"After our youngest son had seen Star Wars for the twelfth or thirteenth time, I said, "Why do you go so often?" He said, "For the same reason you have been reading the Old Testament all of your life." He was in a new world of myth." Bill Moyers, interview with Joseph Campbell











LIBRARYLooking at Creation with Seeing Eyes  






Looking at Creation with Seeing Eyes




Swami Yogananda



     Self-Realization Fellowship international headquarters, Los Angeles, California, August 17, 1939



     Marvelous indeed is the Lord's universe. Within it He is working all His wonders of creation. Do not be a walking "dead man" in this world; observe, analyze, and appreciate what God and His agent, man, have wrought here. How intricate is the universal mechanism! Reflect on the way we are made, and in what orderly fashion the whole machinery of creation runs according to cosmic law.

     We all see the flowers and enjoy their beauty, but who knows what is causing the flowers? Anything one uses or sees every day - be it a handkerchief, a musical instrument, a house, or a tree - he should question and ponder by what means, of what substance, it is made. Cars are taken for granted; but if you were to visit the factories in which they are produced, you would realize how complicated automobiles are. Consider too what went into making the paper for the daily news, and the intricate machinery that imprints it - no human hand could operate so fast.

     And if the creation of everyday man-made objects can be so complex, how vastly more complicated the creation of plants, animals, and human beings! It takes ten years' study of medical science to understand the composition, functions, and requirements of the seemingly simple human body. Even a casual analysis reveals much to wonder at - though I sometimes think God could have made a few improvements!


     When a plant is growing in water in a glass jar, one can see that its roots are like hairs. Through the God-given intelligent energy in the roots the plant draws from soil and water the food it requires for growth. Like an upturned plant, man similarly absorbs through his hair electric currents helpful to the body. (1)

     Is it not amazing that the sap which feeds the leaves of the plant flows upward against the pull of gravity? When the skin of the plant is removed, one can see the intricate network of tubes that channel this sap. That which carries on this process of sustenance and growth is the mystery called life. When I am in the ecstasy of God-consciousness, I behold this life in even a blade of grass. Little did I dream that I would be able to see such hidden marvels of creation! To concentrate on these marvels is to stand in awe of what the Lord has done.

     With calculated precision God has ordained the structural form of each living thing, and the requirements for maintaining that form in good working order. If there is any deficiency in those requirements - food, for example - plants, animals, and human beings suffer. The average реrson draws from his food all the various chemical elements his body needs; but there are many dietary transgressors whose meals do not contain all the required elements, or the correct balance of them. Improper nourishment is one of the main causes of all sickness in man. The effects of dietary deficiency can be seen almost immediately in a plant when some necessary chemical is omitted from its food.

     There are vital exchanges between man and all other living things. For eons India has had the custom of cremation and scattering the ashes of the dead. In this and other ways man feeds Mother Earth, and her plants in turn feed man.

     The reciprocity between man and trees is well known. Man inhales oxygen and exhales carbon dioxide. (2) Trees absorb and store carbon dioxide and water, which they break down by photosynthesis to create carbohydrates (food). In the process they give off oxygen, essential to man. (3) Photosynthesis, being dependent on sunlight, stops at night. However, through another process called respiration, trees continuously release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, particularly at night when the counteracting influence of carbon-absorbing, oxygen-producing photosynthesis is not present. As night air is usually still, the heavy carbon dioxide gas settles near the ground. In part for this reason, the custom of sleeping on beds - that is, above ground level - came about.



          The Limitations of the Physical Senses


     Science has taught us a great deal about the intricate mechanisms of our universe and about the substances of which we are all made, but there is still vast knowledge to be uncovered. We could perceive more and appreciate more if we developed the underlying powers of our sensory organs. Things we should see with our eyes we do not see, things we should hear with our ears we do not hear, because our senses are too habituated, too attached, to experiences of the limited gross physical world. Freedom from that attachment is not negation of sensory enjoyment; it permits a broadening of the God-given sensory powers to their fullest spiritual potential.

     On the material plane man has discovered various ways to increase his seeing power. The unaided physical eye receives only limited impressions of color. However, under ultraviolet light, drab-looking pieces of rock in which certain minerals are present will show forth luminescent colors. Remove the ultraviolet light and the rocks assume their original dull hue. Many colors in the physical world, such as the blue of the sky, are really optical illusions caused by the reflection of light on various kinds of particles. Because your eyes register only a limited degree of the creative vibration that makes up everything in creation, you do not see the subtle astral (4) colors, which are hidden in everything around you. Could you but see, you would be amazed at their beauty. Even the most gorgeous shades on earth appear ugly, gross, and wild in comparison to the magnificent hues of the astral world.

