the dew-drop or the bubble,
Not their fragile frame.
Her sages taught me to find my Self
Buried beneath the ash heaps
Of incarnations and ignorance.
Through many a land
Of power, plenty and science,
My soul, garbed as an oriental
Or an occidental, traveled far and wide
At last in India to find Itself.
If mortal fires blaze all her homes
And golden paddy fields
Yet to sleep on her ashes and dream immortality,
O, India, I will be there!
The guns of science and matter
Have boomed on her shores,
Yet she is unconquered,
Her soul is free evermore.
Her soldier saints are away
To rout with Realization’s ray
The bandits of Hate, Prejudice,
And burn the walls of Separation dark
Which lie ‘tween children of the One,
The Western brothers by matter’s might
Have conquered my land;
Blow, blow aloud her conch-shells all!
India now invades with love
to conquer their souls.
Better than Heaven or Arcadia.
I love Thee, O my Mother India,
And thy love I shall give
To every brother nation that lives.
God made the earth,
And man made his confining countries,
And their fancy-frozen boundaries.
But with the new found love I behold
The borderland of my India
Expand into the world.
Hail, mother of religions, lotus,
Scenic beauty and Sages,
Thy wide doors are open
Welcoming God’s true songs
Through all the ages.
Where Ganges, woods,
Himalayan caves and men dream God,
I am allowed; my body touched that sod.
Visions of India’s Life-Giving Philosophy
From time immemorial, India’s greatest minds have specialized in discovering and understanding the philosophy and mystery of life. One of the oft-disputed questions in philosophy is whether the goal of human life is service or selfishness. Once I had a great controversy with a European who repeatedly and blindly affirmed that the goal of life was service, while I maintained that it was higher selfishness. I asked him again and again for his reasons in believing in "service", but instead of satisfying my discrimination, he kept on reiterating, "Service is the goal of life. It is blasphemous to doubt that." Finding him so dogmatic, I asked him, "Is service the goal of life because the Scriptures have declared it?" "Yes," he vehemently replied. "Do you believe everything literally in Scripture?" I questioned him. "Do you think Jonah was swallowed by a whale and came out alive after a few days? How do you account for it?" "No. I do not understand how he could do that," my friend said. That was just the point. In order to really know the truth contained in Scriptural stories, and in order to understand what is erroneous, or right, literal or metaphorical, in Scriptural writings, one must use his own reason, discrimination and power of intuitional verification developed thru meditation.
Scriptures Not Always Infallible
Many people think that what is printed in black and white is right. Above all, most people believe that anything wearing the robe of Scriptural authority is absolutely beyond question. But putting on an outward garb cannot make one infallible. Writers of Scriptures can also make mistakes. In order to know the truth of a doctrine, we must live it and find out if it works or not—give it the acid test of experience. Let us get out into the world and compare our religious beliefs with the religious experiences of true teachers. Let us be iconoclastic of our own errors that need to be destroyed within us. We must not harbor an undigested mass of theology and thus suffer from chronic theological indigestion.
Service a Form of Selfishness
The law of service to others is secondary to, and born out of the law of self-interest and self-preservation and selfishness. Man never in his sane mind does anything without a reason. All religious doctrines and instructions are based either on blind superstition or on real religious experience. The real reason behind the Scriptural injunctions to "Serve thy fellow-men", and "Love thy neighbor as thyself" is that the law of service to others is to be obeyed by all devotees who would, thru others, expand the limits of their own self.
No action is performed without reference to a direct or indirect thought of selfishness. Giving service is indispensable to receiving service. To serve others by financial, mental, or moral help is to find self-satisfaction. Besides, if any one knew beyond doubt that by service to others, his own soul would be lost, would he serve? If Jesus knew that by sacrificing his life on the altar of ignorance, He would displease God or lose His favor, would He have acted as he did? No, He knew that though he had to lose the body, He was gaining His Father’s favor and His own Soul. Such immortal sons of God and all the martyrs and saints, make a good investment—they spend the little mortal body to gain immortal life.
There is nothing worth-while gained without paying a price. Thus even the most self-sacrificing act of service to others can be shown to be done not without any thought of self. It is logical, therefore, to say that the higher selfishness, or the good of the Higher Self, is the motive of life instead of service to others without thought of self.
Must be Given Because Received
In giving service to others, a man knows also that otherwise he cannot rightly receive service from them. If the farmers give up agricultural work, and the business men give up their business of transportation and distribution, then how could even the renunciate maintain himself? Nowadays, with increased population and wealth, even forests are divided off and owned by big landowners, who placard the trees with signs warning the trespasser that he will be prosecuted for coming into another man’s property. So the renunciate cannot logically say, "I will not work or earn my living—I will live on the wild fruits of the forest". Hence, services given and received have reference to the goal of a lower or higher selfishness.
Three Kinds — Evil, Good and Sacred Selfishness
We must, however, clearly distinguish between the three kinds of evil, good and sacred selfishness. The evil kind is that which actuates a man to seek his own comfort by destroying the comforts of others. To be rich at the cost of others’ loss is sin, and against the interests of the higher individual self of the person who does it. To delight in hurting others’ feelings by carping criticism is evil selfishness. This malignant pleasure is not conducive to any lasting good. True and good selfishness is the kind which makes a man seek his own comfort, prosperity and happiness by also making others more prosperous and happy. Evil selfishness hides its many destructive teeth of suffering beneath the apparently innocent looks of comfort-assurances. Evil selfishness shuts one in a small circle and shuts all humanity out beyond it. Good selfishness takes everybody, including one’s own self, into the circle of brotherhood. Good selfishness brings many harvests—return services from others, self-expansion, divine sympathy, lasting happiness and self-realization.
Good selfishness should be followed by the business man, who, by sincere, honest, wholesome, constructive actions and labors, enables himself to look after his own and his family’s needs. Such a business man is far superior to the business man who thinks and acts only for himself, thinking neither of the ones he serves or of those dependent on him for support. He is then acting against his own best selfish interests, for he will suffer in time. Many misers die, leaving their wealth to relatives who often squander it on wrong self-indulgences. Such selfishness helps neither the giver nor the receiver, in the end.
To avoid the pitfalls of evil selfishness, one should first follow and establish himself in the good forms of selfishness, where one thinks of his family and those whom he serves, as part of himself. From that attainment, one can then advance to a practice of the sacred selfishness, (or unselfishness, as ordinary understanding would term it), where one sees all the universe as himself.
Being Sacredly Selfish
Feeling the sorrows of others in order to make them free from further suffering, seeking happiness in the joy of others, and constantly trying to remove the wants of bigger and bigger groups of people is being sacredly selfish. The man of sacred selfishness counts all his earthly losses as deliberately brought about by himself for others’ good, and for his own great and ultimate gain. He lives to love his brethren, for he knows they are all children of the one God. His entire selfishness is sacred, for whenever he thinks of himself, he thinks, not of the small body and mind of ordinary understanding, but of the needs of all bodies and minds (within the range of his acquaintance or influence). His "self" then becomes the Self of all. He becomes the mind and feeling of all creatures. So when he does anything for himself, he can only do that which is good for all. He who considers himself as the one whose body and limbs consists of all humanity and all creatures—certainly finds the Universal, All-Pervading Spirit as Himself.
Act Without Expectation
He does not act with expectation but, with his best judgment and intuition, goes on helping himself as the many, with health, food, work, success and spiritual emancipation.
Working with good selfishness and sacred selfishness brings one in touch with God, resting on the altar of all-expanding goodness. One who realizes this, works conscientiously only to please the ever-directing God-peace within.
HEROIC PERSISTENCY—From Emerson’s Essay on "Heroism"
"The characteristic of heroism is its persistency. All men have wandering impulses, fits, and starts of generosity. But when you have chosen your part, abide by it, and do not weakly try to reconcile yourself with the world. The heroic cannot be the common, nor the common the heroic. Yet we have the weakness to expect the sympathy of people in those actions whose excellence is that they outrun sympathy, and appeal to a tardy justice. If you would serve your brother, because it is fit for you to serve him, do not take back your words when you find that prudent people do not commend you. Adhere to your own act, and congratulate yourself if you have done something strange and extravagant, and broken the monotony of a decorous age. It was a high counsel that I once heard given to a young person,—"Always do what you are afraid to do." A simple, manly character need never make an apology, but should regard its past action with the calmness of Phocion, when he admitted that the event of the battle was happy, yet did not regret his dissuasion from the battle.
"There is no weakness or exposure for which we cannot find consolation in the thought,—this is a part of my constitution, part of my relation and office to my fellow-creature. Has nature covenanted with me that I should never appear to disadvantage, never make a ridiculous figure? Let us be generous of our dignity, as well as of our money. Greatness once and for ever has done with opinion. We tell our charities, not because we think they have great merit, but for our justification. It is a capital blunder, as you discover, when another man recites his charities."
"Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." Moses.
The incomparable Taj Mahal, at Agra, India, built by the Emperor Shah Jehanin memory of his Empress-wife. From a Painting by Colin Campbell Cooper.
EMERSON’S DEBT TO THE ORIENT—By Arthur E. Christy
For decades Americans have spoken of Emerson as a Boston Brahmin without much thought of the peculiar nicety with which the application fits. Some have vague ideas of a general analogy between transcendentalism and Hinduism, but the extent to which the former was dependent upon the latter for inspiration, imagery and doctrine has rarely been studied even by scholars . . .
It was the concept of unity that appealed to Emerson in Orientalism. Early in life he had written in his Journals: "An obscure and slender thread of truth runs through all mythologies, and this might lead to the highest regions of philosophy." There is little change between this statement and an entry made at the age of sixty-four, when Emerson’s Philosophy had matured and mellowed. "Can any one doubt that if the noblest saint among the Buddhists, and noblest Mohametan, the highest stoic of Athens, and purest and wisest Christian, Confucius in China, Spinoza in Holland, could somewhere meet and converse together, they would all find themselves of one religion, and all would find themselves denounced by their own sects and sustained by those believed adversaries of their sects?"
The Bibles of All Nations
In 1839 the following passage was written in the Journals: "The most original book in the world is the Bible. This old collection of the ejaculations of love and dread, of the supreme desires and contritions of men, proceeding out of the region of the grand and eternal, by whatsoever different mouths spoke, and through a wide extent of time and countries, seems to be the alphabet of the nations and all posterior literature is either the chronicle of facts under very inferior Ideas, or, when it rises to sentiment, the combinations, analogies, or degradations of this. People imagine that the place which the Bible holds in the world it owes to miracles. It owes it simply to the fact that it came out of a profounder depth of thought than any other book, and the effect must be precisely proportionate. I have used in the above remarks the Bible for the ethical revelation considered generally, including, that is, the Vedas, the Sacred writings of every nation and not of the Hebrews alone—."
One could go on, culling out passage after passage, which speak of Occidental natural science in terms of Hinduism. "All science is transcendental or else passes away. Botany is now acquiring the right theory—the avatars of Brahma will presently be the text books of natural history." Nature is the same in India as in America, the basis of universal life. And all the fairy tales of the world, whether Eastern or Western, even "the most trivial and gaudy fable, Kehama, Jack Giant-killer, Red Ridinghood, every grandma’s nursery rhyme contains a moral that is true to the core of the world. It is because nature is an instrument so omnipotently musical that the most careless or stupid hand cannot draw a discord from it. "God is all and in all, and eternal. All that is not of the infinite source is ephemeral and will vanish." This was Emerson’s faith.
Before turning from the spirit with which Emerson approached the Eastern writings, one final passage which summarizes his bias better than any other should be presented here. "Yes, the Zoroastrian, the Indian, the Persian scriptures are majestic, and more to our daily purpose than this year’s almanac or this day’s newspaper. . . . I owed—my friend and I owed—a magnificent day to the Bhagavat Gita. It was the first of books; it was as if an empire spoke to us, nothing small or unworthy, but large, serene, consistent, the voice of an old intelligence which in another age and another climate had pondered and thus disposed of the same questions which exercise us. Let us now go back and supply minute criticisms to it, but cherish the venerable oracle."
