Sometimes, we wait and wait for a book to come out, wondering if it ever will, even questioning what an author is thinking by not writing it. Seems that once again, divine timing and Yogananda’s guiding spirit led Swami Kriyananda to write and present Paramhansa Yogananda: A Biography at the best possible time — when its message was most needed by souls trying to find greater peace and spiritual growth in a trying world climate that is making both difficult.
This summer of 2012 certainly has fueled the arguments of end-of-the-world theorists and global warming experts. We’ve seen record heat, record drought, record crop failure, probable record fires, terrible wars in Afghanistan and Syria, political and social divisiveness in our country, a “recovery” from the recession that feels to some more like trudging through quicksand, and other trials and tribulations from all corners of the world. How can we attain, expand and spread love, peace and divine union in such an apparently deteriorating environment?
During the 1930s, Paramhansa Yogananda asked and answered a similar question in Los Angeles and Encinitas. At that time, the ominous clouds of war and tyranny increased out of Germany and Japan and this nation suffered from – you guessed it –extreme weather, economic depression and wholesale crop failures caused by the Dust Bowl that wiped out agriculture in the Great Plains.
Yet, what are all of these events but stark reminders that our greater joy and happiness must always come from within, from our connection to God and the greater reality of our divine heritage? Or that ultimately, the only environment that will bring us joy is the one within our hearts and souls? How do we find a place of harmony with all life, when our loved ones are being taken from us, our environment and homes are being flooded or burned away, or the noisiness of a contentious society taxes our minds and emotions and makes it harder to enjoy quiet serenity?
The current natural, political and social events give all the more reason why Swami Kriyananda’s next two public events, in Portland and the San Francisco Bay area, will be especially significant. He will be showcasing his acclaimed, award-winning book, Paramhansa Yogananda: A Biography, at both events. On August 30, he will appear at Portland’s Newmark Theater to talk about the crucial topic of Living in Harmony with Life. Two weeks later, on September 16, he will appear at Smithwick Theater on the campus of Foothill College in Los Altos Hills to present Paramhansa Yogananda: The Untold Story.
If you have not heard Swami speak, either at all or recently, these are two talks that bear attending. He will speak of his direct experience with Yogananda, and cite passages from Paramhansa Yogananda: A Biography that pertain to the topics at hand. He’s infused the book with more than 60 previously unpublished accounts, nearly all of which have direct life application. More than that, Swami Kriyananda will wrap the full extent of his nearly 65 years as a disciple of Yogananda around his collective audiences to show how the principles of harmony, detachment, abundant joy, purpose, prayer and meditation can be incorporated into their lives beginning the moment they leave the theater.
The talk in Los Altos Hills on September 16 will be a delight for anyone who wants to know more about the life of Paramhansa Yogananda. The Smithwick Theater audience will be filled with stories, surprises, some laughs, some tears, and plenty of inspiration. To wit: When Swami wrote Paramhansa Yogananda: A Biography, he brought out the part of the story Yogananda did not include in his landmark 1946 spiritual classic, Autobiography of a Yogi — the direct lessons and impact Yogananda had on his disciples and the countless people whose lives changed through contact with the great guru. He also detailed what I thought was one of the most fascinating aspects of Yogananda’s mission and the book: Yogananda’s final years, when he wrote most of his material (some with Swami’s editing assistance) and counseled his closest disciples on how to move forward with the work.
That same sentiment applies to Paramhansa Yogananda: A Biography, and the purpose for Swami’s talks in Portland and Los Altos Hills. When we take today’s world events and overlay them with Yogananda’s guidance and wisdom, and Swami’s presentation of it, we will find simple steps and principles to take that will result in greater harmony, peace, love and joy in our hearts and lives.