     So neither your eyes nor your ears register everything possible. You cannot smell astral fragrances, nor perceive with your other physical sense organs the myriad finer forms and impressions passing through the ether. Even if St. Francis were here at this moment in his astral form, you would not be able to see and hear and touch him. Yet it is possible to advance beyond ordinary sensory limitations, for I have seen him.

     Often man does not cognize even things that his senses are able to perceive. Those persons who have perceptive eyes enjoy beauty everywhere. Others act as if they had no eyes; even in a beautiful place they fail to "see" anything. When I visited Mexico and saw the "Floating Gardens" of Lake Xochimilco, (5) their loveliness filled my heart with awareness of the Divine Artist. Another man, standing nearby, seemed equally engrossed. However, something told me he was not seeing what I was seeing, so I asked his reaction to the picturesque scene. "I was thinking of how to drain off the water and make more land," he replied. An engineer, he was seeing the lake in his own way. So we view things according to our different mentalities and moods.

     Every soul is encased in a composite vibration of sensations, thoughts, feelings - all the factors that make up a person's being, or consciousness. Each one has a different composition, a different vibration. All the things you have done since childhood are stored in tabloid form as tendencies in your brain. They make you what you are. Because we do not see this tabloid pattern, we wonder why people behave as they do. Some become suddenly elated, or inexplicably angry or moody; even they don't know why. Some are always busy criticizing or gossiping about others, when there is plenty of "house-cleaning" to do in their own "home"! The invisible tabloid tendencies in the brain compel each one to behave in certain ways. They bury the soul, preventing the expression of one's true Self. How complex is man! Each one in himself a full-length novel.



          The Infinite Potential of Thought



     Man is supposed to get something out of this life besides eating, sleeping, and working. The thinkers begin to wonder about life. They observe and question why things happen, or do not happen, in a certain way. We have a first and then a second set of teeth; why not a third? What causes this regulation? Because of man's unquestioning acceptance of many delusive thoughts of physical limitation, he allows them to control his present sphere of existence. Thinkers do not accept the inevitable; they turn their efforts toward changing it. This is the ingredient that makes progress possible.

     I am thrilled when I see the great manufacturing centers, the remarkable inventions, and other exceptional human accomplishments. How much has come from the brain of man! And the brain itself is infinitely more intricate than anything it has produced.

     There is a story about a certain king who showed such affectionate regard for his prime minister that others in the court, noticing the monarch's obvious preference, were jealous. Realizing this, the king wanted to show them why the minister was his favorite. Some music sounded in the distance, and the king turned to one of his courtiers, saying, "Please find out what is going on." After some time the man returned with the information that it was a marriage procession. "Who is going to be married?" inquired the king. The courtier didn't know, so another courtier was sent out. The man returned with a reply to the king's latest query, but when the sovereign asked another question he could not answer. The result was the same with courtier after courtier. Finally the king called for the prime minister and asked him to go and find out what was taking place. When the minister returned, the king plied him with questions, every one of which the alert and thorough prime minister was able to answer satisfactorily.

     A great many persons are dull-minded like the uninformed courtiers. They are not necessarily stupid; just too mentally lazy to make any effort beyond obvious necessity. I can condone physical laziness (there might be a justifiable physiological cause); but there is no excuse for mental laziness! The mentally idle do not like to think, because even that seems too much work for them.

     Thought is fascinating. No one will ever be able to tabulate all the tendencies and perceptions of the mind; its capacity is infinite. Yet the mind cannot think an original thought: there is not a single idea that God has not originated already in conceiving His past, present, and future creations. Therefore if you think deeply enough about a subject, the answer to any question about it will come.

     You must feel as well as think; if you do not have feeling along with your thoughts, you will not always be successful in reaching the right conclusion. Feeling is an expression of intuition, the repository of all knowledge. Feeling and thought, or reason, must be balanced; only then does the divine image of God within you, the soul, manifest its full nature. Hence Yoga teaches one how to balance his powers of reason and feeling. One who does not have both equally is not a fully developed person.