The Hindu View of Emerson
In order to look on both sides of the matter, it would be interesting to ascertain how the Hindu viewed Emerson. Passages from an article Emerson As Seen From India, by Protap Chunder Mozumdar, will show clearly enough that the Hindu reciprocates, that Emerson is revered and beloved:
And now you want me to say what we think of him in India. Where the blue Narbudda, so still, so deep and pure, flows through the high milk-white walls of the marble hills near Jubulpoor, in the natural alcoves of the virgin rocks there are devotional inscriptions in Sanskrit. I wish Emerson had composed his essay on nature there. . . . Amdist this ceaseless, sleepless din and clash of Western materialism, this heat of restless energy, the character of Emerson shines upon India serene as the evening star. He seems to some of us to have been born in India. Perhaps Hindus were closer kinsmen to him than his own nation, because every typical Hindu is a child of Nature. All our ancient religion is the utterance of the Infinite through Nature’s symbolism. . . . Emerson speaks of his homeogeneity with the woods and wilderness. The tranquil landscape and the distant line of the horizon gave him that perception of occult relationship between man and all things, which is the key to the sublime culture known as Yoga in the history of Hindu philosophy. . . . Emerson laid the foundations of the true philosophy of the world by viewing matter not as a soulless succession of appearances, nor yet a creation of the brains of man, but as a mysterious, marvelous putting forth in outward form of beauty—that which he inwardly realizes in the spirit. His writings, too, often recalled to mind the utterances of Hindu philosophy—that all the universe is a divine dream, passing away, but in passing it reminds us of the meaning, glory, presence, and life which it reveals and conceals. . . . Yes, Emerson had all the wisdom and spirituality of the Brahmins. Brahminism is an acquirement, a state of being rather than a creed. In whomsoever the Eternal Brahma breathed his unquenchable fire, he was the Brahmin. And in that sense Emerson was the best of Brahmins.
Might it not be argued that where an East Indian Brahmin finds himself in such close sympathy with Emerson, there is a spiritual affinity which transcends race and color, which lifts the term Boston Brahmin out of the figurative into the literal?
No very certain proof has ever been given of the time when Emerson first came under the influence of Orientalism. In a letter, Dr. Edward Waldo Emerson wrote: "I think that I remember dimly that even while in college his letters show that he had at least read extracts from them (the East Indian Scriptures), probably in some Englishman’s account of India."
Inspiration of the Vedas
In the Journal of 1845 Emerson writes, "The East is grand and makes Europe appear the land of trifles." But five years previous to this, in the summer of 1840, he had written in a letter to a friend: "In the sleep of the great heats there is nothing for me but to read the Vedas, the Bible of the tropics, which I find I come back upon every three or four years. It is sublime as heat and night and a breathless ocean. It contains every religious sentiment, all the grand ethics which visit in turn each noble poetic mind, and nothing is easier than to separate what must have been the primeval inspiration from the endless ceremonial nonsense which caricatures and contradicts it through every chapter. It is of no use to put away the book; if I trust myself in the woods or in a boat upon the pond, Nature makes a Brahmin of me presently; eternal necessity, eternal compensation, unfathomable power, unbroken silence. . . This is her creed. Peace, she saith to me, and purity and absolute abandonment—these panaceas expiate all sin and bring you to the beatitude of the Eight Gods."
When this passage was entered upon the pages of his note books, Emerson was twenty-seven years of age. It may never be possible to determine entirely just what books he read during his college years, but there is every evidence that his curiosity was alive and his knowledge of India and her faiths profound.
The first positive knowledge that we have of Emerson’s reading translations of Indian works themselves comes from the journal of 1822, when Emerson was nineteen years of age. He concluded several pages of remarks on God, which expressed a rather youthful monistic faith, not yet fullblown but clearly indicating the course of his mind, by saying, "I know nothing more fit to conclude the remarks which have been made in the last pages than certain fine pagan strains:
. . . Of dew be-spangled leaves
And blossoms bright,
Hence! vanish from my sight,
Delusive pictures, unsubstantial shows,
My soul absorbed, one only Being knows,
Of all perceptions, one abundant source,
Hence every object, every moment flows,
Suns hence derive their force.
Hence planets learn their course;
But suns and fading worlds I view no more,
God only I perceive, God only I adore!"
A tabulation of the Oriental works which Emerson read, quoted from and mentioned in the Journals, exclusive of those he received as a bequest from Thoreau, reveals numerous volumes of Persian poetry, translations of Confucius and other Chinese philosophers by James Legge. Marshman and David Collier, and books on Hindu mathematics and mythology. Another sidelight on Emerson’s possible reading is given in a letter written by T. W. Higginson to the editors of The Critic in which he notes that he thinks Thoreau received the whole series of Oriental Translation Fund publications as a gift from Clough and others. Thus Emerson’s Brahminism was nourished by the sacred books of the East. The parallels in Transcendentalism and Hinduism were not accidental.
The literary use which Emerson made of this wide reading is fascinating. The poem Brahma appeared in the first number of the Atlantic Monthly in November, 1857, and read as follows:
Song of the Soul (Brahma)
If the red slayer thinks he slays,
Or if the slain things he is slain,
They know not well the subtle ways,
I keep, and pass and turn again.
Far or forgot to me is near;
Shadow and sunlight are the same,
The vanished gods not less appear;
And one to me are shame and fame.
They reckon ill who leave me out;
When me they fly, I am the wings;
I am the doubter and the doubt,
And I the hymn the Brahmin sings.
The strong gods pine for my abode,
And pine in vain the Sacred Seven;
But thou, meek lover of the good!
Find me, and turn thy back on heaven.
Dr. Edward Emerson notes the fact that his father, much amused when people found Brahma puzzling, said to his daughter, "If you tell them to say Jehova instead of Brahma they will not feel any perplexity."
Another story is told of a little school girl who was bidden by her teacher to learn some verses from Emerson. The next day she recited Brahma. The astonished teacher asked her why she chose that poem. And the child is recorded to have answered that she tried several, found that she could not understand them at all and decided upon the poem which she recited, "for it was so easy—it just means God everywhere." The anecdote clearly shows that if the poem is approached with the idea of Oriental Immanence in mind, it will present no difficulties.
It is interesting to note that Emerson’s friend, the mystic Carlyle, saw God with much the same eye, when he wrote, "The Eternal is no Simulacrum; God is not only there, but here or nowhere, in that lifebreath of thine, in that act and thought of thine,—and thou wert wise to look to it."
The Wheel Symbol
Several lines in the poem Celestial Love afford in their symbolism, close analogy, if not proof, that they were based on Vedic writings.
In a region where the wheel
On which all beings ride
Where the starred eternal worm
Girds the world with bound and term;
Where unlike things are alike;
Where good and ill
And joy and moan,
Melt into one.
The wheel is a symbol not infrequently used by the Brahmin writers. In the Svestasvatara Upanishad the First Cause is spoken of in terms of a wheel and often is used in connection with the endless cycle of birth and rebirths of individual souls. Furthermore the imagery of the "starred eternal worm" might easily refer to a passage in the Vishnu Upanishad (Wilson’s translation, 1840, received by Emerson from Thoreau) where Sesha, a serpent, supports Vishnu while he sleeps during the intervals of creation. Sesha "has a thousand heads, which are embellished with the pure and visible mystic sign; and the thousand jewels in his crests give light to all regions—Sesha bears the entire world, like a diadem, upon his head, and he is the foundation on which the seven Patals (regions below the earth) rest. His power, his glory, his form, his nature cannot be described, cannot be comprehended by the gods themselves. Who shall recount his might, who wears this whole earth like a garland of flowers, tinged of a purple dye by the radiance of the jewels of his crest." Thus Emerson might again be construed to have borrowed a Hindu symbol to represent his idea of the Divine Immanence in which all things "melt into one."
Another curious and baffling passage in the Journals might easily be connected with lines from Celestial Love. In the Journal of 1845 Emerson wrote: "The doctrine of the Triform came from India, as did the poetic horror that the demons in hell had that tremendous power of vision that they saw through all intermediate regions and worlds . . ." At approximately the same time he copied another passage form the Sixth Valli of the Katha Upanishad (Bibliotheca Indica): "It (the world) is like an eternal fig tree, whose root is upwards, and whose branches go downwards. This is called ever pure; this is called Brahma (all comprehensive); this is called immortal; upon this all the worlds are founded; none become different form it. This is that."
These two quotations taken together will explain the following lines form Emerson’s poem.
There Past, Present, Future, shoot
Triple blossoms from one root.
Substances at base divided
In their summits are united;
There the holy essence rolls,
One through separated souls.
The little six line poem, The Three Dimensions, which Emerson printed in The Dial, but never in his published poems, gives another point from which to view his thoughts on transmigration.
Room! cried the spheres when first they shined,
And dived into the ample sky;
Room! Room! cried the new mankind
And took the oath of Liberty,
Room! room! willed the opening mind,
And found it in Variety.
It is in Emerson’s doctrine of the "Over-Soul" that the closest philosophical affinity may be found with the Hindu Vedanta. Numerous men have already pointed out that the word itself is a literal translation of a synonymous Sanscrit term. Emerson regarded matter as the negative manifestation of the Universal Spirit. It has its life and development through the direct immanence of the Absolute. And in like manner, Mind is an expression of the Universal Spirit in its positive power. Man himself is nothing but the Universal Spirit present in a material organism. Man is of the divine, lives in the Divine, and in every power he manifests he shows the Divine life within. The soul is not a separate individuality but "part and parcel of God." In reality, Emerson says, "The soul in man is not an organ, but animates and exercises all organs; is not a function, like the power of memory, of calculation, of comparison, but uses these as hands and feet; is not a faculty but a light; is not the intellect or the will, but master of the intellect and the will; is the background of our being in which they lie—an immensity not possessed and that cannot be possessed. From within and from behind, a light shines through us upon things, and makes us aware that we are nothing, that the light is all."
The Indian Vedanta repudiates a conception of the creation which implies, first a creation out of nothing, and secondly, the separation of the Creator from His Creation, and which, finally, in this implication, leaves unexplained the organic growth and developments of the Universe. The Vedantins maintain that nature is not created but begotten with the elements of life and growth inherent in it, no external impulse being necessary for its development. The whole cosmos is a living organism—one life pervading all and connecting all, from the highest of the lowest order of beings, in such defined relations to each other as to show intelligence and purpose. The Bhagavat Gita expresses it in saying that all are "threaded on the Lord, as jewels on a string."
In Emerson’s essay of that title it is in the Over-Soul that "every man’s particular being is contained and made one with all others—and man is the facade of this temple wherein all wisdom and all good abide." And again, "we live in succession, in division, in parts, in particles. Meanwhile within man is the soul of the whole; the wise silence; and universal beauty to which every part and particle is equally related; the Eternal One. and this deep power in which we exist and whose beatitude is all accessible to us, is not only self-sufficing and perfect in every hour, but the act of seeing and the thing seen, the seer and the spectacle, the subject and the object, are one. We see the world, piece by piece, as the sun, the moon, the animal, the tree; but the whole, of which these are the shining parts, is the soul."
Doctrine of Self-Reliance
And because of all this, we have Emerson’s doctrine of Self-Reliance. "As there is no screen or ceiling between our heads and the infinite Heaven, so there is no bar or wall in the soul where man, the effect, ceases and God, the cause, begins. The walls are taken away. We lie open on one side to the deeps of spiritual value, to the attributes of God,"—and consequently—"The soul is the perceiver and the revealer of truth. We know truth when we see it, let the skeptic and scoffer say what they choose. Foolish people ask you, when you have spoken what they do not wish to hear. ‘How do you know it is truth and not an error of your own? We know truth when we see it, as we know when we are awake that we are awake."
Emerson gave bold counsel to the man who believed without being able to give reason for it. "Trust the instinct to the end though you can render no reason." Independent in spirit and sure that the God within him would not fail, he asks, "Why should I give up my thought because I cannot answer an objection to it?" The soul within man is God and cannot err. Indeed, "man stands at the point betwixt the inward spirit and the outer matter. He sees that one explains and translates the other; that the world is the mirror of the soul."
