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: Swamiji, in your opinion, how do you think Paramahansa Yoganandaji’s teachings would impact youngsters today?
Swami Chidanandaji: “When you understand that human beings are essentially souls, you can’t just look at one little incarnation. Who we call ‘young people’ are old souls and they have gone through every form of striving and aspiration to fulfil drives that are innate to every human being — the drive for happiness, for security, for love and so on. They have spent many incarnations trying to find that [fulfillment], and eventually they’ve come. And among those that have incarnated, we have millions who are at that stage of evolution from past incarnations.
“In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna talks about it. He says to Arjuna: ‘Don’t be worried if you reach the end of this incarnation without having attained the final goal, because no effort in yoga meditation goes waste.’ That devotee then is reborn in an environment where he or she just picks it up again. So, those whom you are calling ‘young people,’ are wise, probably somewhat embattled souls who have been through everything, with a ‘been there, done that’ sort of consciousness. And they come back and they say, ‘I’m not wasting time any more, I’m not wasting any more incarnations, and I will go for what will truly fulfil my soul’s potential and the cravings for that divine contact that are there in my soul.’
“Just as all life evolves in an upward pattern, human beings also evolve from basic human endowments to higher states of evolution, and bring out more and more of their potential lifetime after lifetime. Humanity as a whole goes through the cycles of evolution and devolution called the yugas in the scriptures. They go up and down; right now, we are in a yuga that is going up. In other words, the souls that are coming into incarnation now are coming at a higher state of evolution than their grandparents and great-grandparents. … Look at the children today; there is this natural sense of… ‘No, I’m not going to harbour hatred of somebody just because of the colour of their skin,’ and their natural rejection of other kinds of human ignorance that were so entrenched in the past generations in all countries around the world.
“It is almost as if they come with a little bit of advance preparation, and as soon as they get exposed to this concept of meditation [given by Paramahansa Yogananda], this path based on universal spiritual principles, which has nothing to do with ‘my religion against your religion,’ but is a universal path that unites the human family rather than divides it, it makes complete sense to them because that’s where they are on the evolutionary ladder. I think you’ll see this probably a lot more when you are my age. You will look back and say, ‘Oh, how could people have been like that back in those generations?’” For further info.: yssofindia.org