          In God-Consciousness Everything Becomes Beautiful



     In my younger days I used to go sight-seeing, but my interest was only in temples. As my consciousness changed with the practice of meditation, I began to look at the world differently; everything seemed transformed and interesting to me. Now I see behind all creation the kingdom of my Father. It is enchanting beyond any dreams of this world! And sometimes I see the beauties of His kingdom showing through the gross physical creation.

     As you progress spiritually and draw closer to God, He reveals to you more and more wonders of creation. Even in the dead and ugly-looking stalks of a wheat field after the harvest you will see life. It played its part there, and to the ordinary eye it is gone; but with the divine eye (6) you will see, even in the outer desolation, the beautiful colors of dancing electrons and protons.

     Behind every material object is an astral blueprint of colored light. In the astral world everything is motion, everything is living; there is nothing called "dead." Even in the physical world death is not cessation of life, only a change into a different form. Life is still throbbing in the "lifeless" object. In the bones of dead animals I have beheld rich colors and vibrating light.

     You see only the gross material products coming from God's hidden factory behind creation; but if you went into the factory itself, you would behold in what marvelous manner everything in this world has been brought into manifestation.

     The factory behind creation is beyond imagination; the whole universe is a single thought in the mind of God! So simple, yet the galaxies are guided by mathematics inconceivable by man. Everything runs in perfect order. What tremendous intelligence is manifested in creation! The Infinite is working in everything. All the different eddies of motion called life are controlled by that Cosmic Intelligence.

     Every hundred years a billion and a half persons leave this earth, and more than that many are born. What complexities of supply and demand are created thereby! Even so, the Divine Intelligence has given ample food to take care of human needs. Man alone is responsible for lack and misery on earth. By this time we could have had a millennium - everyone healthy and supplied with all of life's necessities, living in a happy and peaceful way in a wisely governed existence. But man's selfishness, and power in the hands of the inept, destroy such a possibility. Abraham Lincoln expressed the highest ideal of government when he said it should be "of the people, by the people, and for the people." He was a deeply spiritual man. Even so, he had to suffer because of the ignorance of a few.



          This World Is a Temporal Place



     It is natural to wonder where exceptional men such as Lincoln, and departed dear ones, once so tangible, have gone after death. Such questions arise in the mind, not to discourage you, but to awaken in you a realization of the temporal dream-nature of life. The Bhagavad-Gita (7) tells us: "That which is night (of slumber) to all creatures is (luminous) wakefulness to the man of self-control. The seeming state of wakefulness of the ordinary man is perceived by a sage to be, in reality, a state of delusive sleep."

     Thus most people are sleeping soundly throughout this dream-life; only the man of realization is awake. He is not interested in the activities that engross the ordinary man who busies himself seeking wealth and sense pleasures, and wasting time in shallow social engagements. Man makes a nervous wreck of himself pursuing the fleeting attractions of this world, whereas the joy and wonder of God, which is beyond description, would give him so much more: happiness and fulfillment unending!

     Only a little while you live as an individualized image in God's dream-world. You are dreaming your mortal existence; it is part of God's cosmic dream. Every day you are living in this dream of physical being. Every night, in deep sleep, it is gone. And one day, when you awaken in God - who is your real Self - the dream will be gone forever.



          Seek the Lord Who Is Hiding Behind Creation



     Use your time rightly, to discover the factory of the Divine behind this world. Once for an entire day I beheld in vision the infinite wonders of creation, and I prayed:

     "O Father, when I was blind I found not a door that led to Thee. Thou hast healed my eyes; now I discover doors everywhere: the hearts of flowers, the voices of friendship, memories of lovely experiences. Each gust of my prayer opens a new entrance to the vast temple of Thy presence." (8)

     Be adamant, strong, and unflinching in your determination to discover the One who is hiding behind this creation. Snatch yourself away from the demands of the world, and do not go to bed at night until you have consciously communed with God. I seldom retire before four o'clock in the morning; only during the night can I find freedom from my responsibilities and be wholly with God.

     The ordinary man with his everyday responsibilities can be just as busy as the president of the United States. Busy, busy, busy! that is life's demand. You have to reserve time each day to get away from the world and be with God. Control your life, and set aside time to practice meditation for communion with Him. Then everything in this world will be a wonder to you.

     As scientists made their discoveries by following certain disciplines and physical laws, so will you find God without fail when you scientifically follow spiritual laws. You are helping yourself in the highest way when you study and apply these laws as set forth in the Self-Realization [Yogoda] teachings.