An inquirer might well ask, then, of the source of this outward matter, and we have the answer in the poem Woodnotes where Emerson says (in obviously Brahminic language):
Ever fresh the broad creation,
A divine improvisation,
From the heart of God proceeds,
A single will, a million deeds.
Once slept the world, an egg of stone,
And pulse, and sound, and light was none;
And God said, throb, and there was motion,
And the vast mass became vast ocean. . . .
Maya or Illusion
It is not necessary here to analyze fully the Hindu Maya or to interpret its implications. It has been compared with the Logos of the Christian Gospels, with the infinite modes of the system of Spinoza, and other concepts. Indian Brahmins themselves not infrequently interpret the Maya differently. It is sufficient here to demonstrate that Emerson has taken the term, understood it to be illusion and written of it as such. His verse, his essays and his journals are all evidence of this fact.
In the Journal of 1866 he wrote, "In the history of intellect, there is no more important fact than the Hindu theology, teaching that beatitude or supreme good is to be attained through science; namely, by the perception of the real from the unreal, setting aside matter, and qualities and affections or emotions, and persons and actions, as mayas or illusions and thus arriving at the contemplation of the one eternal Life and Cause, and a perpetual approach and assimilation to Him, thus escaping new births and transmigrations. . . . Truth is the principle and the moral or the Hindu theology. . . . Truth as against the Maya which deceives Gods and Men; Truth the principle, and Retirement and Self-denial the means of attaining it."
And finally there is the poem itself which Emerson has entitled Maya:
Illusion works impenetrable,
Weaving webs innumerable,
Her gay pictures never fail,
Crowds each other, veil on veil,
Charmer who will be believed
By man who thirsts to be deceived.
With my soul have I desired Thee in the night; Yea, with my spirit within me
Will I seek Thee early;
For when Thy judgments are in the earth,
The inhabitants of the world
Will learn righteousness. Is. 26:9.
THE CHRIST IDEAL—By T. L. Vaswani
One of the world’s great ones was Socrates. He as a yogi had an inner voice, an inner guidance. And his great message was: "Know thyself."
Three of the sadhans to develop knowledge of the self are: (1) study, (2) seva (service) and (3) tapasya (discipline). Study philosophy, religion and theology, medicine and the sciences. The net-result of these studies may be indicated in the significant words of a great Sindhi scholar and philanthropist, the late Diwan Dayaram: "Electricity has its many conductors; so has Truth." So may one rise above the battle of creeds to the heights where shines the truth that is Love; (2) seva, one may tough the Self, the ATMAN, also on the path of service. ‘Love thy neighbour as thyself.’ And is not my neighbour really a ‘double’ of myself? Blessed are they who do good in silence and by stealth; (3) tapasya—In loneliness is strength. "This is the way," says St. John of the Cross, "God raises the soul step by step to that which is inner." To be athirst for God, to have hunger in the heart for the Lord of Love, is to grow in the life which is life indeed,—the Life of the Spirit.
The birth anniversary day of Jesus the Blessed is drawing nigh. And an ancient story has it that when he was born a star appeared. And three wise men saw the star and led by it found the place where the infant Jesus was wrapped in swaddling clothes and worshipped him. Of these wise men one was Casper; he heard the message of the star; he was obedient to the message; he followed the Star; he lost all worldly possessions; but he entered into peace and happiness.
The Star is the Ideal. "The most potent force in society is its ideals," says President Hoover. Idealism is a Light.
In the darkness of the middle ages in Europe appeared Francis—a Prince of Idealists. He kindled a hew light. It is the Franciscan spirit which is needed now—a new Franciscan spirit will make nations new—a spirit of new complicity and service, of creative prayer and sacrifice. This spirit will build our schools and colleges, our society and the nation.
The Immortal Sea—Wordsworth
"Though inland far we be,
Our souls have sight of that immortal sea
Which brought us hither."
ODE TO LAKE CHAPALA—By Swami Yogananda
Like the flickering flame of Indo-skies,
Thy moods of limpid waters
Boisterously play with fitful gleaming storm,
Or rest on thy shining forehead
without a ripply wrinkle!
‘This then thy silver, shining mind,
Free of ruffling causes,
A transparent mirror—
Reflects just noble images
Of the green-dressed young and old hills,
Like tableaux of drilling soldiers
Standing hand in hand, with dwarf and tall heads,
Crowned with sliver skies or fleecy clouds.
I beheld the starry damsels
Beautifying their twinkling faces
In the mirror of thy waters.
How I watched in the flickering hall of lightning
Thy furious fight with the gunning clouds.
Showering torrential bullets of spattering rain,
O! what wild cloud-churned skies
and bounding winds,
Rolling thunder peals,
bursting vapour embankments,
Have flooded thy territory of waters
And have lashed thy spirit
to rouse thy resting soldier-waves
To leap to furious fightings!
Then again, when truce is signed with storm gods
And warring fury of the skies,
I find a stray white sail
Charged with a vital breeze,
Racing to thy horizon’s hidden unknown shores.
Thy nocturnal silence,
Oft rocked to sleep
By the lullaby of thy gentle breakers,
Is rudely roused at dawn
By those busy silence-shattering, droning sounds
Of man-made, horrid watery ploughs
Which encroach upon
Thy private fields of silence,
O! Changing Chapala
—The gleaming lightning of my feeling’s skies!
I love thee as never before!
Here’s hill-ramparted lake—
Which can allay
The scenic-beauty thirst of yearning minds.
When comes such another? Where?
Thy beauty will be snatched
Form my adoring skies
By cruel duties of exacting life,—
But they will fail to take away
Thy beauty enthroned in me as joy for e’er.
The stony arms of the palace by thy banks
Enclosed a tract of thy loved waters,
And ‘neath the lone, shady tree,
Standing on the spot ‘tween two sheets of water,
Oft I sat with those unforgettable hours—
When I beheld the Infinite
Emerge from pale unanswering walls of blue—
And unite my soul with thee,
Mounts, skies, and me!
Wrapt in Thee—Sarojini
Beside the shoreless sea I set,
Wrapt in Thy contemplation.
The seal of Thy wisdom is broken before me.
The thought of Thee causeth me
To lose myself in divine ecstasy.
The sight of Thee causeth me
To veil myself in silence.
Thy caressing touch healeth my life-long wounds.
EVERLASTING FRIENDSHIP—By Br. Nerode
Lying in his country home on the green bank of the Ganges, a middle-aged man, whose one foot was well-nigh on the other shore of the hereafter, was asked what he would like to do if the clock of his life were turned back and he were given a full span of life to go over again. His trembling lips uttered, "I would spend half of the time with my old friends and the other half making new ones."
Such is the sweetness of friendship that spreads its soothing balm even unto death. To Yoga Philosophy, true friendship is a necessity for spiritual progress. Truly, friendship is a rare gift of God. Through friendship man drops the shell of his narrow egoism and makes himself extended. Whosoever has it is blessed, because self-extension is growth. Life would have been like a sandy desert had there been no merciful streams of pure friendship, watering and enriching it from diverse directions. Woe unto those who have no genuine friends!
Source of Joy
This matter-of-fact life is very often a series of painful surprises, chequered with vicissitudes, sorrows and disappointments. But the shining faces and sweet smiles of dear ones make such a life an unending source of joy and a veritable garden of roses. Once a gloomy Brahmin of no mean philosophical caliber inquired of an illiterate non-Brahmin, why the latter looked so happy while life was such a struggle. Bursting forth into cheerful laughter, the plain man replied, "Because I am not alone in the fight; I have a host of friends at home and abroad." Sometimes the thinker belittles the value of friendship which is so precious to the life of the common man. In spite of all adverse forces, trying to defeat it, life glistens with happiness, arising out of the comradeship and kinship of friendly souls. This friendship, enlarged and expanded, makes life larger, fuller and more divine. A jolly-looking speculator who lost his last cent in the familiar game of the stock market, yet unsubdued and undespairing, once remarked very wisely, "Nothing abides in our memory as do the acts of friendship." Nothing can ennoble the character and nourish the soul as the warm sympathy of a loving friend. An old aunt of mine used to say, "People do not appreciate life until it is gone." Verily it is so. Unless we lose our dear friends, we seldom realize their value to us.
A Magnet Can Alone Magnetize
A noble friendship leads to Devatta (godliness), that is to say, to permanent strength, power and joy. An ignoble one, on the other hand, throws it into the abyss of corruption and misery. Therefore, Yoga urges the Brahmacharis (self-disciplined spiritual seekers) to keep away from ungodly association. Through temperamental friendship, Hamlet’s mother did not only ruin her happy home but a happy kingdom as well. Narad, who became a great rishi (liberated sage) was merely the son of a slave girl. He sought the friendship of the great and learned Brahmins. But how could such a lowly-born be in their company? He was ernest, and earnestness always wins. He began to serve the sages as a servant would do, and ultimately won their friendship. The company of the great and good can make us good and even, occasionally, great. This holy friendship with the holy sages of forest India opened up his eyes to the mysteries of the Infinite. His heart swelled with the music of the Divine. He became good and great, divinely-inspired and divinely-led. Seek the fellowship of those who are better than you are, and only those who can tell you the story of the Divine. Spiritual ones can alone spiritualize you. A magnet can alone magnetize, while steel can not. Seek the company of spiritual magnets.
Friendship is an essential urge of the soul. It is an innate quality of our being. It works under the universal rhythm of attraction. this law of attraction is diffused in nature. Repulsion is a sort of perverted attraction and merely a local phenomenon, but attraction is universal. A smiling moon, shining from the heavens, attracts the dancing waters below. The kingly sun attracts the revolving planets. The cold attracts snow; evaporation, storm. Electrons attract protons, heart attracts heart, soul attracts soul.
"Why is this attractive sympathy running through the entire creation? I long to know," said a bright Hindu girl to her father who was a teacher in an ancient seat of Sanscrit learning.
Beaming with pride, the father replied, "Dear daughter, because in the heart of everything there lies the divine Self or the thing-in-Itself. You may call it the Eternal Truth, Eternal Verity or Soul Eternal. Through eternity the One unfolds Itself into Many and Many eternally yearn to recoil to the Original One. All things are tied up to one another by the universal bond of this innate sympathy. Hence such is the universal interplay of attraction." So friendship is a cosmic sympathy. Let sincerity wash away all the dross of mind and heart; and observe! what a divine bond of friendship is established between souls. When the sky is clouded even the summer sun does not show. When there is insincerity in friendship, this cosmic sympathy keeps a-hiding.
Friendship — A Culture
Friendship grows on the soil of affection, understanding and sympathy. The moment you feel the throbbing pulsation of affection, unadulterated by selfishness, the mutual understanding is formed at once. In no time you make the person your own, your very own, a part of your own self. You make his or her sorrows, your sorrows; his or her joys your joys. As you can mix two metals into one by subjecting them to electricity and chemicals, so you can forge two lives into one by the use of affection. Through this spiritual process, duality vanishes into one. Such friendship is a divine possession of life. Some friends often come into life’s horizon, unsought and uninvited. Eyes meet eyes and souls bespeak of eternity. Friends are friends before they know it. Friendship may come unsought but, if uncared for, it dies out. It is an art. Life has been seeking friendship since it started its play in this planet. From cradle to grave, we long for friendship. But when we have it, we have to feed it with proper nourishment. Friendship is, in other words, a culture.
What are the demands of friendship then?
First—Covenant of Sincerity and Purity
Two hearts, two souls, must vibrate on the same plane of understanding. If Friendship is to endure, it must be born of sincerity and purity. Sincerity is the sesame to open the value of friendship, and purity is the food to sustain it. Have you ever studied the night owls of the underworld who pledge themselves to a sincere loyalty to one another for an evil cause? Such unity is anything but friendship, as it is not grounded on purity or pure principles, although feebly bound by a crooked oath.
