Sacred Exits, East and West

By Mary Kretzmann

I’ve lived at Ananda Village for 3 decades, and some sacred events stand out, joining a long line of wonderful spiritual memories. Saturday (March 7, 309 Dwapara) was the anniversary of the Mahasamadhi (the final, sacred, and conscious exit from the body) of Paramhansa Yogananda. The Ananda Community gathered at Hansa Temple for an evening of inspiration, including chanting, meditation, music, and a short video talk by Swami Kriyananda. The feeling in the room was deeply spiritual.

The evening closed with a blessed opportunity to hold objects owned by the Masters and saints associated with this path. It is wonderful to feel the sacred vibrations that are retained in simple objects touched by such holy ones. Spiritual events like this more fully awaken our hearts in God.

Devotion at Home

Spiritual celebrations in other years have at times included this devotional, musical slide show of Paramhansa Yogananda. As I watched it right here at my computer, I realized it also opened my heart to God, for the combination of sacred photographs and music is very uplifting. And so I share it with you for use in your own home.

Parents can use the slide show, or this online Paramhansa Yogananda photo album, much in the same way you would show family photos to your child, but in this case it is your spiritual family. I would do this when I had very few resources about our guru that were designed for children. I share the process more deeply in Chapter 2 of my online book, Finding God in the Heart of your Family.

…Stories of our line of gurus can be taken from the Autobiography of a Yogi or The Path, and then paraphrased for children… I would turn to each photograph, and tell them, “this is Master’s mother or father”, etc. and simply let the conversation flow this way or that with it. It was all very relaxed and I had no particular “goal” other than sharing the photos with them. It is like casting seeds…you never know which ones will sprout, but if you keep seeding the ground, and water it with love, something will sprout!…

Life and Death

Children sometimes ask questions about life and death. The parent can be spiritually prepared for this by reading Chapter 43, The Resurrection of Sri Yukteswar, in The Autobiography of a Yogi, by Paramhansa Yogananda. It provides a fascinating and trustworthy glimpse into life after death, and this can serve as a helpful background in this season of the Mahasamadhis of Yogananda and Jesus.

It is comforting for children and adults alike to see how naturally Master spoke of his eventual passing from this world:

“….Years ago Master had said, “When I leave this earth, I want to go speaking of my America and my India.” And in a song about India that he had written, to the tune of the popular song “My California,” he paraphrased the ending of that popular version with the words, “I know when I die, in joy I will sigh for my sunny, grand old India!” Once, too, in a lecture he had stated, “A heart attack is the easiest way to die. That is how I choose to die.” This evening, all these predictions were to prove true…” ch. 38

Swami Kriyananda writes about being present for that sacred moment in ch. 38, His Last Days in The Path. It is inspiring, especially now with an ever-growing Ananda India, that his last message concerned the beneficial link between India and America:

“…Master was scheduled to speak after the banquet. His brief talk was so sweet, so almost tender, that I think everyone present felt embraced in the gossamer net of his love. Warmly he spoke of India and America, and of their respective contributions to world peace and true human progress. He talked of their future cooperation.

Finally he read his beautiful poem, “My India.”

… He came to the last lines of the poem:

Where Ganges, woods, Himalayan caves and men dream God. I am hallowed; my body touched that sod!…”

Paramhansa Yogananda and Jesus Christ

Swami Kriyananda, in ch. 19 of The Path, wrote of the special link between Jesus and Yogananda.

…”Master has told us it was Jesus himself who appeared to Babaji, and asked him to send this teaching of Self-Realization to the West. ‘My followers,’ Jesus asserted at that meeting, ‘have forgotten the art of divine, inner communion. Outwardly they do good works, but they have lost sight of the most important of my teachings, to “seek the kingdom of God first.”‘

“The work he sent through Master to the West is helping people to commune inwardly with God,” continued Bernard. “Jesus, too, through people’s practice of meditation, is becoming a living reality for them–a being with whom they can commune, instead of one whom they merely read about in the Bible. This was what Jesus meant when he said that he would come again. Master often speaks of this work as the Second Coming of Christ, for it teaches people how to fulfill the true promise of Jesus–not to return again outwardly, but in the souls of those who loved him and communed with him….”

Swami Kriyananda, in ch. 38 of The Path, writes that Paramhansa Yogananda’s mahasamadhi coincided with his final entry published on The Second Coming of Christ:

“…The last issue of Self-Realization Magazine to come out during Master’s lifetime contained an article titled “The Final Experience.” It was the last in a series of Master’s commentaries on the New Testament Gospels that had been running continuously for twenty years. In this issue Master expanded on the words: “And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.” Surely the perfect timeliness of this article was more than a coincidence. It appeared in the March 1952 issue. Master passed away on March 7, 1952.

…As a further interesting note, the writing of the account in these pages about Master’s passing has coincided closely with the season of Christ’s passing. Yesterday was Good Friday, 1976…”

This is a glimpse into things I gradually shared with my kids, pertinent to the season, depending on their ages and interests.

We are all children of God. I hope these words might also help you, as you tune into the power of these two sacred events. May you be blessed.

Swami Kriyananda on “What is the Second Coming of Christ?”

For Further Inspiration:

Revelations of Christ: Proclaimed by Paramhansa Yogananda, Presented by His Disciple, Swami Kriyananda

This book contains many spiritual gems. Chapter 23, “The Missing Years,” is not to be missed. It adds a wealth of information and spiritual insight into the lost years of Jesus. Paramhansa Yogananda said that Jesus spent those years in India, and this chapter backs it up…It’s absolutely wonderful.

Free excerpts here: Revelations of Christ: Proclaimed by Paramhansa Yogananda, Presented by His Disciple, Swami Kriyananda

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