     Forget not the things I have told you. "A word to the wise - those who are spiritually awakened - is sufficient." Yet Jesus said: "The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few." (9) If you receive these teachings and practice them, you will realize every truth I have told you. It is not complicated; I have given only those spiritual techniques that will enable you to perceive and commune with God. No matter how unpleasant your circumstances in this world, when you discover God you will see Him working through you and manifesting in everything, and you will be filled with His love and joy.

     India's rishis remind us that health and prosperity, material accomplishments and possessions, are not lasting. Why concentrate only on goals that are perishable? What is lasting is the ever-new joyous contact of God and the attainment of Self-realization - finding out who you are, knowing that the image of God is within you. When you have that realization, you will be a satisfied person. The scriptures of India describe one who attains this state as a siddha, "successful one." When I was teaching congregations of hundreds and thousands I was often called "successful." That did not impress me. One may be recognized by the whole world and yet be unknown to the only One whose attention matters; and he who attracts the notice of God may be entirely unknown to the world. Which would you prefer? I wanted only the recognition of my Father. The acclaim of the world can be so intoxicating that man forgets to cultivate the all-fulfilling approbation of the Lord.

     It is natural for man to yearn for the role of king on this earthly stage, but if all were kings, there could be no play. Your part is just as important as anyone else's. The point is that you must play your role according to the Divine Director's wish; when you live your part to please God, you will be successful. This should be the constant prayer in every human heart:

     "My Lord, work Thou through my hands; they were made to serve Thee and to pick flowers for Thy temple. Mine eyes were made to behold Thy presence in the flickering stars, in the eyes of soulful devotees; my feet were made to take me to Thy temples everywhere to sip the nectar of Thy sermons to seeking souls, - my voice was made only to speak of Thee. I taste wholesome food that I may be reminded of Thine all-nourishing goodness; I inhale the perfume of flowers that I may breathe Thy fragrant presence there. I dedicate my thoughts, feelings, and love to Thee. All my senses are in harmony with Thy celestial orchestra of fragrance, beauty, and joy playing their refrain in the eternal symphony of the cosmos.

     "Lead me from darkness to light. Lead me from hatred to love. Lead me from limitations to Thine inexhaustible power, - lead me from ignorance to wisdom. Lead me from suffering and death to everlasting life and enjoyment in Thee. Above all, lead me from the delusion of human attachment into realization of Thy love eternal, which plays hide-and-seek with me in all forms of human love.

     "Father, Mother, Friend, Beloved God, reveal Thyself unto me! Leave me in ignorance no longer. All delusion I cast from the sacred shrine of my soul. Be Thou the only King sitting on the throne of my ambitions, the only Queen in the castle of my love, the only Deity in the temple of my soul. Keep me awake in Thy consciousness, that I may pray and demand unceasingly until Thou dost open all doors into Thy home of wisdom, and there receive me, Thy prodigal child, and entertain me with the fatted calf of immortality and eternal joy."








     (1) "The physical body, with roots of hair, cerebrospinal trunk, nerve branches, and boughs of hands and feet, bears a resemblance to an inverted tree... Some yogis do not cut their hair but keep it long, to draw from the ether a greater quantity of cosmic rays. The reason for Samson's having lost his superhuman strength when his hair was shorn by Delilah may well be that he had practiced certain yogic exercises that transform one's hair into sensitive antennae to draw cosmic energy from the ether." - Paramahansa Yogananda, Self-Realization Magazine, May-June 1963.
     (2) An excess of carbon dioxide is poisonous to the body. However, a small amount of carbon dioxide is retained in the blood, and is vital to life as a regulator of the bodily chemistry. (Publisher's Note)
     (3) "It is quite probable that our entire supply of free oxygen, one-fifth of the atmosphere, has been furnished by photosynthesis." - Encyclopaedia Britannica.
     (4) Within every physical being and object and vibration is its finer astral counterpart, composed of luminous lifetronic energy.
     (5) The gardens are now fixed "islands," the plant roots having long since become anchored to the bottom of the lake, which is extremely shallow.
     (6) The spiritual or third eye in man, - the eye of intuitive perception.
     (7) 11:69.
     (8) "Doors Everywhere," in Whispers from Eternity.
     (9) Matthew 9:37.


International Yoga Day 21 June 2015
International Yoga Day 21 June 2015





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