Friends attracted by fame, beauty, position or wealth die out like flies when a winter of bad luck comes. Therefore Shakespeare said that such friends are ‘feast-won, fast-lost.’ Everything changes in nature but the human soul. Unless the affinity be of the soul, neither gold nor beauty can make friendship last, for, in the scheme of the universe, such things are not everlasting. Never pretend to be a friend, unless you feel the warmth of geniality within yourself. Imitation does not last long. It wears out in no time. As the Hindu saying goes, "Pretension is worse than unfriendliness." Avoid pretension and superficiality. A painted friend is as bad as a painted saint or a painted woman, if not worse. A deceitful friend is more dangerous than the worst foe, because an enemy always brandishes his sword and thus you have the chance to be careful; but in the case of a deceitful friend, you remain unaware of your dangers, while he stabs you in the back. Therefore the fundamental requirement of friendship is a mutual covenant of sincerity and purity that must be unpretentious and unsoiled.
Second—Lofty Human Ideal
There must be a recognition of the fact that man is greater than his possessions, that the poet is bigger than his fame, and that the maiden is more beautiful than her beauty. If you are attracted by no other high ideal than her beauty, your love will fade away with the fading beauty of the one you love. A friend of mine told me, "Whether you are rich or poor, healthy or sick, blamed or praised, move as a free man or move in a prison, near me or away from me, write me or write not, remember me or forget me, love me or despise me, I will be your friend evermore." I repeated the same in my mind. Precious is the gift of such a friendship. Swami Yogananda, the greatest of the Hindu teachers coming aborad since Vivekananda, said to me, "No matter what may happen, I will forever love you and be your friend." My heart also beats in the same tune. Such Friendship is the breath of Paradise, wafted occasionally into the woodland of our human existence. Beauty withers away, fame fades away, wealth can be eaten up by moths; but true friendship, independent of such exterior influences, lasts forever. Such friendship is mostly the outcome of a high ideal, common to both. If you stop watering your garden, the plants will not live. Stop feeding your friendship with ideals; it will die out. Empires may rise and fall; but true friendships born of lofty human ideals can never fade. Dynasties arose and dynasties collapsed, but the Divine friendship between Sri Krishna and Arjuna of the Bhagavad Gita fame, has lasted through forty centuries even though their physical tabernacles are dead and gone.
Third—Heart More Important Than Intellect
In friendship the heart is more important than intellect. The intellectual sympathy may be desirable; but it is not half so indispensable as intuitional sympathy is. Where the hearts do not speak the common language of affection and fellowship, mere intellect cannot build up an enduring friendship. The heart talks just one tongue whereas the intellect has many languages. The commoner folks with their simpler hearts are capable of more sacrifices in friendship than many of our intellectual high-brows. Anything that is not material has no weight. Therefore the mere verbal words of intellectual friendship do not come under the operation of earth’s gravitation or its attractive forces. Unite the hearts, and minds will be automatically united. Mental inferiority or superiority does not matter if there is equality of heart. To fuse two metals into one, you have to melt them. Intellect without heart does not melt. Sometimes intellectuality is a mere luxury for the egotist. Keep away from the man who can hardly mention a word without reference to his learning, acquisition, position or wealth.
It is the dullards who pretend to be wise. The moon does not fly from tree to tree to show its beam but slow-worms do. Amongst friends where there is an unity of hearts, a common mental level can easily be acquired, given the proper time; for the simple reason that while the one gives the ideas with no other desire than that of fellowship, the other drinks them most graciously for the improvement of self. The mental understanding can thus be established but not the heart-unity, unless it is already existent. You can revive a drowned man if he is still alive. If his life-principle is out, even though you pump all the oxygen you can into his lungs, you cannot bring him to life. The dead are dead that’s all. The heart quality is like the life-breath to friendship. So mere intellectuality never brings understanding, but as the poet will say, "A touch of heart makes the whole world kin."
Fourth—Friendship is Soul-Expansion
There must be a clear subjective conception of friendship, by which I mean, every body ought to know what friendship means to one’s own self. Our soul is extensive, and friendship is self-extension. That is to say, soul is unlimited, as friendship objectively proves.
The story goes that a dead post on the side of a highway called to a living tree and said, "Why do you spread your branches and leaves into space?"
The tree replied, "Well, to draw life from the sun and the air."
The more we expand, the more universal life we draw unto ourselves. The moment we extend our consciousness, the illusion of our little self is dropped and we become one with the universal power and strength., Therefore true friendship is self-expansion on one hand the dropping of choking self-delusion on the other. It is like a snake dropping one skin and putting on another at the same time. The forgetfulness of self-interest for the interest of the friend is the sign of deep friendship, and such friendship is a beginning of self-expansion. The friend who can give, can expand, but he who just hoards, stifles his own self-unfoldment. Man must expand; otherwise, futile is the dragging of this load of life. The selfish are the most friendless as well as the most unhappy people that you can ever see on earth. They might as well be born on a lonely planet, which has on it no living creatures but themselves.
Fifth—Friendship Thrives on Purity
Friendship based on impurity chokes itself to death. Goodness has a momentum in itself that makes it move in space and time for infinity. Goodness and infinity have no finality or limitation. But impurity has no such force. It gets strangled in its own chains and dies its own well-merited death. In terms of Yoga Philosophy it may be said, "Life is full of rewards and punishments. Virtue is its own reward and impurity is its own self-inflicted punishment."
Can all the shadows of the world block the passage of the sun-light to the earth? Can death ever eradicate life from the face of creation? As they cannot, so impurity cannot overpower purity. So let friendship thrive on the lap of purity. Impurity leads to death, purity to life.
Sixth—Thick Fog of Suspicion
Friendship is often ship-wrecked by a thick fog of suspicions, doubts and trifles. Let the fog disperse of itself. Worry not, or intervene. If it breaks up friendship, better that such shallow friendship be broken. There must exist the right respect and consideration. Explain, if the friend has an understanding heart. If not, keep silent until the friend understands his own misunderstanding. As long as there are bushes along the lake-shore, frogs will prosper and croak. So long as bushes of ignorance will grow on the shore of life, the frog of misunderstanding will prosper and thrive. Forgiveness is the price of friendship. Have perfect control over self, as you are your worst enemy. Real friends will seldom forsake you, unless by your own unbearable words and actions, you compel them to. Do not allow your moods, your tempers, your likes, your dislikes, your desires and your wishes to become so intolerable that even your friends cannot endure them. The best thing is to bring all thoughts and moods to a central point which is God. As a circle is eternally bound to its center, in like manner be eternally bound to the center of God. Then you can understand and read the Divine message in the heart-language of others. When you are disorganized within your own self by warring thought and whims, or in other words, when you are unfriendly to your own self, how can you radiate friendship to other persons? You have to possess, before you can give. Can the poor beggars be charitable? First acquire self-hood. Acquire capital before you can invest or manufacture. Self alone can befriend self. Discover that Self. India has sung the song of Self through the ages. Know that God is the goal of life, you are the instrument and will is the propeller.
Cultivate Friendliness Toward Unfriendliness
Let heart talk to heart, sincerity to sincerity, God to God. To attract a noble friend, be noble; to acquire genuine friendship, be genuine yourself. To attract a Christ, be yourself Christ-like. To be with Sri Krishna, be like Sri Krishna. To attract God, become a God. To gain friendship, become friendly. If you are superficial, the bees alone will be attracted to you, just for your honey. Do you know that you are a divinity yourself, lost in the dream of matter and glamour? The whole creation is eager to befriend you. The light, air, sky, prosperity, health and the rest of the created things are seeking your friendship; but alas! you are shutting them out be creating a barrier of unfriendliness and ungodliness in and around you. As Vedanta says, "Know thy soul." Be yourself. See your own image in the mirror of your own soul. Give up ‘Avidya’ (ignorance). Put on the wreath of ‘Vidya’ (Knowledge of self). See your oneness with the whole cosmos. Extend yourself and cultivate friendliness toward all. Patanjali, the writer of Hindu Yoga, always instructs the seekers to cultivate friendliness toward unfriendliness, so that mind may lose its narrow outlook. Learn to cultivate friendliness towards friends and foes alike. Genuine friends will ultimately come to you through the Law of Life. Remember that God is the highest friend who never forgets us even though we may forget Him. In other words, though we may forget that we are eternally moving toward progress, harmony and oneness, the Law of the Universal Oneness does not forget us. "Know the truth and truth will make you free."
*One of the inspiring essays from Brahmacharee Nerode’s new book, "Teachings of the East."
The mystic author of Masnavia relates a beautiful story. Moses overheard a man praying, "O God, show me where Thou art, that I may be Thy servant and cleanse Thy shoes and comb Thy hair and sew Thy cloth and fetch Thee milk." Moses rebuked the man, calling him an idolator for conceiving of God as a Man with physical needs. The shepherd fled. Then came a voice from heaven saying, "Moses! Moses! Why hast thou driven away My servant? Thy office is to reconcile My people to Me and not drive them from Me! I accept not the words which are spoken, but the heart that offers them!"
THE COSMIC DANCE
The best-known image of Indian art is that of Nataraja, at Chidambaram, which symbolizes in the most perfect and inspiring artistic form, the Cosmic Dance of the Lord, in His aspect as Creator, Maintainer and Destroyer of the manifested universes. In "Rambles of Vedanta" the author, B. R. Rajam Iyer, gives the following interpretation of the inner meaning of the Nataraja image:
"Nataraja means the Lord of the Stage. The idea is that the world is a stage, a puppet-show which presents the vision of life and activity through the power of the all-pervading Atman or God, the unseen Lord of the Stage . . . But for the inner Atman all the world would be mere Jada (inert or dead) . . . the Atman or Self being the real teacher of the human mind, Nataraja is meant to represent the Teacher or Guru . . . One of the functions of the Guru, and perhaps the most important, is to be what he teaches—to enforce his teachings by example. It is this idea that is the key-note of the Nataraja symbol.
"The little drum in one of the right hands is meant to express the idea that God or the Guru holds the cause of all the world, i.e., sound, (Sabda Nishtam Jagad, through sound the world stands) in his hand; in other words, all the world is in his hand, to be folded or unfolded at his own will. To the Gnani or wise man the world exists only if he chooses, and not otherwise. The deer on one side is the mind, because the latter leaps and jumps from one thing to another as wildly as does that animal. The Atman is far beyond the reach of the deer-like mind; and so the deer in the picture is placed near the legs. Nataraja wears the skin of a tiger which he himself slew. Ahankara, or the skin of egoism, is that tiger; it is beastly and ferocious and fiercely fights when attacked, but it has to be killed, and Nataraja the Guru alone can kill it. On his head he wears the Ganges, i.e., Chit Sakti or wisdom, which is most cool and refreshing, and the moon which represents the ethereal light and blissfulness of the Atman. One foot is planted on and crushes the giant Muyalaka, i.e., Maha Maya, the endless illusion which is the cause of birth and death, while the other foot is raised upward and represents the tureya state, which is beyond and above the three states of waking, dream and dreamless sleep, and leaves behind the mind, Maya and the world. The other right hand, representing the idea of peace, indicates the blessed calmness which is the glorious privilege of wisdom. In one of the left hands, is held Agni (fire), i.e., the Guru brings in the Jyotis of the Atman itself to attest the truth of his teaching. The idea is that the truth of the Guru’s teaching can only be fully understood on practical realization, in experience (Anubhava). The place of the dance, the theatre, is Thillaivanam, i.e., the body (of the individual as well as of the kosmos) spoke of asvanam, or forest, on account of the multitude of its components. The platform in that theatre is the cremation ground, i.e., the place where all passions and the names and forms that constitute the vision of the world have been burnt away—pure consciousness devoid of attachment to anything outside and devoid of illusion.
"The above are some of the leading features of the Nataraja symbol. The Guru teaches that Maya—illusion—should be crushed down, that the world should become subject to us and not we to the world, that the deer-like mind should be left behind, and Ahankara (egoism) be destroyed, and that man should ascend to the regions of pure, unconditioned consciousness free from passion and free from deception, and enjoy the calmness which is his birthright, the bliss, the light and the truth that form the Self. Viewed in the light of this inner meaning the image of Nataraja is no more a meaningless idol, a piece of stone or copper, but a symbol of the highest teaching, an object that can inspire and elevate."
