Swami Chidananda Giri, president and spiritual head of Yogoda Satsanga Society of India/Self-Realization Fellowship (YSS/SRF), recently visited India and gave inspirational talks on the Kriya Yoga teachings of Sri Sri Paramahansa Yogananda (author of the Autobiography of a Yogi and founder-Guru of YSS/SRF). During his stay in India, Swami Chidanandaji was interviewed on matters of import affecting different strata of society and the world. Here are some excerpts:
Q: How do people make time for meditation in their busy lives?
Swami Chidanandaji: “As the world is getting more and more complicated, and more and more driven in that material sense, people are realizing that meditation is a survival skill. You will be shredded if you don’t have access to that kind of well or fountain of inner peace. That’s what meditation brings to us.
“In terms of what will motivate people and how do they find time, you might just ask them how do they find time to sleep, how they find time to eat, how do they find time to do any of these things? Because you accept it as a necessity. The more society is getting crazier and crazier, more and more people have realized in the West: in Europe, in the U.S., South America, Australia, and certainly, in India, they are realizing that ‘if I’m going to retain even my grip on my humanity and my sanity, I have to learn to contact that soul awareness.’”
Meditation: Try it and Compare!
Q. Today’s society teaches the youth that indulging in the senses is the only way to enjoy life, whereas meditation and yoga teach the opposite – that self-control and interiorization is the way to happiness. Do Yoganandaji’s teachings resolve this dilemma?
Swami Chidanandaji: “Paramahansa Yogananda always said, ‘Try it and compare.’ In the course of a soul’s evolution over incarnations, every single human being will come to the point where he thinks: ‘Satisfying the senses will leave me unsatisfied because I’m not the senses.’ We have all gone through it, and we are not being critical of people who may be pursuing sex or wine or riches etc. When somebody embarks on a serious commitment to the spiritual path, it is because they have done all that and, in the end, it has left them all empty.
“On the other hand, it’s very hard to convince somebody who hasn’t come to that point. You can’t lecture someone and say: ‘Don’t do that, that’s bad for you.’ Just like when you were a kid and your mom tells you something like that, and as soon as she turns her back, you want to do it. That’s not going to work. It has to be: ‘Try the meditation, and then compare.’
Highest Levels of Self-Realization
Q: Where does one start?
Swami Chidanandaji: “We give them a book by Paramahansa Yoganandaji — ‘Autobiography of a Yogi,’ or ‘Where there is light’, something that gives them a little entry point. Then we encourage them to read the introduction to the marvellous Yogoda Satsanga Lessons in Self-realization that our guru Paramahansa Yoganandaji left us. The introduction to it is called ‘Highest Levels of Self-realization.’ So even in the title, it says, ‘Do you want to make something of your life? Then take a look at it and see what you feel.’ The YSS Lessons give instructions in forming a daily routine of meditation and give the techniques over a period of some months, and after nine to ten months, you have a full toolkit to make yourself a real meditator.” Further info.: yssofindia.org