Recently my friend (?), Dr. WooWoo gave me a book to read called The Autobiography of a Yogi. Most of the time, I am open to reading pretty much anything someone puts in my hand. This was a challenge. Not only was my cerebral bandwidth at an all time low, the material was daunting. Paramahansa Yogananda cites as much Biblical teaching (primarily New Testament) as Hindu in his tome, so naturally this was fascinating to me. It is pretty much a yoga classic.
My father, seeing the book on the dining room table, said, “Oh! Paramahansa Yoganada used to live down the street from us in the Pacific Palisades.” He said the guru’s name right. I can’t say the name right. And indeed, PY’s Center for Self-Realization was in the immediate vicinity of his teenage home. Grumbling, Big Mike referred to all the “weirdos” in their garb going in and out of the place. Hmmm … Although my father is not enamored of yoga, he has gone to chair yoga classes – but only if I am teaching. He even closes his eyes in shavasana.
But I get ahead of myself. This is not the type of yoga PY practiced. He focused mainly on breathing and meditation as a way to get to Samadhi, bliss, union with God. He called it Kriya yoga, based on the teachings of his own guru. No asanas, or poses, were involved.
At the end of his autobiography, Paramahansa Yogananda references some of his favorite chants. A few weeks ago, out of curiosity, I checked out the chants on Spotify. DING DING DING DING DING! There they were! Not only that, Paramahansa Yogananda’s own chanting was recorded! From shortly before his death in 1952!
I listened to it and was overjoyed I’d listened after reading the book. I would NEVER have started the crazy long book if I had. Bottom line: I am pretty much ensconced in Christianity. Karma sounds terrible to me. The truth is, I do not ever want to come back (DO YOU HEAR ME?). Reincarnation (unless you are perhaps Jesus) sounds like a terrible idea to me – to keep fixing my mistakes of prior lives, a spiritual “catch and release” if you will. Jesus for me = ONE AND DONE. But there was a lot of food for thought in that book and a lot I do not disagree with. It was worth the cultural voyage.
Finally, as I was doing some glancing research today on karma, I came across this website. Of course, it is of the organization PY started. When I get to Heaven, I am sure he will be on my greeting committee. I can pretty much hear his laugh – he had a great sense of humor – as he points me to the EXIT door …. Perhaps I will be so enlightened I will change my mind?