FROM THE UPANISHADS
In a new book by Dhan Gopal Mukerji, "Devotional Passages from the Hindu Bible." (E. P. Dutton & Co., N. Y.—$2.00) the author beautifully translates a passage from the Kena Upanishad as follows:
You ask, beloved, by whom
Is the chariot of the mind driven,
By whom is the breath of the living being
Drawn in and out, and what horsemanship
Governs the tremendous force of the word?
How many gods must watch
To keep the eyes fixed, the ears intent?
Dear, He is the mind in the mind.
He turns the weather vane of thought,
In Him all words have their root,
He is the Listener behind the ears
—Yet the ear cannot hear Him, the eye
Cannot see Him, the words cannot utter Him,
And the mind cannot come near Him!
If the Unknown cannot snare Him,
Why cast the noose of Knowledge,
Why prepare the trap of learning?
Was not born in the womb of words.
It is indeed the mother of all words
—He who knows this to be so
Is free from Illusion,
From the entanglement of things
—He is naked and homeless in That.
Outleaps the reach of the mind
And directs all minds.
The eye cannot see It
And It looks through all eyes. Know this
And do not worship Things.
We cannot hear Him, but He hears us, know this,
And free yourself from Things.
No single life lives Him,
Yet He cries out in every Life.
Oh my disciple, you have heard me,
You have diligently listened,
Have you understood God’s nature?
Dear, you know nothing! Do you know that?
The student came to the master
On the following day, saying,—My Lord,
I think I perceive in some measure the One.
That I see Him completely is not true,
And that I do not see Him completely is not true.
Dear, He who knows, may not know,
And he who does not know, may know.
He who says That is not, may know That,
And he who says That is, may not know It.
Know, know, know Him in all knowledge!
When all your tasting tastes Him,
Again and again, and again,
You drink immortality.
When a man knows himself, he becomes strong,
But when he knows That Self,
He becomes deathless.
* * *
Sentences From the Gita
(God to Man)
Not having seen his own infinite magnitude, how can he love the magnitude in the souls of others?
Those who ever seek the experience of identity will become bewildered in the search, but I shall preserve what they have achieved in the past. I shall supply what they lack. This is an immutable law of the spirit.
Even those who are lost in the pursuit of other gods are indeed with Me, for I am the receiver of all sacrifices, I am present at all rites. For the lonely one, I am his witness, no one is lonely—a leaf, a fruit, a flower, a drop of water lifted in your own hands, consecrated to Me in your own heart—is it not enough to satisfy Me?
THE WORLD AND I—By Etta Wallace Mille
I do not need the world. But the world needs me as I need the tiniest breathing cell in a finger-tip. I can do without the things of the world, but the things of the world cannot do without me. The costliest golden harp is silent without the caressing touch of my hands. The greatest temples of the world are empty and useless, if I do not tread their aisles and breathe the life of devotion into their silent spaces. And the streets and highways and byways of the world, its parks and prairies and forests and deserts, are all desolate without the reverberations of my footsteps and the echoes of my voice calling and singing and sighing there.
All inanimate things lie waiting for me to use them and thus give them life. I? Who am I? Listen, then, I am not and never have been and never will be the gathered-together cell-mates of visible creation called by a certain name—but God-In-Me, moving over the waters and thru the air, whispering thru the leaves and crying in the storm, speaking in the multitudinous sounds of all vibrations that manifest in sound, creating and ever more creating, as I move and speak and dream.
Knowing these things, I, Spirit, in and beyond and beside flesh, say these words:
"I do not need the world, but the world needs me!"
HENRY FORD DISCUSSES RELIGION
WITH R. W. TRINE
Mr. Trine: Mr. Ford, what is your religion?
Mr. Ford: Every man works out his own religion, if he gives it any attention at all. It comes partly through thought, partly through experiment. Every one has his own individuality of thought, and I suppose that every one tests certain matters by experiment. I don’t mean by casual experience. Sometimes that is not a test, because it has not been real or directed experience. But the experience we get from intelligent experiment is good evidence for or against. I believe it is possible for us to experiment in the special field we call religion, and that the points where most men are in fullest agreement may be regarded as the common ground of truth in that field. Not that I think religion is a field off by itself, separate. No, it includes everything, and everything includes it. It is simply our beliefs, our foundation principles, our attitude toward the seen and the unseen, toward our duty, our fellow men and the changing panorama of life.
Mr. Trine: Yes, that is all reasonable, but it does not tell what your religion is.
Mr. Ford: I know a man’s religion without asking: just see how he acts, how he fronts life. It is impossible to write a creed, a complete creed, because it is so hard to put some things into words, but if you truly have a creed, it is not nearly so hard to live it. Men easily live what they really believe; they can’t do anything else. So, to find out what men believe, really believe, don’t listen to what they recite, but watch what they do.
Mr. Trine: What do you think of the church? Has it a place in life?
Mr. Ford: I have no doubt of it. The church—I am speaking now of the building itself—does good to the people who go to it. I go so far as to say that it is impossible for any one to go into a church building without receiving benefit. The very atmosphere is helpful. The place is saturated with the aspirations and confidence of all who have been there, and they have all left a little of their own experience behind to be a benefit to those who come after. Personally, I don’t see how any one can escape getting good from going to church. But I do not go often myself. I used to. Nowadays, I go mostly where I am not known. When I am up at the lakes I sometimes go into an Indian Episcopal church.
Mr. Trine: You have thought about religion considerably, then?
Mr. Ford: Yes, as most folks have. For twenty-five or thirty years. It is a matter which everybody wants to have settled in his own mind. We can’t live always with problems; there must be some things settled. Religion is something on which every one wants to feel settled. I suppose that is part of what is called the comfort of religion.
What we call "belief" now, was once knowledge. That is one of my beliefs. I am sure that once upon a time the human race actually knew the things which they now say they believe or hold by faith. Faith is a means to knowledge. I believe that nowadays it is a means to bring us back to the knowledge which the race once had and lost. I think that something has happened to the race; it has fallen under a cloud, and things that were once clear as day and of common knowledge, are now so misty that we must hold them by faith. Another of my beliefs is that we are in contact with all about us, that we ourselves are a universe in miniature, with the self as the center and numberless millions of entities making up the thing we call "I"; that we function not only on the planes we see, but on others we do not see; that we are ourselves little universes coming to consciousness, trying to recall powers and knowledge we once had.
Everything you see now,—we have been through all of it before. We are central stations with myriads of entities going and coming all the time with messages. Thus no one is alone, no one is helpless. All the material and insight that exists is available for those who send for it and can use it. The more you use the more you have. One of the cardinal rules of life is use. If you want more of anything, use what you have.
Mr. Trine: And then you have mentioned your belief in reincarnation.
Mr. Ford: Yes, because it offers an explanation for so many things that otherwise remain unexplained. And it answers the rule that experience is the purpose of life. It is merely one phase of the world-wide and ancient belief (which was once actual knowledge) that life is continuous, that we go on and on. We believe that now, but there was a time when we knew it. Besides, it offers an intelligent explanation of the inequalities of life, of the differences in wisdom and maturity of people born into the world.
Mr. Trine: And the differences in success?
Mr. Ford: Well, that depends on what is meant by success. It isn’t the same as fame. It isn’t the same as wealth. Many unsuccessful men have both of these. No, success is some very satisfactory fulfillment of one’s own life, and there must be much more of it than we ever hear of. If success in only that which we hear about, there wouldn’t be enough for the world to get along on. It is like greatness. The world is full of greatness that we never hear of . . .
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Mr. Trine: Has it come to you as to what probably occurs when we leave the body here? And do you know I often think of that reported saying of the Master "In my Father’s house are many mansions." With his wonderful gift of clear-seeing, did he see that we go to other planets, with bodies adapted to the conditions of life there? To think that this one little planet that we call our earth, in this vast universe is the only one inhabited, has always seemed to me thoroughly absurd. Pardon my interjecting this bit of my own thought, for I am more than interested in your thought in this.
Mr. Ford: Well, that is one subject where any one can run on as long as he likes and along any line he likes, because there is no check. A man can say there is no life beyond this, and another man can give detailed plans and specifications of a life beyond this, and neither can be checked by known facts. Two things seem clear: first, we are pretty well shut up to this present phase of life so far as our conscious knowledge is concerned; second, in our best condition we are never convinced that the present phase is all. Why should we talk about "the present life?"—it will always be this present life. Life is always life, and the fuller it is the more present the present is. We talk about this present life as if we understood it, and having disposed of it, we are ready to analyze and pronounce on another. Well, there is no other, there is only this, going on, going on, and coming to itself more and more. Life can not die. Longfellow was right—’There is no death.’ It is not poetry, it is science. Life that can die would not be life.
What you want, I see, is my opinion. Well, that is all any of us has to give. I expect to go on and gather more experience. I expect to have opportunities to use my experience. I expect to retain this central cell, or whatever it is, that is now the core of my personality. I expect to find conditions of life further on, just as I found conditions of life here, and adapt myself to them, just as I adapted myself to these. As to the religious aspects, I don’t know. I think it is all religious, for that matter, The whole system is what it is, and there can be nothing else. That is my opinion. We go on. We don’t stop. The further we go the better it becomes, I think.
MIRACLE—By Etta Wallace Miller
My work lay east, with my body held west,
And between them there flowed in mad unrest,
A river that wore no bridge on its breast.
I strained my eyes where a Star blazed the way,
And I snarled at my Soul
—"Why don’t you pray?"
But somehow it couldn’t find words to say.
The river sprayed mocking foam on my face,
As it chased its chill waves form place to place,
But of boat or bridge was never a trace.
My Soul grew bold in its desperate plight,
And forgot about bridges, boats and fright,
As it sped to its own in heedless flight.
And ’twas not until safe on solid land.
That my spirit and I dared understand—
We had walked on the waters, hand in hand.
The Bridge of His Power was made to rise
And span the mad river that met my eyes,
When I knelt on the sands with tears and sighs.
And the touch of His hand it was, I know,
That made me arise and be strong to go
Where the loom of my work was lying low.
My work is east and my body is there,
And I weave at my loom with song and prayer—
For God gave my problem His solving care.
RECIPE MESSAGES—By Swami Yogananda
Worshipping God Through Sunset
The Sunset City of Dreams at Guadalajara, Mexico.
From the balcony, I gazed westward. On wings of fancy I was carried far. I stood on the shores of the horizon. To the left and right were two mountain ranges which turned mystic violet. When I looked again some fairy hand had already dressed them in intense blue. Behind me lay the twilight-bathed man-made mystic city of Guadalajara. The eastern sky was daubed with deep-rose, fluffy colors. All around, strata of pale clouds lay stacked here and there. As I looked in front, my eyes beheld a magic city of blue islands floating in a lake of gold.
In this archipelago of magic blue isles lay one with a huge peak of blue chalk. This king’s peak was crowned with a volcano of gray-white fumes belching a fountain of golden-red lava, which fell arched like a rainbow into the still lake of gold. These golden-red flames swam thick and close like moving, burning aureole-garlands around the blue isles. The blue peak and its crown of flames were mirrored as twins in that silent sheet of the golden lake. To the extreme right, a little quiet lake lay silently sparkling on the bosom of one of the blue isles like a half-veiled moon resting on the billowing clouds.
I long roamed in the mirage city of sunset and clouds, floating in the lake of limpid golden light. O! What wilderness of golden waters, studded with red icebergs of light, spreading directionless to the brink of Eternity!
Methought little fairies of light who were once good souls on earth, after successfully passing through this final test of life, were prompted to play there with their fancies. Methought every day during sunset hour, they turned celestial architects and conjured up mirage cities circled by golden lakes and golden seas. There beyond the gaps of sorrow, beyond the trap of this troubled, hurt-making world, there beyond the hedge of unfulfillment, they breathed red lights, drank orange flames, played and swam on multi-colored lights. There these fairies build a dream-mint where they coined their fancies promptly into realities and remelted them variously as they desired. Here they rolled in wealth of satisfaction and lavished fulfillment on all who could meet them on these dream shores.
