Enlightenment in simple termsAs I listened to the Buddhist master Thich Nhat Hanh at Dongguk University in April, it struck me that great spiritual masters speak in simple terms. No intricate philosophical notions, just simple precepts: “As you inhale, notice you are breathing in; as you exhale, notice you are breathing out.” In “Man’s Eternal Quest,” Paramahansa Yogananda, a spiritual master of Kriya Yoga, speaks in equally simple yet powerful terms.
The book is a collection of talks for those interested in living a calmer, more authentic, or spiritual, life. Ultimately the book is about experiencing the reality of divine love and presence. The chapters have simple themes ― how to be happy, how to be more likable, how to overcome destructive habits ― things that most of us want for our lives. Yogananda’s prescriptions are equally straightforward: Eat right, sleep enough but not too much, perform useful work, enjoy the company of good people, read inspiring books, know yourself through self-analysis, and, above all, meditate.
Meditation is the heart of the message. Yogananda says it not only brings balance to our daily lives but opens us to the experience of God’s presence within. The prescription is simple although not always easy to apply. Spiritual discipline is required and the author speaks with great candor of his own early struggles. Even great masters start out with very real human failings.
Yogananda’s lessons reflect the Kriya Yoga world view, but even non-yogis will find nourishing mental and spiritual food in them. Much of what he says echoes the essence of all great religions. For example, he would surely have agreed with the Roman Catholic catechism: “The purpose of life is to know, love and serve God and be happy with Him in heaven.” Regardless of religion, spiritual seekers will find inspiration in this book.
by Genie Barnes