Swami Kriyananda: “Yogananda brought to this country one of the most important gifts he could have given, the idea of worshiping the Divine Mother. I was meditating in Italy and this thought came to me: that we need to stress this aspect of his teaching, this aspect of love, and of love of the Divine Mother.”
— Swami Kriyananda
Excerpt from a talk by Swami Kriyananda
Many saints come with different missions. All of them in one way or another have love, but they don’t always show love, because that’s not their mission. It was Paramhansa Yogananda’s mission.
In that mission, he talked of God in a new way, in a way that we are not used to in this country [the U.S.]. He described God, he spoke of God, as the Divine Mother.
God is neither Mother nor Father, in a sense. He is that absolute consciousness. But God manifests Himself in different ways. You can say also that God is both Father and Mother. He is unique to each one of us, because as we visualize him, so He will come. What we hold dear, He will show to us.
The Mother aspect of God is something that satisfies a deep longing in the heart. We are not satisfied just with a judge; we are not satisfied with intellectual definitions. Without that element of intuition, without that element of feeling, of love, you can’t understand anything, really.
So to think of God as the mother aspect is a way of helping you to love from your heart and to approach God in an intimate way. Yogananda used to say, “Mother, naughty or good, I am your child.”
Yogananda brought to this country one of the most important gifts he could have given, the idea of worshiping the Divine Mother. I was meditating in Italy and this thought came to me: that we need to stress this aspect of his teaching, this aspect of love, and of love of the Divine Mother — the quality of compassion, the quality of yearning.
You could live next door to the best restaurant, you could know everything that is on their menu, and even know how to cook it. But if you aren’t hungry, you’re not going to go there to eat. The hunger is what’s needed to make you go and eat. The hunger for God is what’s needed to make you decide, “yes, I want it!”
There was a boy who came to a saint and asked to become his disciple. The saint said, “Come with me.” He took the boy down to the river and held his head under the water. The boy began kicking furiously, and the saint held him there a little longer. Finally, he let him up.
He asked the boy, “What did you want most when your head was under water?”
“Air! Air!,” the boy gasped.
The saint replied, “When you want God like that, come back.”
We have to long for God. We have to reach that point where nothing means anything except that. That’s why the best thing you can pray for is devotion, the ability to love God more and more deeply. Yogananda came to bring us that.
Remember that no matter what you do God is on your side. He is not going to judge you. He’s going to help you in any way. But you have to let Him help you. On the other hand, He’ll make you work for it.
There’s a song that Yogananda sang in Bengali:
“Mukti dete pari,
“Mukti dete pari,
“Mukti dete pari –
“Bhakti dete pari koi?”
Divine Mother is saying, “Oh devotee, I can give you salvation, but don’t ask for my love and devotion, because if I give that to you, then I’m poor. I’ve given everything away.”
What She is really meaning and saying is, “My love and devotion is what you should really ask for.”
You should ask for love. Don’t even ask for salvation, it’s nothing! So you go to another plane, where you don’t have to eat food, and you don’t have to carry a heavy body around. But they’ve got their problems. Away from God, you have problems, let’s face it. He is the only solution.
In heaven, it will get pretty boring until you know what it’s all really about. So, think of God as that who is nearest of the near, dearest of the dear.
Sing to God, talk to God, share every thought with God. Here is a very interesting experiment to try. Try it from tonight, try it for a few days, just see if it doesn’t do something:
Talk to God in the second person. Say, “You.” and “God, where do you want me to go today?” “God, what do you want me to eat today?”
The really important thing is just that you include Divine Mother in your thoughts, in your heart. Share every thought, every impression, every feeling with Her. Then you will see that in a very short time there comes into your life this sort of symphony, that everything will be floating on clouds of joy. Try it, see if it doesn’t work.
This was perhaps the main thing that Yogananda came to bring to the West, to the world.