Here they did not, like earth folks, have to wait for dreams to come true. Here the fairies dreamt as they wanted and made all those dreams come true by the mere wishing.
This sunset city of dream-isles is the long-past, hidden dream of my fairy fancy come true to-day. I beheld the long-buried treasure of my Soul brought out to dazzle my longing gaze.
Mash up one-half avocado; add to it half a mashed raw tomato, one-quarter of a finely-chopped raw onion, half a finely chopped raw green pepper. Add the juice of one-quarter of a lemon. Mix them and serve on lettuce leaves. This raw-food dish has food value superior to that of meat, and lacks the latter’s impurities.
Raw Tomato Cream Soup
The following recipe is taken from "Mrs. Richter’s Cookless Book" (published by The Eutropheons, 833 So, Olive St., Los Angeles, California—$1.00) which contains a veritable mine of valuable recipes for raw-food enthusiasts and those who see the health value of eating nature’s products in their natural state:
"Put tomatoes and celery through food chopper, proportion being three cups tomato pulp to one cup each of celery and peanut butter. Put the ground tomato pulp and celery through sieve, then add peanut butter, creaming it into the liquid until smooth and without lumps. Now add two tablespoonsful parsley and one large clove of garlic, very finely minced, two tablespoonsful of oil, and beat all ingredients well together."
THE CREATION OF WOMAN
The following ancient Hindu legend of the creation of woman has been translated and interpreted many times. It appeared in "The Critic and Guide" in 1903 in the following way:
At the beginning of time, Twashtri—the Vulcan of Hindu mythology—created the world. But when he wished to create a woman, he found he had employed all his materials in the creation of Man. There did not remain one solid element. Then Twashtri, perplexed, fell into a profound meditation from which he aroused himself and proceeded as follows:
He took the roundness of the moon, the undulations of the serpent, the entwinement of clinging plants, and trembling of the grass, the slenderness of the rose-vine and the velvet of the flower, the lightness of the leaf and the glance of the fawn, the gaiety of the sun’s rays and tears of the mist, the inconstancy of the wind the timidity of the hare, the vanity of the peacock and the softness of the down on the throat of the swallow, the hardness of the diamond, the sweet flavor of honey and the cruelty of the tiger, the warmth of fire, the chill of snow, the chatter of the jay and the cooing of the turtle-dove.
He combined all these and formed a woman. Then he made a present of her to Man. Eight days later, the man came to the Twashtri and said: "My Lord, the creature you gave me poisons my existence. She chatters without rest, she takes all my time, she laments for nothing at all and is always ill. Take her back!" And Twashtri took the woman back.
But eight days later the man came back to Twashtri and said: "My Lord, my life is very solitary since I returned this creature. I remember she danced before me, singing. I recall how she glanced at me from the corner of her eye, how she played with me, clung to me. Give her back to me!" And Twashtri returned the woman to him. Three days only passed and Twashtri saw the man coming to him again. "My Lord," said he, "I do not understand exactly how it is, but I am sure that the woman causes me more annoyance than pleasure. I beg you to relieve me of her." But Twashtri cried: "Go your way and do the best you can." And the man cried: "I cannot live with her!" "Neither can you live without her!" replied Twashtri. And the man went away sorrowful, murmuring: "Woe is me, I can neither live with nor without her!"
AT PLAY—By A. D. Williams
As I was idling down the glade,
All on a summer day,
Sporting among the trees and flowers
I saw my God at play.
He glinted in the sunshine’s gold;
He hid in a cloudy bower;
He laughed aloud in the brooklet’s mirth;
He wept in a sudden shower.
He swayed on the limbs of the tall, tall trees.
The daisies danced with Him,
His voice in birdsongs thrilled the air,
He sang with such a vim
That the tiny things deep at the rootlets dark
Came out to hum their hymn.
His shadow swept o’er the upland slope,
He stooped to kiss the rose;
The shy fern clung about His feet—
His beauty upon them glows.
His breath on the breeze was perfume rare,
The grasses bent to His tread,
His blessing of peace lay on the fields,
His hands were above them spread.
Oh, to walk at eve o’er the verdant lea,
Or at morn on the mountains high,
Or at noon in the cool, sweet, shady woods
Where pleasant pathways lie—
The rapture there is beyond compare
When you walk with God anigh.
Unusual Longevity in India
The following news item appeared in the Buffalo Courier-Express for August 1st, 1929:
A statement purporting to prove that longevity may be attained by a certain kind of living was offered yesterday by Henry Neil, promoter of the Centenarian Club, now forming a unit in these parts. From his headquarters in East Aurora, the champion of longevity called attention to the centenarians of India, where the people live on vegetables and sunshine.
"In a certain section of India, the ground is too arid to permit of raising flocks, consequently, the people who live there are vegetarians," Mr. Neil, a former judge, said.
"Thinking they might be in need of medical attention, the British government sent a noted English doctor to take care of them, but, to his surprise, he found that not only were they in excellent health, but that many of them had attained the remarkable age of 200 years. Women bore children long after they were 100."
WHAT IS LOVE?—By Swami Yogananda
Love is the scent with the lotus born.
It is the silent choirs of petals
Singing the winter’s harmony of uniform beauty.
Love is the song of the Soul, singing to God.
It is the balanced rhythmic dance of planets,
Sun and moon lit,
In the Skiey Hall, festooned with fleecy clouds
Around the Sovereign, Silent Will.
It is the thirst of the rose to drink the sunrays
And blush red with life.
’Tis the Mother-Earth’s promptings
To feed her milk to the tender, thirsty roots,
And to nurse all life.
It is the urge of the Sun to keep all things alive.
It is the unseen craving of the Mother Divine,
Which took the protecting Father’s form
And the milk of Mother’s tenderness
To feed helpless mouths.
It is the babies’ sweetness,
Coaxing the rain of parental sympathy
To shower upon them.
It is the lover’s unenslaved surrender
To the beloved
To serve and solace.
It is the elixir of friendship,
Reviving broken and bruised Souls.
It is the martyr’s zeal to scatter his blood
For well-beloved Fatherland.
It is the ineffable,
Silent call of heart to another heart.
It is the God-drunk Poet’s heart-aches
For every creature’s groans.
It is to enjoy the family rose of petalled beings,
And thence to move to spacious fields—
Passing by the portals
Of social, national, international sympathy,
On to the limitless Cosmic Home—
To gaze with looks of wonderment and to serve
All that lives—still or moving
This is to know what love is—
He who knows who lives it.
Love is evolution’s ameliorative call
To the far-strayed sons
To return to Perfection’s home.
It is the call of the beauty-robed ones
To worship the Great Beauty.
It is the call of God—
Through silent intelligences
And star-burst of feelings.
Love is the Heaven
Where the flowers,
Rivers, nations, atoms, creatures—you and I,
Are rushing by the straight path of action right,
Or winding laboriously through error’s path,
All to reach haven there at last.
TRUE CULTURE—From Emerson’s Essay on Prudence
"There are all degrees of proficiency in knowledge of the world. It is sufficient, to our present purpose, to indicate three. One class live to the utility of the symbol; esteeming health and wealth a final good. Another class live above this mark to the beauty of the symbol; as the poet, and artist, and the naturalist, and man of science. A third class live above the beauty of the symbol to the beauty of the thing signified; these are wise men. The first class have common sense; the second, taste; and the third, spiritual perception. Once in a long time, a man traverses the whole scale, and sees and enjoys the symbol solidly; then also has a clear eye for its beauty, and lastly, whilst he pitches his tent on this sacred volcanic isle of nature, does not offer to build houses and barns thereon, reverencing the splendor of the God which he sees bursting through each chink and cranny.
"The world is filled with the proverbs and acts and winkings of a base prudence, which is a devotion to matter, as if we possessed no other faculties than the palate, the nose, the touch, the eye and ear; a prudence which adores the Rule of Three, which never subscribes, which never gives, which seldom lends, and asks but one question of any project,—Will it bake bread? This is a disease like a thickening of the skin until the vital organs are destroyed. But culture, revealing the high origin of the apparent world, and aiming at the perfection of the man as the end, degrades everything else, as health and bodily life, into means. It sees prudence not to be a several faculty, but a name for wisdom and virtue conversing with the body and its wants. Cultivated men always feel and speak so, as if a great fortune, the achievement of a civil or social measure, great personal influence, a graceful and commanding address, had their value as proofs of the energy of the spirit. If a man lose his balance, and immerse himself in any trades or pleasures for their own sake, he may be a good wheel or pin, but he is not a cultivated man."
INDEPENDENCE—From Emerson’s Essay on "Heroism"
"To speak the truth, even with some austerity, to live with some rigor of temperance, or some extremes of generosity, seems to be an asceticism which common good-nature would appoint to those who are at ease and in plenty, in sign that they feel a brotherhood with the great multitude of suffering men. And not only need we breathe and exercise the soul by assuming the penalties of abstinence, of debt, of solitude, of unpopularity, but it behooves the wise man to look with a bold eye into those rarer dangers which sometimes invade men, and to familiarize himself with disgusting forms of disease, with sounds of execration, and the vision of violent death.
"Times of heroism are generally times of terror, but the day never shines in which this element may not work. The circumstances of man, we say, are historically somewhat better in this country, and at this hour, than perhaps ever before. More freedom exists for culture. It will not now run against an ax at the first step out of the beaten track of opinion. But whoso is heroic will always find crises to try his edge. Human virtue demands her champions and martyrs, and the trial of persecution always proceeds. It is but the other day that the brave Lovejoy gave his breast to the bullets of a mob, for the rights of free speech and opinion, and died when it was better not to live.
"I see not any road of perfect peace which a man can walk, but after the counsel of his own bosom. Let him quit too much association, let him go home much, and stablish himself in those courses he approves. The unremitting retention of simple and high sentiments in obscure duties is hardening the character to that temper which will work with honor, if need be, in the tumult, or on the scaffold. Whatever outrages have happened to men may befall a man again; and very easily in a republic, if there appear any signs of a decay of religion. Coarse slander, fire, tar and feathers, and the gibbet, the youth may freely bring home to his mind, and with what sweetness of temper he can, and inquire how fast he can fix his sense of duty, braving such penalties, whenever it may please the next newspaper and a sufficient number of his neighbors to pronounce his opinions incendiary.
"It may calm the apprehension of calamity in the most susceptible heart to see how quick a bound nature has set to the utmost infliction of malice. We rapidly approach a brink over which no enemy can follow us.
"Let them rave:
Thou art quiet in thy grave."
"In the gloom of our ignorance of what shall be, in the hour when we are deaf to the higher voices, who does not envy those who have seen safely to an end their manful endeavor? Who that sees the meanness of our politics, but only congratulates Washington that he is long already wrapped in his shroud, and for ever safe; that he was laid sweet in his grave, the hope of humanity not yet subjugated in him? Who does not sometimes envy the good and brave, who are no more to suffer from the tumults of the natural world, and await with curious complacency the speedy term of his own conversation with finite nature? And yet the love that will be annihilated sooner than treacherous has already made death impossible, and affirms itself no mortal, but a native of the deeps of absolute and inextinguishable being."
A BUILDER’S LESSON—By John Boyle O’Reilly
"How shall I a habit break?"
As you did that habit make.
As you gathered, you must lose;
As you yielded, now refuse.
Thread by thread the strands we twist
Till they bind us neck and wrist;
Thread by thread the patient hand
Must untwine ere free we stand.
As we builded, stone by stone,
We must toil unhelped, alone,
Till the wall is overthrown.
But remember, as we try,
Lighter every test goes by;
Wading in, the stream grows deep
Toward the center’s downward sweep.
Backward turn, each step ashore
Shallower is than that before.
Ah! the precious years we waste
Leveling what we raised in haste;
Doing what must be undone
Ere content or love be won!
