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 his teachings, does Yoganandaji specify or mention a path, a person or a youngster has to follow to achieve success? What does the teaching interpret in terms of human beings achieving success? Can Yoganandaji’s teachings help the youth achieve success in their life?
Swami Chidanandaji: “As human beings, we are hardwired for success. But, one has to know how to operate those faculties, those instruments. And that’s what his (Paramahansa Yoganandaji’s) teachings bring out. The very basis for it all is the concept of balance, which means we have a material aspect to our nature: we have a body, we have to feed it, we have to take care of it when it gets sick, we have to find a way to heal it…and all those issues having to do with the material side of life. But the thing is that a lot of humanity just stops there.
“Even more important is that we have a psychological, emotional and even higher than that, the spiritual dimension to our being. So his (Yoganandaji’s) path to success was to find the right balance where you find material success and prosperity, where you have emotional poise and inner peace, and most of all, spiritually, you have the wisdom to direct your life according to a higher purpose — not just making money, not just having family and children, but a higher purpose of realizing I’m a spark of the Divine being, I’m this atman who is living in this material body and my ultimate purpose is to have complete realization and expression in all aspects of my life.”
Swamiji added: “Now, once you have that concept, life becomes so exciting because you have access to a whole set of skills and faculties and abilities that are part of the endowment of every human being, but they are completely dormant until they are awakened by conscious attention and conscious effort. And that is what the teaching of Yoganandaji gives. He says that by meditation, by developing will power, by developing concentration, by developing all of these qualities that make up a complete human being, you can find the highest material success, psychological and emotional health and balance, and most of all, spiritual health.
“When he came in the 1920s to the United States, this phase in the history of the U.S. was called the ‘roaring twenties’ because U.S. was completely gung ho, and was forging ahead with its philosophy of capitalism. He met many successful business people, heads of industrial concerns etc., and they all recognized that Yoganandaji brought the one thing that was missing in their lives.
“I’ll tell you a fun little story: When he was giving lectures in New York City one man asked to have an interview with him. He came to his hotel room and before Yoganandaji really could say anything, he said in a challenging manner, ‘I’m disgustingly wealthy, I’m disgustingly healthy,’ meaning, ‘What are you here for?’ and Yoganandaji immediately said, ‘Yes, but are you disgustingly happy?’
Later that man said, ‘He got me!’ And he became a Kriya Yogi for the rest of his life. Outwardly, a multimillionaire industrialist, inwardly, he was an illumined yogi.” Further info.: yssofindia.org