First across the gulf we cast
Kite-borne threads, till lines are passed,
And habit builds the bridge at last.
Sportsmanship is more important here
Than the strict letter of a rule.
—Commander Byrd in the Antarctic.
"By having an aim that is rooted in eternity,
We need not mind the transiency of life."
IMPORTANT NOTICE—Address All Mail to California
The Center at Merion Station, Pennsylvania, was found unsuitable for Yogoda purposes. Therefore, Swami Yogananda has transferred all Yogoda work to the already established National Yogoda headquarters, the Mount Washington Center, 3880 San Rafael Avenue, Los Angeles, California. Henceforth, the work of the Yogoda Correspondence Course, East-West Magazine and all other Yogoda publications will be carried on from Los Angeles, California, where Swami Yogananda will give the work as much of his personal supervision as he possibly can.
It has long been the wish of Swami Yogananda to supervise the work of the national headquarters at Los Angeles, but due to his constant lecture tours in various parts of America, he could not do so. However, now he expects to spend as much time as he possibly can in California, writing and meditating in the silent woods of that beautiful state, supervising the Yogoda work carried on at the Mount Washington Center as much as he can, and lecturing only occasionally. At the Mount Washington Center, there is plenty of space and office quarters to carry on all the various business ends of the Yogoda work, and thus the extra overhead expenses of a new eastern city business center will be avoided.
The warm balmy climate of California makes it possible for the Swami to remain, even in the winter-time, more in God’s inspiring outdoors. It has long been his hearts’ wish to do so, instead of living caged in hotels. He has now lectured and traveled incessantly throughout America, for over nine years, spreading the message of Yogoda and the spiritual technique of India’s great seers. He now hopes to get more leisure and freedom from business problems, in order to devote more of his time and efforts to writings, thus making the Yogoda work more lasting and beneficial to a larger number of people than he can reach personally.
Writings He Wants to Finish
Swami Yogananda has recently finished a new volume of scientific prayers, "Whispers From Eternity", which has a Foreword by Amelita Galli-Curci, and he is working in his spare moments now on a complete revision, enlargement and renovation of the Yogoda Correspondence Course. This Course, bringing Yogoda’s message of physical, mental and spiritual perfection, can, in its printed form, reach to the farthest corner of the world. Other writings the Swami wishes to finish as soon as he can, are the Yogoda Bible, the Yogoda Textbook for Teachers, and a book on Higher Meditation.
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Notice to All Exchange Magazines
Will those magazine in America, Europe and India who have been sending us their exchange copies to New York City, pleaser note our change of Address on their records, and send all future copies regularly to EAST-WEST MAGAZINE, National Headquarters, Yogoda Sat-Sanga Society of America, 3880 San Rafael Avenue, Los Angeles, California.
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National Yogoda Membership
For the purpose of advancing the Yogoda work and maintaining the organization for the good of all, a donation of $2.00 a year is asked of all Yogoda students. This donation will make each student a member of the National Yogoda Sat-Sanga Society, and a membership card will be sent him. Checks should be made payable to the National Yogoda Sat-Sanga Society and mailed direct to the Society at its national headquarters, 3880 San Rafael Avenue, Los Angeles, California.
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A Trip to India
A Visit to India, combined with a Trip around the World, is being planned for interested members of the Yogoda Sat-Sanga Society by Major C. P. Mills, 551 Fifth Avenue, New York City. If enough members have signified their interest by December 1, 1929, Swami Yogananda will lead the party to Europe and India, starting from New York on September 30, 1930. All inquiries about this trip must be addressed to Major Mills and not to Swami Yogananda.
"Love cannot be made to fulfil desires,
For its nature is renunciation."
—From the Narada Sutra.
"God is no respector of persons,
But in every nation he that revereth Him
And worketh righteousness is accepted of Him. He hath made of one blood
All the nations of the earth."—Bible.
DATES OF COMING LECTURES
Swami Yogananda will lecture on "Visions of India", accompanied by unique motion pictures of India, at the following cities on the following dates, at 8 p.m.:
Buffalo, N. Y. —October 20th, Statler Hotel.
Detroit, Mich.—October 24th.
St. Paul, Minn.—October 26th.
Minneapolis, Minn.—October 27th at the Radisson Hotel.
Los Angeles, Cal.—November 3rd, at Trinity Auditorium.
Other cities that Swami Yogananda expects to visit during January and February of next year, are Chicago, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Washington, D. C. Yogoda students in these cities will be informed by postcard of the exact date and place where Swami Yogananda’s talk in their city will be held.
Swami spoke in Boston on "India" on October 6th at the Copley-Plaza Hotel to about six hundred enthusiastic students and their friends.
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Swami Yogananda Visits Mexico
On May 23rd, 1929, Swami Yogananda sailed from New York on a visit to Mexico. While there he met the President of Mexico, and also opened a Yogoda Center in charge of General Caly Mayor, a staunch Yogoda student of Mexico City whom the Swami was very happy to meet.
Meets President Portes Gil
On July 15th Swami Yogananda was presented by Mr. G. O. Forbes, First Secretary of the British Legation, to Mr. Portes Gil, the President of Mexico. During the interview, which lasted about one-half hour, the President mentioned his ambition to lift the Mexican people to a great spiritual ideal. Swami Yogananda, speaking of the President’s recent success in settling the religious situation in Mexico, pointed out that it was spiritual understanding and culture alone that could unite all nations and creeds into one helpful band of brothers, all traveling toward the same goal of perfection. At the conclusion of the very enjoyable talk, the Swami and President Gil were photographed by newspaper and motion picture photographers in front of the palace, and pictures and news stories appeared in several of the leading Mexican papers on the following days.
Two of the palace guards showed the Swami about the palace and its beautiful grounds. It is situated on a high hill overlooking the surrounding country. An atmosphere of Oriental grandeur, due to marble walls and gilded ceilings, mingles with a brisk democratic atmosphere which reminds one of America’s presidential White House.
The Swami greatly enjoyed the magnificent and varied scenery of Mexico, the beautiful Lake Chapala inspiring him to compose a poem in its honor. He made many friends in Mexico and took many moving pictures of the interesting people and places he saw, many of which reminded him of India and her sun-tanned sons and daughters. Immense interest in Yogoda was manifested. "The Mexican people are spiritually inclined," Swami reported. "There is a great field here for Yogoda and the message of India."
YOGODA CENTERS NEWS
Los Angeles Activities
Brahmacharee Nerode, residential leader of Mt. Washington Center, national headquarters of the Yogoda Sat-Sanga Society of America at Los Angeles, California, spoke to a large gathering on "Science and Religion" on May 19th, 1929. On June 2nd, he welcomed George Liebling and Mrs. Alice Liebling as honor guests of the Center at a Hindu-American dinner at Mt. Washington. Mr. Liebling, world-renowned pianist, and youngest pupil of the great Lizst, and a devoted Yogoda member, delighted the assembled guests with piano solos.
On August 4th, several hundred Yogoda members and their friends attended Brahmacharee Nerode’s services at the Center, where he spoke on "Resurrection". At the Hindu-American diner which followed, the program included piano numbers by George Liebling, vocal solos by Mme. Alma Real, noted prima donna, an address by Mr. A. G. Smith, Orientalist, on "Religion of Our Aryan Forefathers", and a talk by Mr. J. H. Pelletier, Los Angeles attorney, on "Ancient Laws and Culture of india."
Swami Yogananda conducted the Sunday services at his Mount Washington headquarters on September 1st, speaking on "The Spiritual Vibrations of Unique Mexican Sceneries" and showing his motion pictures of Mexico to an enthusiastic audience of several hundred, who expressed their great joy to have Swami Yogananda back with them again.
Swami Yogananda will speak in Los Angeles again on November 3rd, at Trinity Auditorium, on "India", and will also be present at the Fourth Birthday Anniversary Celebration Services of his Mount Washington Center during the first week of November. Ralph Waldo Trine, famous author, and his wife, are also expected to grace this happy occasion with their presence, as well as other noted persons in sympathy with the Yogoda ideal of uniting East and West in the bonds of mutual helpfulness and understanding.
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Swami Yogananda spent a few happy summer vacations days at the end of September with his old friends, Mr. J. W. Mott and Mr. Alvin Hunsicker, in Pike County, Pennsylvania. He also greatly enjoyed his little visit in late September to the summer home in the Catskills of Madame Amelita Galli-Curci and Homer Samuels. While there, Madame Galli-Curci wrote a Foreword to the Swami’s new volume of scientific prayers, "Whispers From Eternity", which will be published before Christmas, in Los Angeles.
Philadelphia Center News
Meetings of the Philadelphia Center group will be resumed in November at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Ferdinand Letoriere, 200 West Johnson Street, Germantown. Dr. A. D. Williams, able leader of the Center, will address the members with her usual eloquence and Yogoda zeal.
Swami Yogananda plans to visit his beloved Philadelphia students as soon as he possibly can; probably in January of next year. He is looking forward with much joy to seeing them all.
Dr. Irvin J. Morgan, internationally known organist and a member of the Philadelphia Yogoda Center, dedicated a wonderful new organ, designed and installed by himself, at the Blockley Baptist Church in Philadelphia, on September 26th. Dr. Morgan played the Yogoda "Om Song" at this dedication service, and Dr. A. D. Williams, who was present with a number of other Yogoda Center members, gave a short talk, at Dr. Morgan’s invitation, on the inner meaning of the Om, which was received with interest by the Baptist church members present.
Cincinnati Yogoda News
Mr. R. K. Das, leader of the Cincinnati Yogoda Center, gave an interesting series of lectures on India during August and September, at the Hotel Sinton in Cincinnati. Other summer Center activities included a Basket Picnic at Burnet Woods Park on July 28th, and a well-attended and much-enjoyed Lawn Fete on the grounds of the home of a Yogoda Center member, Dr. Bechtold, a professor at the University of Cincinnati. The latest Cincinnati Center activity was a very successful Rummage Sale in September.
Buffalo Center News
The Buffalo Yogoda Center enjoyed a very active summer. Mr. R. K. Das, leader of the Cincinnati Yogoda Center, was invited to Buffalo to conduct a series of lectures and Yogoda review classes, during the week of June 23rd, and his efforts met with enthusiastic response.
A Hindu Banquet, arranged under the able direction of Mr. Das and the Buffalo Center leaders, was held on June 29th and was attended by about 150 guests. Among the many prominent Buffalo citizens who graced the occasion was Mr. Charles A. Freiberg, Senator of New York State, who gave a very interesting talk on the real meaning of education and freedom. Among others who sat at the speakers’ table on this enjoyable occasion, were Mrs. Bruce S. Wright, president of the League of Women Voters of Erie County, New York; Mrs. Morris S. Bush and Mrs. Willis M. Edwards, president and vice-president, respectively of the Buffalo Metaphysical Club; Mrs. Anna Krantz, leader of the Buffalo Yogoda Center, Mrs. Mary A. Meredith, leader of the Buffalo Bahai group; Mrs. Ella F. Richards, leader of the Buffalo Unity Society, Mr. R. K. Das, leader of the Cincinnati Yogoda Center, and Dr. William Gall, well-known Buffalo Yogoda Center speaker. Mr. Joseph T. Wilson acted as toastmaster.
Swami Yogananda visited his Buffalo Center on September 10th, speaking on "The Spiritual Vibrations of Mexico" to an enthusiastic audience of about 600 at the Hotel Statler. He will again address his Buffalo students on "India" on October 20.
Washington Center News
The Washington, D. C., Yogoda Sat-Sanga Society has recently acquired its own quarters at 1424 K. Street, N. W. where the residential leader, Brahmachari Jotin, will continue to hold various weekly classes and public services. Brahmachari Jotin, who arrived form India over a year ago, has recently received official permission from the United States Department of Immigration to remain in the United States, as a religious minister, on a non-quota immigrant basis from India. This end was accomplished largely through the efforts and heart-felt interest of Mr. Henry C. Finkel, a prominent attorney of Washington, who generously volunteered his services in connection with assisting Brahmachari Jotin to prove his legal right to remain in America. The efforts of Mr. Finkel, and of Mr. Louis E. van Norman, Mr. John B. Wilson and other members of the General Committee of the Washington Yogoda Society, were of the greatest aid, and are much appreciated by Swami Yogananda, Brahmachari Jotin and the members of the Washington Yogoda Center, who would have sorely missed their residential Yogoda leader, had immigration restrictions prevented Brahmachari Jotin from continuing his ministry in this country.
On July 7th, the Washington Center held their opening meeting at the new quarters on K. Street. A large number attended the dedication services, among whom were Mr. H. C. Finkel, counselor to the Imperial Legation of Persia, and his charming wife; Mr. Harry E. Hull, Commissioner General of Immigration, and Mrs. Hull, who was for a number of years a missionary in India. At the request of Brahmachari Jotin, Mrs. Hull consented on this occasion to give a short talk on her impressions of India. She spoke not only of the great natural beauty and architectural achievements of that country, but also impressed the audience with the truth that the basis of all existing religions of the world today had its origin in the holy land of Hindustan, the motherland of spirituality. Her talk met with enthusiastic response, and she promised to continue her talk on India at some future date.
The new Washington Center has already acquired a most impressively home-like atmosphere due to the generosity and thoughtfulness of numerous members of the Washington Center, whose gifts of money, furniture, labor, time and good-will have greatly contributed toward the successful establishment and maintenance of the Washington Yogoda Society during the past two years.
Minneapolis and Cleveland News
The Cleveland Yogoda Center, under the able leadership of Upadeshak Panditji, numbered among its summer activities a Yogoda Picnic at Lakewood Park, and Thursday evening temple services at 508 Carnegie Hall. Swami Yogananda paid a surprise visit to his Cleveland students on September 8th, exhibiting to them the motion pictures he took during his summer visit to Mexico. On this occasion, the Swami also performed a Yogoda Baptism ceremony for the child of one of the Cleveland Yogoda Center members.
On October 14th, the Cleveland Center will give its annual Birthday Anniversary Celebration program, at 6614 Carnegie Avenue.
The Minneapolis Yogoda Center held its opening Fall meeting at the Hotel Radisson on October 6th. Mrs. Jenova Martin, leader, and Mr. Nicolai Husted, president, have been unanimously re-elected to those positions by the enthusiastic members of the Minneapolis Center. Swami Yogananda will address his St. Paul and Minneapolis students on October 26th and 27th.
NOTICE TO SUBSCRIBERS
If you receive a Renewal Notice with Order Blank enclosed with this issue of EAST-WEST, please renew promptly. No other notice will be sent. Please note that the new address of east-west is now 3880 San Rafael Avenue, Los Angeles, California.
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May-June, 1929, issue of EAST-WEST was the last issue published, before this present issue of November-December, 1929. The July-August issue and the September-October issue had to be omitted due to Swami Yogananda’s absence in Mexico. However, our subscribers will receive two extra issues, after their regular yearly subscription time has expired, to compensate them for the loss of the unpublished July-August and September-October, 1929, issues.
You Will Enjoy
By JAMES WARNACK
A book of Inspiring Devotional Poems. Price, $1.00. Address, James Warnack, "THE TIMES" Editorial room, Los Angeles, Calif.
Sri Ragini, noted exponent of Hindu music and dancing, is offering courses in Hindu dancing. For particulars, address R. B. Bajpai, 31 Union Square, Room 608, New York City.
HINDU LIFE AND CUSTOMS
A very interesting and sympathetic account of many phases of indian life, character and conditions has appeared in a new book, "An Englishman Defends Mother India," by Professor Ernest Wood, formerly Principal of the Sind National College, Hyderabad, India, and published by Ganesh & Co., Madras. The three following extracts form Professor Wood’s book are typical of his unprejudiced insight into Indian life:
"A certain teacher in the south of India, whom I had the pleasure of counting among my friends, when at home during his leisure hours, was interested in three or four things. First of all, I think, came his children. There were three little ones, two girls and a boy, and he used to play with them, rolling them about and laughing while they climbed over him. Next, he was fond of music, and he played the Vina very well indeed. Thirdly, he delighted in meditation, and would sit for an hour or two meditating, not as some western persons do, as a sort of duty or practice, but for the sheer delight of it. And finally, he liked a game of chess, in which his play was uncommonly subtle. This gentleman was quite a typical Brahman. Such men can be had by hundreds of thousands in India."
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"Literacy and education are not the same thing. There is still a great deal of education in India among the illiterate. All the children hear from their mothers the great traditional stories of India; some of them are very beautiful indeed. These stories largely concern what may be called the politics of daily life, moral lessons and also the elements of religion. The priests of India do not preach; they look after the ceremonial side of the religion. For religious teachings the people look first to their mothers, and later to various kinds of sadhus or holy men."
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"The Hindus find no difficulty in sitting for hours thinking over some subject. They do not need to be entertained by outside things as much as do most Westerners. And when they look at an object they think of all that it means to them, not merely of its external form. Thus, for example, I have often been taken by Hindu friends into their little shrine rooms in their own houses, and in the temples. There you find pictures or statuettes which are sometimes disproportionate. A western person would not usually call these beautiful, but my friends would go into raptures over their beauty. It was clear to me that what they were speaking about was the beautiful thoughts aroused in their own minds, for which the objects stood as symbols or as reminders."
A PRAYER TO THE ALL-GLORIOUS ONE—By James M. Warnack
(Dedicated to my blessed Teacher, Swami Yogananda, who is leading me Home)
Oh, walk with me in my waking hours
And be with me in my dreaming—
And let me rise early to praise thee!
Be thou my light above all lights!
Be thou my joy beyond all joys!
Hold me up in thy arms, my Own!
Be thou the love of my loves!
Banish the mists of emotion,
Shine through the clouds of my mind,
Wash my heart with thy wisdom,
Baptize me with thy beauty,
Gladden my life with thy glory,
Whiten my thoughts with thy peace!
Give me the will to surrender
All of my days to thy keeping!
Grant me to rest in thy bosom;
Let me be lost in thy Presence!
Sing me to sleep at the twilight
And waken me into thy dawn.
An Ideal Intuition-Awakening Christmas Gift
"Whispers From Eternity"
By Swami Yogananda
HIS FIRST NEW BOOK IN SEVERAL YEARS
With a Foreword by Amelita Galli-Curci
This long-looked for, soul-stirring book for making your prayers work will be ready before Christmas. It is something which you could daily study and use for your all-round progress. This book would daily yield new inspirations as some plants yield new roses. This book tells you how to resurrect dead prayers, in order to find tangible response form God. Through this book, you learn how to have a heart-to-heart talk with God, Who is otherwise often silent.
The world-famous Prima Donna, Madame Amelita Galli-Curci, on her return from her recent triumphant concert tour of the Orient, has written a most inspiring Foreword to this book, in which she says:
"This book gives a variety of prayers so helpful and suited to our various needs . . . It brings God closer. . .Instead of parroting dead prayers, we learn to saturate them with God-invoking love. . . Followers of all religions can drink from this fountain of Universal Prayer . . . Pass not by the mine of realization hidden beneath the soil of words, by hurried, intellectual reading; but with meditation daily digging into the words, find the fountain of realization."
Another poet and writer, S. Gray, writes:
"This exquisite book contains the choicest thoughts, decorated by flowers of rhythmic Orient style." The well-known Southern poet, Etta Wallace Miller, writes enthusiastically as follows:
"Imprisoned in words, the Spirit of Prayer flutters bright wings in the sun of realization. Little, confiding talks with the One Father, universal in language, musical, mystic, exquisite. A revelation of son-and-daughter relationship between humanity and its Creator."
Cloth Binding, large type, 150 pages, exquisitely gotten up.
Please send your order now, in order to insure delivery before Christmas.
All Copies Ordered Before Christmas Will Be Autographed by Swami Yogananda
Send Your Order Direct to
YOGODA SAT-SANGA SOCIETY
3880 San Rafael Avenue Los Angeles, California
BOOKS BY SWAMI YOGANANDA, A.B.
YOGODA. Descriptive 70-page booklet of the system originated by Swami Yogananda for Bodily Perfection thru contacting Cosmic Energy, and for mental and spiritual development along the lines of the great Hindu Teachers. 10c.
SCIENTIFIC HEALING AFFIRMATIONS. This book has become a world-wide inspiration. Swami has used these affirmations at Healing Meetings in many of the large American cities, and thousands have been liberated and healed of disease of the body, mind and soul. This book gives not only many beautiful and inspiring Affirmations to use for awakening your inner powers and thus free yourself from the consciousness of sickness, poverty, bad habits and mental sloth, but it also EXPLAINS the scientific reason for healing thru the power of thought, will, feeling and prayer. Unique methods of healing for different types of mind. How to Contact the Curative Life Principle and Cosmic Energy. 50c.
PSYCHOLOGICAL CHART. Ninth Edition. This book gives a Chart for Analyzing Human Nature and Conduct. Practical understanding of inherent and acquired natures. A Psychological Mirror for Self-Knowledge and Self-Discipline, highly recommended by University professors. Used with great practical success at Swami’s Residential Schools in India. 50c.
SCIENCE OF RELIGION. Fifth Edition, with Frontispiece of the Swami. Preface by the English poet and philosopher, Douglas Grant Duff Ainslie, who writes: "This small book is the clue to the universe. Its value is beyond estimation in words, since between these narrow covers is to be found the flower of the Vedas and Upanishads, the essence of Patanjali—foremost exponent of the Yoga philosophy and method—and the thought of Sankara—greatest mind that ever dwelt in human body—placed for the first time within reach of the multitude. This is the deliberate statement of one who has at last found in the East, after many wanderings, the solution of the riddles of the west." $1.50 (postage 10c extra).
SONGS OF THE SOUL. Fifth enlarged Edition. Intuitonal Poems inspired thru spiritual Realization. For Chanting, Meditation and Soul Revelation. "Exquisite imagery and psychological description of mystic experience." "Classical solemnity of thought with fascinating suggestiveness of modern inspired poets." "We mark in some poems the power of Milton, in others the imagery of Keats, and in all the philosophic depth of the Oriental Sages." With a Preface by Dr. Frederick B. Robinson, President of New York City College. $1.50. (Postage 10c extra.)
WHISPERS FORM ETERNITY. Swami’s newest book. Devotional prose poems. With a Foreword by Madame Amelita Galli-Curci. $2.00 postpaid.
SPECIAL CHRISTMAS OFFER — SET OF SWAMI’S 6 BOOKS— $5.00 ($5.35 postpaid).
Mount Washington Center, Los Angeles
NATIONAL HEADQUARTERS OF THE YOGODA SAT-SANGA SOCIETY
Established by Swami Yogananda in 1925
YOGODA means "harmonious development of all human faculties."
SAT-SANGA means "fellowship with truth."
YOGODA Headquarters pictured above is a beautiful structure containing about forty rooms and two large halls seating about a thousand people. The grounds are seven and a half acres in extent, and are planted with camphor, date, palm, pepper and other beautiful trees, as well as plants, shrubs and wonderful flower-beds, making it one of the most beautiful spots in Southern California. There are two tennis courts with a stadium The property has one thousand feet frontage on Mount Washington Boulevard Drive, and a twenty-five minutes’ drive from the heart of busy Los Angeles will bring you to the quiet hill-top location of this ideally-situated Center.
The Center commands an unsurpassed view of the city below, The Pacific Ocean sparkles in the distance, and at night the million twinkling as well as of other nearby cities, including Pasadena, the "City of Roses." lights of Los Angeles and distant cities may be seen below, a veritable fairyland.
Week-day and Sunday classes and lectures are given, including a non-sectarian Sunday School for children. Mount Washington Center is open for meditation and visits of all Yogoda students, their friends, and the general public. The work of the internationally known Yogoda Correspondence Course is also carried on at this Center.
For further information, address
3880 San Rafael Avenue Los Angeles, California
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